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Inclusivity and acessibility on artistic research from our perspectives and practices
Inclusivity in our projects: what is in a name? on what levels does inclusivity play a role? is there still an allowance for researches/sites to be exclusive and closed? on what basis? what is it inclusive of? does it depend on what the work is trying to do? What is the role of language in accessibility? How language plays a part in the research? Why should a creative practice be inclusive? Do you connect with certain ideas or people in your practice and at the same time exclude them?
Túlio: not sure i can respond at this point to the questions, BUT language plays an important role. I have been working in Portuguese again, and this brings the tension between accessibility to the international arts market (english), and the feeling of working in Portuguese i am decreasing the scope of my work. Possibility of selling/showing/ being part of the scene. But in relation to my work on the subject the Portuguese is coherent since it is the language of the people involved. Challenging to think about. Depending on structures of art production that are not related to what i am thinking about. Weird to play with syntaxes of Portuguese in translation (english), f.e. playing with subtitles and idiom. Still playing on the difference between two European imposing languages. No interest for me there. BUT languages that were forgotten, like 200 indigenous languages in Brazil, mostly spoken vay 2000-3000 people. that brings in different perceptions of time, like the lack of a concept of future. To think about these languages poses questions on appropriation and sense-making... Wanted to learn indigeneous language, and now lot of indegenous teachers online spreading their language, especially close to the commercial centers like Rio and Sao Paulo. Interesting move: gives access, includes people in de conversation. But what could be artistic use of that? Questions of what colonization meant in Brazil is oriented towards mostly privilieged people, that come from the lineage of people thinking this is 'our' country, uninhibited by the barriers that are set to the indigenous. what are we making accessible to whom? this language movement fe. is for now for me makes sense if sth is normative, imposing, dominant and not allowing access. then these practices are questioning the norm. but making indigenous culture accessible to more people is not the goal, cause opaqueness and invisibility are also protective features. doesn't work in all directions. those cultures do not propose themselves as expansive. usually quite to the opposite. their idea of culture is not interested in expansion.
More specifically in my research: on content level effort to make work accessible (not necessarily inclusive). fighting highly encrypted art works that noone understands. not accessible to the masses. but thinking to many different people. talking to cousing local radio south brazil: interesting exercise to talk to people that are not necessarily involved in the scene. how to talk to these groups is great exercise. always dialogue with my family in my head, espcially older brother who is very different. keeping this dialogue going in my mind helps to open up other paths in my research.
huge part of my research might not been inclusive or accessible at all.
Thoughts and clarifications: Chloe: inclusivity in dominant cultures. dangerous to speak in general terms: what are we making inclusive. dominant culture inclusive leads to more awareness. making small indigenous cultures inclusive is not an option. what about all the layers in between? how does that work? a whole range of different kinds of messed up institutions and organizations. how should they decide to open up or close? what is the responsibility of private institutions/public instituteions/ individuals?
Nathaniel: your work tries to be inclusive of who and what is in the work. inclusive of the voices included. inclusivity related to space: space decides on what is inclusive or not/ work has to be inclusive to apass environment, which is also exclusive. in community work context the message changes. we are the space we are in. no theorizing from a distance.
Elke: that's is a very good point. Does it make sense to try to be inclusive of people that are not there? The language used in the moment of comunication is directed to the people that you speak to, which doesn't mean that it should not be informed by the dialogue with other people.
Amy: Anthropology: problematic Social arts goes into murky realm. I position myself against pith helmets. Thinking about. audience: zho are we hoping we are including as an audience.
Túlio: Deaf people are never thought about before making a performance. Structural not accessible, second act to make it a bit more accessible.
Elke: Can accessibility become dominating.
Túlio: Sometimes it`s not that hard
Nathaniel: It doesn`t have to change the material. Can I bring more bridges?
Nathaniel talks about pieces of dance where blind people come earlier and they can touch the faces of the dancers and they get headphones for sound.
