DHO / TIKUN – on reparation & celebration

11th of June 2024, at Beursschouwburg, Brussels.

School Of Love and guests
A travel through collective reflections, rituals, readings, performances.

We dont necessarily need new celebrations, we want to repair existing ones.

On this occassion, it will colide with the jewish celebration TIKUN where the night is dedicated to collective studying that engages with the notion of Repair. The traditional Tikun will be actualised during the Deep Hanging Out as an invitation to give attention to what asks for repair today.  How to repair  – not by pairing that which is broken back to its past state, but as a way to re-visit, re-new and prepare the present we would like to live in. 

The night will unfold through several acts, each exploring the interdependencies within, between and around our bodies,  shared across the cultural backgrounds and singularities of those present at the celebration.  SOL aims to welcome you into an inclusive environment away from cultural or religious dominance and specifically to claim space for the jewish tradition apart from its appropriation by zionism. 

Togethermess #2 – Tools

STORY TELLING

We can imagine and create ourselves and our kinships through narrating stories. Telling new stories and re-narrating old ones takes us beyond what we already know about the world. Balancing our stories between fictive and lived experience, we can widen our view of what and who constitutes our kin. We can enact storytelling through:

  • ➔  building constellation of our kin elements
  • ➔  refiguring the stories that we have lost
  • ➔  thinking about our extended more-than-human families
  • ➔  expanding and re-inventing ourselves and our connective possibilities in the human and

VISUALIZING AND MATERIALIZING

We can use different forms of material expression to explore and visualize anew how we connect with each other and with the world. Such expressions can take form of:

  • ➔  collective clay sculptures
  • ➔  re-creations of family fridgedrawings
  • ➔  inventive mappings of ourcircles of support
  • ➔  drawings of ourselves asfictional characters (such as seaslugs)
  • ➔  diaries of diasporic kinshipdrawings
  • ➔  visual lists ourmore-than-human kin relations (with dogs, mountains, insects, trees, etc.)

RE-WORDING

To deconstruct what we know about families, we have to re-invent a new vocabulary. How can we call new kinship roles that do not yet exist ? For each new kisnhsiprole, we need to define:

  • ➔  an etymology
  • ➔  social characteristics
  • ➔  the needs that it responds to
  • ➔  how it connects to otherkinship roles
    To truly liberate ourselves from oppressive family formats, we have to be careful not to reproduce established systems of power as we engag

ELECTRO MAGNETIC FIELD (EMF) DISCHARGING MATS

These devices enable the de-charging of bodies and body-systems from excess electrical charge (accumulated due to over exposure to EMFs), as a stand point to create fields of potentials where affiliations with the human and more-than-human kin can occur.

BREAKING DOWN EVERYDAY RITUALS

Kinship is something we do, not something we are. To imagine new kinship possibilities we must break down our everyday family rituals to see them for what they are – quotidian practices made from things we say, gestures we perform and objects we carry and use. By mixing and playing around with these elements, we can begin to de-familiarize with what we have learned to perceive as “normal” and reimagine new ways to make “weird” affinities.

In a group of people, ask everyone to note on color-categorized papers:

  • ➔  a phrase a relative of theirs usuallysays
  • ➔  an action or gesture another relativeusually performs
  • ➔  a piece of clothing or object a thirdrelative usually uses or carries around Fold and mix the pieces of paper and invite everyone to randomly pick up one from each category. Use these as instructions to perform new uncommon family roles among your group.

REIMAGINING THE LAW

We need to revisit the law of kinship to allow alternative kin families to be recognized, enjoy equal rights and be protected in our societies. After reading current international, transnational and national human rights law, note down what is missing and what is problematic in them. Can your notes be reordered to form new legal articles? Have a go.

WALKING AND TALKING

Walking in pairs allows us to create a space for intimate conversations. Walking sets a tempo in our bodies, for sharing kinship narrations. Walks and talks can be orchestrated under a score of questions such as:

  • ➔  how do you connect tokinship?
  • ➔  can you remember the lasttime you felt a sense of kinship with someone who is not part of your “immediate” family?
  • ➔  what does love in a kin families means to you?

