an interdisciplinary conference 

on rest, resistance and pleasure activism

Recent years have seen a rise in movements that oppose production and work in favour of centering pleasure, sustainability, and compassion. The popularity (and marketised co-optation) of self-care – attributed to Black and brown feminists such as Audre Lorde and more recently Sara Ahmed – and mindfulness practices – often appropriated from previously colonised states – demonstrate a desire for restitution and “time-out” from professional, emotional, and reproductive labour. Studies and manifestoes of the post-work movement (e.g. David Frayne’s The Refusal of Work (2015) and Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams’ Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work (2015)) envision a post-capitalist world in which work is ousted from its place of chief deity of neoliberalism. Is it because capitalism has finally gone too far and millennial’s, as a recent viral article argued, are ‘the burnout generation’? What is certain is that stopping work (and, more recently, refusing school in the #schoolstrike4climate marches) continues to endure as a popular tool of protest, but one not always accessible to everyone.

Interest in what it means to “stop doing” can be seen across different disciplines. Scientific studies into rest, work and mental health uncover new ways of understanding (un)productivity. Social studies of unemployment, disability and illness activism challenge dominant modes of determining societal value. adrienne maree brown’s concept of pleasure activism seeks to rethink activism through the lens of pleasure, creating “a politics of healing and happiness that explodes the dour myth that changing the world is just another form of work”. Artistic and activist practices explore resistance theoretically and in practice, such as when contemporary novels like Han Kang’s The Vegetarian (2007) and Ottessa Moshfegh’s My Year of Rest and Relaxation (2018) take up the refrain of “I would prefer not to” from Herman Melville’s classic short story of Bartleby the Scrivener, and tell the stories of people who decide to stop certain actions or wholly withdraw from society.

This conference explores activist instances of not doing in contemporary culture. Centering pleasure as a strategy for resistance, we want to explore the erotics of the still, inactive and unproductive. Through conversation, provocation, installation and self-care, we look at unproductivity as an activist practice and the ways in which caring, resting, suspending, pausing and breaking can be re/claimed as political acts by and for everyone, particularly those marginalised by the racial and gender inequalities of neo-liberal capitalism.

October 17, 2019 10AM – 8PM   Birkbeck University, London

KEYNOTES:

 

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PROGRAMME

9:00 REGISTRATION OPENS

Tea, coffee, water and pastries provided
‣ Zine station (the Wellcome Library) LIBRARY

Loesja Vigour and Rob Bidder

MAL B04
10:00 MORNING KEYNOTE: FANTASY
Moderator: Lise GrønvoldOfficial welcome‣ Prof Felicity Callard, ‘The use – and misuse – of daydreaming and fantasy’ KEYNOTEQ&A
MAL B35
11:10 PARALLEL SESSIONS 1: REST
REFUSALS
Chair: Dr Christine Okoth‣ Amanda Diserholt, ‘‘Doing Nothing’ – Fatigue as Resistance to the Ideologies of Late Capitalism’ PAPER‣ Janine Francois, ‘Reparations for Black People Should Include Rest’ PAPER‣ James Rakoczi, ‘The neuro-politics of sleep: narcolepsy activism, work, life, and death’ PAPER
PUBLICNESSChair: Rita Gayle

‣ George Townsend, ‘Landlocked: an exploration of river bathing, pleasure and sociality in the UK’ PAPER

‣ Heather McKnight, ‘Forever Strike! Estrangement and Utopian Temporality on Sussex Campus’ PAPER

‣ Miloš Kosec, ‘Architecture of Passivism’ PAPER

MAL B35RUS 101
12:30 LUNCH (not provided, but there is a market outside with many options)
‣ Zine station (the Wellcome Library) LIBRARYLoesja Vigour and Rob Bidder
MAL B04
13:30 PARALLEL SESSIONS 2: RESISTANCE
WORK/LEISUREChair: Dr Margarita Palacios‣ Sophie Bullock and Sophie Huckfield, ‘Ambience Factory’ PERFORMANCE‣ Stephanie Grace Anderson, ‘(Un)Dead Time: Spatial Confinement and Non-Productive Labor in Contemporary Art’ PAPER
‣ Valeria Graziano, ‘Figures of Unwork’ PAPER
‣ Dr Shoniqua Roach, ‘Theorizing Black Domesticity’ PAPERSELF-CARE
‣ LiLi Kathleen Bright, ‘Practical self care and community care: How to recover from burnout & get our energy back ✊🏿’ WORKSHOP
IMPROPER FREEDOMS