Túlio: How are we informed by other perspectives (deaf / blind) and how does that change the content and methodology of the work?
Elke: Then you exclude people in lower socioeconomic positions ... where does it end?
Túlio: You cannot be inclusive for everyone. But you should consider inclusivity in relation to the community and context that the work is in.
Elke: a.pass does not respond to the need of the none white community around it
Chloe: But do we think that or do we know it?
Túlio: But if you wish to serve a community, you need to go and look to see what it wants
A conversation about the council taking an interest in the local geography of a.pass, making work that noone wants to see - not the local people nor the traditional art viewers - why is this happenning? A lack of communication?
Túlio: Listen to the communities of Bruxelles. Address those topics in a.pass. Then a.pass becomes interesting to an external audience ... a block on appropriation with open audience ... who would join?
Chloe: If you go to a community, why do you need to go with something to say? A meeting because you live in the same neighbourhood, we are connecting to who is here. Can we add to each other? What do they find important, maybe it's not the topic of racism explicitly. Through working together you will have to do something about the racism ingrained in the institution. I try to think about how to make the space, the space that is already there, inclusive. You don't do it in advance. You do it because of a need, not as an inspiration. People shouldn't have to address their minority position.
Nathaniel: Expanding resources. Invite them into the space and offer them money from state funding
Túlio: This is for a production house but a.pass is not that
Nathaniel: but it is a production house. We need you and we want to offer you space, time and resources. It can only be addressed when people are in the space.
Túlio: These questions fit well for a production house, but maybe not for here. Things can be addressed in a different way in a smaller group.
Nathaniel: Extending your community through association of invitation.
Túlio: This is an affirmative process
Amy: I think that perhaps this is a bad example (communities doing the work for you instead of yourself, you remain in the centre)
Amy – on her research/thoughts
I'm able to think about inclusion when i think about the pedagogical aspect of my work, but it is more difficult when i think in terms of art. We all have this urge to communicate something, but to try to make that inclusive is not necessarily a good idea. My art is my thought and my life, and trying to make that inclusive might be a bit stupid (we are thinking in terms of priviledge). You need to be a bit of a weird person in order to be willing to communicate what you think. For me, it doesn't work to think about inclusivity in my art, because it is not the theme of my work (unless inclusity is the subject). For me, my art is not about inclusivity, but my interest in education is about that. My interest in methodologies and collective learning environments are related with my interest in inclusivity. Sometimes I think would be better to exclude my voice of priviledge, but of course this is very restricting. I do the pedagogical work with the question of inclusivity and I believe that might inform my artistic practice. Art has a tendency to be a very elitist space, the more I stayed in art, the more I was envolved in elitist groups. When I was doing my bachelor, I engaged with this community maked by hardship and poverty, and a lot of famous artists were going there to do 'inclusive art works' and today I think: WTF?! That's the inclusion that I don't want to do, the kind of work that I never want to do.
Tulio comment on the question of temporality and time in relation with that, it is different when the temporality of the projects are long, for example (Lia Rodrigues and Maré).
Amy: In the UK the state has the capacity to fund and support these communities in different ways, so why we do it through arts?
Elke: what stays with me the most is that the artistic drive is nor generally about inclusivity, with some exceptions. So, inclusivity might be in what is outside, in the way that you organize your life.
Amy: I'm trying to select a text for a reading group and it is very difficult. When I doing my work, there is always a moment in which I get depressed, but then after that there is an outcome that makes it stronger.
Elke: is that a good thing?
Amy: if I working with coloniality then I think it is.
Elke:There is another way of dealing with these questions without being guilt or political correctness?
Nat: That is not necessarily the terms we used right?
Amy: I think I'm not working with this terms, the aim would be to challenge hegemonic discourses. But if I'm puting out a public program I might want to double check language, for example.
Nat: Is political correctedness trying to challenge dominant discourses?
