Saturday, April 19, 2014

New Habits

Andrea Büttner, Vogelpredigt, 2010, woodcut

Together with participating artists, architects, and a choreographer, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, Andrea Büttner, Jesko Fezer and Andreas Müller with Maximilian Weydringer, Andrea Fraser, Natascha Sadr Haghighian, Tehching Hsieh, Ienke Kastelein, Sung Hwan Kim, Annette Krauss, Aimée Zito Lema, Wietske Maas, Christian Nyampeta, Yvonne Rainer, and a number of “commoners” within and outside of Utrecht, Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory is delighted to introduce 'New Habits', the inaugural exhibition at Casco’s new space.  

While 'New Habits' apparently refers to the institution’s new habitat, new rhythm, and new modes of working, this project exhibition also functions as a thought experiment with a broader agenda, asking: Would practicing according to common habits enable an autonomous community, and if so, what would be the habits of a commoning community? 

A habit is an everyday expression of unintentionally obtained and individually embodied knowledge. The term "habit" is often loaded with negative connotations; habits are to be broken or unlearned. New Habits proposes that we rethink the notion of the habit as a form of life central to community formation, in negotiation with the governing rules and laws. 'New Habits' looks for shared, communal habits or forms of life marked by a non-capitalist ethos of commoning, as a necessary counterpoint to direct action and representative politics. 

Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s recent analysis of Franciscan practices in calling for a new politics provided a major theoretical impetus for New Habits. Under the guiding virtue of “highest poverty” from their formation in the thirteenth century the Franciscans lived a form of common life that incorporated but defied established rules and norms of the Church.  

'New Habits' is an aesthetic project as much as a project of ethics and new politics. It attempts to merge art and life once more, but rather than trying to “abandon the art world” (as in the 1960s), the focus is now on articulating and practicing forms (of life) within and against the institution.  

'New Habits' is curated by director Binna Choi, with the contribution of curators Jason Waite and Sanne Oorthuizen. Needless to say its materialization would have been impossible without the rest of the team: Janine Armin, Ester Bartels, Marleen de Kok, Yolande van der Heide, Ying Que, and Suzanne Tiemersma, and the additional support of interns Debby Sielert, Malcolm Kratz, and Sofie Wierda. The graphic design for the exhibition is by David Bennewith with Virginie Gauthier. 
Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory
01 May – 13 Jul 2014