Private Retreats and Public Summons is a two-year programme for and by progressive artists and art groups from the Arab world and their peers in Europe to share ambitions and create alliances during private retreats and a festival in a setting which balances the formality of a conference and the intimate nature of a residency.
Private Retreats and Public Summons are small, intersectional gatherings which emphasize organizing tools that allow for exchange through a relational rather than transactional approach: Taking & Giving Time and Gathering & Sharing. Mophradat wants to bring people together to re-establish their working connections, recuperate, and invent forms and protocols that take advantage of the current rupture in prevailing paradigms to experiment with alternative organizing methods. In the current crisis, the disadvantaged newcomer communities of Arabs in Europe, and their peers across the Mediterranean, are facing even harsher conditions – further deterioration of rights, acute rise of surveillance, compounded discrimination, financial meltdown and institutional dysfunction, along with the consequences of the anxiety created by confinement. Inventing alternative working models is critical now, as reliance on conventional institutions proves futile. The prevailing state of anxiety can potentially, if the conditions are set, be transformed into a generative slowness. Bringing together those suffering the effects of similar biases can create an expanded community. The current difficulty in movement and social interaction has the advantage of making it possible to stagger programs over long periods of time, while being able to sustain commitment and test ideas that would require extended time. Due to the pandemic, the programme will first engage with participants based in Europe, with the ongoing help of an expert at WHO. We have assigned an overarching theme for each year of the programme: “Mother” in 2021 and “+1” in 2022.
The 2021 theme follows up on ideas from our upcoming publication titled “Why Call It Labor? On Motherhood and Art Work.” The theme “Mother” opens up various forms of research on topics related to the gendering of communication (mother tongue), ways in which relationships are organized (motherhood), and how we deal with each other and our environment (mother land, mother nature, mother earth).