COOP ~ SOIL IS AN INSCRIBED BODY: on Agropoetics, Land Struggles and the Aesthetics of Sovereignty from Month to Month

Seminar 1: 8 - 10 November 2021

The village of Nida, as a geographic space, bears a lot of marks of ebb and flow. In 1709 nearly all of the population in Nida died from a bubonic plague epidemic, and although one finds only very little documentation about this specific epidemic case, one can only imagine how the bodies were disposed of as was common during plague outbreaks - the ashes buried into the earth. Humans have flowed back to this area in several migrations since then and Nida has been a witness to land struggles and sovereignty up to recently in its history. A little bit more than a century ago, Nida together with half of the Curonian spit became after World War I part of Memelland under the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, but was subsequently illegally annexed by Lithuania in 1923. Renamed Nida, the village nevertheless remained a predominantly German settlement; the border with the remaining German (East Prussian) half of the spit lay only a few kilometres to the south, and in 1939, the village was subsequently annexed by Nazified Germany.

Hostipitality and agropoetics are inextricably intertwined. We envision this first week, the beginning of Soil is an inscribed body that takes place in Nida, as an act of “bridging” between last year’s SAVVY COOP research theme and the one we are about to embark upon. “Nida” - which means “fluent” from old Prussian language, but thus evokes the word “flow”, the act of flowing - how do we navigate in such a space, witness and subject to such violent actions and hostility? What are the signs and impacts (geo-trauma) left and carried by the space from such actions?

Our opportunities to familiarise ourselves with the entanglements that make up the fabric of our surroundings will include walks, conversations, and eating, but also collective listening to help facilitate and initiate a collective COOP dynamic, as we get to know each other better, map potential trajectories for our personal and collective practices, and also allow the space - Nida - flow and inspire as we bookend this year in the spirit of artistic collaboration.

A breakdown of the daily events will be provided upon your arrival as this week’s COOP is a participatory event that demands no off-site preparation. We look forward to meeting you in Nida for the first iteration of the DAI COOP Soil is an inscribed body.