Commonplace was a series of lectures, discussions, screenings, and lunches organized in collaboration with artist collective Mahony and taking place in a residential house under renovation in Berlin between Wed 18th –Sat 21st of July 2018.
An important inspiration for the immersion into the questions during Commonplace was the writings of poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant (1928-2011) – in particular his concept of the ‘poetics of relation’. His book with the same title defines poetics not just as poetry, but as a way of imagining, living, and acting upon the world and translation as relation. One of the guiding principles in Glissant’s thinking is the concept of opacity: the opposition to transparency, the untranslatable and unknowable that Glissant sees as a way to challenge and subvert systems of power. Glissant demands a ‘right to opacity’ and calls for an understanding and accepting of difference without measuring this difference to an ‘ideal scale’, comparing it or making judgments. The encounter in Berlin was therefore envisioned as a ‘commonplace’ in Glissant’s terms. For Glissant, commonplaces (lieu-commun) are not preconceived opinions, but, places where one idea about the world meets another one. Places, where a thought about the world is confirmed by another thought about the world.
As well as a study of Glissant’s thinking, the project is an attempt to conceive of possible ways of working collectively and reimagining the process of exhibition making. Commonplace was the first tentative step towards a public presentation to be opened at Hotel Maria Kapel in Hoorn in the beginning of September 2018.
Participants: Rachel Alliston, Tomás Bartoletti, Rob Blake, Season Butler, Irene de Craen, Raphaël Grisey, Judith Lavagna, David Magnus, Mahony, Gerald Mandl, Luz Peuscovich, Esper Postma, Jerop Seurei, Sári Stenczer, Aiko Tezuka, Jasmijn Visser, Bruno Watara, Leo Zhao
Read the full text version of one of the lectures given by Leo Zhao here.