The Parliament of Bodies: The Strategy of Joy
with Ross Birrell, Nita Deda, Hendrik Folkerts, Dimitris Ginosatis, Natasha Ginwala, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Balitronica Gómez, Jack Halberstam, Trajal Harrell, Candice Hopkins, iQhiya, Élisabeth Lebovici, Catherine Malabou, Joar Nango, Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, Paul B. Preciado, Ibrahim Quraishi, Roee Rosen, Dim Sampaio, and Adam Szymczyk

SEP
8–9
Performances, screenings and talks
8–11 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, Kassel
Live stream available
SEP
10
Performances, screenings and talks
7–11 pm
Fridericianum, Friedrichsplatz 18, Kassel
Live stream available

Click Ngwere, member of the Athenian Parliament of Bodies, with her knitting project Open Europe

A paradox lies at the heart of contemporary democratic societies concerning the center of the politics of representations of their parliaments: They have gradually turned into ensembles joined by fear, not by love. The borders of the nation-state, of the family, of the body, as well as definitions of foreigner and native, normal and pathological, able and disable are being reshaped, enforcing the idea of an internal “we” who has to be protected from a supposedly external “they.” At all shores of the Mediterranean, military force is used against migrants. Women, as well as sexual, racial, and religious minorities are the object of constant and legal forms of violence and discrimination. Intensification of ecological destruction is paired with the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Techno-patriarchal-military capitalism unfolds as global war against all forms of life.

Confronted by the extension of the destruction of life, modernist dreams of “humanism” no longer seem appropriate to provide a grammar for struggle and transformative action. Some of “us” have never been human and we no longer claim the right to be human according to the violent normalizing standards of the hegemonic race-sex-gender regime. We do not lay claim to humanity or normalcy. Rather, we lay claim to animality, queerness, crippledness, monstrosity, southerness, blackness as modes of resistance during the era of techno-patriarchal-military capitalism.

We need to learn from recent struggles. In the 1980s, Argentinian writer and conceptual artist Roberto Jacoby and the legendary music group Virus (lead by singer Federico Moura and started as poetic resistance to the political management of the AIDS epidemic) responded to the total destruction of the social bond through dictatorship and to the disappearance of hundreds of thousands of people with what he called “the strategy of joy.” Re-appropriating bodies and affects and extracting them from the fear and depression of the dictatorship was the ultimate effective way of resisting violence.

Inspired by the work of Jacoby, this three-day session of the Parliament of Bodies in Kassel is a critical and performative gathering of artists, activists, thinkers, dancers, poets, and others working collectively on inventing political affects of joy in times of racist anger, neo-nationalist fear, and neoliberal depression.

Joy as a political affect is radically different from the normative formations of modern wellbeing, psychological happiness, and individual success. Joy is neither an emotion nor a state of mind: It is embodied knowledge that increases our capacity to act. Joy is a social and political space to be conquered. Joy is revolutionary because it doesn’t distinguish between “us” and “them,” between human and animal, between normal and deviant. The Parliament of Bodies invites you to join an experimental gathering aimed at constructing collective utopian, pacifist, transfeminist, and anti-colonial affects. This is the revolt of joy.


Friday September 8, 2017
8–11 pm

  • 8 pm Paul B. Preciado, Introduction
  • 8:15 pm Dimitris Ginosatis, A Chaosmology of Joy or Spinoza’s Biopolitical Legacy
  • 9 pm Dim Sampaio, The Tragic Mirth of Dim Sampaio
  • 9:20 pm Élisabeth Lebovici, Vital Signs: Art Survival and AIDS Politics
  • 10 pm Guillermo Gómez-Peña with an introduction by Balitronica Gómez, Gómez-Peña: The Most (un)Documented Mexican Artist

