In the context of the Open School section of the Risquons-Tout exhibition at Wiels, we present a display, an environment and a discursive program gathering artefacts, humans and non-humans, to share questions and tools for organising, sharing and caring. The different elements unfold in the spaces and times of the program, in the exhibition catalogue and in the cyberspace.

Conceived as an expanded publication, the installation weaves together oral, written, visual stories, and combines fluid and evolving forms, floating textiles, mobile and permeable elements digital and analog, bodies, plants and minerals.

This proposition is constructed in close dialogue with artists and artworks that address issues of care, maintenance, storytelling, conditions for being and working together. With works by: Sofia Caesar, Laurie Charles, Clémentine Coupau, Julianæ (Juliana Vargas Zapata and Juliane Schmitt), Josèfa Ntjam and Golnesa Rezanezhad.

From September 12, 2020 to January 10, 2021. (more details here et en français ici)


We have got to radically restructure the way we do things; no one wants to return to normal, because normal was bad. We have got the capacity to make a mad little industry that’s sustainable, accessible, genuinely diverse, fundamentally joyful, and I think we should do that. Right now. This is the tip of the iceberg, I literally wrote the second half of this in one afternoon, imagine what people cleverer than me with way more time could come up with – reach for the fucking stars. The White Pube, www.thewhitepube.co.uk/ideasforanewartworld

Laurie Charles, Mouth, 2018. Photo Thomas Raggam.

👀 what visibility is given to what, to whom?

How does a gathering become a happening, that is, greater than a sum of its parts? One answer is contamination. We are contaminated by our encounters; they change who we are as we make way for others. As contamination changes world-making projects, mutual worlds – and new directions – may emerge. Everyone carries a history of contamination; purity is not an option. One value of keeping precarity in mind is that it makes us remember that changing with circumstances is the stuff of survival. . . . Collaboration means working across difference, which leads to contamination. Without collaborations, we all die. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2015),
pp. 27–8.

Clémentine Coupau, Waiting for Night to Fall, Waiting for Time to Pass (Night Lights for Adults), 2016.

Una lucha de fronteras/
A Struggle of Borders
Because I, a mestiza,
continually walk out of one culture
and into another,
because I am in all cultures at the same time,
alma entre dos mundos, tres, cuatro,
me zumba la cabeza con lo contradictorio.
Estoy norteada por todas las voces que me hablan
Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera. The New Mestiza (San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books, [1987] 2007), p. 99.

who is speaking, what are the conditions of speech? 👅 📢

I was counting T-cells on the shores of cyberspace and feeling some despair. . . . I have miscegenated and mutated, tolerated and assimilated, and yet I remain the same in the eyes of those who would fear and despise me. I stand at the threshold of cyberspace and wonder: Is it possible that I am unwelcome here, too? Will I be allowed to construct a virtual reality that empowers me? Can invisible men see their own reflections? . . . I’m carrying trauma into cyberspace . . . violent gestures, a fractured soul, short fuses, dreams of revenge. . . .
My primary public characteristics continue to be defined by dreads of me, myths about me, and plain old homegrown contempt. All of this confusion is accompanying me into cyberspace; every indignity and humiliation, every anger and suspicion. Essex Hemphill, On the Shores of Cyberspace (1995), presented at the conference Black Nations/Queer Nations?, at the City University of New York, March 1995. youtu.be/b7tHxIPz8Bs?t=1388

Golnesa Rezanezhad,
This is Not a Fiction, 2015.

Just as individuated texts have become filaments of infinitely tangled webs, so the digital machines of the late twentieth cen­tury weave new networks from what were once isolated words, numbers, music, shapes, smells, tactile textures, archi­tectures and countless channels as yet unnamed. Media become
interac­tive and hyperactive, the multi­plicitous components of an im­mersive zone which does not begin with writing; it is directly related rather to the weaving of elaborate figured silks. The yarn is neither metaphorical nor literal, but quite simply mate­rial, a gathering of threads which twist and turn through die history of computing, technology, the sciences and arts. In and out of the punched holes of automated looms, up and down through the ages of spinning and weaving, back and forth through the fabrication of fabrics, shuttles and looms, cotton and silk, canvas and paper, brushes and pens, typewriter car­riages, telephone wires, synthetic fibers, electrical filaments, silicon strands, fiber-optic cables, pixeled screens, telecom lines, the World Wide Web, the Net, and matrices to come. Sadie Plant, Zeros + Ones. Digital Women and the New Technoculture (London: Fourth Estate, 1998),
pp. 11–2.

