Brandon LaBelle

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The Living School / in collaboration with the South London Gallery

Housing brings together the intimate experiences we have of home-life with the operations of state policies. In doing so, housing is an extremely sensitive and essential issue, creating a complex intersection between the spatial imagination, affective being, and experiences of community that rests unevenly within the neoliberal politics of privatization. The sphere of the domestic, as that informative foundation central to personal life, as well as neighborly relation, bears the weight of an economic argument.

The Living School is a mobile event series organized by Brandon LaBelle which focuses on the issues of housing, common property, and the precarious subject. Given the tremendous unsettling of secure housing in the city of London and elsewhere, questions as to the right to public housing are pressing. Such questions equally force additional questions as to the politics of access, the constitution of community life, property as public good, as well as the power of the weak and strategies of resistance and renewal. The Living School is an open gathering for sharing and developing dialogue, and for advancing a critical, creative and embodied engagement with this current situation.

Organized as four public sessions to appear in different locations in the city of London (between February–June 2016), the School will integrate invited presentations, interventions, and collective work, and is structured through methods of improvisation, experimental pedagogy, and self-organized criticality, in which particular topics, such as expulsion, poverty, and self-building, are considered. In particular, The Living School searches for ways to actualize an imaginative response – an emergency dwelling – for wondering aloud as to the future of public living.

 

Session #1: Expelled with Jane Rendell, Irit Rogoff and zURBS
We cordially invite you to the first session of The Living School, a mobile project on questions of living together, to be held at the Peckham Liberal Club on Saturday, February 6th, 12:00 – 6:00pm. The session will focus on the theme of The Expelled, and will include presentations by Jane Rendell and Irit Rogoff. They will consider the question of expulsion, eviction and displacement, giving a broader view onto the systematic upheaval of people. In addition, a participatory workshop will be led by the urban art collective zURBS, which will engage with the local neighbourhood and open up a dialogue between our own positionality and spatial politics.

 

Session #2: Poverty with Andrew Conio, Liz Allen and Andrea Luka Zimmerman
We cordially invite you to the second session of The Living School, a mobile project on questions of housing, common property and living together, to be held at the Ivy House Pub on Saturday, March 12th, 12:30 – 5:30pm. The session will focus on the theme of Poverty, and will include presentations by Andrew Conio and Liz Allen. Responding to issues of neo-liberal economics, Conio will bring forward a critical discussion on the question of money and liquidity, and how conditions of indebtedness are central to current debates. Grounding such discussions, Liz Allen, archivist at Toynbee Hall, will present an historical overview of the Settlement House Movement, and how institutions dedicated to responding to the conditions of the poor are dealing with current situations. Concluding the session, Andrea Luka Zimmerman (Fugitive Images) will screen the film Dark Days (Marc Singer, 2000), reflecting upon issues related to social housing and homelessness, and her own experience at the Haggerston Estate. It is the aim of the session to reflect upon poverty not only as a scene of being without, but equally as the basis for forms of resistance and expressions of weak-strength.

 

Session #3: Self-Built with Chris Jones and RUSS

We cordially invite you to the third session of The Living School, a mobile project on questions of housing, common property and living together, to be held at The Limehouse Town Hall on Saturday, May 7th, 12:30 – 5:30pm. The session will focus on the theme of the Self-Built, and will take shape through a collective and spontaneous self-build project. Run by Chris Jones from 56a Infoshop archive, practices of squatting, 'self-building' and poaching will be shared as an informational background for the playful building of a spontaneous construction within the historic Limehouse Town Hall who are co-hosting the event with SLG. Bring your visions for the monumental or the subtle! Imagining forms of “self-building”, through wood, rope, nails, through our own histories or through our own energetic bodies, we attempt to mine the deeper sense of the politics of our own survival, shelter and collective sustenance.

Within this temporary structure, representatives from Rural Urban Synthesis Society (RUSS) will discuss their pioneering contemporary work to use self-building to create socially, environmentally and economically sustainable neighbourhoods including their secured bid to work with Lewisham Council to create 33 unique high quality homes on the site of a former school in Ladywell, South East London. Imagining forms of dwelling by sharing knowledge and working together throughout the event, a deeper sense of the politics of the built environment will be developed.

 

 

Session #4: Shared Space with Jonathan Hoskins, Brandon LaBelle, and Aria Spinelli

We cordially invite you to the fourth session of The Living School, a mobile project on questions of housing, common property, and the precarious subject, to be held at Open School East on Saturday, June 11th, 1:00 – 5:00pm. For this fourth and final session of The Living School, presentations and group activities will circulate around the issue of shared space and the politics of occupation and co-habitation. How might we imagine and model 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 configurations, and relations between strangers and neighbours? The session will aim to consider such questions through performative lectures and work that actively engage the event as a space of coming together.

In collaboration with the Antiuniversity.