Saturday September 9, 2017
8–11 pm

  • 8 pm Jack Halberstam, Strategy of Wildness
  • 8:50 pm Natasha Ginwala, Lala Rukh: Still Point of the Turning World—A Sonic Remembrance
  • 9 pm Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, The Vacuum Left in That Space of “Darker than Blueness”—On, Of, For, With Ben Patterson
  • 9:10 pm Ibrahim Quraishi, Iconographies in Resistances
  • 10 pm Natasha Ginwala, Change of Weather: Remembering K.G. Subramanyan
  • 10:10 pm iQhiya, Homage to Tshiamo Naledi Letlhogonolo Pinky Mayeng
  • 10:20 pm Ross Birrell, Wanna Be a Rider (Notes on Parasite Joy)

Sunday September 10, 2017
7–11 pm

  • 7 pm Catherine Malabou, Mutual Aid: Existentialist Delusion or Political Promise
  • 7:40 pm Roee Rosen, The Buried Alive Videos (2013)
  • 8:20 pm Hendrik Folkerts, Homage to Pauline Oliveros
  • 8:40 pm Candice Hopkins, Homage to Beau Dick
  • 8:50 pm Joar Nango, Indigenous Placemaking Strategies
  • 9:30 pm Nita Deda and Adam Szymczyk, presenting Nusja Jonë (Our Bride, 2011), a video by Yll Çitaku and Nita Deda
  • 10:00 pm Trajal Harrell, Antigone Jr. +++


Ross Birrell is an artist, filmmaker, writer, and lecturer at the Glasgow School of Art. His work revolves around place, politics, poetry, and music. In collaboration with David Harding he has exhibited at Americas Society, New York (2010); Portikus, Frankfurt/Main (2011); Kunsthalle Basel (2014); and Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh (2015). His “Envoy” project of site-specific interventions has been exhibited internationally, including at the 4th Gwangju Biennale (2002), and as part of Romantic Conceptualism at Kunsthalle Nürnberg and the BAWAG Foundation, Vienna (2007), and was published in An Envoy Reader (2014).

Hendrik Folkerts, documenta 14 Curator, was curator of performance, film, and discursive programs at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam from 2010 until 2015. He studied art history at the University of Amsterdam, specializing in contemporary art and theory, feminist practices, and performance. From 2009 to 2011, Folkerts was coordinator of the curatorial program at De Appel Arts Centre in Amsterdam. His texts have been published in journals and magazines such as Artforum International, South as a State of Mind, Mousse Magazine, The Exhibitionist, Metropolis M, Art and the Public Sphere, and in various catalogues. Folkerts is co-editor of The Shadowfiles #3: Curatorial Education (2013), Facing Forward: Art & Theory from a Future Perspective (2014), and the journal Stedelijk Studies #3: The Place of Performance (2015). In October 2017, he will join the Art Institute of Chicago as Dittmer curator of modern and contemporary art.

Nita Deda is an artist working in Kosovo. Together with Yll Çitaku she produced the short film Nusja Jonë (Our bride, 2011), which most recently screened at the Brussels Short Film Festival in 2016. Since 2016 Deda has been the director of DokuFest.

Dimitris Ginosatis, PhD, has been teaching since 2009 to present as an adjunct assistant professor of philosophy and aesthetics at the “Digital Arts” postgraduate studies program of the Athens School of Fine Arts. His research and teaching activities have been oriented towards a form of interdisciplinary ontobioaesthetics—at the intersection of classical modern and contemporary continental philosophy, media ontology, second order cybernetics, and neurophenomenology—with special focus on the material biotechnocultural substrate that determines and shapes aesthetic-sensory perception, thinking, experiencing, and being-in-a-world. He has written on the subject of philosophy, aesthetics, and technical media and has delivered lectures in (inter)national academic conferences, symposia, as well as in workshops, seminars, and master classes (in collaboration with the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD), the University of the Aegean, the Ionian University, and other academic institutions). He has also translated thirteen books into Greek in the fields of twentieth century continental philosophy (J. Derrida, M. Foucault, S. Kofman, P. Klossowski), twentieth century contemporary art theory and aesthetics (N. Bourriaud), ethics and biotechnology (M. J. Sandel), and eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth century French literature (M. de Sade, G. de Maupassant, J. Tournier).

