From the scale of living bodies, to landmasses, and even on a planetary one – our world is saturated with processes and relations that are exhausting. This exhaustion is consequential; we glamorise producing but overlook the exhaustion and even fatigue that might follow it. The social and political pressure on maintaining a constant production comes at a price: perpetual work, overproduction, and as a result, consuming precarious bodies and other planetary resources.
In addition to this perpetual exhaustion as a result of (over)productivity, exhaustion comes as a consequence of unjust sociopolitical and economic orders that prioritise it. It is for these reasons that ideas and practices of ‘comfort’ are crucial in imagining a different future world. We feel the need to investigate comfort in a way that goes beyond constructed and capitalist ideas; comfort is more than just the process of rejuvenation for the purpose of maintaining a certain level of productivity. Therefore, imagining other conceptions of comfort means imagining different sociopolitical orders and ways of performing in the world.
Both exhaustion and comfort can be understood as states, performances, landscapes, and conditions that constantly shape our understandings of the world around us – they all influence the ways in which we inhabit, and make space.
Within this world, ‘home’ is a locus of various dimensions of living practices. On the one hand home is a space of production of work, experiencing exhaustion and fatigue, and resting of the (tired) bodies. On the other hand home stands for ideas and forms of inhabiting the world. In short, home can be seen as a landscape where exhaustion and comfort are entangled together.
The collective project Fictioning Comfort includes works that take an urgent socio-political stance by fictioning ideas and practices of ‘comfort’. This is done by way of spatial installation, body performance, historical research, science fiction, image making, resource redistribution, extending kinships, and humor.
The project is presented on two platforms, online and offline, each showing different incarnations of the works, and complementing each other.
The online portal is accessible at www.fictioningcomfort.space.
The offline portal is active at MAMA’s showroom July–September 2020.
A Note on Work during Crises:
*While creating and producing this project, our homes have acted as sites for production, rest, and rethinking comfort. We have sat in our rooms, gradually sinking into the fiction of ‘being at home’ in the world, and attempting to extend beyond it.
The presentation of Fictioning Comfort is in thoughtful correspondence with the circumstances of our world today during the pandemic crisis. Together, we have rethought the urgency of art production and distribution; especially in light of the so-called ‘New Norm’ rising around the world as well as in the Netherlands. And we have experimented with ways of producing a show that attempts to avoid, as much as possible, the exhaustion of bodies, spaces, and resources. We think about comfort as a verb. Fictioning Comfort respects, appreciates and understands slowness, doubt, and precariousness.
With works by: Monireh Askari; Alireza Abbasy; Samaneh Moafi in collaboration with Mhamad Safa; Maike Hemmers in collaboration with Valentina Curandi and Baha Görkem Yalım; To Be Determined (Clara Balaguer, EtnikoBandido, Czar Kristoff, Suzin Kwon, Nash Tysmans); Sarmad platform; and Tomi Hilsee.
Photos by Ernie Buts