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Dispatch: From the Eleventh Session of Non-Western Technologies for the Good Life


The second in a series of dispatches from The Experimental Station for Research on Art and Life from artist Ana Kun, a participant in the course Non-Western Technologies for the Good Life.

We started the session inside the greenhouse of The Experimental Station for Research on Art and Life at Siliștea Snagovului, around a table of snacks, in the blazing sun, with an introduction of the history and struggle of the Kurdish people focused on the writings of Abdullah Öcalan, Jineolojî feminism and the autonomous region of Rojava. The journey continued with a conversation between visual artist Hiwa K and philosopher (and course leader) Ovidiu Țichindeleanu through several landmarks of Hiwa K’s practice, who explains his views in a poetical, whimsical and highly quotable way:

I’m not based in a country I’m based on my own two feet
I’m an extellectual not an intellectual
I’m not a star I’m a half-moon
I make my own time...

Hiwa K’s convivial practice is larger than the sum of his visual artworks and includes dancing, singing, cooking, exchanging ideas, developing partnerships and so on. While in deep mourning for his soulmate and long-time collaborator, curator Aneta Szyłak, Hiwa K talked about longing instead of belonging (where the first is a film and the latter is an instant), the tea house meetings during Saddam Hussein’s regime where surveillance would be confused by talking in codes that open spaces of interpretation, and emphasizing the importance of including the other (even if they are the enemy) in formulating new forms of resistance – resistance is a mesh of good and bad and if you break it, it will create a wound.

Part of Hiwa K’s collaborative practice is also cooking his mother’s recipes with her video call directions. This time he and some of us prepared a nurturing Kurdish vegan meal of rice with walnuts and pomegranate molasses and a side of green salad.

We closed the Eleventh Session of Non-Western Technologies for the Good Life, entitled ‘Conviviality and Everyday Knowledge’, with a generous storytelling time, where more people in the group got to contribute memories and tales of healing, joy and hope (hiwa in Kurdish).

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