Natasha Ginwala is a curator, researcher, and writer. She is curator of the Contour Biennale 8 and curatorial advisor for documenta 14 (2017). Recent projects include My East is Your West featuring Shilpa Gupta and Rashid Rana at the 56th Venice Biennale; Still Against the Sky at KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, and Corruption…Everybody Knows with e-flux, New York within the framework of the SUPERCOMMUNITY project. Ginwala was a member of the artistic team for the 8th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art (with Juan A. Gaitán), has curated The Museum of Rhythm at the Taipei Biennial 2012 (with Anselm Franke) and at Muzeum Sztuki (with Daniel Muzyczuk). From 2013–15 she led the multi-part curatorial project Landings, with Vivian Ziherl, presented at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, David Roberts Art Foundation, NGBK (as part of the Tagore, Pedagogy, and Contemporary Visual Cultures network), the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and other partner organizations. Ginwala writes on contemporary art and visual culture in various periodicals and has contributed to numerous publications.

Guillermo Gómez-Peña is a performance artist, writer, activist, radical pedagogue, and the artistic director of the performance troupe La Pocha Nostra. Born in Mexico City, he moved to the US in 1978. His performance work and eleven books have contributed to the debates on cultural and gender diversity, border culture, and US-Mexico relations. His artwork has been presented at over nine hundred venues across the US, Canada, Latin America, Europe, Russia, South Africa, and Australia. A MacArthur Fellow, Bessie Award winner, and American Book Award winner, he is a regular contributor to newspapers and magazines in the US, Mexico, and Europe and a contributing editor to The Drama Review (NYU-MIT). Gómez-Peña is a senior fellow at the Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, a patron for the London-based Live Art Development Agency, and in 2012 he was named Samuel Hoi Fellow by United States Artists.

Jack Halberstam is a professor of English and gender studies at Columbia University. Jack is the author of six books including The Queer Art of Failure (2011) and the forthcoming Trans*: A Quick and Quirky Account of Gender Variability (2017). He is currently completing another book: On Wilderness.

Trajal Harrell came to visibility with the Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church series of works, which theoretically juxtaposed the voguing dance tradition with the early postmodern dance tradition. He is now considered to be one of the most important choreographers of the new generation. Harrell’s work has been presented in many American and international venues including The Kitchen (NYC), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), ICA Boston, REDCAT Theater (LA), ImPulsTanz (Vienna), Tanz im August (Berlin), and the Panorama Festival (Rio de Janeiro), among others. He has also shown performance work in visual art contexts including MoMA, MoMA PS1, Performa Biennial, Fondation Cartier (Paris), The New Museum (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Serralves Museum (Porto), The Barbican Centre (London), Centre Pompidou-Paris and Metz, and ICA Boston. His work Judson Church is Ringing in Harlem (Made-to-Measure)/Twenty Looks or Paris is Burning at The Judson Church (M2M), has the distinction of being the first dance commission by MoMA PS1. He has been awarded the Guggenheim Fellowship, The Doris Duke Impact Award, and a Bessie Award, among others. In 2016, he completed a two-year Annenberg Residency at MoMA, where he turned his attention to the work of Tatsumi Hijikata, the Japanese founder of Butoh dance. By looking at Butoh through voguing’s theoretical lens of “realness,” and modern dance through the theoretical lens of Butoh, Harrell is creating a number of works combining a speculative view of history and the archive with contemporary dance practice and composition. Most recently he has become known for Hoochie Koochie, the first survey (1999–2016) and performance exhibition of his work, presented by the Barbican Centre Art Gallery in London during July–August 2017.

