Online course: How to Assemble Now

The new online course How to Assemble Now, a digital extension of BAK Public Studies, asks a perennial question that has only been amplified by current circumstances: What are the means, limits, and possibilities for mobilizing and forming lasting collectivities in this crisis-driven present?

Led by BAK and a group of artists whose practices engage creative organizing and assembly tactics and the politics of togetherness and resistance—online, in person, and between the two, in different parts of the world and from different corporeal and social bodies—this course considers what it means to gather now, amid limited physical proximity, tightened borders, intensified police violence and state control, and many new social, ecological, and individual crises, but also renewed energy, rage, and determination.

Over six evening sessions, BAK invites different guest speakers to share insights from their own practices and vantage points. The course addresses contemporary acts of assembly as they happen on- and offline; in the spheres of work, activism, and civic life; and within alliances of care, solidarity, and mutual protection. Participants are introduced to a range of artistic tactics and theory on the topic of being together otherwise from perspectives including feminist critique, accessibility praxis, anti-racist organizing, and surveillance and algorithmic resistance. Guest artists include Isshaq Al-Barbary, American Artist, Jota Mombaça, Carmen Papalia,and Joy Mariama Smith, and the sessions are framed and moderated by BAK’s Maria Hlavajova and Rachael Rakes.

This course takes place alongside the focus “How to Assemble Now” on BAK’s online forum Prospections, which includes research, interviews, essays, and events geared toward furthering the discourses and practices of assemblism(s). Contributors to this focus of Prospections include Dave Beech, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Nora N. Khan, Aylin Kuryel, Suhail Malik, Jonas Staal, Mick Wilson, and many others.

How to Assemble Now runs from 24 August through 10 September 2020 (session dates are 24, 27, and 31 August and 3, 7, and 10 September 2020), from 19–21 hrs CET. These sessions occur online (via Zoom), and participants from anywhere in the world are welcome to join. Participation in the course is open to all concerned with the question of what art can do in times like ours; prior knowledge or experience in the subject matter is not required.
BAK Public Studies
BAK Public Studies offer critical insights into theoretical foundations and concrete actualizations of art as public practice. Understanding art in relation to both theory and social action, BAK Public Studies form a space for collective thinking, imagining, and acting in parallel to BAK’s politically-driven and theoretically-informed research, discourse, exhibitions, and publications.

* Credits image, l.–r.:
Open Access, collective performance organized by Carmen Papalia as part of the training Open Access: Organizing Accessibility from the Grassroots in the context of the project Trainings for the Not-Yet, 26 October 2019, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, photo: Tom Janssen
– Performance by Patricia Kaersenhout and Angel Bat Dawid, organized as part of Le Guess Who? Festival 2019 and (New) Formats of Care in Times of Violence, a training by Kaersenhout in the context of the project Trainings for the Not-Yet, 8 November 2019, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, photo: Tom Janssen
Matthijs de Bruijne: Compromiso Político, installation view, 2018, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, photo: Tom Janssen