PAF SPRING MEETING 2018: What is the art I would like to see before I can see it? ** 31/3-8/4 **

For Spring Meeting 2018, we are inviting artists, art theorists and critics to unfold their poetics through presenting and discussing their work. As we understand it here, poetics entails the ability to imagine a future and entertain the question, “What is the art I would like to see before I can see it?” While regarding art in terms of artistic practice privileges the work of the artist and their subjectivity, thinking art through poetics focuses on the object of work: the making and producing of a work of art. We would like to steal this Easter to work on the genetic power of such thought, feeling, sensing, imagining, feigning and hesitating from which art arises parallel to this world.

The pressure that social and political crises exert on artists, who expect themselves, or are expected, to provide models or solutions, leaves even less space to imagine and project into a future the art that one dreams of seeing, without knowing how to make it, or whether the endeavor would be feasible at all. The problem is temporal: imagination is orientated towards the future. “No future” and no history for long-term projection of alternatives is the bitter message of neoliberal reforms, and presentism is its social mood, an experience of time in which only the present is ‘real’.

What depletes our desire to imagine ‘why art now’? Perhaps the fact that we are less and less often thinking it with other people, as we are left as individuals in our corners to navigate the art market. What must we do and imagine to get closer to the question: and where is the fire? (borrowed from Time Bombs, film by BADco.)

Against the predicament that there is no interest and no time left to engage with art or for critical thinking through the arts, we would like to take a week (March 31st-April 8th) for watching, listening, and talking with artists, theatermakers, choreographers and dancers, poets, art theorists, and critics, across a variety of formats—presentations, showing performances, screenings, listening, discussion, and whatever else is brought to the table. So far we have eight confirmed guests to help us initiate this process, and expect a few more by March.

Diedrich Diederichsen, writer, curator and editor of German music journals like the famous Spex, will unravel his research on the German writer, ethnographer, poet and journalist Hubert Fichte (“The gay critic and non-Western art: the dialectics of travel and discovery – The case of Hubert Fichte and his fellow travelers: Leonore Mau, Jean Genet, Pierre Verger, Maya Deren and many others”). Taking Fichte’s books as a basis for a series of exhibitions in Lisbon, Salvador de Bahia, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Dakar and New York, Diederichsen will explore “a kind of self-reflexive, openly sexualized ethnography; a concept of socialism; an idea of African psychiatry; an idea of Afro-American religion; an idea of non-Western art; “aesthetics of poverty” (Glauber Rocha), “gayification of the world” (Fichte), tourism – and other issues through Fichte’s dialectics of travel and discovery.

The work of Mette Edvardsen is situated within the performing arts field as a choreographer and performer. Although some of her works explore other media or other formats, such as video, books and writing, her interest is always in their relationship to the performing arts as a practice and a situation. With a base in Brussels since 1996 she has worked for several years as a dancer and performer for a number of companies and projects, and develops her own work since 2002. Edvardsen will discuss the ideas and problems in the making of her recent performances (Black, No Title, We to be, Oslo, 2011-17), as well as her long-term project of living books Time Has Fallen Asleep In The Afternoon Sunshine (since 2010).

Tristan Garcia, philosopher, essayist and writer of several novels (La meilleure part des hommes, Prix Goncourt du premier roman, among other awarded books) will present his latest novel project Histoire de la Souffrance. This long epic (in three volumes of which he has completed the first one) is set in multiples times, at least 24 different places and eras, as the continuing story of four souls, identified through colors (red, blue, green, yellow) under different names, being sometimes men, sometimes women, sometimes human, sometimes non-human, young, old, always dominated and trying to emancipate. Although there is no transmigration of the souls, something is passing through the narrative flux from one character to another, and it will be obvious for the reader that something started by a horse sacrificed in India, under Samudragupta, will be achieved by a young girl in Yamato, two centuries later. Garcia will give a glimpse of this epic of the vanquished, and why he is still struggling with it.

Stephan Geene and Elfe Brandenburger are film makers, artists and writers who will join the meeting as members of the collective performance/theater-project minimal club which they worked on during the 1980s and 1990s. Brandenburger, Geene and Sabeth Buchmann , its founding members, started to re-work the texts, videos, plays, and exhibitions, i.e. to examine its pre-conditions, taking into account the time-lapse between. .e.g. , 1990 und 2018. The 'subject' for PAF is the object in its dimension of obstacle, thing, and its state of being produced, commodity: "den besitz an sich selbst als produkt formulieren" ... "describing the possession of oneself as commodity".

Hannah Hurtzig is a dramaturge and curator who has developed several series of large scale public assemblies and installations in which discourses of experts, activists and amateurs cross paths on vexed problems of modernity. After an extensive career in German theater (director of Kampnagel in Hamburg 1985-89, Theater Der Welt in Dresden 1996, Bonner Bienale 1998, dramaturge in Volksbuehne Berlin 2002-05), Hurtzig started Mobile Academy (since 1999) as a platform of research projects that investigate topics in relation to different cities worldwide and their specific contexts, changing collaborators, and varying formats. These include Blackmarket for Useful Knowledge and Non-knowledge (more than a dozen of editions since 2005), Archive of the Undead (2011), and The Milieu of the Dead (since 2013). Hurtzig will address questions and doubts from her current research.

Nikolina Pristaš, dancer, choreographer, co-founding member of the Zagreb-based performing arts collective BADco, will present the principal choreographic and dance propositions of the works she composed with BADco. Her talk will include an analysis and dance demonstrations of the logic of antibodies (Changes 2010), performing choreographic notes, work with the divided attention and montage (Fleshdance 2004), serialization (Semi-Interpretations or how to explain contemporary dance to an undead hare 2007), composite and the choreographic unconscious. Nikolina will also present a dance performance during this week.

Goran Sergej Pristaš, theatermaker, dramaturge and co-founding member of the Zagreb-based performing arts collective BADco, will present his recent research into the poetics of “looking from within the matter.” In place of programming a participatory spectatorship, this poetics focuses on looking from the viewpoint of production and encounter in performance, as it unfolds the exploded view, the view that implies displacements of the spectator’s vantage point, awareness and extension of the situation of looking in the apparatuses and technologies of watching and representation in the performances of BADco. The session will include the screening of Badco’s recent film Time Bombs (2018).

The fees are as usual: 18€ per night for the rooms – assuming a stay of 5 nights or more, 4 nights or less is 20€ per night - and 12€ for yearly membership. We will prepare food collectively, with a hand from all participants, at a cost of 11€ per day, for three meals a day. We can only accept payments in cash or French cheques, so please bring one or the other along (there is an ATM in the village).

PAF gets very full these days, sometimes overly so. As such, please book early, and in the event that the building fills up we give preferences to bookings from those who wish to stay for the whole 7 day period. The first session will begin in the evening of the 31st. The 8th will be a day for departure.

Reservations at