Candice Hopkins, documenta 14 Curator, is originally from Whitehorse, Yukon and is a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation. Her writings on history, art, and vernacular architecture have been published widely, in journals including Mousse, Fillip Review, and by MIT Press, Black Dog Publishing, Revolver Press, New York University, and the National Museum of the American Indian, among others. Hopkins’ collaborative curatorial projects include the exhibitions Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art (2013), the National Gallery of Canada’s largest survey of recent Indigenous art co-curated with Greg Hill and Christine Lalonde, and Close Encounters: The Next 500 Years (2010), a multi-venue exhibition in Winnipeg, Canada on Indigenous futurisms co-curated with Steven Loft, Lee-Ann Martin, and Jenny Western. She is also co-editor of the books Recipes for an Encounter (2009) and Jimmie Durham: The Second Particle Wave Theory (2005). She is the recipient of the Prix pour un essai critique sur l’art contemporain 2016 from the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco for her essay “Outlawed Social Life,” in South as a State of Mind (2016).

Élisabeth Lebovici is trained as an art historian, practicing art critic, and was arts and culture editor at Libération, the French daily newspaper, for many years, while being involved in AIDS activism. Since 2006, she’s co-organized the seminar Something you should know : Artistes et praticiens aujourd’hui at the School for Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences (EHESS) in Paris. Her recent essay “Ce que le sida m’a fait. Art et activisme à la fin du XXè siècle” (What AIDS has done to me. Art and activism at the end of the 20th century) was published by JRP/Ringier, in the collection Lectures Maison Rouge (2017).

Catherine Malabou is a professor of philosophy at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP), Kingston University, UK. She also teaches part time at the University of California at Irvine. Her latest book is Before Tomorrow, Epigenesis and Rationality (2016).

Joar Nango is a Sami-Norwegian artist and architect that lives and work in Tromsø, Norway. Nango is particularly interested in the creative simplicity and the sustainable knowledge that exists within the informal building environments of the north. His projects are diverse, ranging from printed matter and photography to sculpture and small-scale architectural structures. He often works collaborativly. Since 2010, he has been working with the architectural collective FFB, specializing in temporary structures and interventions in urban contexts. Joar’s recent group shows include 43SNA in Medellin, Colombia (2013), Archizines at Storefront for Art and Architecture, New York (2012), and 20 under 40–Young Norwegian Architecture at the National Museum of Art, Design and Architecture, Oslo (2013). He has had individual exhibitions at SDG in Karasjok, Norway (2011), at Bildmuseet, Umeå (2014), and Western Front, Vancouver (2014).

Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung, PhD and documenta 14 Curator-at-Large, is an independent art curator and biotechnologist. He is founder and artistic director of the art space SAVVY Contemporary Berlin and editor-in-chief of SAVVY Journal for critical texts on contemporary African art. His recent curatorial projects include Unlearning the Given: Exercises in Demodernity and Decoloniality of Ideas and Knowledge, SAVVY Contemporary (2016); If You Are So Smart, Why Ain’t You Rich? Discursive Program–Wir Sind Alle Berliner: 1884–2014, Institute for Cultural Inquiry Berlin (2015); Satch Hoyt, Riding Celestial Vessels, Galerie Wedding, Berlin (2015); and Emeka Ogboh, No Food for Lazy Man, Galerie Wedding, Berlin (2015). He is co-curator of the year-long art project An Age of Our Own Making for Images, Holbæk, Roskilde, and Copenhagen (2016). Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung lives and works in Berlin.

