until 7 April 2024
OPEN CALL: Reading group Rotterdam

Usufructuaries of earth
A project in three chapters convened by BAK with artist Marwa Arsanios
Chapter two, reading groups and online publication Prospections

28 April 2024, 14–18 hrs
Undoing Debt
Convened by Iliada Charalambous and Philippa Driest
KIOSK, Pieter de Raadtstraat 35a, 3033 VC, Rotterdam

The reading group Undoing Debt gathers at book and print workshop KIOSK, Rotterdam, and is convened by artists Iliada Charalambous and Philippa Driest. Undoing Debt collectively explores selected chapters of activists and theorists Lucí Cavallero and Verónica Gago’s book A Feminist Reading of Debt (2021). Through a feminist lens and with a particular focus on Latin America, the authors examine how debt extracts value from domestic and care labor—how such indebtedness becomes a pernicious part of everyday life within precarized communities, inflicting economic violence, in particular, against feminized bodies (those of women, queer, lesbians, and trans people). However, the regime of such gendered, financial violence has also kindled counter-movements of people who declare “We Want To Stay Alive and Debt Free” on a planetary scale. What are some of the people’s pockets of resistance in the face of neoliberal violence? What are some of the common tools and strategies, and political vocabulary developed by transnational feminist movements across Latin America? And how do communities create alternatives of mutual aid as a form of refusal and resistance to forced impoverishment? Through a collective reading session followed by a discussion, the reading group in Rotterdam attempts to map some of the methods of defiance to finance in the Netherlands while drawing on some of the lessons and methods used by our Latin American counterparts, as explained in the A Feminist Reading of Debt, as propositions of usufruct against financial constructions of debt. In addition, selected excerpts from Stefano Harney and Fred Moten’s “Debt and Study” chapter in The Undercommons (2013) are discussed, with a reading by multidisciplinary writer Pelumi Adejumo. The harvest of the reading group will be printed and published during the day through the Leaky Press; a method of collective documentation and distribution of annotations. During the reading group, a soup dinner is cooked up by het Rode Keukentje.


Verónica Gago and Lucí Cavallero, A Feminist Reading of Debt (London: Pluto Press, 2021), the following selected chapters: “A Feminist reading of debt,” “How to disobey finance?,” “Interviews with Federación de Organizaciones de Base/ FOB or Federation of Grassroots Organizations),” and optionally, “Feminist strike.”

Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study (Wivenhoe: Minor Compositions, 2013), selected excerpts from the chapter “Debt and Study” (“Debt and Credit,” “Debt and Forgetting,” and “Debt and Refuge”).

All readings read as part of the Usufructuaries of earth reading groups are made available through the “Usufructuaries of earth” online reading resource.

Limited space is available for the Rotterdam reading group. If you are interested and able to attend the Rotterdam reading group in person, please send an email—by 19 April 2024—with a short motivation letter of no more than 200 words to opencall@bakonline.org. This reading group takes place in English language.