Elke: As I understand, this comes from the demand for respect for difference. In itself, political correctedness is not a bad thing, but it might become normative.
Amy: I read this: "Political correctness is a term used to describe language, policies, or measures that are intended to avoid offense or disadvantage to members of particular groups in society. In public discourse and the media, the term is generally used as a pejorative with an implication that these policies are excessive or unwarranted"
Túlio: I never hear this word in an affirmative way.
Elke: Maybe in institutional talk we need to be affirmative.
Chloe: I never heard this term until I was here at a.pass. It never came up in activism, it is something that we just do.
Elke: What does it do for you?
Chloe: Well it's not clear to me, from what I understand it was a great tool to get people aware of how they use words. ER is not super diverse, but it is diverse in age. 70 year old members have no clue, when we started the Me & White Supremacy circle a 64yr old woman joined and spoke about the way she used to discuss colonies in Africa. For me PC has been a tool to grow awareness about the power of our words.
Elke: For me it came at the moment that a certain kind of creative / artistic challenge, that my habits of thinking were no longer possible. So I started using it as a negative association. Can you play with PC with awareness? Because breaking something open can be incorrect.
Chloe: when I hear PC i think about something that can be very enclosed. (she talks about a emmy's discourse in which somebody plays with that in a way that fews alive.) The way we use language has so much history. For us it's so normal and the changes are so abrupt it can feel limiting, or deadening.
Elke: Is it still incorrect if everyone knows it is incorrect? A quote from Ricky Gervias.
Túlio: Discourse in Brazil around a very popular youtube channel, had to shift after making fun of trans people. Now they are making humour in a different way, in the process and making mistakes, but it is a different kind of humour. The humour doesn't disappear.
Elke: Laughing without prejudice towards the person in the theme of the joke
Túlio: Laughing not at yourself, this is what I learnt humour is. You can't make a joke at the expense of privileged groups.
Nathaniel: A thought that came up. Anti-racist work leading to inclusion, but inclusion is not a way not to be racist. Also we were calling, just because we`re in ann all white space doesn4t mean its inherently problematic. what is the racism inherent within our white bodies?
Nathaniel – on research/thoughts In terms of scale, my research is self centered. It's self centered the reason I came here was the hope that I could spend enough time with the ghosts so that it would show up in my personality/person. My main focus of being here is a self centered one. Once I make something, how do I share it? So for me, right now, the research feels fairly exclusive, I spend a lot of time alone. I don't spend a lot of time sharing my research in here. It doesn't make sense with a lot of people in here, because they have different practices. Inside of that selve in expands in another direction: expanding the space that is 'self'. Experiencing different people that live inside of my self. Like Tulio's brother being with him when researching. He's a part of that somehow. My practice is based on engaging with these different people inside of mysef. Expanding space of self. I'm looking for ways, since HWD, in terms of, looking for ways to simplify, making more clear and share. Gratitute practice was quite simple. Trying to find more of that in the practice that I do. But again, for me the question of inclusion I wanna face it, it happens now, the feedback is happening right now, I'm thinking about doing it Straight on is something for the future. Putting different lenses on what I'm doing. Making objects, choreograhpic or workshops. Right now I'm on the prespace of that. Generally, in the time when I improvise, I'm not looking to be so inclusive. I'm not really interested to go towards pop culture. Thinking about pop culture because its very accessible. Me being here is not very accessible. a.pass is kind of an obscure place. In the work I've made so far, it's inclusive to people who are like me. White, male, privilege. If I can be very honest about that experience, than it can be very valuable and inclusive to people who are going through the same things. Being critical about this position in my work. Maybe the work is not for POC, although it could be for POC I interact with and who've changed me. That's why I'm interested in collaborations. It includes more.
Elke: You asked a lot of questions, inclusivity, accessibility. You ask that a lot yourself towards apass. How does that somehow still influence your question of the ghost?
