Workshop Series as part of the exhibition project Phoenix’s Last Song by Dorine van Meel
As part of the exhibition Phoenix’s Last Song Dorine van Meel organises a new iteration of Plural Wombs, a collaborative project that brings together a number of cultural practitioners working on the subjects of social reproduction, reproductive justice, and the political dimension of parenthood through workshops and performances. For this occasion the artist has invited lecturer and writer Marija Cetinić and artist and activist Tina Omayemi Reden to each lead a writing workshop in which they will collectively think through some of the following questions:
What radical potential can we aspire, when we live our m/othering practices as a possible action, more than a gendered identity? How might our way of relating change when m/othering – as a queer, radical and collective practice and a communal responsibility for caregiving – becomes imperative to building transformational change? How can caregiving and mothering un-imagine the child as property, de-naturalize the mother as gendered labourer, and strike against an economy of recognition? What structures of address disengage from the compulsive construction of a nonplural self?
Participants of the workshops will be invited to respond to certain prompts in text, which can be shared with an audience on the evening of the opening of the exhibition. The workshops take place on 13, 20 and 24 September.
Workshop with Marija Cetinić // 13.9.22 // 20:00-22:00 / online
Workshop with Tina Omayemi Reden // 20.9.22 // 20:00-22:00 / online
Workshop with Dorine van Meel // 24.9.22 // 14:00-17:00 / alpha nova & galerie futura
+ Performance with all participants (20:00) in the context of the exhibition opening
If you would like to participate in the workshops and you can commit to join for all 3 sessions, please send a short motivation to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 September latest. There is a limited number of places available for the workshops, so we will inform everyone on 6 September about the selection of participants.
Plural Wombs Workshop Programme
Tuesday 13 September 2022 workshop by Marija Cetinić, online / 20:00-22:00
THE ECONOMY DID THIS TO YOU
(Lisa Robertson, Cinema of the Present)
The first line of Lisa Robertson’s Cinema of the Present (2014) is a question, “What is the condition of a problem if you are the problem?” “Problem” is redoubled—problem problem—because the pronoun you is under interrogation, destabilizing the very structure of address. Without you, what is a question; without you, what is a practice? As Mark Fisher pessimistically declares: “To be a subject is to be unable to think of oneself as anything but free — even if you know that you are not.” You are the problem because you can’t stop thinking about yourself, intensifying your you-ness. “The economy did this to you,” Cinema writes.
Against the logic of self-preservation of identity, Claire Fontaine describes the double bind of feminine subjectivity: its absolute boundedness to the conditions that determine her is also a boundedness whose proximity to her own nothingness renders her particularly attuned to the potential for desubjectivization. In other words, in her total devaluation she has learned to “practice against the economy of recognition and renumeration.”
How can caregiving and mothering un-imagine the child as property, de-naturalize the mother as gendered labourer, and strike against an economy of recognition? What structures of address disengage from the compulsive construction of a nonplural self?
Through different writing and reading exercises we will contend with the structure of address as an economic problem that precedes you, names you, and individuates you, seeking instead a form of plurality that divests from a grammar of the singular.
Tuesday 20 September 2022 workshop by Tina Omayemi Reden, online / 20:00-22:00
while lifting you up to dream, to be seen and heard
(Excerpt of the poem „my first poem as a radical mother“ by alba onofrio)
In the workshop while lifting you up to dream, to be seen and heard we will try to open up the space to reflect on our m/othering practices and their radical potential when seen as a possible action, more than a gendered identity. How might our way of relating change when mothering, as a practice of lifting somebody up to dream – as a queer, radical and collective practice and a communal responsibility for caregiving – becomes imperative to building transformational change.
Together we’ll look at the possibilities to foster nurturing spaces and affirming intergenerational care work practices beyond the limits of a white supremacist, hetero-patriarchal and capitalist idea of what it means to be mothering. Through different writing and reading exercises we will try to reflect on our own mothering practices and ask ourselves how, where and when are we lifting whom up to dream.
Saturday 24 September 2022 workshop by Dorine van Meel, at alpha nova & galerie futura / 14:00-17:00
In this final workshop we will share with each other the texts we have written in response to the workshops and we will prepare ourselves for presenting the texts to an audience. The texts may vary from poems to scripted dialogues, from short essays to anekdotes.
Saturday 24 September 2022 performance event with all the participants as part of the opening of the exhibition
Dorine van Meel (1984, NL) is an artist based between Brussels and Amsterdam who’s practice manifests as video installations, performances and collaborative projects. Her interest in discursive practices, feminist methodologies, and self-organised forms of collaborations is reflected within the collective projects she initiates. These include “A Farewell to progress” at KW in Berlin and the South London Gallery, “The Southern Summer School” at BAK in Utrecht together with Nelmarie du Preez, and together with Rianna Jade Parker, “Gentle Dust” at Jupiter Woods in London and Showroom MAMA in Rotterdam. Van Meel’s solo work has been shown at the South London Gallery (London), the 10th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (Berlin), W139 (Amsterdam), Transmediale (Berlin), Nottingham Contemporary (Nottingham) and KW Institute for Contemporary Art (Berlin). In 2014 she became the fourth recipient of the Nina Stewart Artist Residency at the South London Gallery. She holds an MFA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College (London). She teaches at the Sandberg Instituut, the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and BARD College in Berlin.
Tina Omayemi Reden (Switzerland, 1991) is a transdisciplinary artist, activist, teacher, cultural and community worker. Her artistic practice employs sound installation, storytelling and performance in an exploration of the potential for communal exchange and transformation. She mixes, remixes and quotes bodies, sounds and voices into polyphonic assemblages and fictive or actual collaborations. The artist seeks to question Western cultural codes and accepted wisdom by paying homage to the ones who have shaped and inspired queer and Blackfeminist thought and practices.. She artist is an active member of the network Bla*Sh (Black*She) and the collective FUBU (For Us By Us) in Zurich where she co-organizes and curates events, get-togethers, panel discussions or parties.
Marija Cetinić is Assistant Professor of Literary and Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam and a research affiliate at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis. She is coordinator of the MA Comparative Literature program and founding member of the research group Sex Negativity. Signs of Autumn: The Aesthetics of Saturation, her current project, focuses on the concept of saturation, and on developing its implications for the relation of contemporary art and aesthetics to political economy. She completed her PhD in Comparative Literature at USC, Los Angeles. Her essays have appeared in Mediations, Discourse, and the European Journal of English Studies. A co-written chapter on oil barrels in the work of Christo and Jeanne-Claude appears in Saturation: An Elemental Politics (Duke UP, 2021). With Stefa Govaart, she is involved in an ongoing epistolary project What urge will save us now that sex won’t, as well as a book project of transcribed dialogues on five concepts: Sentence / Essence / Woman / Negation / Sex. She is thesis supervisor and writing instructor in the MA Critical Studies at Sandberg Instituut.