“In order to live one’s life—one’s madness as well as one’s neurosis, desire, melancholy, or even one’s quotidian “normality”—each individual is bound to refer to a certain number of public or private myths.” Félix Guattari, Soft Subversions
“The most vital meaning has always come out of a dicey collaboration of intellect and imagination. The intuitive nature of this (inherently playful) balancing act makes it hard to fully know what one is doing while one is doing it.” Joan Retallack, Poethical Wager
Both “poetics” and “living” have normative measures and connotations, as the global regimes of neoliberal governmentality continue to impose and enforce jurido-political principles that govern, structure, and determine what it means to live, investing value and worth in those lives worth living at the expense of others. The expendability of the lives of others is now a a biopolitical reality that contours how we navigate through the world and live with others in ways that are ethical, ecological, and sustainable.
To consider this further, Poetics of Living is initiated as a long-term research project to study the aesthetic and affective forms and practices of social life derived from our most ubiquitous shared experiences, modes of relation that inform rapidly changing discourses around sexuality, health, communal life, and death. This project is informed by Black, crip, and queer intellectual aesthetic perspectives that remain sensitive to the increased marketization of visibility. The aim of Poetics of Living is to highlight the practices of those whose social lives are constructed around different ways of inventing and generating collective forms of sociality and care that survive the regimes of state violence, and its range of policing, surveillance, and biopolitical control. Poetics of Living considers poetic practices of writing, studying, and art making, as counter-repertoires of living.
Anti-psychiatry clinics, nightclubs, intergenerational queer communes, care collectives, brown queer punk groups, decolonial art and activist collectives, and radical health networks have their own unique organizational, visual, choreographic, and architectural forms, and are some examples that inspire our research trajectory. Collectively, we aim to learn from these social infrastructures and the people who participate in them, particularly how they common together through mutuality, difference, and affective registers of joy and struggle. Our programmed events and study sessions show how the contemporary landscape of poetics and ethics is changing in ways that reflect the shifting grammars of subjectivity, identity, access, property, and forms of community filiation.
Poetics of Living works collaboratively with artists, theorists, and activists. We organize into presentation moments over time and across media—and generate programming in the form of seminars, exhibitions, film screenings, performances, collaborative writing projects, and improvisational actions at Casco Art Institute, its host-site in Utrecht, Netherlands, and beyond.
The research process involves the Gender Studies program at Utrecht University as one of the most active communities around Casco Art Institute, and whose students, faculty, researchers, and graduates alike are involved in numerous translocal and transnational collective endeavors. We warmly welcome further institutional and organizational partnership and collaboration.
This project builds on artistic research related to the queer commons, indebted to theorists like José Esteban Muñoz and others, and provides “actual” references for these local communities/project participants in the Dutch context and elsewhere. Furthermore, it opens a framework to think with artists and academics already focusing on deeply urgent and fraught political, aesthetic, and legal questions that attend the global framing of queer personhood, simultaneously considering how identity and desire relate to collective initiatives to cultivate life in the general area of the commons, which is to say, both in strategic relation and resistance to state formations.
Poetics of Living is initiated by Rizvana Bradley (Assistant Professor, Yale University) and Staci Bu Shea (Curator, Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons)
GRACE – Gender and Cultures of Equality in Europe with Cookies
Tuesday - Sunday
12:00 - 18:00 hrs