To care is to recognize all bonds, between both humans and non-humans; between humans and their systems, their infrastructures and institutions, and to attend to their fragility. Ethics of care challenge us to construct social relations and systems based on situational and contextual morality, beyond abstract or universal notions of justice, to allow us to turn to processes of care, re-pair, maintenance and healing. These concepts, theories and practices of care offer diverse ways of relating and living, of perceiving and making, both as a society and as individuals engaged in mutual responsibility, attentiveness and responsiveness. Concepts of care can also provide an ethical and political framework for action, as it situates the human as a caretaker; a custodial figure in the ongoing recuperation of a broken planet and its people. How can we practice care across different scales – the personal, the collective, the rural, the urban, the atmospheric – in order to sustain more-than-human worlds? And how can we proceed to a thinking and doing with care in a way that challenges the uneven labor conditions upon which the field operates?
Building upon an expansive definition of care beyond the intimate scale of interpersonal relations #4 Caring brings together practitioners from the arts, architecture, history, geography and political activism. #4 Caring explores ways of doing and being that allow us to reconfigure how we do things, how we shape our bonds, how we give form to our worlds. If we aim to shift our attention from the “what” to the “how”, then how to care? And how to do so accountably?
This fourth iteration of the New Alphabet School in collaboration with M.1 Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung was initially conceptualized as a four-day event at HKW, at M.1 in Hohenlockstedt and en route between both venues. Yet the spread of Covid-19 is not only putting established con-cepts of care to test, but also limiting the conditions of a public program. If assembly and lived community in the form of intimate encounters, workshops, shared cooking and joint travel are temporarily not possible, then in which ways and where is co-existence, solidarity and interde-pendence to be shifted to? In response to these concerns, the revised version of this event en-compasses written, virtual and hybrid formats: with a public live stream on June 12, virtual screenings, performances and workshops on June 13 and 14 and a range of artistic, activist and scholarly texts on the New Alphabet School blog.
With contributions by Júlia Souza Ayerbe, Malu Blume, Edna Bonhomme, Loren Britton, Johanna Bruckner, Teresa Dillon, Andreas Doepke, João Florêncio, Johanna Hedva, Elke Krasny, Henry Lyonga N, Maternal Fantasies, Romi Morrison, Mwape J. Mumbi, Polyphrenic Creatures, Pallavi Paul, Helen Pritchard, Helena Reckitt, Patricia Reed, Yayra Sumah and Joan Tronto.
A continuation of the event under the title Caring Infrastructures is intended to take place at M.1 in Hohenlockstedt on October 24 and 25, 2020 and expanded with further contributions by Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Studio Experimentelles Design (Klasse Jesko Fezer, HFBK Hamburg), Antje Hachenberg and many more.