GRIEVING CIRCLE

Any process of transformation embodies grief in it. Embracing the loss of a desire makes space for new realities. We can grief what we have lost, that which has never been given to us, or a longing for something we might never experience. To be able to imagine and navigate new kinship and family models, it is helpful to generate a space within and around us where we care for our emotional discomforts.This is an invitation to create your own ceremony, using the transformative power of water and the voice as a healing tool:

  • ➔  be surrounded and witnessed by your choice of kin while shedding your tears
  • ➔  give everyone a bowl of water to talk to as you would talk to your dearest friend, the one that listens best
  • ➔  pour the water in a collective vessel placed in the middle of the circle, when filled with grief, weep to it as if you would weep if you would never have told to be quiet (don’t hold back) and then sing to it as if you would sing a newborn baby to sleep
  • ➔  empty the vessel in a location where water flows naturally

SOMATIC EXPLORATION OF CARE RELATIONS

Play is a form of care for the world and for each other. We share this play in the form a simple score we can either play together, you and us, or that we can guide you through, one or more couples at a time. Perhaps you’ve already done this in other contexts. It’s pretty straightforward, but offers a lot of stuff for thought regarding the roles in a caregiving relation whether mutually between humans, or between humans and more than humans. Our invitation is to study-play together. Today we are students of Body-Mind Centering (BMC), what do you play-study? BMC is an somatic approach to learning, living and knowledge making. Developed by Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen in exchange with many practitioners of a wide variety of somatic quests, including Contact Improvisation, Authentic Movement, several East- and South-East Asian body-mind traditions, such as Yoga and Qui Gong, it has occasioned relations between those somatic practices that could be seen as relations between kin in a loving spirit. BMC is taught as a tool for facilitating and learning to live together with difference, based on what each of us can discover through and in the body and the mind, as creatures always in movement and endlessly developing.

FAKE THERAPY
Developed by Valentina Desideri

This is a practice between two people that stimulates and reactivates the sometimes hidden capacities of anyone to heal someone (or something) else. It is an autonomous practice of disciplinary origin and rejects expertise or any mode of knowing-authority. Perceiving care as central in the formation of kinships, we invite you to employ this method to examine new balances of care-giving and care-receiving.

CIRCLES OF SUPPORT
Developed by Judith Snow & Marsha Forest

A circle of support is a way of connecting a person with a disability to their community. A group of people, who are known to the person with a disability, is established to support the person to identify things they would like to achieve or alter in their life.

Togethermess #2 – Testimonie

VIOLENCE OF REPRODUCTION (1)

Description: Biological Conception
Question: What’s the difference between desiring conception and the societal expectations around conception?

Prompt: Invitation to talk more about your more-than-human kin Keyword: Resilience

VIOLENCE OF REPRODUCTION (2)

Description: Intersex Realities
Question: To what extent are you aware of the lived realities of intersex people? Prompt: Invitation to open this topic in a way that feels good to you.Keyword: The third body

VIOLENCE OF REPRODUCTION (3)

Description: Medical Intervention
Question: In what ways do gender, class and one’s family makeup determine (or impact) participation/experience within the medical system?

Prompt: Invitation to discuss the violences inherent in the medical system in relation to foster-parenting, physician-assisted insemination, egg-freezing and bedside manner.

Keyword: Grief

FAMILY CONSTELLATIONS (1)

Description: Patriarchal Lineages
Question: How can living outside of one’s cultural context inform the ways we reflect on preexisting family structures?

Prompt: You are invited to share a personal story related to femininity and home.

Keyword: Emergency

FAMILY CONSTELLATIONS (2)

Description: Queer(ing) Life Experiences Question: What could be the important aspect of communication to maintain healthy relations within a family with many parents?

