#4 Caring Artistic Contributions

Wattenmeer (2019) | © Maternal Fantasies

The 4th edition of the New Alphabet School on #CARING from June 12 – 14 proposes an expansive understanding of care beyond the intimate scale of interpersonal relations in order to question, complicate, and reflect on caring as a radical practice towards social transformation. Caring explores ways of doing and being that allow us to reconfigure how we do things, how we shape our bonds, how we give form to our worlds. If we aim to shift our attention from the “what” to the “how”, then how to care? And how to do so accountably?

In the following, you will find the artistic contributions from Malu Blume, Johanna Bruckner, Maternal Fantasies, Mwape Mumbi, Pallavi Paul and Polyphrenic Creatures.

Download the #4 Caring notebook with the complete program and Letters to Joan.

Participatory audio project by Pallavi Paul
Online June 12
No language

At a time when noise has become an index of public spirit; when authoritarian regimes are engaged in a feverish amplification of propaganda via partisan statistics and faux science; when the pandemic has also unleashed a despotic drive towards homogenizing populations and policing speech – can quietude harness something outside overdetermined and hyper-regulated imaginations of contemporary life? Can the sharing and listening of “quietude” be a space of care and resistance? During the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 Pallavi Paul launched in collaboration with Sunaparanta Goa Centre for the Arts the participatory archive titled #shareyourquiet. Everyone with a smartphone or a recording device is invited to share 10-20 second recordings of their “quiet”. Here quiet is not a tranquil break from the world, rather a marker of the tempestuous churning we find ourselves in. Liberated from the syntax of productivity, an attentive listening and sharing is activated. For #4 Caring, Pallavi Paul calls up to send audio recordings to +91 98333 03760 or info@sgcfa.org. She will broadcast the contributions on instagram #shareyourquiet from June 12 on.

N E P O <
Audio by Polyphrenic Creatures
Live Stream June 12, 6 pm, hkw.de/caring

In Hohenlockstedt, a small community in Schleswig-Holstein, neighbors have been coming together since the beginning of 2020 in the storytelling-café series Holo Miteinander at M.1 of the Arthur Boskamp- Stiftung. The central question is how do we want to live together? At the moment when vulnerability is admitted to everyone, a sense of social power of trust is created. The artist duo Polyphrenic Creatures ac- companies these talks. In the performative gesture N E P O < they transform, in the way of a carpet of language, the respective subjective experience in a rhythmic recon- nection to a collective narrative. N E P O < invites us to engage in new directions of reading in order to release internalized ways of thinking and acting from their rigidity and to learn from each other and to (re-) learn forms of interaction. With N E P O <, Polyphrenic Creatures create a performa- tive gesture of opening through their bodies and voices – and thus initiate the program of #4 Caring with local-situated questions and communal knowledge production. Notation clapping / technical support: Bastian Hagedorn, Vocal Recordings: Diana Tsantekidou.

Please use headphones while listening.

Atmospheric Escape: Fabulating Care
Audio by Johanna Bruckner
Live Stream June 12, 8 pm, hkw.de/caring

Gaseous substances of the Earth escape into space and form extracorporeal bodies. These structures come into being as their molecular particles mutually support, align with and ripple against each other and the electromagnetic field. Johanna Bruckner calls this state polymorphous care or de- sire. How can these non-human bodies and their poetics of care be imagined?, How can these crystallizations be aesthetically narrat- ed, accessed and diffracted? How can they help us fabulate and perform possible future worlds, languages and practices of care be- yond the tangible? The audio offers scores for the listener to approach these questions in aesthetic, sonic and collective ways.

The listening of Atmospheric Escape takes place in pairs, groups, family or friends or alone. Together watch the clouds during the day or stars at night while lying on the floor on mats or grass, being in touch with each other. This form of deep care listening intensifies your imagination.

The Book of S of I. Chapter One: Creatures born from Hopelessness
Film by Malu Blume
Live Stream June 13, 8 pm, hkw.de/caring

Another world, post-apocalypse. In their video work Malu Blume takes the viewer back to the future: The first part of their trilogy appears like a feverish nightmare turning into utopian dreams. Bodies aligned in pleasure, summoning the ghosts of the past and the future. The Book of S of I is a queer feminist sci-fi saga about the desire to belong, about the power of mutual care, bodily pleasures and the yearning for tenderness. Video realized in collaboration with İpek Hamzaoğlu and Laura Nitsch from HEKATE – Film & Video Collective, Marwa Abou Hatab, Roya Asaadian, Magdalena Fischer, Camila Rhodi, Sofi Utikal and Rosa Wiesauer.

Love and Labor. Intimacy and Isolation. Care and Survival. A performance between mothers and children in a state of lockdown
Performance by Maternal Fantasies 
Live Stream June 14, 3 pm, hkw.de/caring

Who cares for whom and what are the consequences? The feminist art collective Maternal Fantasies lets viewers peak into their homes, where artistic production exists alongside domestic tasks and child- care. Household items become toys. Kitch- ens become backdrops. Care work and parenting have historically been marked by gender-based inequalities, yet the current conditions of social distancing have acutely magnified these injustices. Against this backdrop, the performance seeks to understand “mothering” not as a physical and fixed category or identity, but instead as dedicated time, attention, nurturance, protection and an interrupted state of mind.

Versions of Our Ideal Sanitised Tomorrow: #CARING Re-loaded
Video by Mwape J. Mumbi   
Premiere, June 2020

Against the background of the global health pandemic caused by Covid-19, human life and its interrelationships have been called into question and the whole world is looking for solutions. But the bias between the “haves and have-nots” is repeated in the narrative between the global North, which is searching for a solution for the solution to this crisis with the help of conventional medicine, and the global South, which is accused of being in danger of spreading the virus through “quackery”. How does the insistence on the use of e.g. a locally proven traditional medicine in Madagascar to fight Covid-19 differ from the waiting and hoping for a vaccine approved by the WHO and commercially available worldwide? What is meant by care in the case of Madagascar or anywhere else in this respect and what does it amount to? In his video, Mwape J. Mumbi shows a selection of filmed and self-recorded responses from a generation of everyday people from Korea, Britain, Zambia and Kenya who share their experiences and ideas of care: teasing and testing conventional norms and thought of a world before and for one they dream to be a part of, after Covid-19.