The Return of a Lake

From Beyond Social


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Keynote by Maria Thereza Alves


On Friday Nov 6 at 19h, WdKA Social Practices will be working with members of SPIN (an independent and student-led climate action group at WdKA) in a small collaboration with artist Maria Thereza Alves, Formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, and Tomi Hilsee.

Once again, we will be experimenting with ways to represent vantage bodies in digital spaces, trying to push against static and even oppressive formats of attending online talks. Why conform to the tyranny of consuming each other's faces in a tiny box as the only way of exacting "connection" and engaging attention? We shall also position making (keeping the hands busy) as a tactic for listening more deeply: when the body is engaged, the mind is more present. In this haptic crisis of lockdown, more than ever we need to explore alternative forms of tactile connection, despite being severed from each other's company.

SPIN students will attend Alves' forum as a vantage online body and special guests to her lecture's videocall room. Instead of the camera being focused on the students' faces, however, webcams will be trained on their hands as they sculpt ceramic reproductions of artifacts belonging to the indigenous-run Valle de Xico Community Museum, which was controversially and illegally closed in 2019 by the municipal government of the State of Mexico. While Alves discusses The Return of a Lake—a project exhibited at dOCUMENTA (13) and produced in collaboration with the indigenous cultural workers of this museum—students will be making clay sculptures as contributions to another one of her ongoing initiatives in support of Valle de Xico Community Museum: Son del Pueblo. Aside from generating tiny protest sculptures, SPIN will also participate in moderating the Q+A as well as publishing a zine that documents this process. Each student will create, at home, their own double page spread of a collective zine, showing the clay figure they are contributing to the Son del Pueblo project as well as other documentation from Maria Thereza's talk. The individual pages will be collated next week by a very special bike messenger (architect/artist/professional bike messenger Tomi Hilsee) and delivered to SPIN HQ for final layout. Once the zine is print ready, at WdKA, with an unlimited employee print card, we will print 50-ish copies of the final collated publication and send them to the Museo del Valle Xico Community Museum for Mexico distro 🙂


This publication performance was incubated at a "clinic" (fancy name for Zoom call) held with SPIN, the artist, curator Vivian Ziherl, and head of Social Practices, Clara Balaguer, who is also moderating tomorrow's talk.


++++++++Son del Pueblo is a project that supports the public initiative to reopen the museum to public access. Anyone can create a clay sculpture that reproduces any of the artifacts of the museum as way of expressing support for the indigenous community that demands the immediate reopening of a museum wherein they once preserved and stewarded their own culture. The general public is asked to make a ceramic work based on the Community Museum's collection. Images of the work will be posted on Instagram and the museum's website, as well as Alves' website. Images can include the contributor, if they so wish, and it is preferred that some context of the place where the clay reproduction was made (home, studio, wherever). First name and city of residence is also requested for publishing.+++++++++++++++++


+++++++++++++++Anyone else who wants to attend the talk and participate in Son del Pueblo alongside us can email their contributions to spincollective@protonmail.org. If you want to participate in your own time later, not part of this zine, just email any contributions directly to studio@mariatherezaalves.org.+++++++++++ Thanks so much to Vivian Ziherl and Maria Thereza Alves and Tomi and all the SPIN students for their time, energy, and will to keep things going despite lockdown. It's been a real joy to work on this with everyone.


With due respect to WorkNot, the curatorial collective that helped birth this bike messenger publishing practice as part of Fictioning Comfort, a group show they curated this summer at Showroommama Rotterdam. WorkNot is run by Golnar Abbasi from WdKA Social Practices and Arvand Pourabbasi from Autonomous Practices Wdka.

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Keynote by Maria Thereza Alves
Image for The Return of a Lake
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Once again, we will be experimenting with ways to represent vantage bodies in digital spaces, trying to push against static and even oppressive formats of attending online talks. Why conform to the tyranny of consuming each other's faces in a tiny box as the only way of exacting "connection" and engaging attention? We shall also position making (keeping the hands busy) as a tactic for listening more deeply: when the body is engaged, the mind is more present. In this haptic crisis of lockdown, more than ever we need to explore alternative forms of tactile connection, despite being severed from each other's company.

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