‣ Dr Holly Pester and Dr Ed Luker, ‘Dreaming, Non Sensing and Means’ WORKSHOP

MAL B35MAL B04

RUS 101

15:00 REST BREAK

Tea, coffee and water provided

MAL B04
15:20 PARALLEL SESSIONS 3: PLEASURE ACTIVISM
PLEASUREChair: Ama Jospehine Budge‣ Louisa Harvey, ‘Un-writing’ (10 mins) INTERVENTION‣ Niamh Vlahakis, ‘Xenogenesis: An Exploration of Skin & Touch’ PAPER
‣ Victoria Okoye, ‘Producing knowledge, in pleasure, together’ PAPER‣ Dr. Christine “Xine” Yao, ‘I Don’t Care: The Practice of Unfeeling as Feminist, Queer of Colour Theory in the Flesh’ PAPER

‣ Farzana Khan, ‘Inside My Darkest and Deepest Everything: The Politics of Pain and Bodies of Counter Creativity’ READING

WORTHY
‣ Xiri Noir, ‘Your Worth Is Not Measured By Your Productivity: A Radical Self Care Workshop for Queer Activists And Allies’ WORKSHOP

MAL B35RUS 101
17:00 REST AND DINNER BREAK
(dinner not provided)
17:45 EVENING PROGRAMME: BEAUTIFUL EXPERIMENTS
Moderator: Ama Josephine Budge‣ Alberta Whittle, between a whisper and a cry (2019) SHORT FILM‣ KEYNOTE: Prof Saidiya Hartman, ‘Beautiful Experiments’ KEYNOTE‣ IN CONVERSATION and Q&A: Dr Gail Lewis and Prof Saidiya Hartman‣ Closing remarks on behalf of the organisers, Ama Josephine Budge and Lise Grønvold
MAL B34

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CHOREOGRAPHY IN ACTION / TO MOVE WITH OR AGAINST / Xiri Tara Noir & Boaz Barkan

Xiri_Boaz

DIALOGUE /
Xiri Tara Noir (EN/ES) & Boaz Barkan (IL)
Part of the program CHOREOGRAPHY IN ACTION

Choreography is the capacity to make any activity generate potential.
How do we as choreographers activate movement, and can choreography be another way of thinking in terms of political actions.

Meet the choreographers Xiri Tara Noir and Boaz Barkan in an open debate about what choreography is today, and about how their practices aims to activate the engagement of all participants with the work in question.

Xiri Tara Noir 
Independent activist, performance artist and choreographer.
In her choreographic practice she examines the edges that separates academic research from
our everyday gestures and practices. Within a variation and exchange of social roles her work explores the boundaries and hierarchies between “artist” and “audience”, and between what it
means to be observing or participating in an event.
xiritaranoir.wordpress.com

Boaz Barkan
Choreographer, performer and practitioner in the fields of dance, performance
and somatic practice. His focus is on movement and embodiment as mediums for performers,
audience, and communities.
boazbarkan.com

What is CHOREOGRAPHY IN ACTION
A weekly event throughout the season. Every Monday at 7-9 pm Dansehallerne presents meetings between affiliated artists and guests from other programs and performances presented by Dansehallerne. The artists share their thoughts about artistic work through conversations, installations, performances or films. The program is in English.
The meetings are primarily addressed to the artists in the field but open to all with an interest. It will take place at Charlottenborg Art Cinema, there is free entrance.

Kunsthal Charlottenborg
CHOREOGRPAHY IN ACTION takes place at Charlottenborg Art Cinema. The distinctive art institution Kunsthal Charlottenborg ia a close collaborator of Dansehallerne. kunsthalcharlottenborg.dk/

When / 7-9 pm

Where / Kunsthal Charlotternborg, Nyhavn 2, Cph K

Free entrance

“When I think about the way we use the term ‘study,’ I think we are committed to the idea that study is what you do with other people. It’s talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice. The notion of a rehearsal – being in a kind of workshop, playing in a band, in a jam session, or old men sitting on a porch, or people working together in a factory – there are these various modes of activity. The point of calling it ‘study’ is to mark that the incessant and irreversible intellectuality of these activities is already present. These activities aren’t ennobled by the fact that we now say, “oh, if you did these things in a certain way, you could be said to be have been studying.” To do these things is to be involved in a kind of common intellectual practice. What’s important is to recognize that that has been the case – because that recognition allows you to access a whole, varied, alternative history of thought”

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study
Stefano Harney and Fred Moten
(2013: 110).

