COOP ~ A Blues For Essential Workers from Month to Month

Seminar 4: 3 - 6 May 2022

Documentary filmmaker Trinh T. Minh Ha approached her work as a “speaking nearby” instead of a “speaking about”. While the “about” is trying to capture an object, or explain an event, or inform for the sake of information, “speaking nearby” points to:

“(...) a speaking that does not objectify, does not point to an object as if it is distant from the speaking subject or absent from the speaking place. A speaking that reflects on itself and can come very close to a subject without, however, seizing or claiming it. A speaking in brief, whose closures are only moments of transition opening up to other possible moments of transition — these are forms of indirectness well understood by anyone in tune with poetic language.”

We meet again in St. Erme with the echoes of our meetings in Bergamo in mind, as we are in the process of packing our poetic bags for a next round. One question stands out, asked by Ros during one of our broadcasts: Are we ready for thinking of the real worker? Or: How are we positioning our subjectivities in relation to essential work (and its colonial, patriarchal and capitalist relations)? And how to hold that in the doing? How to engage poetical language without simply turning it into an aestheticized, subjectivist product? How to show up?

So we move back (and forth) to our concern of essential work and invite you for our upcoming gathering to bring a main line of questioning in relation to your encounters with essential work, which will be your focus for the rest of our shared COOP trajectory. Take inspiration from the way Vera mapped out an extensive collection of encounters in our shared Drive folder or the way we attempted to trace songs through their history, their recurrences, their instrumentalization, their embedded knowledge and insights, their presence and significance in our lives, all interwoven.

These collections will serve as the departure point for our collective narration for Parasite Radio broadcasting and gathering.

Our guests for this COOP edition are  Romy Ruegger and Sonia Kazovsky, who will act as our collaborators in this process of narration.

Schedule:

Transition session Tuesday evening: writing the social contract

In our first short session, we continue the conversation on the social contract and we come up with a short statement that considers our processes of working together, taking into account the process of decision making, the different roles in our process and what kind of responsibilities they are made up of, and what we owe an audience.

Lexicon of publicness

We establish a sonic lexicon of different scripts for our broadcasting efforts (sonic biographies, radioplays, conversations).

Wednesday morning session 10.00 -13.00: BYO Questions

We focus on the research you have done on your encounters with essential work as you present it to everyone in 5-10 minutes by way of whatever references you have collected (text, anecdotes, sounds, recordings, photos, a song, a meme etc etc). You end with a question this research brings to your mind and which you want to devote more time to.

After we have heard from everyone, you rewrite your question in max three different possible ways so that it connects to the narratives that were brought in by others.

Wednesday afternoon session 14.00 - 17.00:

Based on the presentations you have made and heard, you work on a script that narrates your process of coming to the questions that you have articulated. You articulate what is present in your knowing (not only facts, but also positionalities, voices that were staged) as well as find the absences in your process, in your research or in your narration. You come to a small script that can be in the format of a sonic biography, radioplay or conversation of max 3 minutes.

17.00-19.00

We record our scripts orchestrated - we think about order, flow, silences in between, sounds that are present, interruptions.

Wednesday evening session:

Talk on COOP Summit w. Nikos & collective talk on Roaming Assembly 

Thursday morning: taking vs teasing out vs drawing out vs removing from a fixed position with Sonia Kazovsky, Romy Rüegger, Amal and Krista

Introduction of Sonia Kazovsky (DAI, 2017)’s practice and work.  Followed by group conversation on the extraction we call research: how to work with the voices and narratives of others, how can we practice speaking nearby, how to be accountable for your process. Plus collective listening session of recording of the day before.

Thursday afternoon session:

A Video mixtape B2B session for Essential Workers: a collective b2b session of improvisational references and thinking through music, poetry, music videos where we all play together and think through labor histories and the possibilities, care and ethics of working with found materials to read histories.

Everyone gets 1.5 hour to prepare for the session and we start at 3.30pm with a collective session that lasts until 5.30 pm/6pm (depends on the flow of the day)

Thursday evening session: 

Student led activity

Friday morning session

Session with Romy Rüegger on broadcasting, voicing and sonic and performative situations

Friday afternoon session

Session II with Romy Ruegger & Sonia Kazovsky, reworking of your script

Friday evening session

Check-in/Collective outro

Reading:

Mediations #8 by Sonia Kazovsky: Sex Work Is Honest Work: A Preliminary Glossary or How To Conduct Artistic Research Without Reproducing Harmful Extractavist Dynamics.

https://dutchartinstitute.eu/page/16929/2021-~-sonia-kazovsky-sex-work-is-honest-work-a-preliminary-glossary

Speaking Nearby: A Conversation with Trinh T. Hinh-Ma by Nancy Chen

https://docfilmhist.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/chen.pdf

 

Seminar 3: 28 - 31 March 2022

“Are you sure that you are hearing every thing that there is to hear?”

