Jacques Derrida suggests that the concept of hospitality is innately bound to that of owning private property, not to mention a certain politics of gendered violence that reaches back centuries in western culture. Today the contemporary market era seeks to commodify and make property out of all flows—not just tangible ones like property-as-territory, but immaterial flows, speech-acts, ideas and perhaps someday even thought itself.
Press Play is a process machine offered by the Department of Biological Flow as a response to three concepts discussed in Avital Ronell’s 2012 summer seminar at the European Graduate School: ‘hospitality’, ‘authority’ and ‘gift’. Can hospitality be extended or offered in contexts wherein property rights accrue to no members of the community, or in which the idea of territory itself is under negotiation or in flux?
Day One of the Press Play process engaged the ‘gift’ as an operative gesture of hospitality in the ‘communal’ spaces of pedagogy, while questioning ‘authority’ in a ludic sense through language-based interventions. These offerings were left unattended for two days to see what would be catalyzed. Day Two of Press Play then attempted a topological inversion of the first day, in which the ‘gift’ was expressed more in language while ‘authority’ was felt more pronouncedly in gesture.
In so doing, we hoped to effervesce certain affects, thoughts and dialogues concerning hospitality as the zone of indiscernibility between authority and gift—but also as a concept that may find fresh theoretical possibilities in new spaces and times of the common.
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