Radical Empathy Lab as part of #Commonings, New Alphabet School

Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, Germany

14-18 September 2022


What could a school look like that seeks to make both learning and unlearning a common interrelated practice? How can a space be built around care, refuge, implication and vulnerability, negotiating positions and responsibilities? 

How can (un)learners in this space challenge privileges and habits of hierarchy, as well as authorship, productivity and competition? And how could such a school take place inside an institution and carve space for informal, convivial, horizontal modes of participation within it, allowing for gaps, mistakes and things left open. In the twelve editions of the New Alphabet School, the roles of curators and audience blurred. Thinking of knowledge as commons, they were constantly reverted in order to co-create shared space for networked knowledge. By convening again, the participants will explore together what these practices might institute and how they might form an ephemeral school of commoning.

Radical Empathy Lab 

How can new forms of being together allow to reflect and to re-feel? Radical Empathy Lab seeks to activate the affective inter-space of relationalities in the process of commoning. It is an experimental lab that calls to imagine social and ecological relationality otherwise and tries to undo a reactionary an-aesthesia (Greek: an-aesthēsis: without sensation) that is often incited by neoliberal capitalism and by dominant, separationist logics and systemic structures. It practises how to activate a critical consciousness towards interconnectedness and what Brazilian theorist Suely Rolnik calls an “active micropolitics”. Inspired by Deep Listening, radical and feminist pedagogies, it challenges the metrics driven notion of a laboratory in that it activates a holistic knowledge production. Radical Empathy Lab invites the participants to an affective encounter that embraces a relational –versus informational– learning and that in-corpo-rates the sensing body through transdisciplinary holistic advances.