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Silvia Simoncelli & students


Together with postgraduate students in Curating, Silvia Simoncelli created a lexicon around the idea of community:

LEXICON - Idiorrhythmy
Composed of idios (particular) and rhythmos (rhythm), the word, which belongs to a religious vocabulary, refers to any community that respects each individual’s own personal rhythm.
Roland Barthes, How to Live Together - Novelistic simulations of some everyday spaces, Notes for a lecture course and seminar at the College de France (1976-77), Columbia University Press, p. 22.

Community (Eleonora Stassi)
Community is these days the last relic of the old-time utopias of the good society; it stands for whatever has been left of the dreams of a better life shared with better neighbours all following better rules of cohabitation. For the utopia of harmony slimmed down, realistically, to the size of the immediate neighbourhood. No wonder community is a good selling point. No wonder either that in the prospectus distributed by George Hazeldon, the land developer, community has been brought into focus as an indispensable, yet elsewhere missing, supplement to the good restaurants and picturesque jogging courses that other towns also offer.

Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000, p. 92

We may say that community is a short-cut to togetherness, and to a kind of togetherness which hardly ever occurs in real life: a togetherness of sheer likeness, of the us who are all the same kind; a togetherness which for this reason is unproblematic, calling for no effort and no vigilance, truly pre-ordained; a kind of togetherness which is not a task but the given, and given well before any effort to make it be has started.

Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000, p. 99-100

Community (Silvia Converso)
“Because if instead of continuing to search for a proper identity in the already improper and senseless form of individuality, humans were to succeed in belonging to this impropriety as such, in making of the proper being-thus not an identity and an individual property but a singularity without identity, a common and absolutely exposed singularity – if humans could, that is, not be – thus in this or that particular biography, but be only the thus, their singular exteriority and their face, then they would for the first time enter into a community without presuppositions and without subjects, into a communication without the incommunicable. Selecting in the new planetary humanity those characteristics that allow for its survival, removing the thin diaphragm that separates bad mediatized advertising from the perfect exteriority that communicates only itself – this is the political task of our generation.”

Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community, University of Minnesota Press, p. 44

Community building (Eleonora Stassi)
Sharing intimacies, as Richard Sennett keeps pointing out, tends to be the preferred, perhaps the only remaining, method of community building. This building technique can only spawn communities as fragile and short-lived as scattered and wandering emotions, shifting erratically from one target to another and drifting in the forever inconclusive search for a secure haven: communities of shared worries, shared anxieties or shared hatreds - but in each casepeg communities, a momentary gathering around a nail on which many solitary individuals hang their solitary individual fears.

Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000, p. 37

Nomadic habits/ Settlement (Eleonora Stassi)
Throughout the solid stage of the modern era, nomadic habits remained out of favour. Citizenship went hand in hand with settlement, and the absence of fixed address and state lessness meant exclusion from the law-abiding and law-protected community and more often than not brought upon the culprit’s legal discrimination, if not active prosecution. While this still applies to the homeless and shifty underclass, which is subject to the old techniques of panoptical control (techniques largely abandoned as the prime vehicle of integrating and disciplining the bulk of the population), the era of unconditional superiority of sedentarism over nomadism and the domination of the settled over the mobile is on the whole grinding fast to a halt. We are witnessing the revenge of nomadism over the principle of territoriality and settlement.

Zygmunt Bauman, Liquid Modernity, Polity Press, Cambridge, UK, 2000, p. 13

Politics (Adriana Dominguez Velasco)
Politics is not the exercise of power. Politics ought to be defined on its own terms, as a mode of acting put into practice by a specific kind of subject and deriving from a particular form of reason. It is the political relationship that allows one to think the possibility of a political subject(ivity), not the other way around. [p. 1]

If we return to the Aristotelian definition, there is a name given to the subject (politès) that is defined by a part-taking (metexis) in a form of action (archein-ruling) and in the undergoing that corresponds to this doing (archesthai-being ruled). […] That (which) is proper to politics is the existence of a subject defined by its participation in contrarieties. Politics is a paradoxical form of action. [p. 2]

Politics is a specific rupture in the logic ofarche. It does not simply presuppose the rupture of the “normal” distribution of positions between the one who exercises power and the one subject to it. It also requires a rupture in the idea that there are dispositions “proper” to such classifications. [p. 3].

Democracy is the regime of politics in the form of a relationship defining a specific subject.
The sign of the political nature of humans is constituted by their possession of the logos. […] The essence of politics is dissensus. Dissensus is not the confrontation between interests or opinions. It is the manifestation of a distance of the sensible from itself. Politics makes visible that which had no reason to be seen, it lodges one world into another. [p. 7]

Rancière, Jacques. Ten Theses on Politics, in Theory and Event, Vol.5, Issue 3, 2001.

