Feelings can be valuable knowledge

INTERVIEW by Hans Bryssinck, founding member and co-director of SPIN, March 2022

The starting point of the conversation was the experience of working with pupils from secondary school: In October 2021, SOL worked together with Broederschool Sint-Niklaas and Vooruit Kunstcentrum Gent. And in spring 2021 with ‘tvier and Buda Kortrijk. The interview was published in SPIN’s newsletter.

Workshop II with high-school pupils and teachers

Art, Love, Co-Learning, and Criticality as modes of participation in society.

October 2021, with De Broederschool & kc Vooruit, Ghent.
Download a pdf documenting the project here.

During 25 – 29 October 2021, School Of Love worked in Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Ghent with 16 high school pupils of the age of 17 and three of their teachers, all coming from De Broeder School in Sint Niklaas, Belgium.

In this particular week SOL’s workshop asked the questions: Does love, as a political concept, have the power to change reality? Is love something that schools should teach? Do schools practice love? Are schools responsible for preparing us for the reality outside of it, or are they rather giving us tools to change the reality for one that suits us better? And what about art? Can we create alternatives to realities we want to change through art? If we approach art as an invitation to think critically about society and then act upon changing it with love – does it mean that art and school share similar practices?

Through examining the relationships between practices of love, school and art, we created an intimate space where personal stories were shared. Those exchanges became the knowledge that we researched and studied further, together as a group. We did this through talking, writing, drawing, dancing, singing and performing, as well as guiding, observing and listening to each other. We created for and collaborated with one another.

The process focused on the realities the pupils deal with each day. Whether it is having to do with arriving on time at school, complying with certain gender norms or overloaded agendas, the pupils came to acknowledge that not everything is up to their choice in their lives. With this point of departure, we aimed at increasing the understanding of multiple realities and of many possible ways of perceiving one reality. Our reflective games on the nature of love as a practice, as well as diverse creative and artistic practices, nourished the idea that we have the agency to redesign the way we live, relate and act in the world.

MONDAY – Who are we ? Why are we here? What will we explore this week?

TUESDAY – What is (non romantic) Love? What is an imposed reality?

WEDNESDAY – What is my own imposed reality and what does love have to do with it?

THURSDAY – Can I create my own reality?

FRIDAY – What to do when I feel that love is missing?

During the course of the week, objects, writings, drawings and elements created by the participants will be added in box. These boxes are regarded as a time capsule: as a container that testifies the particular time we live in, or a message carrier to whoever might find it in the future, be it your-future-self or another person.

Workshop I with high-school pupils and teachers

Art, Love, Co-Learning, and Criticality as modes of participation in society.

Feb – April 2021, with kc Buda and ‘tvier , Kortrijk

During the winter of 2021, SOL worked together with pupils and teachers from the school ‘tvier in Kortrijk on the relation between school, love and art. Can school love? And can love be taught? Where does love stop? Is love still there when we fail? Such and other questions brought us together in a process of reflection, creation and conviviality. Anecdotes, songs, sounds and thoughts that were generated in this process, found their way into podcasts created by the teachers and pupils, assisted by a tool-box of tips and ideas created by SOL.

Where can love be found in this school ?

This question led the pupils and teachers to spots in and around the building, where they remembered experiencing love during school hours. In each of those places QR codes were permanently installed. Scanning them allows anyone passing by to listen to the poscasts.

The project took place in the school building and was supported by KC Buda.

Designing Schools That Love

SOL

@Beursschouwburg We Love You Program
&
@Open design course for refugees and asylum seekers, KASK, Ghent

A series of SOL workshops and public presentations 

PUBLIC PRESENTATIONS

9/11 | Saturday | Beursschouwburg | Brussels | Presentation at the Beursschouwburg Cafe | 19.00

21/11 | Thursday Designing School That Love| Presentation at Open Lab: ODC.3|  Zwarte Zaal | Hour of presentation TBC

 

School Of Love (SOL) is a place to be. It brings together people who care for exploring modes of being together. The world enters School Of Love through its participants – their stories and desires are the perspectives through which questions are asked and actions are taken into fields of social engagement, cultural activism and art.

Rethinking and designing school formats while reflecting on love as a pedagogical and political attitude is a recurrent SOL activity. During September – November 2019, SOL is hosted by Beursschouwburg in the context of the program We Love You, and dives once more into the same practice.

The idea that love is charged with potential to change the world’s politics makes us ask: How to take care of what’s  between us, within us and other than us? Would training the capacity for (a non romantic) love help getting there without fearing differences? How to teach love without imposing ideologies? How can schools themselves love?

Whether we manage to answer these questions or not, during a series of work sessions taking place in September – November 2019, we playfully design the schools that we wish to have today. Schools that teach how to challenge the status quo instead of how to adapt to it.