📣 🔇 🔊 👀 👁 🗯 💬 💭 🗨 who is seen, who is heard?

Josèfa Ntjam, Mami Wata On Screen, 2019. Photo Blaise Adilon.

© 2009 the Gloria E. Anzaldúa Literary Trust. Benson Latin American Collection. University of Texas Libraries. By permission of Stuart Bernstein Representa­tion for Artists, New York.

Hieroglyph of a left hand on whose palm are pictured a pair of eyes, a mouth with a tongue hanging out and the writing tip of a pen at the tip of the tongue. Los ojos represent seeing and knowing which can lead to understanding or conocimiento.Gloria Anzaldúa, The New Mestiza Nation: A Multicultural Movement, in The Gloria Anzaldúa Reader, ed. AnaLouise Keating (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019),
pp. 211–25.

We are told we live in a networked world – told we now inhabit a brave new borderless world – told that we are now a We. But this we is persistently a homogeneous mass, the socially and geographically undifferentiated and depoliticized user of digital technology. Who is excluded from this we? Who are made the objects rather than the subjects of this empowered abstraction of network cultures? What of those experiences not represented by the image of digital futures projected by Silicon Valley? What about those who constitute the undercommons of the network, those who experience digital connectivity as a chain? Where are the female, nonwhite, queer bodies in this supply chain? Precarity Lab, Digital Precarity Manifesto, Social Text, vol. 37, no. 4 (2019): p. 78.

who is watching, who is listening? 🙉 🙈 🙊 📡

The switching of codes” . . . from English to Castilian Spanish to the North Mexican dialect to Tex-Mex to a sprinkling of Nahuatl to a mixture of all of these, reflects my language, a new language – the language of the Borderlands. There, at the juncture of cultures, languages cross-pollinate and are revitalized; they die and are born. Presently this infant language, this bastard language, Chicano Spanish, is not approved by any society. But we Chicanos no longer feel that we need to beg entrance, that we need always to make the first overture – to translate to Anglos, Mexicans and Latinos, apology blurting out of our mouths with every step. Today we ask to be met halfway. This book is our invitation to you – from the new mestizas. Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera. The New Mestiza, (San Francisco, CA: Aunt Lute Books, [1987] 2007), xiv.

Juliane Schmitt and Juliana Vargas Zapata, Blanketing – a blanket that provides a safe space for sharing intimate thoughts about topics that are not usually talked about, 2020.

Sofia Caesar,
Trabalho Involuntário,
Involuntary Work
, 2019.
Photos Yuna Mathieu-Chovet.

Theorizing, a form of experimenting, is about being in touch. What keeps theories alive and lively is being responsible and responsive to the world’s patternings and murmurings. Doing theory requires being open to the world’s aliveness, allowing oneself to be lured by curiosity, surprise, and wonder. Theories are not mere metaphysical pronouncements on the world from some presumed position of exteriority. Theories are living and breathing reconfigurings of the world. The world theorizes as well as experiments with itself. Figuring, reconfiguring. Animate and (so-called) inanimate creatures do not merely embody mathematical theories; they do mathematics. But life, whether organic or inorganic, animate or inanimate, is not an unfolding algorithm. Electrons, molecules, brittlestars, jellyfish, coral reefs, dogs, rocks, icebergs, plants, asteroids, snowflakes, and bees stray from all calculable paths, making leaps here and there, or rather, making here and there from leaps, shifting familiarly patterned practices, testing the waters of what might yet be/have been/could still have been, doing thought experiments with their very being. Karen Barad, On Touching – The Inhuman that Therefore I Am, differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies, vol. 23, no. 3 (2012):
pp. 207–8.

🐾 who/what is guiding what/whom?

Organ comes from the Greek word ergon, designating a tool or piece that, combined with other pieces, is necessary to conduct some regulated process. . . . Organon has the sense of being a method of representation, a tool of knowledge, and a collection of norms and rational rules thanks to which we can understand and produce reality. . . . The organon is thus an apparatus or dispositif that facilitates a particular activity in the same way that a hammer extends the hand or a telescope brings the eye closer to a far-off object. It is as if it were the prosthesis and not the living member that has always been hiding behind the notion of the organon. Paul B. Preciado, Countersexual Manifesto: Subverting Gender Identities, trans. Kevin Gerry Dunn (New York: Columbia University Press, 2018), p. 131.


Allison Parrish, Programming is Forgetting: Toward a New Hacker Ethic (2016), presented at the Open Hardware Summit, Portland, July 2016. http://opentranscripts.org/transcript