The trouble of walking straight, Teatro Pradillo 01.12.2017 y 02.12.2017

 

Presentado como un “Walk in progress” , este trabajo aborda el acto de caminar. Caminar es algo que hacemos todxs. Así es como nos movemos por el mundo y por nuestras vidas. Caminando. Caminar es sencillo, tan pronto como consigas hacerlo, ya no tienes que pensarlo, simplemente lo haces … pones un pie delante del otro y caminas … “The trouble of walking straight” examina cómo diferentes cuerpos caminan y llevan sus cuerpos por el mundo, y sobre cómo caminar también puede ser algo peligroso y precario, dependiendo de cómo muevas tu cuerpo a través de este mundo. Esta propuesta es una continuación del proyecto “Pas de Chat” creado en 2015 en colaboración con David Valero Yuste.

 

Programación     Espacio para Compartir     Temporada 2017 2018

https://www.teatropradillo.com/the-trouble-of-walking-straight/

 

 

 

 

 

Xiri Tara Noir, Sina Seifee, Esta Matkovic, Maarten Van den Bussche, Lili Rampre

curated by Laura Herman

NO COMMUNICATION WITHOUT NOISE

21-23 September 2017 / a.pass 4th floor

 

“Mistakes, wavy lines, confusion, obscurity are part of knowledge;
noise is part of communication, part of the house.”

(Michel Serres)

 

No Communication Without Noise is a three-day insight in five ongoing a.pass researches that share an affinity with the ambivalences of writing and reading. Interested in communication, or the lack thereof, Esta Matkovic, Lili M. Rampre, Sina Seifee, Xiri Tara Noir and Maarten Van den Bussche address the limitations and untapped potentials of text in proposing new modes of attention.

How can we engage with the information that somehow gets filtered out, or which exists at the margins of the circuit? How does one convey, communicate, or translate embodied text or flesh-memory? How does a feeling or thought travel through time and space if not through written scripts? Adopting different channels and strategies, including voice, auto-fiction, re-enactments and technological interfaces, the researchers bring wonder and awareness of other forms of conductive relations, like the chemistry between lovers or the force fields that exist in between the lines.

 


 

Program

17:00 doors open
ongoing installations until 22:00

performances at
18:00, 19:30 and 21:00

 

Thursday 21st & Saturday 23rd

Ongoing:

Sina Seifee
AN AJAYEB’S
NETWORK MAKING
&
Maarten Van den Bussche
A SENSE OF SELF

 

Performances:

18:00 Lili M. Rampre
OUT OF THE BLUE

19:30 Xiri Tara Noir
LISTENING BY SPEAKING TO ONESELF

21:00 Esta Matkovic
THE PROJECT

Friday 22nd

Ongoing:

Sina Seifee
AN AJAYEB’S
NETWORK MAKING
&
Maarten Van den Bussche
A SENSE OF SELF

 

Performances:

18:00 Xiri Tara Noir
LISTENING BY SPEAKING TO ONESELF

19:30 Lili M. Rampre
OUT OF THE BLUE

21:00 Esta Matkovic
THE PROJECT


 

LILI M. RAMPRE
OUT OF THE BLUE

 

In “Out of the Blue”, Lili Rampre moves from water to land. Although the transition would seem at first sight to be a safe one, rejoining the shore after swimming in tumultuous waters, it is not: Rampre’s world hails from The Little Mermaid, and much is lost for Ariel when she leaves the ocean waves. What, she asks, would be other ways of constituting ourselves? How can we be made anew? How can we break free from the imperatives of balance, health, and harmony, and still remain subjects? She must find out how movement and voice, the oft-forgotten tools of subjective elaboration, can disrupt the laws of propriety and open the floor for unpredictable selves.

 


 

MAARTEN VAN DEN BUSSCHE
A SENSE OF SELF
RE-QUEST, RE-SEARCH AND POETRY

 

My research became a thing about how the intimate and the political might fuel and propel each other, onwards into interwoven subjective en social change! Though, when it becomes a fixed thing, I feel compelled; forced even – with the intensity of an addict longing for a hit – to change it into something else.

