contact about    

About Collective Reading Practice

with Read-in Collective

Read-in is a self-organized collective that experiments with the political, material, and physical implications of collective reading and the situatedness of any kind of reading activity. Unavoidably rooted in the specificity of the places from where we read, the collective also calls attention to the relationship between the content of a book and the reading of a space itself. Through relocating and communalizing a typically private and solitary activity, Read-in opens up new spaces for grappling with the material, affective and political dimensions of “reading together” trying to conjure feminist histories of reading together for political action.

During these two Unsettling sessions, we would like to share some of our collective reading practices and experiment with them in an online context. Both sessions will take place through a variety of collective reading modalities, and we will give context by speaking about our past and ongoing research projects and then do some group reading exercises that we are reconfiguring for the online format. 

*on the 14th of May :

In the first session we will give a short introduction of Read-in’s practice and research interests. From there we will spin off from experiences and topics we’ve engaged with during a recent group residency we participated in. M-ASEP (Micro-Agressive Scrambled Egg Precariat) at Motel Spatie in Arnhem in February 2020 was convened by artists Amy Wu and Elaine Ho, engaging with the practices of care. We will segue from discussing this residency to a reading exercise with Hannah Black’s text Witch-hunt that was explored during this recent residency in Arnhem, on the topic of feminist practices of care and refusal through gossip, by moving to an an online version of our collective memorizing practice that we call Haunted Bookshelves. 

Haunted Bookshelves experiments with the choreographies of collective memorizing and speaks to the missing pieces from our bookshelves whilst building a counter-memory. In locating text in the body through the act and ongoing practice of memorizing, and to the study of voices that are included and excluded from bookshelves, we explore presence and absence in the framework of hauntology. 
We will experiment with collective memorizing by gathering quotes from or adjacent to Black’s text by Saidya Hartman, Hortense Spillers and Sylvia Federici; as part of the Haunted Bookshelves memorizing, we would like to invite students to think in advance and bring a short quote they would be interested in memorizing, responding to the needs and desires of this specific time that we find ourselves in. 

*on the 21th of May

We will carry the memorizing over to the second session, revisiting the exercise as a durational experience, followed by a closer reading of Federici’s Caliban and the Witch. Furthering our discussion of collective reading practices in relation to practices of care, we will share our experience of a group residency called In Waves that took place at a cultural centre on an island outside of Helsinki in 2018 as a week-long focus on feminist curatorial practices. We will revisit the collective reading that we did with In Waves of Pauline Oliveiros’ score Sonic Meditations, but this time, in an online configuration. 

Within the new circumstances in which we come together online, the sense of connection and togetherness has changed fundamentally. We are staring at our screens, confronted with navigating new forms of communicating in the absence of physical presence and eye contact. Here we will attempt to explore the possibilities for our sonic connection, by turning off our screens and meeting through reading and listening.