****************

In this workshop SOL collaborates with the Open Design Course for refugees and asylum seekers (KASK, Gent), Globe Aroma, Terra Nova, Hobo, the post collective and the MA program in socio-political context, SLA, Antwerp.

Download the invitation to the workshop here.

UNLEARNING LEARNING – LEARNING UNLEARNING

An open conference about a practiced ecology of knowledge

March 24th; 14.00 – 19.00; Unlearning Center, BlueFactory, Fribourg  (CH)

SOL intervention by Elli Vassalou and Adva Zakai

The Unlearning Center invites to an open conference: a meeting for people engaged in rethinking the practice and content of learning. This meeting asks: what space, what practices do we need the unlearn the knowledge that let our supposed knowledge society drive full steam ahead into the climate- and other catastrophes?

The experience of knowledge is in a precarious state. Learning today is more than ever confronted with a fundamental conflict. On the one hand, the available knowledge multiplies exponentially, but at the same time it seems to be put completely into question and erodes in a cloud of confusingly contradicting discourses. The speed of technological transformation is forcing us for constant reparation; the fake news epidemic is pulling the ground from under the solidly taught knowledge more the critical thinking was ever capable;  and the climate catastrophe encourages us to see learning less as a growth modle than as constant adaptation to changing realities. Contemporary learners do not enter a secure terrain of knowledge, but a precarious gray zone.

What is to learned in this open terrain?  Which platforms, frames and connections are needed?  which focus points and voids must be created to move in this precarious interdependence? How can we practices places as tool for self- and common-learning?
In this open conference everyone is invited to present their experience, proposal, theories, questions, practices or institutions – if they relate and respond to the above questions. Based on these presentations we will enter a phase of on site proposed practices that emerge in between these presentations. Come and propose what learning you imagine for unlearning what we need in this climate!
Nicolas Galeazzi, a.pass Brussels

SYNTROFI “ON PRIVILEGE”

Participatory lunch performance produced with the School of Love for the “EXERCICES IN AWERNESS” programme, “Women and Children First” festival, Vooruit, Ghent | January – February 2019.
Syntrofi [σύντροφοι] is a greek compound word – coming from feed [trofi] + together [syn] – which means: “companions, comrades, lovers…”
AN INVTITATION TO DINE ON PRIVILEGE
Syntrofi takes on a perspective of a vulnerable observer, who looks into art and education institutions from within the position of the marginal and the excluded. Around the lunch table audience and performers will become Syntrofi. Personal stories on privilege will be served, chewed on, and digested through conversations and engaged togetherness that acknowledge the complexity of contradicting desires.
This project was first initiated in 2017 by Elli Vassalou and developed within the School of Love [SOL]. In this iteration, Syntrofi will be co-created and performed by Yared Yilma, Elli Vassalou, Hazal Arda, Weronika Zalewska, Adva Zakai, Martina Petrovic, Marcus Bergner and Sawsan Maher.

more pictures

CREDITS

Thu 29.01 – 12:30 – 14:30
Wed 30.01 – 12:30 – 14:30
Sat 02.02 – 12:30 – 14:30
Balzaal
performance / lunch performance / lunch / privilege / unlearning

The Swamp Pavilion. 2018

Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice International Architecture Biennale

Via Giuseppe Garibaldi
1815 Venice
Italy

www.swamp.lt

Paulius Vaitiekūnas, Andrius Ropolas, Jautra Bernotaitė. The Swamp Pavilion. 2018

The School of Love presentation and discussion by Adva Zakai and a.pass

SWAMP PAVILION

The Swamp Pavilion is a networked effort in creating new imaginary hybrid space for exercises in architectural and artistic practices, theory and pedagogy through various forms and formats of public interventions, field trips, workshops, lectures, discussions, chat channels and printed publications.

Construction exercise

The grounding workshop of the Swamp Pavilion interrogates the relevance of a single country’s representation in the times of transnational crisis – existential threats of war and mutually assured destruction, of climate change and its enforcement of new global patterns of disaster and migration. Imaginigs of ephemeral architecture suspended between air and water allows one to look for new models for national borders which, rather than create divisions and mark territorial claims, instead propose novel forms of coexistence and interaction.

SWAMP SCHOOL

Throughout the Biennale Architettura 2018, the Swamp School will function as a changing, flexible, open-ended infrastructure that supports experiments in design, pedagogy and artistic intelligence. Invited designers and scholars will conduct performative lectures and lead workshops for participants and visitors to the Biennale.

