The Living School was a mobile event series organised by Brandon LaBelle which focused on the issues of housing, common property and the precarious subject.
Given the tremendous instability of secure housing in London and elsewhere, questions about the right to public housing are pressing spanning questions on the politics of access, the constitution of community life, property as a public good, the power of the weak and strategies of resistance and renewal. The Living School was an open gathering for sharing and developing dialogue, and advancing a critical, creative and embodied engagement with this issue.
The Living School was organised as four public sessions which took place in different locations across London (February–June 2016), and included invited presentations, interventions and collective work. It was structured through methods of improvisation, experimental pedagogy, and self-organised criticality, in which particular topics, such as expulsion, poverty and self-building, were considered. The Living School searched for ways to actualise an imaginative response – an emergency dwelling – for wondering aloud about the future of public living.
PUBLIC SESSIONS PROGRAMME
The Living School: Expulsion
6 Feb 2016, Peckham Liberal Club
With Jane Rendell, Irit Rogoff, zURBS, and Brandon LaBelle.
The first session of The Living School, a mobile project on questions of living together, focused on the theme of The Expelled, and included presentations by Jane Rendell and Irit Rogoff. They considered the question of expulsion, eviction and displacement, giving a broader view onto the systematic upheaval of people.
The Living School: Poverty
12 March 2016, The Ivy House pub, Nunhead
With Liz Allen, archivist at Toynbee Hall, Andrew Conio, lecturer at the University of Kent and Andrea Luka Zimmerman of Fugitive Images.
Poverty was traced through presentations on indebtedness and liquidity, the history of the settlement house movement, and homeless communities who sustain marginal living. Poverty was considered not just as the concept of being without, but as the basis for forms of resistance and expressions of weak-strength.
The Living School: Self-Built
7 May 2016, Limehouse Town Hall
With Chris Jones, 56a archive
Festival of gleaned materials, twist, then knot – will it stand? a relation to space, and the territory, in the gaps, cut, then thread, the needs and necessities, glass or metal, the thread, and the exchange of know-how, knowing and sharing, squatting, the construction and the making of this thing, a shelter, an assemblage: a force.
The Living School: Shared Space
11 Jun 2016, Open School East
In the final session of The Living School, presentations and activities circulated around the issue of shared space. How might we imagine spaces of inclusiveness or togetherness, especially those that may expand potential experiences of community life? Are there possibilities for enriching the dynamic qualities of the built environment in support of new social identities? And relations between strangers and neighbours? The session will aim to engage such questions while also performing as a space of coming together.
Brandon LaBelle is an artist and writer living in Berlin. His work addresses the relation between the public and the private, sociality and the figure of the outcast. This results in situational projects and performances, interventions in public spaces, acts of translation and archiving, as well as micro-theatre aimed at the sphere of the (un)common.
His work has been presented at Liquid Architecture, Melbourne (2015), Marrakech Biennial (2014), General Public, Berlin (2013), Whitney Museum, NY (2012), Image Music Text, London (2011), Sonic Acts, Amsterdam (2010), A/V Festival, Newcastle (2008, 2010), Instal 10, Glasgow (2010), Museums Quartier, Vienna (2009), 7th Bienal do Mercosul, Porto Allegro (2009), Casa Vecina, Mexico City (2008), Fear of the Known, Cape Town (2008), Netherlands Media Art Institute, Amsterdam (2003, 2007), Ybakatu Gallery, Curitiba, Brazil (2003, 2006, 2009), and ICC, Tokyo (2000).
Also a prolific writer, LabBelle is the author of Lexicon of the Mouth: Poetics and Politics of Voice and the Oral Imaginary (2014), Diary of an Imaginary Egyptian (2012), Acoustic Territories: Sound Culture and Everyday Life (2010), and Background Noise: Perspectives on Sound Art (2006). He is the editor of Errant Bodies Press and Professor at the Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway.