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Reading Group: Material Grounds

with Isobel Dryburgh and guests

Join us for our Reading Group this Spring to Summer called Material Grounds.
Over five sessions we will look at the making and unmaking of relationships to the material world and “place”. We will read together and talk as a group. Feel welcome!

This reading group explores how we read as much as what we read and will be joined by several guests along the way, including Elowise Vandenbroecke and Julia van der Putten as well as Four Sisters.

The five sessions run roughly every two weeks and are open to anyone with an interest. You are welcome to join for all sessions or one.

Session 1 – May 18th
with guests Elowise Vandenbroecke & Julia van der Putten
The first session on the 18th of May will be co-lead by Elowise Vandebroeke and Julia van der Putten. They offer a diffractive reading session, a method of reading and analysis that they are exploring within their research on queer generosity. Departing from the notion of queer as relational they wonder how the social act of queer generosity can be sensed as response-ability. In that light, this reading session foregrounds how difference comes to matter differently when we look at it through Karen Barad’s concept of diffraction. We intend to explore together diffraction as a mode of reading by doing it.

Session 2 – June 3rd
On Thursday the 3rd of June we will look at notions of place especially those impacted by colonisation, displacement and violence. Reading texts that summon the experience of living in more than one “world” at a time. We will also use this time to reflect on the oppression and violence happening in Palestine.

Session 3 – June 16th
On Wednesday the 16th of June we are meeting in person – together at Veem House. We will look at texts which delve into the forms of valuation of natural resources, how they can be (ab)used and (mis)understood.

Session 4 – June 30th
How do we capture, shape, and represent our sense of place? How does this capturing, in turn, affect our relationship to the place represented? During the 4th session on Wednesday June 30th we will look at the entanglement of representation and perception of the world around us.

We will look at the way language shapes our sense of place and at strategies or devices that enable us to consume or understand our surrounding landscape, including the Claude Glass – a 17th-century mirror device that enables someone to view a landscape in its frame.

Session 5 – July 15th
We are really excited to close our reading group, Material Grounds, on the 15th of July at the Four Sisters garden in Amsterdam Nieuw West!

This session coincides with the Four Sisters own reading group, Women & Land and is inspired by a ritual performed by nuns from the Monastery Prohor Pčinjski; they combine reading of a prayer with homesteading activities each and every time the day is too short to finish all the daily tasks. In this way nuns do not separate spiritual practice from daily life activities. By suggesting reading while weeding, we want to re-imagine the relationship between ritual and agriculture.

We will read several texts: one of fiction recalling a memory of a valley, one which looks at the particular method used for growing in the Four Sisters garden and one which contemplates the ritualistic aspect of agriculture and its meaning in contemporary society. Reading will be done together in the session with activities relating to the land. If you are not able to do physical tasks, please don’t be put off, the physical exertion is up to you. Read more about Four Sisters…

> Click here for the address of the Four Sisters garden

18 May 2021

19:30 — 21:00

3 June 2021

19:30 — 21:00

16 June 2021

19:30 — 21:00

30 June 2021

19:30 — 21:00

15 July 2021

19:30 — 21:00

We will stick to the corona measures during all of our activities to ensure your wellbeing in our care. Read more about our regulations in our safety protocol.