Nathaniel: It's extremely influenced by that. The violence with which I excluded people in my practice. I don't know anyone who made this. I encounter them, through the material but they're also excluded. The idea of negative space. What's not there.
Tulio: I think it's a very nice way of remembering, or bringing in what's not there. The way you formulate it now sounded quite generous. It's nice to think about that, to be aware of that. Next question is: How is this present in the work. In the work what the work is being communicated. When it goes beyond your experience, when you propose it to someone else: How is it there also. Making it visible might not be the most interesting thing, but maybe not when you bring it out publicly. How this dimension of who is not there... ```
Elke: There's a coming together of the mindfullness network and the bruno latour. Buddhist: when you say thank you for food you say thank you for the farmer, truckdriver,... everything involved, that's also what Latour is saying, when I really look at this in a mindfull way, I will see all the ghosts. That all these tentacles are going into the world.```
Nathaniel: I can see the lines that go trought but also I can feel them because they are looking back. They see you. This is how the lines are established. An example is guilt.
Amy: Elke asked these other ways apart from guilt. What are the other connections of ghouts that you have;
Nathaniel: Looking for places in body that are trigger points, if I feel a tension, what is this place where I don't want to go to. The traumatic, I haven't been to war, so not the PC way. Looking at tension. Out of that is the hope for this work that it's an act of spacemaking. By attending to it, I make more space for myself in the way I can be with someone else. I go and talk to my twenty year old self, then actually, I make more space for the relationship I'm in now. A hope for this work with ghosts is that it makes space for things.``
Elke: The poeisis of making space for things to be there, that is next to the analysis or working in another way, maybe in a more ritual sense, it's very much part of this discussion, I'm happy that it gets its place also. Because we're somewhere else now, is this about the political organisation of work? Maybe it is. There's some inclusivity opening up here that is no longer of the connected to the literal position, or is it?
Nathaniel: it's happening in an imaterial space. For me this spacemaking is inclusive to everything that's existing... It's trying to make space, not first in the material, but in another dimension.
Amy: You want to be inclusive in everything
Nathaniel: When was the first time I met a black person, what about my grandfather, I work through these things so I can have more space for when I'm with one of my black friends. But, there was a really clear thought... I wanted to get to this thought about relation materiality and spirituality and this there's a drive that I recognize of driving towards exessive materiality, seemingly endless idea of materiality, which is coming from a small amount of spiritual space. So being driven towards the material to maybe find it there. In my work I'm trying to make space here (spiritual) and broadening this.
Elke: I think this work of making space, can we say something about, I have the intuition that it's super important, the act of making space so there's actually something ... Often we start in the field we start discussing, it's already a sufficating space. The space where we start to talk about the lack of inclusitivity can be a very dense space. I feel like we're not arriving where we really want to be talking about. I'm wondering if the act of space might be necessary to start to really speak about these topics.
Tulio: There's a difference in the way that N was speaking, this idea of making space is related to healing. Once you gave the example of the twenty year old you that's reparation etc. I think it's, I guess that it's a different thing. One thing is to make space for what's in between us and that we have to address. Another thing is to make space inside yourself to be able to be here. Its different from what's emerging between us. I wanted to resituate both, for me it's confusing, I think in a personal way. When I think about making space here, the dynamic needs an attention to another kind of ghost.
Elke: Gratitute practice makes space for another sort of conversation. Awareness this is a much bigger space than us here. A kind of humbleness.
Tulio: I was thinking about generosity also
Nathaniel: Generosity to acknowlegde the ghosts that are around us. Why is this ghost so thick. What are we actually working with here? There's definitly something here. Wow, we can't move. So we should be here a long time.
Elke: This dense ball can be pushing you against the wall, you start to pull threads out of this ball. How can this thing be opened up, this is for me what making space is. Not be externally pushed by it... It feels like a very physical thing. We're part of the ball.
