Use and Form-of-Life, Public Reading Group of The Highest Poverty by Giorgio Agamben
With Christian Nyampeta, Krijn Pansters, and Adrian Rifkin organized in collaboration with Museum of Arte Útil (7 December 2013-30 March 2014) at Van Abbemuseum
29 March 2014, 13:00-22:00 hrs, Lange Nieuwstraat 7, Utrecht (Casco’s new building, pre-renovated state)
13:00 hrs Welcome & introduction by Binna Choi, Casco director
13:20 hrs Introductions by and for participants with troubled or touching sentences from Giorgio Agamben’s 'The Highest Poverty: Monastic Rules and Form-of-Life' (2013)
14:00 hrs Screening of Roberto Rossellini’s 'The Flowers of St. Francis' (1950, 89 min.) with commentary by Adrian Rifkin, Professor Emeritus of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London
16:00 hrs Lecture & discussion with Krijn Pansters, author of 'Franciscan Virtues' (2012), teacher at Franciscan Study Center at Tilburg University
18:00 hrs Dinner
19:00 hrs Screening of Liliana Cavani’s 'Francesco' (1989, ca. 104 min) and film extracts from Olivier Messiaen’s opera 'St Francis of Assisi' with a commentary and presentation by Adrian Rifkin
22:00 hrs Closing
30 March 2014, 11:00-16:00 hrs, Van Abbemuseum, Bilderdijklaan 10, Eindhoven (last day of 'Museum of Arte Útil')
11:00 hrs Visiting the 'Museum of Arte Útil' with special sandals created by artist Christian Nyampeta and introduction by and discussion with Van Abbemuseum curator Nick Aikens
12:30 hrs Lunch
13:00 hrs Plenary discussion on the notion of use in relation to the notion of Franciscan poverty with Adrian Rifkin and Christian Nyampeta
14:00 hrs Fabric-dying workshop with Christian Nyampeta in line with the idea of habitus both as clothing and way of living
16:00 hrs Closing
As a prologue to 'New Habits', the inaugural exhibition of Casco’s new home at Lange Nieuwestraat 7 and in collaboration with 'Museum of Arte Útil' at Van Abbemuseum, we would like to invite you to a two-day reading group intensive of Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s 'The Highest Poverty' (2013).
In this book Agamben brings to light the notion of “habit” as a form-of-life, drawing from the meaning of “poverty” and “use” in Franciscan monastic practices. He finds that what mattered for the Franciscan community was a form-of-life that “must be liberated from the signature of law and office or duty”: sharing a “habitus” by inhabiting together according to the virtue of “highest poverty”.
Agamben explicates that this notion of poverty is the base virtue for a community that emphasizes use understood as the abdication of every right to ownership. Furthermore, under concern is not the right to use in the way “the air and the sunlight are common to all in the sense that they are common only according to common use” but “use in itself”. This notion of use seems to connect with, and yet differ from, the notion of use in the 'Museum of Arte Útil'. Through the reading of Agamben’s book, we would like to explore the connection between different notions of use and build connections with ways or “forms” of life.
The reading group is a two-day communal, experimental, and inquisitive journey joined by: Krijn Pansters, Franciscan scholar of Tilburg University’s School of Catholic Theology and Franciscan Study Centre, Utrecht; Adrian Rifkin, Emeritus Professor of Art Writing at Goldsmiths, University of London; and Christian Nyampeta, an artist based in London. The sessions include a lecture on Franciscan spirituality, reading together and discussions, a screening on Franciscan life, and a “habit”-making workshop.
If you are interested in alternatives to the current mode of religious, artistic, or political practice, this might be an opportunity for you to look at a new terrain of practices, or “forms of life”, that are earnest, engaging, and hopeful.
Participation is free but reservations are necessary. To save your place please e-mail Suzanne Tiemersma firstname.lastname@example.org.
For a review of 'The Highest Poverty', please look to Casco editor Janine Armin's piece in Open! here.
'Use and Form-of-Life' is initiated by Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory and organized with the 'Museum of Arte Útil' exhibition at Van Abbemuseum.