TOOLS FOR CONVIVIALITY: Hospitality & the art of hosting / Workshop with Susanne Bosch / AFFECT Module 4

TOOLS FOR CONVIVIALITY: Hospitality & the art of hosting
facilitated by Susanne Bosch
16 – 26th of July 2018

AFFECT Program for Collaborative Artistic Practices in Berlin
Curated & Coordinated by Paz Ponce
Agora Collective e.V.

“Be careful with each other, so we can be dangerous together.” “At the roots of what we do is radical friendship. We create these tools, these actions and these moments, but because we work horizontally, we try to work with a collective spirit. The key is creating friendships. Because for us, we think the basics of any politics is the trust, the friendship and the love that is created through these intense moments of working together in disobedience. We think the left have the tendency to think that if only people knew the truth, things would change. We believe people are not moved by the truth, but by desire. Capitalism knows this much better than artists and activists. Capitalism knows to create its own truth. As artists and activists, we have to create these desires.”
John Jordan

RESEARCH PROPOSAL: This module addresses the topic of conviviality, responsibilities of the gesture, narration and performativity of attitude, looking at formats, ideas, values around a “horizontal approach”: Do you work with people or want to include people in your artistic work? You dream of really collaborating or of a participatory process within an art work? This workshop looks at formats, ideas, values around a „horizontal approach“. What does it mean to be the host of such a process? What does hosting include? What makes a heterogenic group of people ease into a situation to collaborate? How and when is power, different roles and responsibilities being addressed? What role do you play as host when heterogenic opinions meet in the artistic space provided by you? How about your own position or are you as moderator ‚as present as possible as invisible as possible’?

DURATION During a week of 3-hours-long-encounters, with studio visits, Bosch invites residents to join a deconstructive journey through the meaning and traps of trust, laying at the heart of every exchange in art practice. Aid by thoughts from John Jordan (radical friendship), Derrida and Gesa Ziemer (cooperation as integration of the other, the Uncanny), Grant Kester (the Dialogue Principle), and commenting on soft totalitarianism of equalness, conflicts, alternative communication forms, and the Convivialist Manifesto (a declaration of interdependence), the workshop highlights a massive longing for new models of togetherness and interdependence, and therefore, such art practices are being looked at for their potentials.

In every session we will test and reflect on another tool that participants can apply if suitable in their practice. The range of content and formats will widen the perspective on the possibilities and limitations of hosting a participatory or collaborative situation. The format will help to understand the role of the artist in these settings and define more the responsibilities that come with it. Inviting participants into an intervention or performance or other setting will inspire to work in teams and to develop their own hosting tools.

DAY 1: “Aesthetic interests of collaboration and communication”. The aspects of communication and collaboration are performed in the process and are therefore in the centre of aesthetic interest; Beuys described this aspect as “invisible sculpture”. We will get to know each other and agree on our setting via 3 approaches that we use to exchange on our experiences within our own practices. >> Public Address Systems’ by Lois Weaver, generative dialogue developed by quantum physicist David Bohm.

DAY 2: “Leadership”. The Art of Hosting is an approach to leadership that scales up from the personal to the systemic using personal practice, dialogue, facilitation and the co-creation of innovation to address complex challenges. >> Art of Hosting techniques, social presenting techniques of Theory U

DAY 3: “Negotiation”. With invited artist María Linares Negotiation is a skill. It is a dialogue between two or more people or parties, intended to reach an understanding, to resolve points of difference, or gain advantage in the outcome of a dialogue; to produce an agreement upon courses of action, to bargain for individual or collective advantage, to craft outcomes to satisfy various interests of two people/parties involved in the negotiation process. Negotiation is a process where each party involved in negotiating tries to gain an advantage for themselves by the end of the process. Negotiation is intended to aim at compromise. Any work with people takes place in a sphere where many diverse interests meet. Negotiation therefore is a constant demand. Negotiation can be seen as part of the invisible work e.g. behind an art project or as fundamental part of the artwork and therefore as artistic skill. As such, negotiation can be learned and needs to be trained. Before starting a negotiation process, one needs to take a number of steps to analyze and understand the situation and conflict as well as the diverse interests. Further steps would be an in depth preparation for the process itself and a careful analysis of the language used. >> Using the work „Hirsch Rot, by artist Maria Linares in collaboration with Dr. Anja Peleikis and athletes of the clubs TuS Makkabi, SCC and TeBe Berlin. Visiting the site and inviting artist Maria to witness the mapping.

