Political Love: questioning contemporary art’s encounters with communities

Mikhail Karikis, Sofia Victorino

  • 15.2.2019 to 18.2.2019
  • 10:00-17:00h
Mikhail Karikis, No Ordinary Protest, 2018. Commissioned by Film and Video Umbrella, Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art and Whitechapel Gallery, London. Production Photo.

International artist Mikhail Karikis and Whitechapel Gallery Head of Education and Public Programmes Sofia Victorino will facilitate a practice and theory workshop raising questions and exploring the ethics, politics and practical methodologies of socially engaged art practice. This interactive workshop will begin by giving participants an insight into Karikis’ project exhibited at the Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo and recent international projects with different communities. The workshop will then expand with a presentation of a selection of art projects and films featuring young people and children by creators ranging from early-cinema genius Charlie Chaplin to queer activist artist Sharon Hayes. How are communities and specifically young people represented? What agency do they have over their representation? And what ethical, political, temporal and theoretical questions are articulated through artistic and filmic collaborations with people who have no acknowledged political voice?

A key element in this workshop is the relationship between practice and ideas. It will generate thinking with workshop participants through a field trip and through embodied experience and doing. Having extensive experience in radical pedagogical methodologies, delivering community, university and gallery education workshops, Karikis and Victorino will introduce interactive kinaesthetic exercises. Participation in these exercises requires curiosity but no prior experience or specific physical skill. Referencing methods such as Theatre of the Oppressed, by the Brazilian theatre practitioner and political activist Augusto Boal, and Deep Listening, by the feminist musical philosopher Pauline Oliveros, we will facilitate learning by carrying out practical activities in which all participants enrich the process with their experiences, ideas and input. We will study fragments of key contemporary texts (including Toni Negri’s and Michael Hardt’s essay on ‘political love’), and we will reflect on how we can become more aware of the politics in our encounters with others, sensitised to the hierarchies implied in our use of architecture and recording technologies, and more knowledgeable about how representation can give agency and empower.