Skip to content

To Sleep Together in Comfort (Which is Politics)

Workshop, 2021
Marc Herbst and Michelle Teran

A workshop on generative conflict and difference. This workshop was a semi-closed event, and embedded within the 2021 version of the Climate Care festival, curated by Soft Agency for the Floating University in Berlin. Participants invited to spend the night in the basin at the Floating University campus were members of the floating e.V and invited guests.

How can we create and maintain a generative space where not everybody agrees but manages to nourish comfort? Can we recognize difference and disagreement as abundance? Where does disagreement not mean failure? What is the feeling of the individual in the differentiated collective? These are affective and grounding questions.

Together in difference. Over 24 hours, including an overnight stay, we intend to write and rewrite, based on collective experience, rules, and poetics around our common being together. The event’s focus will be on experiencing conviviality and reflections upon it through speaking and listening practices, writing, sleeping, and late-night dreaming. The politics of the event are based around the understanding that to sleep with each other in mind comfortably is a conscious project of collective organization. The inclusion of dreaming in this event is key, as dreams are understood here to be an accelerator/magnifier of time and openness to the world. What vulnerabilities and entanglements are further manifest when dreams are utilized as a tool through which collective articulation is consciously composed?

Making our own bed.

For us, “rewilding” refers to a horizontal return to the commons, to the entangled social relations that are. In our changing post-Holocenic world, living through the ruins of modernity, we think about rewilding only to the extent that it helps us conceptualize how productive social difference has been repressed by more patriarchal and singular forms of order. In the name of helping us to envisage how wild the common social sphere already is, we appreciate the term.

To sleep? Surely dream.

Sleeping together in the city – divided by our homes, our individual jobs, and plans and possibilities for them, and also commonly united in the modern state of difference under the order of capitalism and the modern state. What also unites us here in this gathering is some shared language, affection or desire to work together, and perhaps some positive affinity for what we might be able to do together. Capitalism is already present to provide a system to account for our ordering, and the state can provide some law. As modern cosmopolitans we have left common symbolic order that does not simply normalize profit or the violence of the quicker and stronger towards the weaker and the slower. Thus are initially bereft fo commonly meaningful ways to coordinate between the individual and the collective desires besides patriarchal and profit-oriented ordering. Perhaps, learning to listen to others and our common and different grounds and how they appear over different temporalities might prove meaningful.

Que soñaste?

This durational workshop is socially grounded in personal experiences of difference, internal group conflicts and convivialities, and exterior group boundaries in social practice work. the workshop’s practice is based on experiences in early net art performance jams, commoning, and informed by Dean Spade’s writings on organizing, adrienne maree brown’s emergent strategy, disability and restorative justice, feminist science fiction, and decolonial theory on other poetics. Active listening is a key method in an effort to hear the least articulate of thoughts and wishes as loudly as those most articulate. And to recognize extant practices within our common lives that nevertheless escape public notice.