COMMONISM

On cohabitation
Date: September 24-29, 2018

Through contributions by theorists, designers and artists this chapter will interrogate the commons as an ideology – an aesthetic of the real – as a way of giving a form to society and our contemporary human condition. With an understanding of aesthetics as ‘the art of thinking beautifully,’ as way of seeing a better, more beautiful world, this chapter will learn from the reciprocating movements for the commons asking questions: how is the commons constituted in society, how does it shape our reality of living together, and what strategies and what aesthetics do artistic commoners follow?

10:30 AM – 1:00 PM Morning program:
We Cannot Work Like This: Decolonial Practices and Degrowth a transnational alliance of schools in the frame of the Contour Biennial 9: Coltan As Cotton, organized by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez, curator (France/Slovenia) in collaboration with Adam Kaasa, Merve Bedir, Zheng Bo, Peter Westenberg, Jozefien Mombaerts, Willeke Van Herreweghe, Mathieu Charles, Robin Vanbesien and Petra Van Brabandt, Nico Dockx, Elena Sorokina, Kobe Matthys, Giampiero Caiti, Olivier Marboeuf

2:00 – 5:00 PM Afternoon program:
Turfiction seminar and workshop by Tinna Grétarsdôttir, anthropologist (Iceland), Sigurjón Baldur Hafsteinsson, anthropologist (Iceland), Hildigunnur Sverrisdóttir, architect (Iceland) and Hannes Lárusson, artist (Iceland)

6:00 – 7:30 PM Evening program:
Eco-commoning in the Aftermath: Sundews, Mangroves and Swamp Insurgencies lecture by Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, STS scientist, and Dimitris Papadopoulos, sociologist, (UK)

8:00 – 9:00 PM
Swamp Soup Kitchen dinner: Recipe 3 by Asako Iwama & Sen Uesaki, artists (Japan)

9:00 – 9:30 PM
Seed bombs performance / workshop by Cadine Navarro, artist (Japan/France)
9:30 – 10:00 PM
Blueprint for Revolution lecture performance by Mark Požlep (Slovenia), 45 min., 2017

Friday, September 28
10:30 AM – 11:30 AM Morning program:
The School of Love presentation and discussion by Adva Zakai and a.pass/advanced performance and scenography studies (Belgium)
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Visible introduction and Temporary Parliament workshop, part 1 by Matteo Lucchetti & Judith Wielander, Visible co-directors (Italy, Belgium)

2:00 – 5:00 PM Afternoon program:
Temporary Parliament workshop, part 2 by Matteo Lucchetti & Judith Wielander in dialogue with Pelin Tan, sociologist (Turkey), and other guests

6:00 – 8:30 PM Evening program:
A village situated on a stream lecture by Aroon Puritat (The Land Foundation), architect (Thailand)

8:00 – 9:00 PM
Swamp Soup Kitchen dinner: Recipe 4 by studio Olafur Eliasson, artist, (Denmark/Germany)

9:00 – 9:30 PM Film screening:
La Montagne de Venise / The mountain of Venice, film by Jean-Baptiste Decavèle with Yona Friedman. 18 min., 2016

Saturday, September 29 
11:00 – 13:00 Morning program:
Final discussion by all participants

Socialist Bikes Initiative lecture by Leander Schönweger, artist (Italy), 20 min.

1:00 – 2:00 PM Swamp Tea

Full program and participant list can be found at The Swamp Pavilion.

A.PASS MEETS SOL / SCHOOL OF LOVE

Sep 2nd – Nov 30th
https://apass.be/a-pass-meets-sol-school-of-love/
A curatorial proposition by Adva Zakai

Study Days in pdf

From Sep till Nov 2018 a.pass and School Of Love will start a flirt with each other, develop a relationship and hopefully make (produce) love.

SOL is a collective platform that was initiated some years ago*, inspired by the interest in both love and school as charged with potential to generate new politics and relations in the world. SOL is practiced through regular meetings, but follows no curriculum. Instead, it develops a spontaneous program through the presence and interest of its participants. SOL is basically an invitation to hang out. But to hang out deeply. To practice school as a place of free time – free to study things as they appear, separated from the dependency of the time and space of social order and production. And to practice love – Not the kind of love that is generated through affirmation of who we think we are, but love as an act of giving in to alterity allowing it to transform us.

And now SOL is here, at a.pass, with a call to the participants to engage with their artistic researches through love itself. a.pass and SOL will get together, without knowing ahead what is going to happen, but with the trust that everything we live outside of SOL – artistic researches, experiences and desires – will manifest themselves inside SOL in a way we could not imagine elsewhere. And once this happens, maybe the difference between art and love will not be so obvious anymore..

Alongside the weekly meetings of SOL at a.pass, a program of study days and workshops will look into various aspects that bring together love, art, school, improvisation and politics. Those sessions will be led by: Johan Grimonprez, Bleri Lleshi, Femke Snelting, Brendon LaBelle, Eva Berghmans, CW/ Common Wallet project, Jan Masschelein, Laurence Rassel, Caroline Godard, Elke Van Campenhout, João Fiadeiro, Alex Arteaga, An Mertens, Daniela Bershan.
More details soon!

