Army of Love Training Camp

11–14 October 2017 / Utrecht

The four-day training camp includes workshops and discussions shaped by the workshop leaders, open-call participants, current Army of Love members, and some of the Casco team.

Each workshop day includes morning exercises, 2 x two-hour workshop sessions, lunch, and an afternoon meditation/wind-down period. Our goal is twofold: we will investigate different aspects of love – and its physical, emotional, conceptual and intellectual manifestations – through input from our workshop leaders and each other, and we will also discover together the potential of Army of Love, informing and debating its motives, strategies, and modus operandi. This means thinking through how this supergroup could manifest and be sustained. It also means learning how to practice love towards those we haven’t yet felt attraction for, and how to become ready to receive love from those that want to give it.

We intend to distill our discoveries through a process of “collective archiving,” construct a bibliography, and record portions of the workshop for a film that will be included in the Army of Love exhibition at Casco, which opens 25 November.

We anticipate an intensive and immersive week that will rattle our body-minds! Long days of study are already mentally, emotionally, and physically taxing, but it must be kept in mind that we will be engaging with demanding material. While we intend to hold space and be supportive of your experience, we also encourage you to acknowledge and tend to your needs as they arise – some people need a hug whereas others need time alone. As strangers coming together from different backgrounds and perspectives, we will discuss and experiment with related topics and strategies. As it is a responsibility for all participants in the camp, let’s collectively do our part to establish a culture of care while we experience charged feelings like anger, happiness, or sadness. We will no doubt (un)learn aspects of ourselves and people around us, and we will at times challenge each other in disagreement, as it is a responsibility for all participants in the camp. After all, our concerns are with love, care, desire, and respect and their shadows, as well as exchange, ability/capacity, and (in)commensurability.

We are very excited that you’ll be joining us for the week, which is an opportunity to learn from each other and discover the potential of Army of Love. 

CAMP SCHEDULE: Wednesday 11 – Saturday 14 October

Wednesday 11 October, 10:00–17:30/18:00 hrs

Parnassos Cultuurcentrum, Room 107
Kruisstraat 201
Travel time from Utrecht Centraal: 11 min bus

10:00–10:30: Arrival (coffee & tea available in the lunchroom)
10:30–12:30: Introductions, discussion of interests, setting intentions for the week together, group agreements, etc.
12:30–13:30: Lunch catered by Ana’s Kuzin
13:30–17:30: Touching Tenderly with Marije Janssen and Dennis Bontje

Touching Tenderly is a workshop geared towards awareness around the intimacy you want to experience. Many times we conflate intimacy with sexuality and although these can go together wonderfully, intimacy is so much more than that. How do we learn to really be intimate with ourselves and to open up to what’s inside of us? And if we feel we want to share our intimate wishes with other people, what are some tools that might help us do so? In Touching Tenderly we return to the foundation of touch, and find new ways of relating to one another in consensual ways. This workshop is practical and hands on. It’s based on the Wheel of Consent, a concept developed by sexologist and intimacy coach Betty Martin.

17:30–18:00: Relax/wind-down period

Wednesday 11 October, 19:30–21:30 hrs

ZIMIHC Theater Wittevrouwen
Bouwstraat 55
Travel time from Parnassos: 5 min walk / from Utrecht Centraal: 13 min bus

19:30–21:30: Love Commons, Make Way for Winged Eros, and other intimate matters: A Conversation with Ingo Niermann and Dora García

This conversation includes short presentations by Niermann and García on the “love commons” and on Alexandra Kollontai (an often-overlooked but crucial figure in the Bolshevik Revolution who talked about affect as a political tool) respectively, and by others who would like to share their related research. Writer Ingo Niermann, author of the novel Complete Love, and artist Dora García, who recently hosted the program Lo Inadecuado & Su Laboratorio del Amor in Barcelona, Spain, are part of Army of Love and have co-organized the training camp with Casco.