– Pauline Oliveros

We welcome you to this DAI week with a rhetorical question. You are right to be suspicious of anyone who can answer this question with ‘yes’. Of course, before suspicion even sets in, the question does different work than requiring an answer. It unsettles something before the answer can be articulated, it plays with expectation, as if the question itself does not want you to give a genuine answer, it instills doubt and reveals a direction. We thought it would be good to highlight the trickster nature of rhetorics to commence our stay in Italy.

FROM OLD FRENCH RETORIKE, RETHORIQUE (MODERN FRENCH RHÉTORIQUE) AND DIRECTLY FROM LATIN RHETORICE, FROM GREEK RHĒTORIKĒTEKHNĒ "ART OF AN ORATOR," FROM RHĒTŌR (GENITIVE RHĒTOROS) "SPEAKER, MASTER SPEAKER, ORATOR; ARTIST OF DISCOURSE; TEACHER OF RHETORIC," ESPECIALLY (IN THE ATTIC OFFICIAL LANGUAGE), "ORATOR IN PUBLIC." THIS IS RELATED TO RHESIS "SPEECH," RHEMA "WORD, PHRASE, VERB," LITERALLY "THAT WHICH IS SPOKEN".

During this week, we wish to remain in that space before the answer to a question —even a rhetorical one: the space of listening, of attention, and serious consideration. That moment and place where we can hear the speaker in a sonic environment that not only holds that which is articulated but also that which is unspoken, an environment that shows imprints of absent intimations, where time can not be lineair, where trust and suspicion, intentions and accidents roam unchecked. This is where we listen in search. Talk about tricky, heh.

“Amidst everything that has been and is still going on, what is silenced and what reverberates?

What is revealed and what is ignored? Is solidarity resonating? Do we perceive its echoes while

some people keep being denied breath?”

– sonsbeek20→24

Key to these three COOP days is the movement of revisiting, rewinding and reflecting back and repetition. What happens when we listen again, and again? What do we produce then? How do unpack our processes and where does theory sit? How does language stretch our capacity to connect and extend the invitation to strangers?

We will be revisiting some key concepts that we have been reading already, like Maria Lugones’ idea of the hang out and how it informs our workings and the questions in this COOP. Next to that, we will pick up where we left off with broadcasting as well as connect to guest Muna Mussie who we have invited to speak on her practice around the question of: how to see language as a political-affective space and what positioning yourself in that space means as an artist, in relation to a public?

Schedule

March 28 evening program

20.00: Check-in + Listening session to situate our selves, our bodies via Pauline Oliveros

March 29

Morning session at the Cinema Room: check in and roundtable work session.

Take with us: every one brings one fragment from Maria Lugones’s text, with special attention to hanging out. How can we bring that in relation to our previous hang-outs? What do we bring to our upcoming hangouts? Can we come to a shared glossary of the Blues For Essential Workers COOP hang out, i.e: how to situate theory in actions, in a hang out and how to reflect back productively?

Afternoon session: Collective walk

Exercise 1:

Choose a partner and walk with no destination, listen. Afterwards, discuss the experience of the walk together. Try to use whole body listening as you take in what your partner says.

After a ten-minute period of sharing information return to the full circle. Each partner speaks for the other sharing with the group some highlight of what their partner said that was interesting.

Exercise 2:

Work in groups of 2 or 3 to prepare a 15 minutes speculative script that examines and reflects on this quote:

“Amidst everything that has been and is still going on, what is silenced and what reverberates?

What is revealed and what is ignored? Is solidarity resonating? Do we perceive its echoes while

some people keep being denied breath?”

Evening session at the Cinema Room: Set up our hang out and recording station.

Share scripts in a conversational way, a table read.

March 30

Morning session: Listening exercise

From Pauline Oliveros’ Collective Environmental Composition

Each participant explores an environment to find a listening place with something interesting to hear and listens for a while.

Each participant invites the other participants to hear their found listening place. There may be one or more places with contrasting sounds.

Each participant finds a way to enhance, nullify or otherwise interact with the sound or sounds that the group goes to hear.

Each participant finds a way to connect all the sounds, either literally, metaphorically or graphically.

A performance agreement is negotiated.

Afternoon:

Doing: A sonic diary: “Do faceless images emit sound? If so, at what frequencies do they register?

If not, what can we apprehend in and through their muteness?” - Tina Campt

Record a 15-20 minute piece of composition that responds to the questions above in relation to essential work and your environmental composition that you developed earlier in the day. Together you develop an hour radio show, consider the collective as a sonic body that broadcasts from Bergamo.

Evening session: Broadcast via Parasite Radio

March 31

Morning session: revisit of the broadcasting of yesterday. Invite people.

Afternoon session: hang out with Muna Mussi

Evening session: Finalize our collective glossary, what do we bring to our next meeting?