Ethics (Silvia Converso)
“There is in effect something that humans are and have to be, but this something is not an essence nor properly a thing: It is the simple fact of one’s own existence as possibility or potentiality. But precisely because of this things become complicated; precisely because of this ethics becomes effective. Since the being most proper to humankind is being one’s own possibility or potentiality, then and only for this reason (that is, insofar as humankind’s most proper being –being potential– is in a certain sense lacking, insofar as it can not-be, it is therefore devoid of foundation and humankind is not always already in possession of it), humans have and feel a debt. Humans, in their potentiality to be and to not-be, are, in other words, always already in debt; they always already have a bad conscience without having to commit any blameworthy act.”

Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community,University of Minnesota Press, p. 30-31

Whatever (Silvia Converso)
“THE COMING being is whatever being. The Whatever in question here relates to singularity not in its indifference with respect to a common property (to a concept, for example: being red, being French, being Muslim), but only in its being such as it is. Singularity is thus freed from the false dilemma that obliges knowledge to choose between the ineffability of the individual and the intelligibility of the universal”.

Giorgio Agamben, The Coming Community,University of Minnesota Press, p. 3

Accessibility (Gili Zaidman)
Accessibility (to what is inaccessible)
The community, the community of equals,
which puts its members to the test of an unknown inequality, is
such that it does not subordinate the one to the other, but makes
them accessible to what is inaccessible in this new relationship of
responsibility (of sovereignty?). Even if the community excludes
the immediacy that would affirm the loss of everyone in the
Vanishing of communion, it proposes or imposes the knowledge
(the experience, Erfahrung) of what cannot be known; that
“beside-ourself (the outside) which is abyss and ecstasy without
ceasing to be a singular relationship.

Maurice Blanchot, The Unavowable Community
English translation copyright © 1988 by Pierre Joris and Station Hill Press
P. 17

Idyllic (Agustina Strüngmann)
‘Any space of human relations defined by an absence of conflict. (Note: idyllic, in the modern sense–'How idyllic!’-is recent. Littre: a short lyrical poem on a rural theme).
Idyll is not exactly the description of a utopia. Fourier’s utopia doesn’t eliminate conflicts, it acknowledges them (therein lies its great originality): it stages conflicts, and as a result succeeds in neutralising them. 'Idyllic’, in contrast, as its etymology suggests, refers to a literary representation (or fantasmatization) of its relational space.

Roland Barthes, How to Live Together - Novelistic simulations of some everyday spaces, Notes for a lecture course and seminar at the College de France (1976-1977), Columbia University Press (New York, 2002), p. 88.

Xeniteia (Agustina Strüngmann)
‘Key element of the ascetic doctrine of Ancient (Oriental) Christian monarchism = Changing country, expatriation, voluntary exile (xenon: foreign) = Peregrinatio (pilgrim): military origin, the period of time a mercenary spends in a foreign country. (But what if we each defined ourselves as, what if we all felt like mercenaries in the worlds we have to operate in: working dispassionately in the service of various causes that aren’t our own, being perpetually dispatched by those causes into regions where we’re foreigners?).

Roland Barthes, How to Live Together - Novelistic simulations of some everyday spaces, Notes for a lecture course and seminar at the College de France (1976-1977), Columbia University Press (New York, 2002), p.124.

Autarky (Agustina Strüngmann)
‘A structure made up of subjects, a little 'colony’ that requires nothing beyond the internal life of its constituents’. 
'Strong interdependence + zero extra dependence. Independence marks the boundary, and so gives the definition, the mode of being of the group. A group in a state of autarkic Living-Together – a sort of smug pride, a self-satisfaction (in the Greek sense of the word) that’s fascinating to someone looking in from the outside.

Roland Barthes, How to Live Together - Novelistic simulations of some everyday spaces, Notes for a lecture course and seminar at the College de France (1976-1977), Columbia University Press (New York, 2002), p. 36.

Silvia Simoncelli is an art historian and independent curator based in Milan. She is professor at Brera Art Academy and course leader of the Advanced Course in Contemporary Art Markets, at NABA, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan.  She lectures at Leuphana University in Lüneburg and was previously research associate at ZHdK, Zurich for the Postgraduate Programme in Curating. Her research interests comprise the relation between art and economy, institutional critique and art in public space. Recent projects and participations include: Artists on the Market, Fokum Workshop, Technische Universität Berlin; Il valore dell'autentica, symposium, Triennale, Milano (co-organised with Alessandra Donati); The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON, Careof, Milano (co-curated with Martina Angelotti in association with Binna Choi and Yolande van der Heide in partnership with Casco, Utrecht) 2015; Strutture dell’immaginario, public art project by Cosimo Veneziano organised by Dencity, Milano, 2014; Artists and rights in contemporary art, symposium, Artissima, Turin; Visions of Labour, exhibition, Kunshalle Sao Paulo; Who is Afraid of the Public, symposium (together with Dorothee Richter and Elke Krasny), ICI, London, 2013.

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