…and it has been 10 years, wow! A moment, to take a breath, look at our amalgamations, allow ourselves to play with what is here, feel into what the collective mood is, understand the various forms of collaborative powers that have been built, grieve, celebrate and metabolise them into possible futures.
Drawing on our complex and promiscuous experimentations, erotic knowledges, epistemologies, ontologies and intimacies generated over the the past 10 years, PLAYING MULTITUDES proposes that we metabolise and play the multitudes we have generated together to see what futures we might excrete together.
We are metabolising all the time, with our guts, bodies, souls and minds, in our various constellations and dreams, shapes, forms, families, neighbourhoods, groups, collectives. While the social is without doubt an important sphere for us humans, we want to dedicate this issue of E&O to the multitudes of which each and everybody is composed of; through this we hope to radically open and complexify what the social – as being multitudes – is (and can be).
Cross-species metabolisms are very common and vital to every ecosystem. Symbiosis – as the study of the soil and mycology has taught us in recent editions – isn't rare, it's the rule. Symbiotic partnerships are of many kinds: the can’t-live-without-you kind. The harmless kind. The destructive/parasitic kind. As any other form of intimacy they’re not conflict-free, and can and are constantly shifting.
In philosophy multitudes are concepts of populations that have not entered into a social contract with a sovereign political body, which makes them feared by reigning powers and a potent source for the transformative collective politics we are aspiring to at ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE.
At this moment in time our ecologies lie gutted. We live in constant negotiation of a present full of pathologies and crises (ecological, political, affective and health). There are no techno- fixes, solutions, or promises to "become whole". Conventional forms of amelioration, or repair at best, patch up wounds temporarily, before we once again understand that we cannot detach cure from harm. Delusions of individuality constantly manifest and re-enforce harmful and extractive divisions. So what can we do?
Playing is apparently purposeless, "unproductive," voluntary, fun and attractive. We lose a sense of time whilst diminishing our consciousness of self. Playing has improvisational potential, we desire to keep doing it, and the pleasure of its experience drives the desire. We find ways to keep it going… and when it is over, we want to do it again. Pleasure, Play and the Erotic are and always were a fundamental component of ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE.
So, can we take this moment to look at the various multitudes we are composed of together and play with them? Specifically our gut biome as the guardian of our immune system, our hormonal cycles, our moods, our mental and physical health and it's direct relationship to other biomes like i.e. the soil biome? Can we look at our ingestions and excrements and playfully examine everything that happens in between?
What have we accomplished and where are we reproducing harm? What kind of metabolising and composting practices can we build on, (re-)invent, remix and dance with? What can choreographies of multitudes – like our gut-biome – teach us on how to get out of our individual subject-based practices in favour of putting our love and energy into a mutual and interdependent flourishing of multitudes? Play is deep medicine. Shit is (or at least can be) a golden web of resources. Metabolising is what makes it possible.
Over the past 10 years we have had multiple lenses to look at the present and propose – in an experimental and playful manner – practices and resources to do otherwise: The Erotic, Ritual, Magic, Sexuality, Trauma-work, Queering Time, Conviviality, Relationalities, Soil, Mycology, Poetry, have been some of the modalities allowing us to encounter each other and play on different levels.
Internal metabolising and the future of E&O
A 10 year cycle is coming to an end with this upcoming meeting of Elsewhere & Otherwise, which is also the possibility for new beginnings. The way E&O has been organised up to the present* will change and different people are to continue the organisation of E&O. So - unlike in other editions of E&O - there is a concrete task at hand.
This was already announced during the last edition and - Zoom meetings being difficult, as letting go and transforming from an abstract distance is - we have decided to dedicate propper in-person time to the internal metabolising process of E&O during our time of living together. We will communicate the time-slots for this internal metabolising of E&O closer to the meeting and it is open for everyone to join.
Whilst it is our desire that metabolising will happen on many scales and in many shapes and forms, let's also be explicit: we have 10 days where we can figure out the future modalities of E&O together, where we can play and re-imagine a new constellation and proposal and it is our aim to facilitate this in the most inclusive way possible.
*Dani is stopping the main-organisation and -coordination of E&O, as has Valentina already a few years ago. And whilst so many constant and changing humans have carried E&O with their love and dedication over the years, a certain type of organisational mode is coming to an end, so it is time for a fresh cycle to begin.
Your contribution to PLAYING MULTITUDES
As always E&O is a platform for sharing your practices and proposals. This year we need help with the tasks at hand.
You are invited to share your projects, research, games, thoughts and fantasies (also in progress). Please email these to Roni email@example.com, Dani firstname.lastname@example.org & Red email@example.com.
As last year there will be some invited guests to guide some of the collective study sessions. We will communicate more details on the program closer to the date.
-= Practical Infos
ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE 10 - PLAYING MULTITUDES will take place from 1-10 of July, 2023 at Performing Arts Forum in St Erme, France.
As one of our intimacy practises, we ask attendants to commit for the full 10 days of our studying and being together. Using a sliding scale, the 10-day meeting including food, materials and accommodation costs between 350 - 500 EUR per person.
Below is the cost of living together for one individual--food, accommodations and supplies.
35 EUR = Cost per day
14 EUR = breakfast, lunch, dinner, coffee
18 EUR = accommodations
3 EUR = other supplies for study, medicine making, etc.
However, if possible, we ask you to pay anywhere from 1-15 EUR extra per day to help someone else attend. We would like to make E&O accessible to those who cannot afford to cover the costs listed above. This can be made possible if those that have access to more, pay more. Paying 36-50 EUR will make it possible for others. Keep in mind that the evaluation for the sliding scale is not how much money you have, but how much money you have access to. Even if you can pay 10 EUR more, it will help someone else to attend. Paying more than 50 Euros a day is also possible!
If you are able to apply for a grant we are happy to help with invitation letters. Also, in keeping with the intention above, we would appreciate it very much if you could apply for more than needed for your single participation (according to the kind of application you are able to submit) to help others in different financial conditions to also participate (suggested: 450 - 500 € per person).
If you would like to come and you don't have the financial conditions to do so, please let us know and we will try to make it possible for you.
For parents and primary caregivers who consider coming with their children please carefully read the info below.
To reserve please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
PAF asks all event participants to consider the least environmentally harmful means of transport available in coming here. Thank you for your collaboration.
For any other question/doubt/idea/proposal, please email:
Roni email@example.com, Dani firstname.lastname@example.org Red email@example.com
We are excited to see you soon
Dani, Red, Roni
Considerations for parents and caregivers before attending ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE with kid(s)
It is important for us to include the young and activities for and with them into ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE and it is important to us to find collective, integrative ways of doing so. Over the years, in an experimental way, we have taken baby steps into this direction and we are far from "being there" and at the same time happy that it is now possible. However, to avoid frustrations we think it is useful that you know what you sign up for, namely an experiment, NOT an institutionalised day care. PAF is - in accordance with security norms in most European homes and public spaces - not a child-safe building. The CLUBINHO - will have to be organised by interested participants, parents and caregivers - so not by "trained professionals.“ This is to say that kids at E&O are part of a relational system and experiment of self-organisation that needs to be and is in constant negotiation. Please email us if you want to come with kids and/or are interested in organising some activities for the CLUBINHO.
ELSEWHERE & OTHERWISE is - next to many other things - also an intense and challenging space, and it’s not uncommon even for grown-ups to have a crisis moment at some point during the meeting. Crisis is often a moment of transformation so we don't avoid it but embrace it as part of the process and try to provide spaces and tools to hold it collectively. As a parent or primary care-giver, especially if you come as a single parentthis can be extra challenging as your kid(s) will relentlessly follow their own needs and rhythm while you and them are confronted with a whole new set-up that you will (also with help) only partially be able to immerse yourself into. We recommend that you try to build up an additional support system for you and your kid(s) before hand. For example ask one or two friends that are coming with you to split the time of care-giving for 24h each, so every other day or third day you can have a "day/night off". If you come with 2/3 parents/caregiver this is a system that seems to work quite well for some; If you plan to come alone with your kid(s) and don't know anyone at E&O let us know in advance so we can try to put you in touch with some people before hand; In the evenings a "rotational child-checking system" works very well; You organise 6 people that check the rooms once an hour each (10 past, 20 past, 30 past, etc.). Like this you only have to check on your kid once an hour and know that they are checked on every 10 minutes by someone.
Also understand that you are part of shaping the conditions in which we are living together also with the kids. If something does not work for you then voice it and take the initiative to change it and/or find people who help you change it. This shall not sound like you are alone or it is all up to you; But just be aware of what we are trying to do together is challenging and needs extra care and energy and pro-activity and the joy and love to experiment with the complex parameters we are dealing with collectively.
Lastly we need ALL custody holders to sign a legal disclaimer beforehand, that we will send you as soon as you reserve. It is not enough for one custody holder to sign this. All caregivers with legal custody MUST sign this beforehand.
We hope this does not sound off-putting. We are looking forward to welcome you and your kid(s) as part of the collective study at E&O. We just want to make sure you manage your expectations and prepare your situation as well as possible before hand to avoid frustration and overwhelm. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any more questions or want to be put in touch with some parents and care-givers who have agreed to share their experiences and observations of the last year(s).