November 14, 2017 - BAK, basis voor actuele kunst - Propositions #2: Assemblism
November 14, 2017

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst

Studio Jonas Staal and DiEM25, New Unions: DiEM25, Athens, 2017. Yanis Varoufakis lectures in the New Unions: DiEM25, Athens installation in the Sporting Basket Arena, Athens. Photo: Jonas Staal.

Propositions #2: Assemblism
November 25, 2017, 12pm

BAK, basis voor actuele kunst
Pauwstraat 13a
3512 TG Utrecht
the Netherlands

T +31 30 231 6125
info@bakonline.org

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Propositions #2: Assemblism is a day-long gathering that addresses the current rise of the new authoritarian world order, and the millions of bodies that have gathered in resistance in liberated autonomous zones, occupied buildings, city squares, prisons, and cultural spaces to collectively enact a different demand for egalitarian society. Philosopher Judith Butler defines “performative assembly”(1) as the process in which precarious peoples gather to seek new collectivity. This performative conference explores what democratic cultures manifest through assemblist practices, and how such cultures contribute to establishing new forms of emancipatory (self-)governance. During this event, art workers, political representatives, and activists discuss the cultural dimensions of assemblist practices, from pan-European movements to forms of non-human assembly, seeking new alliances.

Propositions #2: Assemblism is convened with Kate Shea Baird (Barcelona en Comú); Merve Bedir (architect and founding member of Center for Spatial Justice); Grégory Castéra (curator and co-founder of Council Paris); Maya Felixbrodt (composer and musician); iLiana Fokianaki (writer and curator, State of Concept, Extra City); Quinsy Gario (artist, activist, and 2017–2018 BAK Fellow); Menno Grootveld (DiEM25 The Netherlands); Havin Güneşer (journalist and women’s rights activist, Freedom for Abdullah Öcalan/Peace in Kurdistan); Ernst van den Hemel (researcher at Utrecht University and activist); Birgitta Jónsdóttir (poet, Icelandic Pirate Party); KUCHENGA (writer and agitator, Black Lives Matter UK, Bent Bars Collective); Aurélie Lierman (radio producer, vocalist, and composer); Lorenzo Marsili (founder of European Alternatives and member of DiEM25 coordinating committee); Shela Sheikh (researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London); Jonas Staal (artist and founder of New Unions); Igor Stokfiszewski (journalist, artist, and activist, Political Critique, DiEM25); and Samuel Vriezen (composer and writer).

Propositions #2: Assemblism is the second performative conference of BAK’s long-term research itinerary Propositions for Non-Fascist Living, prompted by the dramatic resurfacing and normalization of historical and contemporary fascisms in our present. Propositions for Non-Fascist Living attempts to articulate and inhabit methods of de-individualized living; methods in which multiplicity and difference enact relations other than those enamored with power and hierarchy.

The gathering takes place in a makeshift environment amid the renovation of BAK’s new venue and brings together diverse publics to take on the pressing concerns of our time. The program concludes with the book launch of poet, artist, and 2017–2018 BAK Fellow Quinsy Gario’s Roet in het Eten.

Propositions #2: Assemblism is developed following the 2017 collaboration between BAK and Studio Jonas Staal’s campaign New Unions (2016–ongoing), with contributions from, among others, architect Paul Kuipers and designer Remco van Bladel. The campaign developed installations for the public assemblies of the pan-European Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 (DiEM25), which will be on display during the performative conference. The spoken language of the event is English.

The activities of BAK have been made possible through financial contributions by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the City Council, Utrecht.



(1) Judith Butler, Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015).

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