Joining in:
SOL will meet every Tuesday at a.pass and is open to anyone interested to take part. All welcome! A special introduction day into SOL: Tuesday 3rd september 10h – 18h.

STUDY DAYS and WORKSHOPS – Non a.pass participants who are interested to join – please contact a.pass lilia@apass.be or Adva advazakai@gmail.com

* Adva Zakai is a part of the SOL collective. SOL’s protocol can be practiced by anyone and anywhere, be modified and transformed through the encounter with a new context.

INSTEAD OF NEEDING TO KNOW

SOL/SCHOOL OF LOVE IN THE FRAME OF PARALLEL-PARASITE
A.PASS / ZSenne gallery, Brussels
4 – 9 June (except for June 6th), 2018

Documentation of the residency here


Out of the many definitions of love, SOL was always attracted to the one that describes love as the willingness to let go of what you thought you were before meeting the other. This kind of love can exist among strangers, not only within romantic couples. Schools should teach how to love this way. Schools should facilitate this mode of being.

If both Love and School engaged in the practice of being open to change through encounters with others, we might develop sensitivities to deal with unknown paths better. Maybe we would be better off improvising through, with and within the unknown, instead of needing to know. Maybe improvisation today can be approached as a mode of resistance to a life dedicated to an anticipated and defined future.

Proposing to put improvisation back in the agenda might seem like stating the obvious. Life itself is an improvisation, of course, we never stopped improvising. But as we already did with love and school, SOL would like to dedicate a special attention to improvisation in order to examine its relevance to contemporary realities. Not the improvisation that aims to emancipate repressed self-expression, nor the one that provides skills and the mastery to manouver within individual lives and careers, but an attitude of improvisation that may create an actualised set of relations between us and other people, us and other things, us and anything that is not us.

Lets call it a pre-research. The week we’ll spend in ZSenne gallery is mainly a theoretical exploration, aiming at beginning to understand what these thoughts might mean. Perhaps by the end of the residency we will prefer not to use the word improvisation anymore/at all, and will name things differently. For now, we will share our first thoughts on it, read texts together, practice and reflect on the directions that this process can grow into.

* Members of SOL develop projects collectively, or invite SOL to join a process they initiated individually. This process was initiated by Adva Zakai and will be practiced in collaboration with SOL members and whoever is interested in joining.

** Participation conditions: Preferably follow the whole week, so that we share a process. If a whole week not possible, come for a full day. If planning ahead is too difficult, pop in and we’ll see what this does to our and your process.

Please inscribe here: https://bimestriel.framapad.org/p/VoV7C6HGQX

Weekly Plan

Monday June 4th
11h – 12h Settle in, introduction of participants and their interests.
12h – 13h Listen to lecture On not knowing and paying attention / Tim Ingold + discussion
13h – 14h30 Lunch break
14h30 – 17h Read fragments from Speaking and Sensing the Self in Authentic Movement: The Search for Authenticity in a 21st Century / Seran E. Schug
17h30 – 19h Socratic discussion on the term Authentic
19h – 20h Introduction of the School Of Love

Tuesday June 5th
11h – 13h Read Improvisational Necessity and its After Affects / Sher Doruff
13h – 14h30 Lunch break
14h30 – 17h Read Improvisational Necessity and its After Affects / Sher Doruff
17h30 – 19h Socratic discussion on the term Improvisation

Wednesday June 6th
SOL OFF

Thursday June 7th
11h – 13h Authentic movement guided by Julien Bruneau, (ONLY for those who follow other days in the process)
13h – 14h30 Lunch break
14h30 – 17h Authentic movement practice guided by Julien Bruneau (ONLY for those who follow other days in the process)
17h30 -19h TTTell (Time-Term-Tell discussion)
19h30 SOL interview by Lauren Grusenmeyer for the WORKOUT publication http://bureaugrusenmeyer.com/projects/WORKOUT

Friday June 8th
11h – 13h Read Towards a Politics of Immediation / Erin Manning
13h – 14h30 Lunch break
14h30 – 17h Read Towards a Politics of Immediation / Erin Manning
17h30 – 19h Rumor Machine (discussion)

Saturday June 9th
11h – 13h Read Towards a Politics of Immediation / Erin Manning
13h – 13h30 Break and lunch preparation
13h30 – 15h Final discussion, plans for the future, feedback on the week and goodbye.

Additionally:
Tuesday June 26th
SOL will meet with Erin Manning and the Sense Lab at ZSenne Gallery at 19h, in an open public discussion about the text of Manning that was read during SOL’s residency.

 See in PDF