Residencies , San Francisco

Adelita Husni-Bey residency

Kadist welcomes Adelita Husni-Bey as the fall 2015 resident artist. As part of her residency, she intends carry out a project that uses competitive sport as a reflexive arena onto which to map the complexities of the dominant ideology in America – Capitalism. She asks: “How has the concept of competition, vital to the current socio-economic system, come to structure the present notion of the ‘American Dream’? How have, and how are, the aspirations of marginalized groups structured around narratives of success in the sports industry? What effects does a individualistic notion of ‘failure’ produce when it is divorced from class and collective conditions of disadvantage, structurally present in a neoliberal milieu?”

In a three-phase project, she will work closely around these questions with a group of athletes as part of a free 3-5 day workshop in mid-September. The workshop will bring together athletes, who will work with the artist to think critically about what competition means, how it has affected their lives and its larger social implications. The workshop is intended as a discursive space, where the artist (who has extensive experience with pedagogical workshops across Europe and the US) will sensitively guide and mentor the athletes, creating a safe space to collectively confront the pressures of their discipline.

Participants will initially collect personal and historical narratives of failure in sport, detailing movements and emotions felt by the athletes during instances of failure. The concentration on the affective qualities of failure will focus the discourse to the effects of extreme pressure on the body and psyche, which can then be related to the social ‘body’ as a whole. The group will be encouraged to tell their story and share it with others, as well as reflect on how their stories are alike and different. This will happen through multiple forms of contribution, such as movement exercises, word games and narratives, while being sensitive in regards to the degree to which the participants are comfortable with the different forms.

The workshop will culminate with a short film that the artist and athletes will collaboratively shape, and will be presented alongside a small public archive (photographic and written material researched through and for the workshop) in early December. The aim of the project is to engage local communities and associations in a productive pedagogical experience which will encourage the participants to think collectively and critically about notions of competition in a larger social sense.