Marwa Arsanios: Convention of Women Farmers and Ecological Feminists, Biennale Warszawa 2019.

In the academic year 2019-2020 Bulegoa z/b collaborates with the Dutch Art Institute’s MA Program as partner in the COOP study group Curating Positions: Location in Reverse- Care For A Place Through The Cinematic Lens. The COOP is guided by Marwa Arsanios, Leon Filter and Leire Vergara.

Departing from the questions of the “situatedness” of knowledge, the importance of location in research and its impact on artistic production, this COOP study group will deal with place and location through the lens of the cinematic apparatus, and more specifically through the act of viewing and close listening. How can the cinematic lens and the recording tool become an apparatus for research without losing their aesthetic potential? How is artistic knowledge produced through these tools in a self-conscious ethical way? In other words, while understanding the paradoxes of the researcher’s position towards a certain location and the way by which knowledge is often extracted from a place, how can we replace the usual “extractivist” relations by practices of care? And finally, can sound and cinema help us to temporally inhabit a place and care for it?

The matters of care for a place or care for a location will be crucial to the practices and exercises we will be doing in this COOP. How do we listen to a place? Is it possible to do it by listening to its land and listening to the invisible work of care that is put into its maintenance? How do we bring in the feminist politics of care into the research process? How does cinema and sound can be employed to care for a location? Pivotal texts in our study such as Eve Tuck’s and Marcia McKenzie Relational Validity and the “Where” of Inquiry: Place and Land in Qualitative Research or Matters of Care by Maria Puig de la Bellacasa will be employed to develop our approach in this study.

“Location in Reverse” is inspired by Robert Smithson’s term “ruin in reverse” that approaches architecture (in our case location) through an inverted process by which architecture (or space) is made, revealing it not through construction, but “through the natural processes of erosion, and its by-product talus”. A location can be approached through its physical, geographical, geological, social, cultural and political conditions or even through its affective degree, so to say, through the community of interlocutors that conforms it and therefore receives and even transforms the delivered artistic or curatorial practice. In provisional locations, the difficulty lies in approaching this affective space and being able to prolong the dialogue beyond the limits of the given time framework. To think of a location in reverse implies to think of what remains behind its own transformations, to search for the leftovers of the different inhabitations (human or non-human) that have taken place within it, to project new relations of care that help us to escape from the limits of the conditions of our provisional contact.

Locations are always dependent on temporal conditions and therefore in order to work curatorially or artistically with them, their full spatial and temporal dimensions should be considered. For this study group, we propose to employ the notion of “location in reverse” in order to develop a curatorial approach towards inhabitation through the connection of places, locations of transit, affective spaces, daily dwellings or even fictional settings. Some of these sites will be part of our itinerary as a study group, others we carry with us from our daily contexts or biographical and artistic trajectories, others could have a more utopian and fictional nature.

We will be working extensively in Tunis, St. Erme and The Netherlands through specific places and locations with the intention to establish a poetic reverse approach. For that, we will be practicing our walks and location scouting rituals, but also bringing in the question of research from land rather than research about a land or a location. The question of working with a place will be crucial in the sense that it will lead to another important aspect of this COOP which is employing experimental methodologies of learning as our final project. We will attempt to put together a “school of learning from place” departing from the above-mentioned notions of care and listening where location will neither be dealt with as a set nor as an object of study but will be the central driving force of our learning process. The final project will be developed as the continuation of our COOP study group but thought in a more formal way through the cinematic apparatus. In this respect, the COOP will design a pilot model for a school, bringing together the three main axes: care, the place through cinema and sound and the pedagogical.

We will employ close study on cinema analysis through feminist film theory and sound theory (with authors like Laura Mulvey, Teresa De Lauretis, Kaja Silverman, Pauline Oliveros…), close viewing of a selection of films (by Adriana Monti, Trinh T. Minh-ha, Patricio Guzmán, Akram Zaatari, Omar Amiralay, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Chantal Akerman, Ghassan Salhab, Straub-Huillet, Ulrike Ottinger, Lawrence Abu Hamdan, Louise Henderson, Rachel O’Reilly, Marwa Arsanios, Auremnari Ee…) and “deep listening” exercises like a series of sessions specifically designed for this study group by The Listening Group, an initiative by Leon Filter that began in the context of COOP: Curating Positions (2017-2018). Other exercises will include the generation of a collection of sonic and filmic captures that will contribute to develop our different positions within the study.

Student participants in Curating Positions 2019-2020: Sara Benaglia, Azul de Monte, Maxime Gourdon, Dorothy Hunter, Iva Kovac, Niccolò Massini, Zoi Moutsokou, Kari Rosenfelt, Georgia Stelling, Zane Zajankauscka.

The Dutch Art Institute
The Dutch Art Institute a.k.a. DAI, a.k.a. DAI ROAMING ACADEMY, is an itinerant program that fosters a variety of praxes at the intersections of art and theory (both seen as un-disciplines), and invigorates (collective) thinking, researching, voicing, making, roaming, curating, performing, writing and publishing. Embedded in the support structure of the Graduate School of the ArtEZ University of the Arts our precious program is, for the largest part, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education.