Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: A Free School

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: A Free School

Organized by RL Cutler and Magnolia Pauker

This version of the Free School model embraces free access to ideas in an open learning environment through an engagement with visual culture, radical philosophy and gender critique. Current events that take up protest, free speech and social change inform the staging of public readings, conversations and open seminars. Our desire is to explore readings that critically inquire into the social construction of gender norms while celebrating feminist and queer theory as a catalyst for transformational politics.

As the crisis of late industrial capitalism unfolds and the tide of popular protest is on the rise around the world, the radical potential of feminist, gender, and queer politics must be actively engaged as the ongoing legacy of feminisms. Acknowledging the specificities of individual embodiments enables us to begin to trace and intervene in our own complicity within the multitude of repressions, both historically and at present. For, how can we advocate for the abolition of gender discrimination without also acknowledging other forms of domination?

In seeking to establish solidarities across hegemonic borderzones, we will strive to open an inclusive dialogue, which is at once multi-generational and geographically dispersed. What is of critical import in our contemporary moment is not a utopian abolition of gender, class or capitalism, but a better understanding of how all forms of oppression must be recognized as relational and not thought of as discrete or antithetical struggles. Our advocacy for a perspective of strategic (dis)orientation is tied to how we each speak about our struggles and commitments and the ways in which meaning is constructed out of an empowered engagement with signs and images.

The challenge continues to be to not only name and describe the problems we encounter, but to maintain a series of emergent conversations that draw on the past while reflecting the contingencies of the present, ideally with exclamations of joy. Here such an engagement requires that we refuse the discourse of ends instead embracing difficulty, multiplicity, and the irresolvable tensions involved in living and thinking together, expressing pleasure and protest, sometimes simultaneously!
Everyone is welcome.

Inaugural event
Pleasure and Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously (PPSS) in collaboration with the Feminist Art Gallery (FAG) Satellite @ Access Gallery August 24th- October 14th will initiate a collaborative and transdisciplinary free school reading course happening simultaneously at FAG Toronto and FAG @ Access Gallery in Vancouver. Readings will be explored in an atmosphere of shared spacetime.

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: Free Pussy Riot
1-3 pm Sunday September 16

Inaugural Statement by Avital Ronell, live via the internet!
Readings from the media on Pussy Riot

Pleasure & Protest, Sometimes Simultaneously: Feminism as a Transformational Politic
1-3 pm Sunday September 30

Coming to Feminism: A Performative Reading
Shared reading of bell hooks’ “Feminism as a Transformational Politic” (copies of the reading will be made available)

Future PPSS events will follow.