Thursday 12 October, 10:00–17:30 hrs

Muziekhuis Lombok
Makassarstraat 84
Travel time from Utrecht Centraal: 15–20 min bus

10:00–10:30: Arrival
10:30–12:30: Second round of introductions and recap of yesterday for those arriving on today; introduction to the “collective archiving” activity for the week.
12:30–13:30: Touching Improvisation with Aimar Pérez Galí and Jaime Conde-Salazar Pérez
13:30 –14:30: Lunch catered by Ana’s Kuzin
14:30–16:30: Workshop with Mirjana Smolic

The idea for the workshop is to do one or two physical exercises related to the experience of closeness among one another, including experiences of contact and encounter, connection, deep listening and being heard and witnessed. After the exercises, Smolic will lead a discussion with emphasis on the importance of the other in actually constituting and molding the self.

16:30–17:00: Meditation exercises with Michelangelo Miccolis
17:00–17:30: Relax/wind-down period

Thursday 12 October, 20:15–22:15 hrs

Parnassos Cultuurcentrum, Room 104
Kruisstraat 201
Travel time from Muziekhuis Lombok: 25 min bus / from Utrecht Centraal: 11 min bus

20:15–22:15: Screening of Community Action Center by A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner (2010, 69 minutes, United States, English) & a post-screening discussion with Jules Sturm

Community Action Center by A.K. Burns and A.L. Steiner is a sociosexual video that illustrates the erotics of community, where the personal is not only political, but sexual. Interested in expanding notions of sex and the term “porn,” the artists acknowledge that sexuality and gendered bodies are inherently political: “queer sex and feminist agency is a shared acknowledgment of reciprocal penetration.” After the screening, Jules Sturm will lead us in conversation about the film and ways we can complicate how we talk about bodies.

Friday 13 October, 10:00–17:00/17:30 hrs

Muziekhuis Lombok
Makassarstraat 84, 3531 VN Utrecht
Travel time from Utrecht Centraal: 15–20 min bus

10:00–10:30: Arrival
10:30–11:30: Touching Improvisation with Aimar Pérez Galí and Jaime Conde-Salazar Pérez
11:30–13:30: Als seks zorg is (When sex is care) a presentation by Loet Berkelmans (FleksZorg)

FleksZorg is an organization that works in supplementary in-home care. It provides sekszorg, or sex care, which means that it supports people with disabilities in matters of sexuality. If sex is a concern for someone with disabilities, the client and FleksZorg collectively explore the possibilities of suitable practical solutions. FleksZorg has been operating since 2005, and ever since then, the autonomously practising sexual care providers connected to FleksZorg have enthusiastically visited many clients across the Netherlands, both inside and outside of medical-care institutions. In close cooperation with FleksZorg’s own Steunfonds Clienten, or Clients’ Support Fund, FleksZorg aims to improve the quality of sexual care and to further professionalize its associated caregivers, in order to make its services more widely available, and to better compensate clients with disabilities. After all, sexuality is a basic (social) need, and the pursuit of sexual health is a part of our (sexual) human rights.

13:30–14:30: Lunch catered by Mari Pitkänen
14:30–17:30: Decolonize beauty and our bodies: LOVE a workshop by Decolonizing Beauty Collective of the University of Colour

“We are hosting an afternoon on (neo)colonial, capitalist constructions of beauty and how these are sustained/reinforced through racial capitalism – a sharing of lived experiences to reclaim our bodies from oppressive ideals. For us, self love is a premise of communal love and to decolonize beauty asks us to think about mental health, queerness, and ancestrality.”

17:30–18:00: Meditation exercises with Michelangelo Miccolis
17:00–17:30: Relax/wind-down period

Friday 13 October, 19:30-21:30 hrs

ZIMIHC Theater Wittevrouwen
Bouwstraat 55
Travel time from Muziekhuis Lombok: 25 min bus / from Utrecht Centraal: 13 min bus

19:30–21:30: Militant Love: on community, care, activism and fucking: A conversation with Olave Basabose and Manon la Decadence

Olave Basabose and Manon la Decadence host a discussion on different forms of relationships and methods of care that take place within activist communities.

