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The Feeling of Not-Feeling-at-Home

Athens Biennale September 2016 - *err and C.A.S.A. collaboration

About the project

Who and what is *err?

*err is a collective of ten artists and independent art practitioners from nine countries all over the world including Chile, Egypt, Greece, Hawaii, Italy, Mexico, South Africa and Switzerland. Our collective formed after we discovered common interests during a collective reading of Fred Moten and Stefano Harney’s The Undercommons in Switzerland in early 2016. Since then *err has been operating out of a small independent art space in Geneva, Switzerland: TOPIC. We intend to investigate what the process of becoming a group can produce in terms of knowledge; to question how subjectivities, patterns of thought, critical postures and political positions can be reshaped through the endeavour of working with others.

*err was formed while many of us were completing a Master degree at Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais (ECAV) in the program Master of Art in the Public Sphere (MAPS), a program that some of us have since finished. Others have completed independent study programs at Ashkal Alwan, others still have received Master degrees in the Critical Cross-Cultural Cybermedia (CCC) program at the Haute Ecole d’Art et Design (HEAD) in Geneva. Together we are a group of highly skilled writers, thinkers, artists and curators, all deeply concerned with engaging social issues through creative practices.

From this point of departure we discussed developing a collaborative platform capable of modulating the public sphere through site-specific interventions, tracing its references in urbanism, anthropology, psychology and history. We discussed how a transdisciplinary practice could appropriate methodologies from fields other than artin an attempt to grasp and de-scribe the complexity of the reality it deals with. These are the so-called tools that each of us exercises in our individual practice, and that we wanted to develop within a group ecology. 

Collective *err April 2016, TOPIC, Geneva. Photograph: Camilla Paolino

The *err collective consists of: Alexandros Kyriakatos (artist, social worker; Greece), Javier Gonzalez Pesce (artist; Chile), David Gregory Rees-Thomas Jr (artist, Hawaii), Camille Kaiser (artist; Switzerland), Planetary Erotics (biofilm; Imaginary), Mohamed Abdelkarim (artist, Egypt), Madeleine Dymond (artist; South Africa), Erika Pirl (artist, dancer; Mexico), David Esteban Romero Torres (artist; Chile), Camilla Paolino (researcher, curator; Italy).

Collaboration with C.A.S.A

In June of this year we were invited by The Contemporary Art Showcase Athens (C.A.S.A.), itself an independent and self-organised collective, to participate in the Athens Biennale, part of which takes place in Omonoia square in September of this year, 2016. The agenda of both C.A.S.A. and *err, working within the Athens Biennale context, are ideally compatible in terms of a common desire to examine, engage and disrupt the conditions of precarity produced by neo-liberal expressions of the global cultural sector and how this informs conditions which Greece has been experiencing since the crash. In addition, both *err and C.A.S.A share the ambition to use the biennale as a platform for public engagement and self-empowerment, to foster cross border collaborations between two self-organised groups. *err and C.A.S.A are both working outside of the financial support of the biennale: while this could look to most like a compromise, for both of our organisations it offers the chance to operate outside of institutional constraints, while also communicating with institutional structures.

View of the Bagkeion hotel from Omonoia square. Photograph: C.A.S.A. commons

Interior space of the Bagkeion hotel after an event. Photograph: C.A.S.A. commons

What is The Feeling of Not-Feeling-at-Home?

Since the invitation, *err has been planning projects that incorporate and aim to investigate the languages, histories, bodily movements, spatial arrangements, architectures and urban situations of Athens and its current users, and the structure of the Athens Biennale itself. Together a project title has been decided: The Feeling of Not Feeling at Home, which aims to put artistic research tools and methodologies to work in Athens.

Preliminary sketch of a proposition to install in the Bagkeion hotel, a building of the Athens Biennale. Sketch and photograph: Alexandros Kyriakatos.

In order to carry out the project, which would be a crucial moment to put theory to practice as a collective and to continue the research, *err is seeking collaboration in order to reach Athens, be accommodated while there and find support for our tools and needs. Your collaboration will not only ensure our presence, it will also enable the production of zines as knowledge sharing tools while in Omonoia, the production of original editioned artworks both during and after the trip and the production of a publication as a further knowledge tool. As a collective our goals have remained consistent, and in keeping with this approach, we are seeking support and collaboration for our project directly from the public, here on Ulule, and not from private institutions. We hope to work with the community here, using this platform of common activity in order to share our knowledge, reach our goals and most importantly engage you, the public, in the production of knowledge and the sustenance of institutionally critical cultural collaborations and independent productions.

What are the funds for?

We believe in our project enough to put into it ourselves, and as such, what we are asking from collaborators is to form part of our network, and contribute to knowledge sharing: to receive the zines and publications that we will produce and to broaden our audience. We have chosen to ask in our initial statement for just the transport that would be required to get each member of our collective to athens and back to the cities they are currently working in. This means one person from Johannesburg, one person from Berlin and eight people from Geneva. 

1 x flight Johannesburg/Athens return - 520 EUR

1 x flight Berlin/Athens return -68 EUR

8 x flight Geneva/Athens return = 8 x 260 - EUR

5 x train Sierre, Switzerland to Geneva, Switzerland return = 10 x 13 - 130 EUR

1 x train Lausanne, Switzerland to Geneva, Switzerland = 2 x 7 - 14 EUR

10 x Airport to accomodation with OASA return = 20 x 2 - 40 EUR

TOTAL = 2852 EUR

Ulule commission on 2852 EUR = 143 EUR

TOTAL incl. commission = 2995

What we hope to do, is exceed our asking amount, and to cover our total expenses, so that we can each cultivate a practice that is sustaible, while at the same seeking collaboration to contribute toward critical activities within and concerning the Athens biennale context.

With your further support, we could hope to cover our other urgent expenses including:

  • Accommodation - 416 EUR
  • 10 x Greek sim cards and airtime: 200 EUR
  • 20 x five day tickets on OASA Athens Urban Transport Organisation: 180 EUR
  • Printing costs for research, exhibition and on-site zine production (speculated): 150EUR

Any further collaborations would contribute towards our personal prosperity.

About the project owner

  • *err formed at the independent art space TOPIC in Geneva, Switzerland, run by two members of our collective:
  • We have been invited to participate in the biennale by the Contemporary Art Showcase Athens (C.A.S.A.) platform:
  • Here is a link to the biennale website, the context with which and within which our collaborations with be interacting:
  • As this will be our first project as a collective, the material that we produce in Athens will form the basis for our collective portfolio. As such, *err has not yet cultivated a media presence. We very much look forward to developing these during the run up to the project and for its duration.