Installations, lectures and performances

#Commonings: Day 2

Thu, Sep 15, 2022
Free admission, some workshops with registration

In English

Workshop “Code, Layers, Infrastructures” by Loren Britton, Isabel Paehr, Jörn Röder and Kamran Behrouz, New Alphabet School #Coding in New Delhi January 2019, Photo: Annette Jacob

What could a school look like that seeks to make both learning and unlearning a common interrelated practice? How can a space be built around care, refuge, implication and vulnerability, negotiating positions and responsibilities? How can (un)learners in this space challenge privileges and habits of hierarchy, as well as authorship, productivity and competition?

And how could such a school take place inside an institution and carve space for informal, convivial, horizontal modes of participation within it, allowing for gaps, mistakes and things left open. In the twelve editions of the New Alphabet School, the roles of curators and audience blurred. Thinking of knowledge as commons, they were constantly reverted in order to co-create shared space for networked knowledge.

As Fred Moten and Stefano Harney suggest in The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study “one can only sneak into the university and steal what one can”. The New Alphabet School sought to reflect on such concerns via fugitive encounters and instances of study as a coming and doing together. In this final edition on Commonings, the invitation is to carry on questions and incomplete dialogues, sharing practices from previous editions, the multiple locations and the different perspectives that emerged in the last three and a half years.

By convening again, the participants will explore together what these practices might institute and how they might form an ephemeral school of commoning.

Facilitated by Olga Schubert, Gigi Argyropoulou, Alessandra Pomarico, Mahmoud Al-Shaer and Rahul Gudipudi

With collective practices and workshops by all active New Alphabet School members

With conversations between Silvia Federici and Peter Linebaugh, Avery F. Gordon and Natasha Sadr Haghighian, Mahmoud Al-Shaer and Majd Kayyal, Irit Rogoff, Gigi Argyropoulou and Rahul Gudipudi, P Sainath and Habib Ayeb, with performances by Mour Fall, Marinho de Pina, Ivonne González, Tomás Espinosa, Jorge Gómez & Ana Bravo Pérez and others and installations by Pallavi Paul & Hajra Haider, Shareef Sarhan & Rana Batrawi, Cléophée Moser, Mukhtara Yusuf, Júlia Souza Ayerbe, Chto Delat, Meltionary, Field Narratives and others

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5

Thursday, Sep 15

10 am–2 pm
Cooking Workshop in Ostgarten, with registration
Blue Corn, Green Pumpkins, Black Beans and the New Alphabet Soup
with Daniela Brasil and Karla Barroso
In English, German, Spanish and Portuguese

In anticipation and preparation for the Commonings edition of the New Alphabet School, a small symbolic Milpa field was planted on the rooftop of HKW. Milpa is the Nahuatl word to designate an agroecosystem based on ancient practices by Indigenous peoples of Mesoamerica. “La Milpa” or “the three sisters” is a symbiotic cultivation method for growing maize, beans, and squash together. The word translates to “cultivated field” but also means the entangled system of relations among the farmers, the crops and the land.

For the past centuries, the three sisters have travelled throughout the world, settling and adapting to various bioregions. Yet, colonial plantations and multinational agribusinesses insist on reducing the colorful Indigenous maize to a yellow globalized monotone – in the fields, on plates and in minds.

This workshop is an invitation to cook Blue Corn, the real and the imagined ones, with the pumpkins and beans that were grown in Berlin. A poetic-culinary inquiry about the journeys and adaptation processes of plants, tastes, mouths and their words.

Lunch will be ready at 2 pm.

1–2 pm
Introduction to the Common Room in the Assembly, Hirschfeld Bar
with Ahmad Borham, Simon Fleury, Maternal Fantasies, Laura Fiorio, Fabian Hesse, Mitra Wakil, Wangui wa Kamonji, Nikolay Oleynikov, diffrakt, Chara Stergiou, Constantina Theodorou, Giorgos Papadatos and Alessandra Pomarico

“The Common Room is open it is a place where others can find room 'a room of one's own.” - Virginia Wolff

The Common Room is a prompt to experience commoning as a site of empirical unlearning. Traditionally conceived as a space in-between formal institutional life and its socialites, the Common Room will function as a space that hosts diverse practices which co-exist together, while maintaining their distinct but overlapping rhythms. However, the space also advocates for an experiment of working “in difference” and “incompleteness.” Initiated as an impromptu encounter on a Miro board between contributors of this Commonings edition, the desire to form a shared space that challenges singular perceptions of study, while insisting on the need for empirical and inclusive formats of communing was made evident.

During this last edition of the New Alphabet School, the Common Room will unfold as a ‘room’ – in its generative sense – for encounters, collective reflection, loose forms of study, rituals and altars, textile mapmaking, storytelling, performing scores, and sampling and remixing. In short, a set of rhythmicities will challenge and work through collective authorship(s) to address a guiding question: What are the commoning gestures we need to invent and what is there for us to unlearn in the Common Room?

3–4.30 pm
Play & Care: Common Rituals
with Maternal Fantasies and all children present
In English and German

From writing autobiographical responses to devising performances using children’s games, Maternal Fantasies bridges theory and practice to transform research on motherhood(s), care work and representation in the arts into frameworks for immersive modes of critique. For Commonings, Maternal Fantasies shares tools for commoning based on their experience working together as a collective of mother-artists and children since 2018. What does it mean to participate in art residencies, performances, and exhibitions with nearly 20 adults and children? How can artists engage children when creating artworks collaboratively? How does one manage time between care work, artistic professions and the demands and challenges of working collectively?

