How can ethics of care become lived realities? The 4th edition of the New Alphabet School is dedicated to theories and practices of collective care
Care can provide an ethical and political framework for action, as it situates the human as a custodial figure of a broken planet and its people. To care is to recognize the fragility of all bonds, between both humans and non-humans; between humans and their systems, infrastructures and institutions. And so, care challenges us to construct and reconstruct social bonds and systems based on contextual morality, beyond abstract or universal notions of justice.
Yet how can we collectively transform these ethical concepts of care into lived realities? How can we practice care across different scales – the personal, the collective, the rural, the urban, the atmospheric – in order to sustain more-than-human worlds? And how can we de-romanticize care – so that we can proceed to a thinking and doing with care in a way that challenges the uneven labour conditions upon which the field operates?
The 4th edition of the New Alphabet School on #CARING therefore proposes an expansive understanding of care beyond the intimate scale of interpersonal relations in order to question, complicate, and reflect on caring as a radical practice towards social transformation. The event brings together practitioners from the arts, architecture, history, geography and political activism to reconfigure how we shape our bonds, how we give form to our worlds. So, if we aim to shift our attention from the “what” to the “how”, then how to care collectively? And how to do so accountably?
#CARING was initially conceptualized as a four-day event at HKW and M.1 Arthur Boskamp-Stiftung in Hohenlockstedt, and en route between both venues. Yet the spread of Covid-19 is not only putting established concepts of care to test, but also limiting the conditions of a public program.
Therefore this edition, in its revised version, will experiment with physical, virtual and hybrid formats: with a public live stream on June 12, virtual screenings, performances and workshops on June 13 and 14, and a range of artistic, activist and scholarly texts on the New Alphabet School blog. Among it is the interdisciplinary correspondance project "Letters to Joan", which brings together views on the current state of care in times of pandemic from artists, writers and academics. The invitation to write these letters to Joan Tronto, a key proponent of different concepts and theories on care, provide a loose framework inside of which these practitioners could position in relation to from their own practice and identity, addressing their words to a person who is also a node, with the idea of informal correspondence.
A continuation of the event is intended to take place at M.1 in Hohenlockstedt on October 24th and 25th, 2020 under the rubric CARING INFRASTRUCTURES with contributions by Malu Blume, Polyphrenic Creatures, Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie, Maternal Fantasies, Studio Experimentelles Design (Klasse Jesko Fezer, HFBK Hamburg), Antje Hachenberg, and many more.
#CARING brings together contributions by Júlia Souza Ayerbe, Malu Blume, Edna Bonhomme, Loren Britton, Johanna Bruckner, Teresa Dillon, Andreas Doepke, João Florêncio, Johanna Hedva, Elke Krasny, Henry Lyonga, Maternal Fantasies, Romi Morrison, Mwape J. Mumbi, Polyphrenic Creatures, Pallavi Paul, Helen Pritchard, Helena Reckitt, Patricia Reed, Yayra Sumah, and Joan Tronto.
In cooperation with Haus der Kulturen der Welt and Soft Agency
Co-Curated by Sascia Bailer, Gilly Karjesvky and Rosario Talevi