WATER HISTORIES: A CASE STUDY OF THE BLACK SEA
21/09/2023 — 21/10/2023
Critical Moves: Research Residency and Mentorship
17/10/2023 — 21/10/2020
School of Kindness #3
Returning for its third edition, School of Kindness will take place from 17 – 21 October in Varna, Bulgaria in the framework of Water Histories: A Case Study of the Black Sea — a new, long-term, transnational research project that situates itself between Europe and Eurasia, across different locations (shores) along the “big round lake” that is the Black Sea.
After “kindness” (2021) and “the barbarian” (2022), in the upcoming editions the mythical yet underrepresented Black Sea will be the epicentre of our curriculum seen through the lens of migration, geopolitics, ecology and climate change. The curriculum connects several thematic topics such as territorial behaviours and water borders; (post-socialist) trade and migration; extraction and environmental injustice; aquatic life and meteorology. Not only to show that these topics are indeed related but also that they weave a web that affects human and nonhuman lives alike, both on and offshore.
Water Histories: A Case Study of the Black Sea invests in histories and narratives across waters as opposed to land, to disclose forms of cultural lineage via water that oppose the dominant narratives on how we approach geography. Research and fieldwork will be combined with performative action in locally embedded programmes/curricula, exploring the relationship between geopolitical, cultural and ecological dimensions of water. Deeply ingrained in different mythologies, water is crucial for all life, central to secular and religious cultures alike and the binding theme of our activities.
School of Kindness 2023 will take place in the Asparuhovo district of Varna, whose port and shore will be a site for connecting, exploring, learning and presenting. Participants will engage in a five-day programme of practical and theoretical experimentation – in the form of seminars and conversations, reading and writing, (body) workshops, walking, cooking and swimming (weather allowing) under the guidance of our team and four invited mentors.
Jonn Gale: London-based, queer, Bulgarian-Nigerian ethnobotanist working across botanical collections of material archives to ask questions regarding the role played by plants in imperial and colonial histories. Their current PhD research investigates the contribution of Black and Indigenous collectors and naturalists to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century natural knowledge;
Youssef El Idrissi: self-taught artist, researcher and cultural worker based in Casablanca. Founder of the collective Kounaktif, his work focuses on the decolonisation of imaginaries and the relationship between psyche and space, technology and living beings, errors and symbiosis. He is currently leading research on the geopolitics and poetics of water;
Petja Ivanova: Bulgarian-born, Berlin-based artist, lecturer and performer whose practice is framed by her Studio for Poetic Futures and Speculative Ecologies. Seeking to overcome the linear and binary thinking that technology carries, she introduces poetic, emotional, mycelial and psychic relations to the living world through computational art;
Constant Léon: Brussels-based, queer sound artist, aspiring writer and co-creator of Jouïr podcast, a feminist oral archive on intimacies in Marseille, France. Since 2018 he/they have been based in Armenia as a reporter working on geopolitics and environment.
Silvia Iliyanova Koeva Popova
SCHOOL OF KINDNESS
16/09/2022 — 25/09/2022
Mom, Am I Barbarian?
— Dedicated to Fulya Erdemci (1962-2022)
While the first edition of the School of Kindness (2021) was targeted towards unpacking the multifaceted understanding of ‘kindness,’ the second edition will focus on the notion of (the) ‘barbarian’ (arguably, two sides of the same coin).
We understand the concept of the ‘barbarian’ as someone (something) who both doesn’t meet and exceeds dominant social, cultural, or juridical norms. The aim is to delve deeper into issues of inclusion and exclusion, of citizenship and rights, of homeland, heritage and otherness.
To even pose the dialectic is to address a ‘clash of civilisations’ of sorts – between west and non-west; between classes; religions; between culture and nature; human and non-human; ownership and debt.
Subtitled Mom, Am I Barbarian?, the second edition of the School of Kindness (literally so) takes the title of the 13th Istanbul Biennial (2013) curated by the late Fulya Erdemci, who borrowed it from the eponymous book by Turkish poet Lale Müldür. Coming from the Ancient Greek βάρβαρος (‘foreigner/stranger’) ‘barbarian’ was the antonym of ‘citizen’. For her biennial, Erdemci evoked the concept of ‘barbarian’ to ask what it means to be a good citizen today.
We will take up on that question, to emphasise the relevance and urgency of it today – and to even bring it to the question what does citizenship mean today, and who acquires it?
The curriculum for the second edition of the school will explore notions of Turkish (Ottoman) heritage – often referred to as a ‘contested cultural heritage’ – and remains in Bulgaria, including atrocities against Bulgarian Turks (and other minorities) before, throughout and after socialist times; as well as connect with (Bulgarian)-Turkish diaspora in Europe. This will be not the explicit theme of the school but rather a field of attention.
Slavka Karakusheva and Ivo Strahilov
Anna Lounguine and Lisette Smits
Kevin Kusal Dewasurendra (KUSAL)
Casper Innes Grub/Spirit Doll
Mariya (Masha) Gyurova
Elif Satanaya Özbay
Laura Sofie Riedl
Kiki Elize van Zanten
SCHOOL OF KINDNESS
23/06/2021 — 07/07/2021