DAY 4: “My Dilemma”. : Collaboration/participation can be a nightmare, it can exclude and re-assure existing power. Collaboration/ participation needs a language that can be understood. If an art work intends to provoke, interfere or disrupt, what kind of a hosting process of collaboration/ participation is that? How to deal with resistance, rejection and withdrawal when one wants to offer and invite into an extra ordinary process through the arts? In daily life, these above described symptoms sound like: “I did not get any participants interested in my art work. Who cares about this type of engagement and work anyways?” “My project has been a total loss of opportunities: I felt totally undermined by my partners or inviting institution. They wanted such a process, but at the end, did not have the time, wo/man power or means to engage in it.” “I tried to take part in a process, but the guy was so full of himself, it did not leave space for the process itself.”

DAY 5: “Practice!”. : After the previous experiences, we start with a practice part: The participants work alone or in small teams to find an idea for an intervention that deal with hosting a situation. We use the concept of deep dialogues or provocations of everyday life. The ideas/interventions can be developed to a simple presentation with videos/animations, drawings, texts or as a performance.

DAY 6: ” Individual “mentoring” with Susanne during two extra sessions.

DAY 7: ” Storytelling”: Storytelling session: How do I communicate my process, my project, my experience in the best possible way? The process and results of the workshop are presented and discussed in the group. The presentation situation will happen in the logic of hosting a meaningful exchange.

MATERIALS: Examples for performative methods, facilitation techniques, films, texts.

CREATIVE EXCERCISES: Embodied practices, discussion and reflection, developing a body of work, participatory tools, presentation/storytelling.

GROUP: 10 – 15 participants. Artists from across art form interested in the field of collaborative and social practice, community-, youth- and activist’s educators, anyone who is interested in exploring the connection between art, creativity, learning and change.

About the facilitator:
Susanne Bosch is an artist and independent researcher. She received a PhD “Learning for Civil Society Through Participatory Public Art” from the University of Ulster in Belfast in 2012. From 2007-2012, she developed and led the Art in Public MA at the University of Ulster in Belfast, together with artist Dan Shipsides. As an “interface activist”, Susanne practices internationally in public art projects asking questions about long-term issues, and building creative arguments around the ideas of democracy and sustainable futures. Her art often involves the issues of money, migration and societal visions and participation models. Susanne develops site- and situationspecific interventions, installations, videos, drawings, and audio as well as dialogical formats. In her artistic research, and as facilitator, she uses formats such as writing, seminars and workshops. Susanne has been working internationally in Austria, Italy, Ireland, the UK, Greece, Palestine, Spain, USA, Mexico, Malaysia as well as in Turkey and is currently the independent artistic research fellow in the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), a European partner network of six countries (2014-2018). She is trained in open Space and Art of Hosting faciliation (2008,2014), as well as conflict transformation (2004) and systemic constellationwork (2014). Susanne is currently the artistic researcher in the Collaborative Arts Partnership Programme (CAPP), 2014-2018.


References for this module:

– John Jordan on “Creative Activism”,

– Grant Kester on “Conversation Pieces: Community and Communication in Modern Art”, University of California Press, Los Angeles, 2004


– María Linares: “Hirsch Rot”. A work in collaboration with Dr. Anja Peleikis and athletes of the clubs TuS Makkabi, SCC and TeBe Berlin.

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