Maja & Nik

Our summer was filled with wrapping up the previous phase of FoAM bxl, including moving out from the Koolmijnenkaai studio, sale of valuables, distilling the archive and setting up the new library, administrative closure of funding obligations, various contracts and official changes to the governance structure of FoAM vzw. To close the 'summer of moving out' in a meaningful way, Maja wrote the article (with Nik’s editorial and pictorial help) FoAM has left the building.

compacted library at FoAM bxl


Since the end of August we’re primarily focused on developing FoAM Earth, the new nomadic FoAM studio with its legal entity based in Estonia. Aside from all the practical details of starting a new company (setting up the financial management tools, bank-accounts, liability insurance, etc.), we are beginning to delve into our 'triangle' research (which is currently called ∆[∆], but doesn’t have a pronounceable name yet). We’re currently working on framing the global research on the interstices between uncertainty, experience and panpsychism and a series of its trans-local instantiations. We're reading (e.g. Humankind by Morton, Process and Reality by Whitehead, Reclaiming Animism by Stengers, Romantic Machine by Tresch, etc.) and writing, conducting speculative thought experiments and enjoying the fact that there is no externally imposed deadline for this work (definitely a new beginning!)

For now, there are a few concrete things linked with the ∆[∆] research on our horizon:

  • late September - formulation of our contribution to “Spectres in Change”, a research residency in collaboration with the CAA collective and the Archipelago research institute in Finland: notes, photos
  • 04-07 October - Parables and meditation retreat on stories and practices of diverse spiritual journeys, in Tenerife in the first week of October (it’s a private retreat so there is nothing about it online), in collaboration with Julianne Lee of https://www.arsvitaecollection.com/
  • 7-10 November - Anticipation conference in London where Maja is giving a closing keynote speech, together with Nik we'll present it as an audio-visual lecture-performance called “In anticipation of things already present”: https://fo.am/anticipation-conference/
  • 22 November - 6 December - Dust & Shadow fieldwork in Phoenix and the deserts of the south-west USA. Continuation of our work with the Arizona State University: notes and fieldnotes.
  • In 2018 a few other instantiations of the research might emerge - in Croatia, Australia, Japan and Iceland, as well as a possible 'romantic machines' workshop(s) (aka 'engineer cracking') in collaboration with Michka, and the further articulation of ideas about FoAM as a kinship network (which we'd like to call AKIN if the rest of the bxl team agree…)

In addition to the ∆[∆] research at FoAM Earth, we are also engaged in collaborating with other FoAM studios and developing the FoAM network as a whole:

  • we became participants in the Feral Business Network designed by Kate Rich to look at business/economic practices from the perspective of experimental arts, with FoAM being one of its case studies. Funding proposal submitted in September 2017
  • we worked with Greta and Jo of the budding FoAM Malta on 'Amber Spark', a training hub for artists and other creatives, where we might design and host a few training programmes (e.g. The Lab Approach, Hosting Craft, International Finance, Futurecrafting…). Funding proposal submitted in September 2017
  • We’re going on a research visit to FoAM Kernow in the beginning of November to look at possible collaborations from 2018 onward (incl. possibly a new version of Tasting Tomorrow or some other food-related adventure)
  • Maja is working with Barbara, Rasa, Stevie of FoAM bxl to design the opening ceremony for the Europalia Indonesia exhibition “Ancestors & Rituals” on the 10th of October
  • Nik, Stevie and Maja are forming “gloam” (old english for dusk, twilight…), an AV band embracing our 'fluffy gothic' aesthetics - making sound (and possibly light and imagery) on the liminal edges of perception, in praise of shadows, etc.
  • Nik is working on a new farmersmanual album (release date unknown)

Rasa

After very social holidays i dived straight into the advising role for Eisa's new work “Your highness”. We premiered in the International Summer Festival Hamburg end of August.

A week later i opened a photo exhibition in Geel. As you already know this exhibition was the final showing of the works made with and by people with autism. Out of 24 photos only 10 was photographed by my self ( mainly the documentation of the process) and all the rest captured by the participants during the several walks in the Nature park Zammelsbroek. By introducing analog multiple exposure photography it allowed the participants to create many intriguing and beautiful results. The opening was very emotional for the people involved but very well received by the public.

September became a mash of unpacking FoAM boxes, having several advising sessions for various artists and socialising in our garden.

On the horizon:

  • touring with Eisa her previous piece “The Princess” (save the dates in Brussels 6th and 7th of October!!!)
  • residency with performing artist Nelle Hens to help her research and develop one to one dance performance under the working title “Ont-moet”
  • opening ritual of Europalia on the 10th of October in collaboration with Barbara, Maja and Stevie
  • participating in the working group of Global Lithuania organised by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs to re-think, re-invent and create a new vision for Lithuanian communities across the world.
  • together with Barbara guiding a few workshops on the daily mini rituals for kids in the frame work of Europalia

For the rest of the time i want to concentrate in harvesting and writing up all the workshops i've given in the past few years. And slowly unpacking more boxes and placing all the items nicely in our house!!! (Pictures will follow soon)

In the mean time looking forward having more aperos, chats and spontaneous collaborations with the other FoAMies.

Amélie & Michka

  • Unfortunately, Amélie will be giving a French lesson at the time of the call, and Michka will be defending a bio-inspired design project with his designer colleagues in front of a big French client in Paris. We will sadly not be able to attend this call, however…
  • We hope that you all had a great summer. It was great to catch up with those of you who were at the Apero on Saturday. On our side, we did a lot of biking, hiking, camping and other nice actively meditative outdoor activities.
  • Our FoAM related next steps for the next few months are :
    • A possible move to Lausanne before January, either to become the Biomimicry teaching coordinator at EPFL (plan A, job opening still to be confirmed by the end of September) or to design the first Mars public park (plan B, in negociation).
    • Opportunities for wild hosting-related activities and workshops are opening at thecamp, an innovation center in the South of France. It looks pretty 'innovation cult'-driven, but some people inside seem to be willing to make it a more transformative place than it looks. They said they are willing to offer crazy workshop formats which have not be tried before elsewhere.
      • Maja & Michka are discussing the possibility to test an 'engineer cracking' format to open the mind, senses (and bodies ?) of this rationalist and conservative crew which plays a huge role in maintaining the establishment.
      • They were also quite receptive to Rasa's Kunst in de Keuken format for the summer camps & holiday camps they plan to offer to children.
    • Amélie & Michka are going to offer some more 'creative writing & science' experiences in an event organized by the network of French 'Houses for Science', several university-related structures which train secondary school teachers into teaching pupils scientific methodology and reasoning patterns rather than scientific culture (dinosaurs, volcanoes,, and so on). For the first time, they will gather all their trainers in an ex-sheepfold near Paris, and we will make them write crazy stuff (and try to avoid them to use writing exercises to prepare yet another course, like they did at our last workshop with them).
  • That's it for the main news on our side, enjoy the call, and looking forward to reading your notes !