Nathaniel: You're part of the ball and once you see a part of the ball, what part of my experience brought me here? How to also name that, befriend it and see what it needs. Also, for me the making space in a subjective way is collab with certain ghost and make a third (more space) More space through making relation.
Chloe: making space? inside yourself - me and white supremacy circles i am part of. with extinction rebellion going to look for people of colour to join. not the way to do things. focus on working with our own ghosts, what is inside. feels like sth very spiritual, or at least close to myself, in a group that does the same. that makes space for others, authors, thoughts, other actions.
I was thinking about the proposal i wrote to come here which was veyr much exclusive and very much a bit of what nathaniel just said in focuing of what N said of focusing on this white experience, and looking at it and challenging thesd thoughts through history and herritage, but i must say that in the last 3 months and even before i came here, that right now my research i think i did want to look for ways of it being more inclusive and that the trajectory of working with my community and connecting through your environment through memory and now im looking at experiences your enviroment through senses and that this shift is a driev towards inclusivity, and everyone senses somehting , i sqaw the senses as the most inclusvie way to connect through your surroundings,and in hstory you go through the thing of herritage you go through white right thoughts, claim this area, and through memory can be excluding and what if you dont know the space and youhave to share a memory and you dont know, the senses are accesible at any moment, at least thats what i think now, and so this things really seeped into the research im doing and astill i also feel this need to do this exclusive work with white provledged people and one doesnt hav to exclude the other, the history memoryand senses can add to each other, i was tlaked to julia about this when talking about the place where im from i think historically but its super intereting to talk with someone who just arrived there to do see how it could be very different it works in two ways, it helps to know somehting of the history, i can do the thing for apass for example , uhm i can imagine for you its interesting to talk about the apass through the lense of history and i dont know anything about it but i can talk about it via that lense, how can you connect with people through this space. its about the new one coming in and the connection to a space which is not yours
E it seems to me that your tools become more inclusive in the sense A is your work a tool for inclusion? C well i think i could see how that could be, but i wouldnt say really, but maybe for me its very much about how white supremecy , since like one and half years ago, extenxtion rebellion hasnt necessarily become more inclusive but i dont really mind anymore but what we did with the neo white supremecy circle is go to the blm protests, so there is this shift in my organization to be inclusive , well its pretty fucked up and lets not think we have the anwser but really lets see how we can contribute to other things, and for me it became much more clear what ER is doing and knowing the boundries of this really small thing that we are doing and being much more aware of that, and maybe we are not doing actions against racism and we are doinga action for climate justice, which doesnt mean we dont support poc actions , and there is a huge relation and thats also what we are tyring to get more clear and what is this and on which levels, but thats actually what i like what i said about spiritual bc it really started something but its immediatly connected to what your doing, T i have a question, that i find resonating with different things you said like in the case of amy of art being already exclusive and that inclusion is not the subject, and that i think about N talking about the spaces in which he meets dancers in which it feels good to be with dancers, and once C talked about white supremecy groups and need to be exclusive to adress to a specific group of people, and the questions for me is what is the role of exclusivity in the production of knowledge? and i kind of hear E asking that several times, the moments in whichi want ot be exclusive is when generally i want to go into more depth and i need people with partiucalr backgrounds to talks about it deeper, and i feel this need to create smaller groups in which things can be more deeply addressed where people share common backgrounds to go deeper together, we understand knowledge in terms of unfoldings and expanding, how do we see that and how do we deal with this need to be exclusive? bc if you tlak about the neo white supremecy group its good bc its being exclusive to address a problem, but then in a different context it becomes problematic ie dancers and a disbale dancers
Elke: I was reading a book on Tenderness by a black priest woman lesbian, when places of exclusivity are good or not. Exclusitivy is build on excluding people from a power than become the norm - then this needs to be inclusive. But when it is a group that needs the resonance of an exclusive space to talk. Some people need their own space. Thinking about my own practices and being on the edge, if I have a women's group is it open to self proclaimed women or those with a womb. Can it only be based on a shared suffering or is it on a preparation you have done to make yourself useful to the others.
