How do we make space for time?

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If there is no church in the wild, if there is study rather than knowledge production, if there is a way of being together in brokenness, if there is an undercommons, then we must all find our way to it. – Jack Halberstam
We invite you to join us in the break! For one night, we will occupy space, take possession of time, and think about what it means to ‘be with’ each other. Through a score of discussion and silence, activity and play, we will collectively make space for time and co-create a new institution*.
Is there something you wish you had more time for? Gazing at clouds, fly-fishing, cat stroking, laughing? Bring an object or idea to contribute to a playful potluck of unproductive activities and everyday expertise.

The Institute of Killing Time is a new (anti)-institute for the experimental study and exploration of time. This inaugural event is part of Antiuniversity Now 2017.

Do join us! Book your place on Eventbrite.

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How to close an institution

The absence is justified, I promise. I’m currently finishing chapter four of the thesis. It has been a fascinating journey. I immersed myself in the extraordinary practice of Giuliano Scabia and Compagnia della Fortezza and I had the opportunity  to finally study Italian anti-psychiatry with the necessary attention. Of all the incredible intellectual and political practice developed in Italy between the 1960s and the 1970s, anti-psychiatry is one of the richest, and undoubtedly one of the movements that radically changed the face of Italian society.

Here is John Foot’s beautiful, short introduction to the work of Franco Basaglia. Enjoy!

Constellations

There was a certain thematic unity in the way the Monday session developed. Seminars, discussions and lectures somehow seemed to shed light on one another in unexpected ways.
From our Theatre and Democracy seminar with Bernadette Mayler, to the dissertation workshop with David Kornhaber, and Freddie Rokem’s lecture at the end of the day, we kept finding, discussing and analysing images from Bertolt Brecht’s exile. Brecht and Margarete Steffin working on The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; Brecht playing chess with Walter Benjamin in Svendborg; Brecht far from the theatre where he belonged, with writing alone to voice his frustration. These images kept floating around us all day long, every time we looked at them we discovered something new, not only about B.B., but also about the remarkable circle of intellectuals and artists that gathered in Svendborg between 1933 and 1939, the six years between Hitler’s “resistible rise” to power and the abyss of WWII.
The images triggered some of the most fascinating discussions of the summer school about the nature of artistic collaboration, political commitment and resistance.

With Freddie Rokem we talked again about Brecht’s exile, but also about dramatic writing and practice (Weigel as the author of Courage), and we stopped to reflect upon the relationship between dramaturgy, interpretation and adaptation. “Dramaturgy is about changing the rules of the game as you go along”, says Freddie Rokem, it’s a hermeneutic process that exploits the aporias in the text, it displaces signs to create new meaning.

One image seems to stand out among the others, a synthesis of our reflections on text and dramaturgy, war and exile, collaboration and creation. A dialectical image? The aesthetic embodiment of dialectics at a standstill? Courage lugging her cart endlessly around the revolving stage, strenuously marching against the course of history.

Bodies

The first week of the Mellon School closed with a heated discussion on corporate bodies, body politic, and gender. Henry Turner’s lecture on Thursday attempted to articulate a concept of corporation and of the corporate body that goes beyond the current legal meaning of the term and takes us back to the early-modern connotations of the term. We can, therefore, conceive the corporation as an entity “distinct from the sum of its parts”, and yet “coincident with its parts”. Guilds, universities, unions, fraternities, and, certainly, theatre troupes, do share the characteristics of corporate bodies. Membership implies a series of duties, privileges, responsibilities, and a share of the profit, all elements we can recognise, for instance, in The King’s Men and in other troupes of Renaissance England.

The latin corporatus derives from corpore, “body”, and yet, what is left of real bodies within the corporate body? What is left of plurality, difference, agency? Is it productive to conflate radically different types of associations, collectives, and social and economic groups under the umbrella term of “corporation”?  Where does it lead us? I have the feeling that the terms “corporation” and “corporate body” are too strongly linked to a very specific legal vocabulary to be of any use to the humanities or to political theory. Turner stated that a wider concept of corporate body would entail an all-encompassing entity that goes beyond gender, class, and race, an argument which triggered a dense and productive debate. However, noble as it is, such a concept crumbles down when measured against history. Most institutions and organisations that claimed to be beyond class, race, and gender, are in fact tailored on the necessities and agendas of white, bourgeois or aristocratic, heterosexual males. As feminist thinkers reminded us, even philosophy is male:

[M]an, the subject who reigned over discourse, universalizing and making absolute the partiality of his sex, also included and assimilated me. Man spoke and thought also for my sex, an absent and unrepresented sex, yet included in that male-neutral subject. (Cavarero, “The need for a sexed thought”, in Bono and Kemp, Italian Feminist Thought: A Reader. p.183)
There is a certain epistemological violence in much of Western philosophical tradition which for centuries smuggled an allegedly singular, universal, neuter and disembodied self, banishing difference and corporeality from discourse. Sometimes we still fall into this trap. It’s subtle, and it entices us with promises of equality, freedom, and justice.