 

Seminar 2: 22 February - 1 March 2022

PRACTICAL:

Location: Arnhem

Host: Sonsbeek 20->24

Classes: WALTER books*, Looierstraat 43, Arnhem | De Lommerd, Spijkerstraat 185a, Arnhem

Students & tutors Accommodation: IBIS Styles Hotel, Willemsplein 25, Arnhem

Route from IBIS Styles Hotel to WALTER books

*WALTER books is a bookshop, reading room, show-up-hang-out-kinda-place and an every-now- and-then exhibition space. It opened in 2016 and is a steady presence in Arnhem, open Tuesday-Saturday from 12.00-18.00. It collaborates with many institutional and not-so-institutional partners, students, activists, artists and other individuals or collectives. It has hosted many presentations, parties, lectures, conversations, listening sessions, film screenings, dinners, meetings of all kinds. The coffee is quite okay.

PROGRAM:

TUESDAY 22 FEBRUARY

A day for rest and settling in.

18.00 Dinner at WALTER books (Looierstraat 43, 6811AV Arnhem)

During the evening we discuss the upcoming week, the organizing of responsibilities, the space, the guests, speaking, reading, the hangout, the field trip, the food. 

WEDNESDAY 23 FEBRUARY:

13.00: Lunch

14.00 - 18.00: Readings, prompting, listening with Amal Alhaag, Krista Jantowski& Risa Horn

18.00: Dinner with Risa Horn

19.00 - 21.00: Getting organized: broadcasting, prompting, inviting, hosting. 

THURSDAY 24 FEBRUARY:

13.00: Lunch

14.00 - 18.00: Radio workshop with Petra Randemaker

18.00: Dinner

19.00 - 21.00: Recording & Broadcasting

FRIDAY 25 FEBRUARY:

13.00: Lunch

14.00 - 18.00: Workshop: Format, Staging& Voicing with Milone Reigman

18.00: Dinner with Risa Horn

18.00: Continuation:  Workshop: Format, Staging& Voicing with Milone Reigman

SATURDAY 26 FEBRUARY:

13.00: Lunch with Risa Horn

14.00 - 18.00: Workshop: Where and How do We (the artistic, the process, the research) Come Together? with Romy Rüegger

18.00: Dinner with Risa Horn

19.00-21.00: Continuation Workshop: Where and How do We (the artistic, the process, the research) Come Together? with Romy Rüegger

SUNDAY 27 FEBRUARY:

13.00: Lunch with Risa Horn

14.00-18.00: Hosting, recording, broadcasting, voicing, staging

18.00 - 21.00: Listening session with Cengiz Mengüç: an extremely lo-res/lo-fi/lo-key program exploring the themes of labour, migration and belonging of Turkish migrant guest workers through music and storytelling. Diving into the musical and visual cultures of Turkish ‘gastarbeiter’ (gurbetçi) music and the Turkish underground cassette tape industry in 1970’s Europe, hosted by Cengiz Mengüç.

MONDAY 28 FEBRUARY:

13.00: Lunch with Risa Horn

14.00-18.00: Field trip to Parasiting Zinelibrary at K56 (https://56988699.org/) hosted by Marc van Elburg

18.00: Final dinner with Risa Horn

GUEST, HOSTS AND OTHER STORIES

Risa Horn (DAI, 2020)

Cengiz Mengüç

Petra Randewijk

Milone Reigman

Romy Rüegger

Seminar 1: 8 - 10 November 2021

Dear Alexandra, Derek, Emmeli, Jan-Pieter, Marika, Ronja, Ros, Till and Vera,

Tomorrow we kick things off with Blues For Essential Workers! I am looking forward to discussing with you how we are going to unpack what we are doing and hold space for a dispersed, complex, multiple, interactive, uncertain and necessarily engaged understanding. Since this trajectory will unfold partly during our travels to different locations, the pun of unpacking could also be, well, ‘unpacked’. 

Are you familiar with that thing you do when you arrive somewhere after traveling, and you never fully unpack your bag, your suitcase? You take out the essentials, the things that are needed at hand, but there are always some items that remain in your bag, your suitcase. Perhaps every now and then, you take some of the remaining items in your bag, your suitcase, because a situation calls for it. Sometimes a situation calls for something that you did not even know to bring, because you were not aware such situations could occur and the remaining items are of no use, leaving you dependent on your fellow travellers to help you out. 

One of our fellow travellers for this unpacking is a text by Maria Lugones titled Tactical Strategies Of The Streetwalker, which we will be reading together. One of the ideas circling in this text is the idea of the hang out, which we want to propose as a central concept to this COOP.

“Moving intentions within and toward a complex collectivity recommends the practice of hanging out, a streetwalkers practice. This practice is compatible with developing a rather large sense of the terrain and its social intricacies. Hanging out permits one to learn, to listen, to transmit information, to participate in communicative creations, to gauge possibilities, to have a sense of the directions of intentionality, to gain social depth.”

So, dear COOP, for this trajectory we propose to hang out. In this generative space, we kick off this week with organizing our first essentials, aware that we possibly some things will remain packed, that situations will occur that we had not foreseen and that our bag, our suitcase can be found lacking. We are curious to hear about the contents of your bag, your suitcase. Undoubtedly you can help us out. 

You will see me tomorrow at 10.00-ish at any place that has coffee. 

Warm wishes, also from Amal, Aude, Bonaventure and Zippora,

Krista

BACK TO INTRODUCTION