Paul B. Preciado, documenta 14 Curator of Public Programs, is a philosopher, curator, and transgender activist, and one of the leading thinkers in the field of gender and sexual politics. He studied with Agnes Heller and Jacques Derrida at the New School for Social Research, and he holds a PhD in Philosophy and Theory of Architecture from Princeton University. His first book, Contra-Sexual Manifesto was acclaimed by French critics as “the red book of queer theory” and became a key reference for European queer and transgender activism. He is the author of Testo Junkie. Sex, Drugs, and Biopolitics (2013), and Pornotopia (2014), for which he was awarded the Sade Prize in France. He has served as head of research at the Macba, Barcelona, and director of its Independent Studies Program (PEI). He teaches Philosophy of the Body and Transfeminist Theory at Université Paris VIII-Saint Denis and at New York University. He has curated numerous exhibitions and interventions, such as The Postporn Marathon, Macba, Barcelona (2004); PornPunkFeminism, Arteleku, (2008); IM/MUNE, Emmetrop, (2011); Cuir International, MNCARS, Sofía (2011); The Beast and the Sovereign, Macba/Kunstverein Stuttgart (2015); and The Passion According to Carol Rama, IMMA/EMMA/MACBA/GAM, (2013–16).

Ibrahim Quraishi is a visual artist whose work encompasses different mediums, among them: photography, photo painting, video, film, and performance installation. Defined by a nomadic existence and dividing his time in multiple cities between Europe and the Middle East, Quraishi consciously examines the dynamics of migration, dispossession, and cohabitation within the highly rigid socio-political spheres of imagined communities inside the contours of the visual arts context, while freely playing with the tensions between the complexity of the real and our longing for simplicity. Quraishi’s primary interest is in the exploration and an understanding of visual performativity and its relationship to the broader cultural perspectives. Quraishi’s research is rooted in an experiential search for “otherings,” concerning shifts between accepted citizens and non-citizens in our surveillance-driven culture. Quraishi has created site-specific works for spaces and institutions across the globe like, including Museo Nacional de Arte, Mexico City; Kochi-Muziris Biennale, Kerala, India; X Baltic Triennial, Vilnius; National Museum of Singapore; 4th International Biennale of Modern Art, Baku; Japan Foundation, Tokyo; Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art; Asia Society, New York; Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; Africa Centre, Cape Town; SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin; BAM, New York; Biennale Interferences: 2eme Festival d’Arts Multimédia, Belfort; Dutch Cultural Center; EXPO 2010, Shanghai; and Künstlerhaus Mousonturm, Frankfurt.

Roee Rosen—painter, novelist, and filmmaker—is an astute critical voice in Israel. While his work deals primarily with the representation of desire and structural violence, Rosen, born in 1963, has created an artistic universe that treacherously undermines the normative implications of identities and identifications through fictionalization, irony, and revision. In untold variations, he typically links current Israeli and world politics with mythical and political references to European and Jewish history. Using a vast array of fictional characters and iconographic motifs and codes, Rosen frequently refers to, and transforms, not only the canon of the historical avant-garde and transgressive traditions from the Marquis de Sade to Georges Bataille, but also popular media, political propaganda, and classic children’s fairy tales.

Dim Sampaio is a painter and visual artist. Born in a small village in Piaui, a northern region of Brazil, he is now living in Bologna. After a number of solo exhibitions in Italian cities, in 2003 he was invited to take part in the Biennale of Contemporary Arts in Cairo. Recently his works have been exhibited in Paris’s Petit Palais, at the Pinacoteca Giovanni da Gaeta, and La Pinacoteca Comunale di Città di Castello.

Adam Szymczyk is the Artistic Director of documenta 14. He was a co-founder of the Foksal Gallery Foundation in Warsaw, where he worked as curator from 1997 until 2003, when he assumed his new post as director at Kunsthalle Basel, Switzerland. In 2008, with Elena Filipovic, he co-curated the 5th Berlin Biennial for Contemporary Art under the title When Things Cast No Shadow and in 2012 he curated Olinka, or Where Movement Is Created at Museo Tamayo in Mexico City. He is a Member of the Board of the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw. In 2011, he was recipient of the Walter Hopps Award for Curatorial Achievement at the Menil Foundation in Houston.

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