Learning and Unlearning


 
Following on our previous discussion-based project, the Dictionary of the Possible, Shifter invites you to join in a new kind of conversation. With the Dictionary, we worked to unpack the many meanings of the words we share. With our new series, Learning and Unlearning, we invite you to take a closer look at the worlds we share. The aim is for all of us to unlearn our assumptions and prejudices about each other in a time when the urgency for new solidarities has never been greater. To this end, Learning and Unlearning asks us to abandon our default ways of speaking and thinking, and embrace new ways of communicating that draw out each person’s innate capacity for both practice and reflection.
 

Unlearning Intersubjectivity

Katherine Rochester, Lou Cantor & Samantha Ozer
May 4 2019, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Unlearning Intersubjectivity will serve as an opportunity to reflect on the themes of learning and unlearning through collective thinking and action. Katherine Rochester and the collective Lou Cantor will lead a discussion based on their recent co-edited volume, Intersubjectivity, Volume II: Scripting the Human. They will be joined by Samantha Ozer. They will consider how, in contexts such as these public discussions, intersubjectivities are formed and reformed through performance and engagement. Rather than a conclusion, the conversation hopes to be a bridge to future enactments of our collective projects.

Details Matter

Lise Soskolne & Laurel Ptak
March 30 2019, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Details Matter, in dialogue with Lise Soskolne and Laurel Ptak, focuses on the challenges of organization and institution building. Through Soskolne’s own practice as an artist and core organizer with W.A.G.E, participants will discuss the importance of institution building as a form of sustainable political practice. While political action is often pictured through images of protest and activism, Soskolne will focus on the more long-term process of building coalitions and infrastructure that can sustain politics. Ptak will contribute her thoughts on the “institution as medium,” reflecting on her role running artist-founded institutions in New York City, including Art in General.

Deep Time

Bruce Robbins
March 16 2019, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Bruce Robbins will lead a conversation on the topic of “deep time,” a mode of investigating how our present is inextricably tied to histories’ long past. In this event, we will consider how this extended historical approach may complicate our ethical and political claims. How, for example, do we think about history–or histories–in a globalized present of conflicting claims of injustice? Is there a temporal analog to cosmopolitanism, and if so, what would it look like? Are there new arrangements of time that are made possible when we decenter a privileged chronology? And considering the environmental impacts of rapid development, how do historical time and geological time intersect and complicate each other? Robbins will challenge us to think through our ingrained understanding of the relation between justice to time.

Unknotting Trauma

Cecilia Rubino & Jerry Finkelstein
Friday, November 2 2018, 4–6pm
The New School
Theresa Lang Center
55 West 13 Street, 2nd Floor, New York

Clinical Psychologist Dr. Jerry Finkelstein and theater director Cecilia Rubino, lead a participatory discussion on the topic of mental wellbeing within the context of creative education. At a time when institutions of higher education in the United States are going through a mental health crisis we will ask whether mental wellbeing should be seen as central to education, rather than as a condition that is stigmatized and medicalized. Finkelstein and Rubino consider improvisation, humor and play as strategies to “unknot” trauma. Finkelstein will focus on strategies to open up avenues for understanding trauma and anxiety, while Rubino will conduct a group activity to guide us through an embodied way of addressing internalized emotions and social relations. They both consider improvisation, humor and play as strategies to “unknot” trauma.

Unlearning Learning

BFAMFAPHD and Maria Rosa Sossai
Saturday, October 20 2018, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Unlearning Learning, the first event of this season, will consider the relationship between art and education, which lies at the heart of the entire series. Artist collective BFAMFAPHD and researcher Maria Rosa Sossai discuss how art and pedagogy can become tools for understanding the relations of power that shape institutions and practices, but also allow us to imagine new approaches to art and education. As practitioners who have developed workshops, teaching tools, and artworks that blur the boundary between art and educational practices, they will use this event to not simply speak about this subject, but also to activate some of their ideas.

Unlearning Dystopia

Ecotopias

Terike Haapoja
Saturday, February 10 2018, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Ecotopias is part of Unlearning Dystopia, the second installment of Learning and Unlearning, an experimental discussion series organized by Shifter. In Unlearning Dystopia, we will focus on how we can unlearn the projected dystopias associated with ecology, blackness and queerness, and ask what possible futures can emerge through this process of unlearning. The series will unfold as three events that think beyond the academic lecture or seminar as a format.

Artists facilitate each event, featuring: Terike Haapoja on Ecotopias, Steffani Jemison on Black Utopias, and Zach Blas on Queer Utopias. The organizers Rit Premnath and Avi Alpert will guide us to ask, what other possible futures might emerge merely by unlearning dystopia?

Black Utopias

Steffani Jemison
Saturday, March 17 2018, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Join us on Saturday, March 17 for Unlearning Dystopia: BlackUtopias, the second of three events elaborating on themes of utopia and dystopia in Art in General’s New Commission by Zach Blas, Contra-Internet. The series, hosted by the publication Shifter, invites special guests to present participatory workshops that explore ideas of ecotopias, black utopias, and queer utopias.

The second edition of Unlearning Dystopia invites artist Steffani Jemison to elaborate on her own research and thinking around Black Utopias. Jemison will consider the nostalgic and messianic features of black utopian thought in fiction, and the possibilities they have held and continue to hold in relation to real political planning and action.

Queer Utopias

Zach Blas
Saturday, April 14 2018, 4–6pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Join us on Saturday, April 14 for Unlearning Dystopia: QueerUtopias, the third and final event elaborating on themes of utopia and dystopia in Art in General’s New Commission by Zach Blas, Contra-Internet. The series, hosted by Shifter, invites special guests to present participatory workshops that explore ideas of ecotopias, black utopias, and queer utopias.

The third edition of Unlearning Dystopia invites artist Zach Blas to elaborate on his own research and thinking into Queer Utopias which informs his exhibition at Art in General.

Unlearning Work

On Pleasure

Abou Farman
Saturday, October 21 2017, 2–4pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

On Boredom

Marina Van Zuylen
Saturday, October 28 2017, 2–4pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

On Refusal

Sandro Mezzadra
Saturday, November 4 2017, 2–4pm
Art in General
145 Plymouth Street
Dumbo, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Unlearning Work is a public program series elaborating on the post-work themes present in Art in General’s New Commission by Danilo Correale, At Work’s End. The publication Shifter, together with the artist and special guests, present three participatory workshops that explore ideas of pleasure, boredom, and refusal.

Each gathering aims to challenge our assumptions and prejudices in relationship to work. Typical event formats are shifted and expanded in an effort to develop new habits for thinking and discussion.

Guest scholars help to facilitate each event: Abou Farman “On Pleasure,” Marina Van Zuylen “On Boredom,” and Sandro Mezzadra “On Refusal.” The organizers will identify key concepts that bind us to the governing regime of labor, and ask, what new relationships to these concepts might be possible in a post-work society?

Events led by Rit Premnath, Avi Alpert and Danilo Correale as part of the exhibition Danilo Correale: At Work’s End at Art in General

A Call to Gather

Musakhar Butt
Saturday February 11 2017, 5pm
The New School
63 5th Avenue, Room L206, New York, NY–10011

Over the course of the evening Musakhar Butt will lead us through a focused listening of two songs with which he begins each day. By framing religious prayer through his personal practice he will introduce us to songs that call people to gather and help them consider fundamental questions regarding their place in the universe.

Musakhar Butt was trained as a design engineer and worked on MRI, Ultrasound and Lithotrophy equipment for Toshiba America. He is currently engaged in post graduate studies at The New School, where he works as a safety officer.