"For this year’s Spring* Meeting at PAF, taking place 29 March – 4 April 2024, we continue the conversation from SM2023: “We work with the material that resists us”. This inquiry into the material aspects of the making and dissemination of works of art focuses on form, technique and contexts within and between objects and operations of artworks. Form matters outside of art autonomy as artifact, externalized memory, sociopolitical history and a life practice. We are excited to think about these problems with ––and through the work of––Amy De’Ath, Bojana Kunst, Eszter Salamon, Marwa Arsanios and Sung Tieu." Registration is open!

| tag: St.Erme

We Work with the Material that Resists Us, Part II

In the past years, the participants of spring* meeting invested the space and conversation with the invited guests. We want to experiment further with collective participation to regenerate PAF as a place where we challenge the mode of production and geography of the institutional practice of art. 

Marwa Arsanios’ practice tackles structural and infrastructural questions using different devices, forms and strategies. From architectural spaces, their transformation and adaptability throughout conflict, to artist-run spaces and temporary conventions between feminist communes and cooperatives, the practice tends to make space within and parallel to existing art structures allowing experimentation with different kinds of politics. Film becomes another form and a space for connecting struggles in the way images refer to one another.  In the past four years Arsanios has been attempting to think about these questions from a new materialist and a historical materialist perspective with different feminist movements that are struggling for their land. She tries to look at questions of property, law, economy and ecology from specific plots of land. The main protagonists become these lands and the people who work them. Her research includes many disciplines and is deployed in numerous collective methodologies and collaborative projects. 

Bojana Kunst is a philosopher, dramaturge and performance theorist. She is a professor at the Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at the Justus Liebig University in Giessen where she leads the international master studies Choreography and Performance. She has lectured and taught seminars, workshops and laboratories in various academic institutions, theaters and artistic organizations across Europe, and has continuously worked with artistic initiatives and groups of artists. Her research interests are contemporary performance and dance, art and politics, and philosophy of contemporary performance. Her latest books are Artist at Work, Proximity of Art and Capitalism, Zero Books, London, 2015 (in Slovenian, English, Polish and Danish) and The Life of Art. Transversal Lines of Care, Ljubljana, 2021 (in Slovenian and German 2023). For this spring* meeting, Bojana will share parts in progress of a longer essay she is writing that concerns the following: “When we think about art and politics, this relation is mostly approached through the context as a form. But what if the context becomes the material? Maybe this is exactly what we can observe in the explosive cultural conflicts around political art today.” 

Sung Tieu’s works of sculpture, drawing, text and sound consider questions of governance, civic responsibility and justice, analyzing mechanisms of state control. Making reference to art history, and in particular to minimalism and the deployment of the grid, they highlight the translation of ideologies within industrial design and architecture and the prevalence of abstraction as an organizing force.Through the personal lens of post-colonial identity and cultural membership, she upsets the status of objective narrative and of proof when science works at the service of sociopolitical agendas. While addressing social and cultural class divides in both contemporaneity and recent history, Tieu’s work foregrounds the ways evidence is manipulated as imperialist violence both of a physical and psychological nature.

Eszter Salamon is a choreographer, artist and performer, who lives and works between Berlin, Paris, and Budapest. In her extensive body of dance, performances and films, Salamon uses choreography as an activating and organizing agency between various media such as image, sound, music, text, voice, bodily movement and actions. In 2014, she started a series of performances called Monuments with the idea of “resisting oblivion and exclusion”. The Monuments are “celebrating forgotten artists, aging bodies, rhythms and gestures of oppressed cultures”. Eszter creates “poetic documents” using “the potential” of these historical items to transform and repair Western history “in [an] act of creating memory”. Eszter will share her artistic research project focusing on German avant-garde artist Valeska Gert (Gertrud Valesca Samosch, 1892-1978) that she has been working on for the past few years. She will share her ways of rethinking the concepts of memory and archive with the aim of intensifying the connections between the past and the present and for opening up a historicity that is different from canonical art history.

Amy De’Ath is the author of a number of articles on contemporary poetry and Marxist-feminism. She has published essays in After Marx: Literature, Theory, and Value in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge UP), Paideuma: Modern and Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, The Bloomsbury Companion to Marx, SAGE Handbook of Frankfurt School Critical Theory and Women: A Cultural Review.  Her forthcoming book, Unsociable: Antagonism and Abstraction in Contemporary Feminized Poetry, offers an exposition of post-1960s readings of Marx and their ramifications for reading literary texts. Incorporating these insights into a reading method, Unsociable argues that contemporary feminized poetry from the US, Canada and Indigenous territories is alert to the recompositions of gender as social form, and can be read as an attempt to grasp how the lives of feminized people are shaped by abstract processes of capitalist value production. De’Ath is also a poet, and her first full collection, Not A Force of Nature, is forthcoming from Futurepoem in 2024.

For the spring* meeting De’Ath will revisit histories of second-wave feminism to examine how the representational problems posed by the mediating force of the value-form pose limits to the politics of consciousness-raising. If this once-dissident organizational and critical practice has been politically neutralized, as Michaele Ferguson and Nancy Fraser have argued, then how might Marxist-feminist critique transcend those limits and strategies of containment? Or to riff on Marx’s question about why labour takes the form of the value of its product, why is feminization still linked to degradation?


Reservations: contactpaf@gmail.com      

This year PAF will implement a sliding scale payment system as part of a more extensive effort at making PAF more accessible. We encourage you to pay as much as you can so that we can start to address structural asymmetries among PAF users.

18€ per night is the basic fee; combined with the volunteer efforts of all PAF users, it has enabled PAF, as a project, to stay afloat for the last few years. You can keep paying 18 euro per night if your financial situation is fragile and a higher nightly price would prevent you from coming to PAF. 

20€ is the advised base price per night.

20 - 25€ or more if you have stable income, institutional funding, property or family wealth.

PAF will not ask you about your financial situation, you will evaluate the price to pay by yourself.

Other expenses include a 20€ annual membership fee and 15€ per day for three meals prepared in our exquisite kitchen. There will be an excellent team of cooks who will need help from all of us. We can only accept payments in cash (or French chèques), so bring it along (there is an ATM in the village).

All contributions above 18€ per night will go to The Mattress Fund (see PAF's website for more info). They will help PAF to host users who are precarized by neoliberal regimes of racial colonial capitalism and heteropatriarchy.  

If you would like to participate in the spring* meeting but do not have the financial conditions to do so, please let us know and we will search for a possibility to support you.

PAF gets very full these days, sometimes overly, so book early, we’d like you to be there.

From the organizers,

Andrea Rodrigo, Bojana Cvejić, Nikhil Vettukattil, Stefa Govaart