Túlio: if you think about the womens group int he frame of a public program i can see where the prboblems comes and we should really address it, but if you think of smaller initiatives it has a different level of resonsability its differwnt, i think that there is alwasy a degree of context, in apass in relation to larger ocmmunitity its publicly funded and it imples a larger responsablity.
E: i was inspired by you C to ask what are we actually doing, to resonate wiuth the places who are doing the other work, instead of thinking we have to do everything. the suggesiton that alliances should form between apass and othe places, and attract a kind of public that we are not. How is it a weaving effort more than a solution? A working together
N: Save your own skin. What is the real action?
E: Where is the real risk?
A: I feel like there is risk everywhere
E: At what point can we start to do the work that will fundamentally change the place. Changing ourselves. It's not going to work by always pointing outwards.
N: The risk is always in between "oh if I work on myself then how does it change the place" The risk is in how this is externalised. The outcome could be risky.
E: This example of giving money - at that moment the institute would fall apart. Then you're saying let it fall apart. Is that really the way to rethink our institutions? Are we still allowed to value the qualities of a space like this?
N: I want to ask this question to a person of colour
E: If you ask 90% of white people the same question they would also say no. This is an elitist bubble. They have no idea what is going on here.
N: Could you talk more about a.pass?
E: When it started the question wa how to undermine the capitalist projet and ewas a bit les specfiic and how to emancipate knowledge form its constraights from the capitlist driver cannon of knowdlegs and how is learned not top dowp but emancipating for every person, but these were the main questons starting apass, how can we make research that does not make questions of the secots, but prodoucing things that knowone wants to see. is it an exclusive place for free experimentation. 15yrs later, how probematic is that? In a sense it is a space that protects you from the production logics, the capitalist demands, neoliberal logics of what you should be interested in.
N: How are these questions reworked in relation to race in a.pass?
E: Always been there. Academically, we went to Lepecki's thing and it was all about Blackness (Harney & Moten) it was there always, maybe not indeed on the level of how does it effect us, what is it doing to us? People at the Ritz laughing at us, the people who sit around the table all day
N: How do you respond?
E: Furiously at the beginning, then more and more calmly ... Reorganising knowledge, art is not about making products, a whole re-education. What is art? What is research? We had to ask this to work out what it was. I have no idea now, institutions are very confusing things. For me, going to a private initiative was the solution to get out of that problem. Who am I to decide on anything? Being the head of an institution that is talking about knowledge. The big question - what is this doing? Anything at all? A cell that can do anything in the world? The inner critic asks this.
E: For me something really important, being alive - what you do and what you say is being connected. In the arts this is rarely the case. It's very hard to bring these 2 things together in a consecrate way. The artist inherently needs a big ego, otherwise they could not sustain their own practice. They are not neccessarily the best equiped to deal with these things.
Túlio: When I think about projects that made an impact, mainly artistic projects, even thinking about this place where I worked, I think about what the other teachers were doing and the kind of impacts that we had, art had a much more powerful, the creative proces had a bigger impact. This project was built through what I got to know through art. Its not about a big ego, that is not necessary able to do that, but about the tension between beliefs and openess and necessity to negotiate with what is outside. Its a very strange place. Lillia talking with people who danced with here, she can be obsessive, dominant, and consuming for the people who work with her, and at the same time she built a very open space where many things happened.
Nathaniel: I had a reflection on something said before. In you saying this alignment of what you're doing with what you're being alive. Monastery, going into the places which you don't like. Alignment between what I say I'm doing and what I'm doing. Elke coming back here comes from the same drive.
Elke: Also addressing this question about institutions. And about being alive and working on strategies of being alive with people, and methodologies I use are about that. Calling in your ghosts, ... to feel alive, and gratitute. I felt I was not fully alive when being the head of a.pass.