Winter School
Deep Sustainability
01.03.2021 — 05.03.2021
Download press release as Word in Dutch or English.

Photo: Guido van Nispen
01.03.2021 — 05.03.2021
Winter School
Deep Sustainability

In order to keep the discussions and experiences substantive and immersive, this Winter School is limited to 25 participants. There is per participant a fee of € 75,- The program will be held online and in English. If covid measures allow us, we will gather in the auditorium at West in The Hague.

To apply, please e-mail chloe@westdenhaag.nl before 16 February 2021 with a 100-word motivation. If successful, you will receive a confirmation within the week.

The rebellion has begun. Millions of people are in the streets protesting the unsustainable status quo of ecological and economic mismanagement and disregard for the complexity of life. The demands are addressed to the powerful, politicians and leaders of industry, who respond slowly and inadequately. Everyone knows what is at stake, but what will it take to compel those who can to commit to long term transformation? International institutions exist but they do not have the necessarily political agency to compel the adoption of new rules.

The scientific consensus is near unanimous. We must make unprecedented changes in how we live. There is determinedly less fossil fuel available then there was at the beginning of last century, and this is getting harder to extract. It is not a question of whether we need to make fundamental changes, but how?
Why do we live in a world of poisonous plastics and wasteful processes in the first place? Long-term planning which benefits from science and historical experience is increasingly trumped by short-term drives for profits and ‘growth’. Reason alone is obviously not enough, we need the agency to put reason into effect. Artificial intelligence will not be able to improve our condition, we have to do it ourselves, and the AI will follow.

From collapsology, through feminist economics to near future speculative science fictions, in our Winter School we will take the time to summon our dread and our anger and channel these into emancipatory exercises and motivating activations for ourselves and for our communities. We will fortify each other to delve into dark mysteries of which bind our fears and ambivalence, and hearten each other to face the challenge, to elaborate, and pronounce demands, and cultivate cooperation to achieve these demands!

Each day of the Winter School will include readings and discussions of stimulating, energizing and challenging theory, ideas and philosophy, sessions of movement, breathing, extra-linguistic and embodied explorations, supervised and unsupervised solo and group work and performance and presentation sessions. We will adjust the general working conditions depending on the constituion of the group and the general public health measures which may be in force at that time.

Participants should be prepared to join exercises which will transgress conventional disciplinary boundaries, in an atmosphere of respect, with understanding and always attentive to consent. Participants should prepare comfortable clothes for movement exercises. Connecting to our existing practices, we want to embrace the challenge to develop new integrative modes of thinking together, with each other, with our environment, thinking in action, acting in receptivity, feeling out unlikely equilibria, towards new performativities.

The core of this Winter School is a thematic series of workshops designed by performance maker Simone Aughterlony. Aughterlony is a daring and engaging creator whose work merges social commitment and theory through physical engagement with objects and spaces. Participants will practice with Aughterlony in workshop sessions and then guided to apply insights gained from these to their own practices. The theme of deep sustainability running through the performance workshops will be informed and invigorated in four special encounters with specialists from philosophy, computer science, bioengineering and climate activism each of whom will present and discuss their approaches from their specialised points of view, exploring how the arts can bring these disparate insights together. The discussions will moderated with a view towards helping synthesize the specialist insights through the daily performance exercises.

The Winter School is convened by Baruch Gottlieb.