Participants are invited to bring along their children to ponder these questions while engaging in experiments of collective authorship. By sharing rituals that utilize voice, touch, and storytelling, imaginative opportunities for intimate connection can be created across differences in identities and experiences. At a moment when the political rhetoric of care is imbued with new urgency, these practical exercises in unlearning hierarchy act as models for inclusive artmaking that acknowledges interdependences.

3–6 pm
Workshop in the Conference room lobby, with registration
Stitching Starmaps to community
with Wangũi wa Kamonji, Nikolay Oleynikov and Alessandra Pomarico
In English

What are the joys and obstacles that arise when people engage in community? Inspired by traditions of collective quilting used to map symbols, constellations and directions towards freedom, this workshop is an invitation to engage in collective listening, witnessing and create emerging narratives of disconnection and interconnection.

During the four days of the Commonings program, a “tela,” an art piece on fabric, will be created resulting from a process of collaborative, multivocal and embodied inquiry. The process hopes to excavate what is ghosted or shadowed in oneself and to hold space to compost through conversations and embodied creativity, experimenting with shifts that may occur in the moment.

3–4.30 pm
Talk and Discussion in the Conference room, with registration
Mapping the museum(object) encounter: feral information
with Simon Fleury
In English

This version of the condition report (3.0) is a digital re-mix of the conservation-based material analysis of the Raphael Tapestry Cartoons made in the 1990s.

The condition report is a curious amalgam of image and over-written text, with a long and fascinating history. It was first invented by the Victoria and Albert Museum’s first curator at the time of the arrival of the cartoons to the Museum in the 1860s and has since undergone various iterations to get to today’s digital reports.

This talk will tell the story of this new lease of life for the condition reporting process (3.0) – over-writing a lineage of museum practice, it expresses the inherent possibilities of (un)tethering these disobedient and unruly social analytics from the burnt-out modern museum project.

4.30–6 pm
Meet-Up in the Conference room, with registration
Microsteps for Infrastructure & Re-Coding Agorae Hubs
with Fabian Hesse and Mitra Wakil
In English

With the war in Europe and the still active corona virus, the relevance and apparent urgency of many things has shifted – in global world affairs or personally due to illness – speeds and capacities have changed. How can one’s energies be used carefully, planned effectively or involved in the infrastructural work needed to common? And does this perhaps result in a specific artistic response that opens up one's own special ability to contribute? What minimum equipment, conditions and necessities are required? And what kind of scope does this infrastructural work have? Is there room for the spontaneous, funny ideas and improvisation that creates community and story?

For this activation, a small 3D printer will be brought to print conversation objects and connect with others, building on the various necessities. This might involve connecting, adapting and remixing from existing open data repositories or re-designing from scratch to form specific ideas, needs and requirements. Fragments will be printed from Hesse and Wakil’s workshop that was conducted in New Delhi as part of the New Alphabet School on The Untraining Playground: Edit-a-thon on the metabolism of bodies and data about performing glitching identities and working with technological alienation. Participants will question current formats of Tele-presence through materialization and material reproduction in collective processes.

4.30–6 pm
Workshop in the Assembly, Hirschfeld Bar
Energy as a common resource
with Counterpublics: Constantina Theodorou and Giorgos Papadatos
In English

Renewable energy infrastructures, wind and solar farms and long-distance energy grids are rapidly multiplying at a planetary scale, sweeping the last unexploited habitats of the world, endangering forms of life critical to our common survival. What does it mean to share resources that are supposedly unlimited, abundant and available everywhere, yet the infrastructures through which people can share them are practically limited, finite and site specific?

Counterpublics aims to initiate this dialogue through a workshop and collectively activated installation that will consist of small, DIY, renewable energy systems that could be used by anyone; think of electrifying a lamp or activating a radio. The energy produced will be shared according to a time schedule, an energy sharing protocol that is commonly agreed upon and under constant negotiation through informal discussions with the other participants.

3–6 pm
Workshop in the Lecture hall, with registration
We Will Have Been
With Lorena Juan and Isabel de Sena
In English

How can futurity serve as a more-than-human commons? In this workshop, participants are invited to drift in and out of a queer-feminist SF storyboarding* session. Together, they will speculatively inhabit the future by imagining a narrator situated 200 years from now, in the year 2222, and sketch the world this narrator inhabits. The construction of each world will be based on a speculative historiographical account of what happened on planet Earth between now and then.

While the future is often subjected to speculation through “futurology” – which adopts extractivist logics by looking towards the future to control, colonize and shape it–, this project wants to inhabit it in order to reclaim it as a common resource. How can the affective impact of using such a resource through speculative (artistic) practices move beyond the widespread sense of cluelessness and lack of hope, and become a generative form of learning?

*Storyboarding is a narrative technique used in time-based media and especially film, using a combination of sketches and text.

7–8 pm
Conversation in the Assembly, Hirschfeld Bar
Becoming Research
With Olga Schubert and Irit Rogoff

8–9.30 pm
Conversation in the Assembly, Hirschfeld Bar
with Natasha Sadr Haghighian, Avery Gordon and Gigi Argyropoulou

New Alphabet School

#Commonings: Day 1

Installations, lectures and performances

Sep 14, 2022

New Alphabet School

#Commonings: Day 3

Installations, lectures and performances

Sep 16, 2022

New Alphabet School

#Commonings: Day 4

Installations, lectures and performances

Sep 17, 2022

New Alphabet School

#Commonings: Day 5

Installations, guided tours

Sep 18, 2022