Curatorial Programme – Hope is a…

Curatorial Programme – Hope is a discipline

Opening: 5 October 18:00

Dear reader,

Our final public offering for de Appel Curatorial Programme inhabits Mariame Kaba’s idea of “hope is a discipline” — a hope that is neither just a feeling nor a horizon, but a project of communal labor. Hope is a daily practice that we undertake together, using the resources we already have. Taking Kaba’s words as a cue, Hope is a discipline constellates people who research the politics of friendship, and creates time for questions such as: how do we make places? How do we attend to solidarities?

In March, we were in attendance of the panel “Revisiting the Global 1960s” at Sharjah Biennial 15’s March Meeting, a series of presentations on new research about anticolonial struggle in the global south. A question from Kamran Ali, articulating the need to think through the topic in a post-1988 context, caught our attention. To paraphrase Ali: “What do we do with the so-called ‘melancholia of the left’? What are the [anticolonial] politics being thought through today? Is it a productive melancholia we have to work with?” Panelist Zeina Maasri answered: “We need an aesthetics of hope.”

Hope arrived to us as a desire to reconstitute and reanimate the word in our lives. As five cultural practitioners from different localities, whose practices traverse the global south and north, our experiences are shaped by different infrastructures, languages, and relational customs. Our social bodies have had to become each other’s environment.

Curatorial process makes specific forms of coexistence possible or prohibitive. The material conditions behind the curatorial process often reproduce global asymmetries of power. What brought us together was curating: the act of mobilizing infrastructures, resources, places, and people.

In Hope is a discipline, we organize commoning experiences, seeking out peers, waymakers, and intellectual ancestors who practice friendship as structural change. Can an exhibition hold space for the social terrain of coalitions — where one learns to tarry, contract, and share urgencies? This is the preparatory work for a catastrophe. To hope, as a discipline, might mean training our attention on the paradoxes of solidarity and friendship.

Rehearsing a poetics of assembly, the project interchanges different scales and membranes of gathering. Our thought partners include:

Arts Collaboratory, a trans-local ecosystem consisting of twenty-five diverse organizations situated predominantly in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe, focused on art practices, processes of social change, and working with broader communities beyond the field of art;

Jihan El Tahri, a writer, director, and producer who has used documentaries to research the birth of alliances and solidarity movements;

Ola Hassanain, who works between Amsterdam and Khartoum, focusing on developing spatial literacy through the idea of “space as discourse;”

other indias, a Netherlands-based collective working together to share and disseminate counter hegemonic voices and work concerning India;

Metro54, an Amsterdam-based platform for Contemporary Culture/Making/Doing/Researching/Hosting;

Tropical Tap Water, a collective whose collaboration with the de Appel Curatorial Programme participants has manifested itself into the spirit of Jamal Liance (i.e. the beautiful alliance of jammings).

Hope is a discipline takes shape as a series of gatherings — watching films, jamming, reading, listening, and cooking —with the de Appel Aula transformed into a living room. A full schedule is available on this page. This offering by the Curatorial Programme is the final project taking place in de Appel’s current Nieuw-West location in Amsterdam, before it moves to Tempel. We hope to see you at the gatherings to say farewell, from October 5th through November 23rd, 2023.

With care,

Marina Christodoulidou, Billy Fowo, Meghana Karnik, Eugene Hannah Park, Jean-Michel Mabruki Mussa

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