March 26, 2022 ~ How To Undo Things With Theory ~ symposium in Bergamo

| tag: Bergamo

If you are finding yourself in or anywhere near Bergamo in Italy, you are warmly invited to join the Dutch Art Institute for emerging research presentations by Julia Morandeira Arrizbalaga, Amit S.Rai, Ghalya Saadawi, Ana Teixeira Pinto, Hypatia Vourloumis and Grant Watson & for subsequent conversations, to be moderated by Dina Mohamed.


March 11, 2020: When Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the WHO went public with his assessment that COVID-19 from then onward was to be characterized as a pandemic, the DAI community had already been gathering for a full week in Sidi Bou Said in Tunesia - amidst a maelstrom of growing concerns, anxieties, premonitions and panic attacks, all in sharp contrast to the cheerfulness of the most beautiful location where our traveling school had ever landed. One of those who, due to the outbreak had not been able to make it to Sidi Bou Said, was our then student Sara Benaglia. Bergamo, her hometown in Italy was quickly called the Wuhan of Europe, while the province of Lombardy was the first in Europe to be declared a disaster area. Updating the DAI-crew (itself frantically trying to manage the chaos provoked by the closure of airports worldwide), Sara wrote us about the sound of helicopters in the night: "yes, the state of exception Agamben was talking about, now is working at high speed".  

The pandemic triggered a seismic shift in perceptions of safety, care and solidarity. It revealed how, also at DAI, the privileges of some and the precarities of others shape conditions in divergent ways - conditions we had to learn to navigate. Initially "the digital" promised to keep us together, but soon, the limits of how DAI, as roaming academy, could continue to mobilize our intelligences - without doing the same for our bodies, came into sight. One evening in October 2021, when we had finally managed to responsibly assemble again in the flesh, in a backstreet in Mallorca, the performers of "PR৲NSE of the WH❀❀LE, our cacophony concert convergence, our processional procedural premonition(s)" galvanized us to endlessly dance and sing along with them: Oh, I want to be with you everywhere... We wondered: can we perform our anxieties away?

This week DAI will land in Bergamo, upon the thoughtful invitation of the same Sara Benaglia, who had to graduate in the middle of the pandemic. Pandemic, which is not over, but now seems to be the lesser of our concerns. Today we can't stop thinking of Putin's strangulation of Mariupol (including the bombing of the art school in use as a shelter), a collective punishment campaign that was first tried by his war machine in Grozny in Chechnya and then in Aleppo, Syria. Meanwhile the rush to use fossil fuels because of the war in Ukraine threatens global climate targets, at a moment where the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2022 report issues its ‘bleakest warning yet’ on impacts of climate breakdown. Gathering in Bergamo in catastrophic times we ask: what of art in the midst of dystopia ? 

March 26, 2022: the symposium “How To Undo Things With Theory” will bring students, tutors and the public in conversation around a variety of themes and topics of contemporary relevance to the thinking of art in the world. To this aim the members of the tutorial team of “How To Do Things With Theory” will generously share their emerging research.

For many years the theory program “How To Do Things With Theory” has been a central element in the DAI's curriculum. A group of outstanding and outspoken theorists/curators from the fields of critical theory, performance studies, queer studies, art theory, and postcolonial theory, brilliantly teach our theory seminars. They bring cutting edge academic thinking to their study groups by exploring topics such as the urgent need to decolonize Western societies, the rising threat of fascism, the indeterminacy of contemporary art and fugitive readings that challenge the canon and generate new forms of political practice. 

Gabriëlle Schleijpen, artistic director DAI

Florian Göttke, senior co-ordinator HTDTWT





Moderation: Dina Mohamed (DAI, 2019)

10.15 WELCOME 

Abstracts are linked to the titles



March 26, 2022

The symposium takes place at Lab80, a Worker Cooperative born in Bergamo in 1976 with several aims: organizing screenings and festivals, producing and distributing films and offering various services aimed at realizing audiovisual products.  


Via Daste e Spalenga, 13, Bergamo 

Entrance free | no reservations | mask wearing obligatory

Lunch & dinner & wine will be served at the venue. 

Costs lunch & dinner (including a glas of wine) for visitors who made an obligatory reservation: 15 euro in total - cash payment at the venue. To make a reservation: please contact (as soon as possible): Jacq van der Spek

All further information about DAI Week 5 in Bergamo: DAI-BULLETIN 2021—2022 nr. 5 March 2022




Artistic director | head of program: Gabriëlle Schleijpen

Catering: VegEat & Spazio Terzo Mondo

Communication design: Lauren Alexander (DAI, 2011) & Hanna Rullmann

Our host in Bergamo: Sara Benaglia (DAI, 2020) 

Senior co-ordinator How To Do Things With Theory: Florian Göttke

Senior co-ordinator facilities | technical support : Peter Sattler (DAI, 2016)

Senior co-ordinator hospitality and logistics Roaming Academy: Jacq van der Spek

Video Archive documentation: Baha Görkem Yalim (DAI, 2018)


Santuari de Lluc, Mallorca ~ October 6, 2021: Nash Caldera (DAI, 2022) and Laura Dubourjal (DAI, 2022) performing in "PR৲NSE of the WH❀❀LE, our cacophony concert convergence, our processional procedural premonition(s)" as part of CHUSMA 2.0: A Coalition of Gossips. Photo: Baha Görkem Yalim for DAI. 

Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia ~ March 5, 2020. Classroom prepared for a How To Do Things With Theory seminar. Photo: Nikos Doulos for DAI.