Reading Group


Structures of Cohabitation: or the Death of Relational Aesthetics
Initiated by Michael Baers and Patricia Reed

Program – Initiative for art and architectural collaborations | Invalidenstraße 115.
Sign-up is required: Please RSVP Run it’s Course!

Attrition is expected – so the target number for the starting group is between 8-12 people. Discussions and texts are in English.

First Meeting: June 24 (2007), 14:00 at Program (see address above) (Pending incredible weather, the group can sit outside at a park for the second half of the meeting). Subsequent meeting schedules shall be determined after the first meeting. Meetings will occur every 4 weeks, for 4-hour sessions, the last half of which is more informally structured around a POTLUCK snack/ brunch.

Structures of Cohabitation: Or the Death of Relational Aesthetics is a broad theme, which allows the group to trace through contemporary theory/literature the current plight of “community” as notion and actuality. The scope of the reading material encompasses the following:

1] What does the community look like? What are some current ways of modeling the community in a time of globalisation? Together we shall survey contemporary social theory as to the situation of ‘community’, again, as notion and actuality.

2] How does community function? How does a community create a stage for itself? How does community represent itself to itself?

3] How can the community be mobilized? Actualised? Rendered Active and participatory? What is its potentiality, or alternately, what are the different ways this potentiality has been undermined?

A tentative reading “map” has been prepared by the initiators. However, during our readings, diversionary “scenic routes” are possible, allowing for participants to intervene, redirect, remotivate… in short, move the discussion along other paths. Texts, as such, will not follow the order listed below, but will be read with reference to one another, that is, inter-textually.

As a focused, yet still informal reading group, individual participants will take turns being responsible for leading individual sessions, offering interpretations, close-readings, a summing up or analysis of the material. Said group leader is by no means expected to be an ‘expert’; the point of the group is to go through some difficult texts together in order to better grasp the material. Not understanding, in an active sense, is completely understandable. Reading material will be supplied as PDF via email one month (ideally) beforehand. Texts will be kept as succinct as possible (between 25-50 pages) for each monthly session. Alongside the tracing of texts through discussion, it is our hope to include ‘concrete’, historical/journalistic/case-studyesque examples in order to better comprehend some of the complex, abstract concepts enumerated within the theoretical texts proper. The inclusion of current events within the fold of discussion is encouraged amongst all participants.