Prompt: Propose ways to include the communication process that unify the feeling of belongingKeywords: Construction, Intensity

FAMILY CONSTELLATIONS (3)

Description: Kinship within unjust systems
Question: What could be the tools and methods to realize ongoing injustices and position of imbalances in a dysfunctioning kinship? Prompt: Invitation to discuss ways to debunk the blanket of inequalities between partners and methods to neutralize them. Keyword: Unraveling

Togethermess #2 – Potential

THE KIN AGENCY

We had the chance to interview a person growing up in a household with two mothers, a father, and a brother from birth. At the age of ten, the person added a 50 year old aunt to their kin family. It became evident that the practice of queering was learned from childhood onwards through transparent communication about needs and how to meet them, which formed a backbone for their own queering agency, enabling them to have a self-selected kin family through marriage, care, sex work and more.
Among other testimonies, this story gave us the vision of a kinship agency in all its possible queer facets. We envision the agency as a platform (online/physical) providing practical information for creating, sustaining, and supporting new lived forms of kinship. A community of people who help create contractual agreements for co-parenting, connecting single parents to new kinship, mediating conflicts in co-parenting, separation, moving out and links in many other ways.

A THEATER PLAY
Limb brain meditation

An absurd, poetic, and disturbing theater play between three characters living in the same body. Reptilian is very reactive, impulsive and sometimes aggressive, Limbic is naturally emotional, particularly sensitive and sociable, and Neocortex favors reflection, respecting logic and reasoning. Together, this inner kinship family regularly enters into conversation, trying to mediate different topics within their household.

A PROPOSAL TO THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION

First draft of a proposal to the Ministry of Education around a development of a new subject to be taught in schools.

We think of a subject that will focus on well-being and growing social, political, environmental and body awareness based on love as a form of engagement. Love carries qualities of embodied attention and emotional availability, it’s more than a feeling, actively practiced it becomes a choice, an intention that therefore influences how we are present and how we act in the world.

QUEER KINSHIP
The sequel

Coming together as a group of people who all in their own way are looking for alternative kinship filled a gap in the lives of the participants. Feeling enriched, empowered and thankful, full of joy and trust after spending a workweek together, we feel the desire to continue exploring this theme and the possibility of forming a collective of people. Because we believe we just lit the fire and there’s much more burning to do, the next invitation is to go to the countryside for another week of together-mess and join a next laboratory. Within this idea, the first experimental proposal that surfaces is the willingness to embody 15 collectively depicted queer kinship roles, during the durational run of our stay, and investigate where this family constellation would take us.

AN APP TO SUPPORT ALTERNATIVE PREGNANCY PROCESSES

When discussing experiences with reproduction systems, participants shared having to deal with feelings of shame, failure, disempowerment and lack of agency confronted with the patriarchal, sexist elements of the hospital environment. Feeling a desire to support each other, our bodies and a wider group of people having to face these challenges, we dream of creating an application offering body-based exercises and natural supplements to support the violent medical treatments we have to undergo in our endeavors into reproductive practices. On the other hand we want to gather and distribute information about care facilities and commonly used protocols.

IN THE MAKING
A game

Games are spaces where the regular order of reality is suspended so we can invent roles, rules, and structures to imagine true transformations. By playing games in which we designed new kin family models and relations between the roles, we explored what emotions, thoughts and spaces are enabled through moments of fictional family making.

Togethermess #2 – Ideas

THE TRICKSTER

We want to create new realities, new family roles, new terminologies — but we wonder whether we are fooling ourselves to believe that we are able to think beyond what we are conditioned by. Would we not fall into the trap of replicating a similar reality to the one we want to emancipate from? Is there a risk that establishing kin relations might produce new power positions that would, again, put the precarious people

LAW, LOVE, KINETICS AND GENETICS

A brief and non-expert look into family laws articulated in UN, EU and Belgian juridical documents was enough for us to realise that laws that protect kin relations are missing. We acknowledged that in order to get there, a new articulation of what the law refers to as the notion of “family” and “human” is unavoidable and urgent. We affiliate with those who see the human as always more than human, and family as kinetic and not merely genetic. As the law system allows itself to even judge what true love is, we dream that in an ideal kin constitution, the definition of love would include the loves that we find in political marriage — love as a redistribution of one’s privileges, and love that invites the other in, in order to undo us.

