Still from the …

Still from the film People of Flour, Salt and Water (2019) by Chto Delat at Free Home University

RECLAIMING PEDAGOGIES AND READING AS A SUBVERSIVE PRACTICE: A Series of Exercises with Free Home University and Dreaming in Women*

Event   01. April 2023

A day-long event with walks, readings and talks, a screening of Chto Delat, a talk by Silvia Federici (Zoom) and a performance by Sista Oloruntoyin with Nigel Asher, Lea Bethke and M.W. Lion

Halle für Kunst Lüneburg cordially invites you to a durational exploration to unfold collective forms of knowledge through a day-long score bringing together different voices and modes of learning. We start in the morning with a participatory reading walk by the queer feminist group Dreaming in Women*, and continue throughout the day with conversations moderated by Alessandra Pomarico, from the artistic and pedagogic platform Free Home University at Halle für Kunst e.V.

Participation in the water walk with Dreaming in Women* is limited. Please register at info@halle-fuer-kunst.de

For online participation in the Zoom talk with Silvia Federici please register at info@halle-fuer-kunst.de.

Through readings, conversations, and performances in public and intimate settings, we engage with water and salt, exploring the histories of their economies and how they relate to territories and the body as a resource. Here, reading (of landscapes, texts, images, and dimensions of power) becomes a relationship, an encounter, and the enactment of a lived experience: a gathering that invites people to read aloud and together, to listen deeply—with our fully awakened, desiring, tired, able, and unable bodies.

By bringing together a polyphony of perspectives, practices, and experiences, the day-long workshop creates a space in which the relationship between productive and reproductive labor, capital, and coloniality are acknowledged and ideally renegotiated together. Through the lens of a convivial and radical pedagogy, nourished by artistic perspectives and tools, proposing to re-imagine learning processes is a way to both critique (resist) and regenerate, to undo dominant narratives and existing structures of oppression, and embody our diverse, autonomous, “pluriversal” forms of knowledge. Reclaiming other epistemologies, economies, and cosmogonies beyond the colonial, modernist, capitalist, patriarchal, and Western-centric imaginary has become an urgent call in times of permanent crisis and ecological catastrophe. To respond with “militant joyfulness” and a politics of hope is our duty.

Free Home University is a pedagogical and artistic experiment wishing to redefine art education, beyond the academic and artistic worlds. It focuses on generating new ways of sharing and creating knowledge by experiencing life in common. The name suggests a desire for a non-vertical, energy-liberating, insurgent environment, in continuity with the legacy of critical and emancipatory pedagogies (Free), within a protected and intimate space (Home), committed to supporting an autonomous community of learners (University). In an intensive collective experience, through a coalitional and self-directed approach, the lines of inquiry and methods of study vary following the praxis of the participants and respond to the local/global issues, alongside communities in struggle. 

Dreaming in Women* from Stuttgart explores how text, body, and space interact, intertwine and reinforce each other through intimate readings and text conversations in public and semi-public spaces since 2021. Shared reading is experienced as a practice of poetic inquiry, listening, staying awake, and caring about violence against bodies. Dreaming in Women are: Sofia Falsone, Vesna Hetzel, Madeleine Bovidae, Paula Kohlmann, Toni Böckle, and Sarah Tartsch.

Silvia Federici is a feminist activist, writer, political theorist, and Professor Emerita at Hofstra University. She also taught for several years at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria. Part of the International Feminist Collective, which launched the campaign Wages for Housework internationally, she is also a co-founder of the Committee for Academic Freedom for Africa, of Midnight Notes Collective, and of the Radical Philosophy Association (RPA) anti-death penalty project. Among her widely circulated works are Wages Against Housework (1975) and Caliban and the Witch: Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation (2004), translated in more than 20 foreign languages. Other publications include Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women (2018), Revolution at Point Zero: Housework, Reproduction, and Feminist Struggle (2012), Re-enchanting the World: Feminism and the Politics of the Commons (2018), and her recent book Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking, Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism (2020).

Sista Oloruntoyin is a community organizer and a performing artist, a facilitator, a Certified Psychosocial Counselor and Africa-Centered Therapist advocating for social justice in the Black Feminist Movement and anti-racism, anti-colonialism, and anti-deportation movements. She is a founding member of the Black Community Coalition For Justice and Self-Defense and mobilizes around questions of immigration, asylum, housing, and mental health care. She established ARRiVATi, a collective of artists of color and activists that uses the means of art and resistance to develop strategies of decolonization against inequality. In addition, she works with Schwabinggrad Ballett as a vocal and spoken-word artist, recording the album Beyond Welcome in 2014. She is featured in Die Golden Zitronen 2019 album More than a feeling on the track Es Nervt and most recently with Love the Light on the 2022 album Major Healing of drum-virtuose M.W. Lion.

Workshop Schedule:

11 am
Walk with Dreaming in Women* with readings at the Stint, the Ilmenau and the Kreideberg lake (with Paula Kohlmann, Vesna Hetzel, and Toni Böckle) 
Meeting point at Halle für Kunst, Reichenbachstraße 2, 21335 Lüneburg

1–3 pm, Halle für Kunst 
Dreaming in Women* in dialogue with Free Home University, Reading as Subversive Practice, at Halle für Kunst. Activating the Free Home University nomadic library and the firefly frequencies radio, with texts and voicings from Silvia Federici, among them the chapters In Praise of the Dancing Body and On Joyful Militancy from the book Beyond the Periphery of the Skin: Rethinking, Remaking, Reclaiming the Body in Contemporary Capitalism (2020).

3 pm
Widening Our Ecologies of Knowledge: Art Pedagogy and Community. Alessandra Pomarico, Free Home University/FHU Library (public) 

Screening of People of Flour, Salt, and Water (2019) by Chto Delat, with Olga Tzaplya Egorova and Dmitry Vilensky

The film People of Flour, Salt, and Water (2019) by artist collective Chto Delat poetically responds to the consequences of neoliberalism, displacement, and exploitation on people’s lives across different territories. Created during a summer session of Free Home University in a small Italian village where autonomous farmers and land defenders are regenerating their communities, the film follows a group of young asylum seekers, artists, activists, and change-makers who become co-authors and protagonists of the story. Chto Delat, revisiting the Brechtian didactic tradition of “learning plays” and guiding the process through somatic exercises, storytelling, story-placing, and life in common, realizes a learning film in which the making of the work becomes an emergent process and a device for sharing pluralistic knowledge.

5 pm
A lecture and conversation with Silvia Federici on Zoom moderated by Alessandra Pomarico (public)

7 pm 
BLACK-LED LEARNING CIRCLE: A music performance by Sista Oloruntoyin with Nigel Asher, Lea Bethke and M.W. Lion

During the day-long workshop event, finger food and refreshments will be offered.

Organized by Alessandra Pomarico and Nikolay Oleynikov (Free Home University) and Dreaming in Women* in collaboration with Elisa R. Linn, Maria Zamel and Ann-Kathrin Eickhoff.

The annual program at Halle für Kunst Lüneburg e.V. is funded by the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony, Sparkassenstiftung Lüneburg, and Hansestadt Lüneburg. The educational program at Halle für Kunst Lüneburg e.V. is funded by the Ministry for Science and Culture of Lower Saxony. The exhibition is made possible by Neustart Kultur/Stiftung Kunstfonds.

*Widening our Ecologies of Knowledge: Art Pedagogy and Community is a research project of Alessandra Pomarico, supported by the Italian Council (2022), Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity, and the Italian Ministry of Culture. 

*Still from the film People of Flour, Salt and Water by Chto Delat (2019) at Free Home University.