Saturday 14 October, 10:00–22:00 hrs

Muziekhuis Lombok
Makassarstraat 84
Travel time from Utrecht Centraal: 15–20 min bus

10:00–10:30: Arrival
10:30–11:30: Touching Improvisation with Aimar Pérez Galí and Jaime Conde-Salazar Pérez
11:30–13:30: Discussion about what we have discovered so far, formulation of some “drills” for love soldiers
13:30–14:30: Lunch catered by Mari Pitkänen
14:30–16:30: Collective archiving activity to its close
16:30–17:30: Meditation exercises with Michelangelo Miccolis
19:30–22:00: Dinner catered by Mari Pitkänen and dance party

Utrecht

Colophon:

Army of Love Training Camp (October 11 – 14 2017), program at Muziekhuis Lombok, Parnassos Cultuurcentrum, and Zimihc Theater, Utrecht. Organized by Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons in conversation with Ingo Niermann and Dora García.

In preparation for Army of Love exhibition with Dora García and Ingo Niermann at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons, Utrecht, the Netherlands, 26 Nov 2017 – 25 Feb 2018.

Presentations and exercises were led by:

Marije Janssen (NL): activist and educator, initiator of Platform for Sexuality
Dennis Bontje (NL): educator on gender, sexuality and consent, works at Stichting Sexmatters
Aimar Pérez Galí and Jaime Conde-Salazar (ES): artists, dancers, performers, researchers, and writers
Michelangelo Miccolis (IT): artist, performer, and producer
Mirjana Smolic (YUG/NL): performer, life skills trainer and coach
Jules Sturm (DE): independent researcher and teacher at Sandberg Institute, author of Bodies We Fail: Productive Embodiments of Imperfection (2014)
FleksZorg / Loet Berkelmans (NL): sex work for people with disabilities / a licensed practical nurse and director of FleksZorg
The Decolonize Beauty Collective (NL): members from University of Colour
Lindsay Grace Weber (US): researcher and community organizer
Olave Basabose and Manon la Décadence (NL): politician and activist; community organizer and activist

The discussions and activities were thus shaped by the participants of the camp, mostly comprised by those with arts and activist backgrounds, including:

Amaranta Heredia (EE): organizer and activist
Anja Khersonska (UKR): artist and MFA student at DAI Roaming Academy
Ashiq Khondker (US/DE): artist
Augusto Cascales (BR): artist, researcher, and BFA and BA in History of Art student at Goldsmiths University
Bogdan Obradovi (RS): artist and MFA student at HBKsaar
Caner Teker (DE): artist and MFA student
Carlos Muñoz, documentary filmmaker, camera and editing for Army of Love Training Camp films
Carolin Haentjes (DE): journalist
Christina Pitouli, documentary filmmaker, sound for Army of Love Training Camp films
Dora García (ES): artist and researcher, collaborator in Army of Love
Elorri Harriet (CH): artist, researcher, writer, and MA gender studies student at University of Geneva
Emilia Thorin (SE): researcher and dancer
Frédérique Vivet (FR): artist and BFA student at Ecole de Conde
Ingo Niermann (DE/CH): writer, editor of the book series Solution, and initiator of Army of Love
Karin Iturralde (EC): artist and BFA student at Gerrit Rietveld Academie (Fine Arts)
Linda Klösel (DE): freelance author, editor and staff member of the Public Relations Department at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and initiator of VERSION art journal
Lori and Donna van Vlerken (NL): artist and educator (Donna is the daughter of Lori)
Ninon Goutelle (FR): artist and BFA student at Ecole de Conde
Nora Cherñajovsky (BA): artist and corporal psychotherapist
Staci Bu Shea (US/NL): Casco curator Army of Love, researcher, and organizer
Suzanne Kollen (NL): theater maker and artist
Svenja Engels (DE): Casco project coordinator Army of Love, researcher, and activist
Svenja Schennach (CH): artist and BFA student
Tamara Kuselman (BA): artist and resident at Jan Van Eyck Academy
Taraneh Fazeli (US): curator, community organizer, and researcher
Virginia Zanetti (IT): artist

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