THE AUNTIES REVOLUTION

In almost every nuclear family there is an aunt. Aunts can connect to the family through endless possibilities of relations. It’s a figure that can potentially queer the character of relations within the family and that brings the family world in contact with other worlds. We are all potential aunties, of our potential kin families. Aunting is a practice that can sustain communities. Aunting roles are to be invented, practiced, emerged and experimented with through care. We might even need to let go of the nuclear family terminology in order to imagine new roles and relations that can constitute a kin family. Let us welcome some kin family roles into the world — the Batista, the Farterre, the Dingma, the Starsty, the Em-CEE. May you multiply and diversify as much as the realities we all want to create and commit to!

WE WANT TO FAMILY THE RIVER, THE STONE, THE SNAKE AND THE OLD SPIRIT

If we kin, then we kin and co-exist with our tangible and intangible relations. We water the growing tree in our garden, as much as a mother waters her child… Whether we are mothering or mattering or monstering, we want to live within the more. The more than human, the more availability to nourish bonds and to generate affiliations. The more transpersonal care and dedication given to all the micro-macro cosmic, organic, virtual, subjectivities that surround us and that are in us. We want to celebrate des-acceleration, maintenance and transformation, we want to honor and embody the multidimensional colors and winds of the visible and invisible sounds of entangled matter/s.

CRIP KINSHIP

A Crip definition of kinship expands on the connectedness to everything in and outside of one’s body. Including wheelchairs, guide dogs, urban and rural environments and so on, into a common ground that makes all these agents interdependent, within networks of mutual support across species and things. This alliance messes up with the linear and efficient time we often try to live by and brings us to experience the otherwiseness of the dominant reality and temporality. The solidarity, which this context raises, invites us to reclaim the flexibility of being together, establish collective universal access and practice multisensory translation, no matter inwhich circumstances or atmospheric conditions we find ourselves in.

COLDER THAN FREEZING
The violence of reproduction systems

The speculum is fucking unfriendly, scary and painful… 35+ who desire to become mothers are often treated as sick and in need of medical treatment. Pregnancy for some of us means a purely clinical experience, where the process of achieving the scientific goal excludes a dialogue or consideration of the emotional context that gave birth to the desire for a pregnancy. Many women gave up the process due to the effect of hormones they had to induce, because of precarious and lonely economical difficulties, or because of being treated as if they are an outcast and non-normative. We ask ourselves: Does IVF speak of a technology that is not fully developed? Could women benefit from a more researched treatment that considers the well being of their body with more care? How can the body that carries the baby not be instrumentalized in pharmacopornografic era technologies, and in profit making treatments?

HUMAN RIGHTS FAMILY LAW (1)

European Convention on Human Rights – Article 8

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence.
2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security, public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

HUMAN RIGHTS FAMILY LAW (2)

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Preamble: Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world…

Article 16.3: The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.

Deep Hanging Out – Kin families

A public event hosted by School Of love.

Wednesday, April 24th
19:00 – 22:00
KC BUDA, Kortrijk

(in front of the cinema)

Please make reservation : lien@buda.be

Join us for an Informal Potluck Dinner Discussion on Kinship and Kin Families.
School of Love (SOL) invites you to for a taste of Togethermess, a week long laboratory of arts and life practices on kinship and kin families.

We will gather around the table to engage in an informal exchange of ideas, stories, and insights. Whether you’re an expert on the topic or simply curious about the diversity of kinship expressions and forms of families, your presence and perspective are valuable.

This dinner event offers a unique opportunity to connect with friends and strangers, share personal anecdotes, and explore the multifaceted aspects of kinship bonds. Through our collective dialogue, we aim to deepen our understanding and foster a sense of community around this enriching topic.
Please bring a vegetarian dish to share and/or a drink.

“Do it Together” – contribution to the publication ‘STADSATELIER – 10 years of artistic practices in and with the city’.

September 2023, Viernulvier, Gent


The publication STADSATELIER – 10 years of artistic practices in and with the city gathers a series of reflections on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of STADSATELIER.

SOL contributed with a score within the chapter : Do it together: How to end a project, or how to round up

STADSATELIER by VIERNULVIER supports artists, collectives, and partner organizations invested in social commitment, human interaction and co-creation strategies. It focuses on the city itself as the working environment.