 


 

ESTA MATKOVIC
THE PROJECT
A PROJECT ABOUT LOVE AND INTIMACY

 

I am presenting a book and i would like to think of it as performative act, a substitute for my process, an aesthetic experience. I am working on our everyday performativity, making a format for Intimacy, Care and Love to be observed, a contract as a meeting space of our borders in an agreed space. The assemblage of documented material consists of messages, email exchanges and meetings with my artist Lovers, through my daily reflects upon the ‘project’.

 


 

XIRI TARA NOIR
LISTENING BY SPEAKING TO ONESELF
A RELATIONAL PRACTICE

 

Departing from an activist purview Xiri’s research centers on how particular gestures are captured and interpreted by different groups of women. Across different groups, however, misunderstandings are likely to emerge due to factors of circumstance and prejudice. Xiri uses transcriptions not as a tool to translate what has been said exactly, but how it has been said by returning what gets lost into the realm of the perceptible through amplification. Through a legend of cues – an emotional map of sorts – a reenactment of conversations becomes possible, reconfiguring the field of relations and enabling the appreciation of value systems that are not ours.

 


 

SINA SEIFEE
AN AJAYEB’S NETWORK MAKING

 

Ajayeb ‌ is a site of heritage and research on histories of standards in knowledge production, stories of the inseparability of affect and episteme, passing of obligations from something ghost-like to something felt-with-certainty, from site to parasite. And work on ajayeb is an infrastructural concern about zones of encounter, about the politics of rememberance: the politics and philosophy of classifying certain textual/material activities that constitute what is „past.“

 

 

Visiting the (un)safe

The Excursion-workshop Visiting the (un)safe is an individual travel through some specific spaces of Brussels. The excursion will ask of its participants to question how our identity(ies) are constantly formed and transformed by our physical surroundings and environment.
You can learn more about it in this link:

 

safespace2

Safe space is a term used for an area or forum where either a marginalized group are not supposed to face standard mainstream stereotypes and marginalization, or in which a shared political or social viewpoint is required to participate in the space. For example, a feminist safe space would not allow free expression of anti-feminist viewpoints. Physical safe spaces are often reserved only for members of the oppressed group.

This excursion wants to question what places in the city can be considered as safe- and un-safe-spaces, and if our interpretation of our own identity(ies) affect this definition. Does age, race, gender, national origin, religion, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, class etc apply to our connotation of a safe-space. Do we sometimes reconstruct our own identity(ies) in different spaces in order to be safe, or in order to keep the space safe for others. What makes a space safe for some while un-safe for others. Do we unconscious search or attract these safe spaces and avoid the un-safe spaces. What uninvited situations would occur if we consciously turned this around for a day.

Practical information: The excursion is an individual travel through some specific spaces of Brussels.

Participation and time schedule:  Participants outside of the A.pass program is very welcome to join this excursion, but as its an individual route (you can not walk with other people), you will have to subscribe individually on this email: xiritaranoir@gmail.com

To subscribe for the excursion please write to the above mentioned email with the time and day you wish to make the excursion (around 1-2 hours any day between 9-18).

When you subscribe for the excursion you will receive your own individual time schedule If you have a specific wish for the time schedule please mention it in your subscription and it will be taken into account.

All participants will receive a personal letter by email containing the map of your route and some personal instructions during the route.

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Check out by beloved partner in crime Sarah Armstrong’s WORKWORK

more info on Sarah Armstrong’s artistic practice at; deathbycunt.tumblr.com

People/ Spaces involved in the work presented above are;

Rebekka Elisabeth
NO IMAGE
Inga Gerner Nielsen
Madeleine Kate
HAUT
CoolCunt Tattoo
Dalin Waldo
Klara Utke Acs
My Grönholdt
Nordlys Festival
Nålen
Kris Reichen Hjorth
Antonio Onio
Copenhagen Queer Festival
Warehouse9
Jøregen Callesen
Burlesque Hypnotique
Rita Christina
Esben Weile Kjær
Stella Malfilatre
Baijie Curdt-Christiansen
Karolin Kent
Tami Tamaki
Valeriya Olkhova
Nordur
Club De La Faye
Yaa Lioness
Michael Rexen Buchholst
Gry Worre Hallberg
Johan
Dome of Visions
Byens Lys Christania
Ungdomshuset
Xiri Tara Noir
Teater Øen
Frie Felts Festival
MAINSTREAM
Muffe Vulnuz
Body Extremes
DASH TV
Elena Biner
Nikolaj Emil Gottlieb
Tina Damgaard
Emilie Kilkowska

 

Thanks all of you.