The publication is available in Dutch and English at VIERNULVIER ticket desk or during one of the STADSATELIER-activities.

Contributors: Peter Aers, Simon Allemeersch, Rasa Alksnyte, May Abnet, CAMPUSatelier, Evelyne Coussens, Maria-Lucia Cruz Correia, Marieke De Munck, Elly van Eeghem, Samah Hijiwai, Sarah Késenne, Menzo Kircz, Bauke Lievens, Christophe Meierhans, Chiara Organtini, Elien Ronse, Maarten Soete, Robin Van Besien, Kunstenplatform PLAN B, Kunsthal Gent, de Koer, KASK Projectweek, Manoeuvre, Rest for the Wicked, Robbert & Frank Frank & Robbert and School of Love.


DHO / the archive we live in

15 June, La vieille Chéchette, Brussels

Laura Oriol, one of the core members of School Of Love, initiates a participatory project in June 2023 named the archive we live in.

The archive we live in is a participatory project which builds an audio archive of people’s stories, anecdotes and testimonies. In support of La Vieille Chechette’s mission, the archive focuses on stories of struggles and resistance.

SOL invited participants inside her project with a proposal of a deep handing out focused on political struggles and acts of resistance within the intimate sphere. Invited to share a story, record it and contribute to the archive.

Together-mess 01 – A loving take on undoing, ‘caretorship’ and collectivity

24 – 29 April 2023, CIFAS, La Bellone, Brussels

For this first edition of Together-mess, we wanted to begin with a topic we hold dear and that has been inspiring School Of Love from the very beginning: ‘love as the willingness to come undone.’ As Judith Butler expressed in ‘Giving an Account on Oneself,’ ‘when our willingness to become undone in relation to others constitutes our chances of becoming human.’

We organized a six days workshop where 7 invited artists and/or activists were hosted by School of Love and CIFAS at La Bellone. Were present : Olga Bientz, Roger Fähndrich, Nicolas Galeazzi, Mathieu Hebert, Miko Hucko, Ophélie Mac, Laura Oriol, Tizana Penna, Martina Petrovic, Anna Potieshkina, Irena Radmanovic, Tùlio Rosa and Adva Zakai. 

​​​​​​​Three guests were invited to enrich the topic : Shila Hadji Heydari Anaraki, who shared  with us her PhD research on the movements of newcomers in Brussels, Naeem Inayatullah, who addressed racial and geopolitical issues through readings and collective conversation, and Gérald Kurdian, who led a vocal workshop.

We investigated learning together, from the multiplicity of our voices, of our experiences and of our embodied knowledge. How can collectives build new ways of being together without reproducing the dogmas and power dynamics they seek to critique in society?

Come, come,
undone

All of you who got disenchanted
Who assumed that you took the road to love and joy
And found yourself in caretorships
Who assumed that things will turn out right if you just speak your truth
All of you who want to rest
To retreat from the fantasy of individuality
Come in the celebratory potential of together-mess Come, come
Undone

come, come
anger queens
love junkies
joy freakslet’s have JoMO instead of FoMO
come enjoy, killjoy, heal-joy
take part in the opera
undo answers and undo questions
stitch beginnings to endings 
come undo the end and find the beginning in it
Come, join the challenge to be a collective that materializes new ways of being together.

The week highlighted the complexity of group dynamics by revealing the diversity of perspectives among the participants. The question of how and if to allow ‘the other’ to influence one’s perception of oneself was put to a test. We implemented a process of exchange, including a survey, interviews and duo walks, with the aim of expressing, understanding, and unraveling this shared experience in a poetic and performative way.

In parallel, a roundtable discussion with other collectives (L’Ambassade, habitat groupé – l’amicale – Désorceler la Finance and ZonneKlopper)  addressed the challenges of collaboration and shared governance, including disparities in time and availability, systems of oppression, conflict management, and collective responsibility in the face of personal conflicts of interest.

This week became an in-depth exploration of the willingness to come undone in order to come together better, with discussions around the challenges of collaboration and the ways to overcome them.

Credits : CIFAS and SOL