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A Sandcastle with Moving Parts

A series of events – public outcroppings – including a joint lecture, a movement workshop, a performative reading and a listening experiment, presented by the Royal Institute of Art’s first postdoc fellow, artist, curator and writer Camila Marambio.

Since February 2021, Camila Marambio has been a postdoc fellow of The Seedbox: A Mistra Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory at Linkoping University, hosted by the Royal Institute of Art. She is currently working on her forthcoming book, Sandcastles, Figuring Planetary Ethics, co-authored with the gender studies scholar and poet Nina Lykke.

As part of her research and writing process, Camila creates situations for herself and her collaborators from across the globe to discuss, perform and further explore their crossing overs in relation to the study of vitality, mortality, aging, and cancer.

The Power lies in the Tissue
A joint lecture with Polly Matzinger

21 September 2021, 4–6pm
House 28, Royal Institute of Art, Stockholm

“Dearest Polly, 
I propose we stage a joint public lecture at the art school where I am stationed titled The Power Lies in The Tissue. I imagine this could run something like this: 20 minutes of me sharing some of “my cancer chapter” (focusing on the reasons why I gravitate towards your work, aka my speculations on immunity), 20 minutes of you teaching us, artist types, about the immune system (your amazing 10-minute recap of 65 years of immunology please), coffee break (here or afterwards) and then 20 minutes conversation between the two of us and 20 minutes of Q&A or simply 40 minutes general Q&A.

Let me know what you think, 

Polly Matzinger has worked as a bartender, carpenter, jazz musician, playboy bunny, and dog trainer. She is currently chief of the ghost lab and the section on T-Cell Tolerance and Memory at the National Institute of Health, USA. She worried for years that the dominant model of immunity does not explain a wealth of accumulated data and proposed an alternative, the Danger model, which suggests that the immune system is far less concerned with things that are foreign than with those that do damage. This model, whose two major tenets were conceived in a bath and on a field while herding sheep, has very few assumptions and yet explains most of what the immune system seems to do right, as well as most of what it appears to do wrong, covering such areas as transplantation, autoimmunity, and the immunobiology of tumors. The model has been the subject of a BBC “horizon” film and was featured in three other films about immunity, as well as countless articles in both the scientific and the lay press. In 2013, her section was assigned to the Laboratory of Immunogenetics. 

Delicious Movement
A workshop with Eiko Otake

22–26 November 2021, 10am–1pm
Konstcentrum Weld, Stockholm

“Dear Eiko,
I am sitting on a bench outside Newark Airport. I can see the silhouette of Manhattan from this distance. My flight is delayed and thanks to these idle hours I was able to read your translation of “From Trinity to Trinity” in one sitting. I’m in tears. Thank you.

It has shed unusual light onto some of my thinking/feeling about having been a cancersick person and what that continues to do to my relationship with time, but most especially to the time of my death. I hope we can talk more about this in person when you come to Stockholm. What a dream come true it will be if I can host you and a Delicious Movement Workshop as part of the unfolding of my fellowship. 


Ps. I was meant to send you some names and links, but the only name I can recall now is that of the brilliant immunologist Polly Matzinger (she took your position as my mentor for the Seedbox postdoc).”

Eiko Otake is a movement–based, interdisciplinary artist, born and raised in Japan,  resident of New York since 1976. After working for more than forty years as Eiko & Koma, she now performs as a soloist and directs her own projects, collaborating with a diverse range of artists. After studying with Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata in Japan and Manja Chmiel in Germany, Eiko & Koma created 46 interdisciplinary performance works. Their durational performance living installations was commissioned by the Whitney Museum, the Walker Art Center, and MoMA. Their Retrospective Project (2009 to 2012) culminated in a comprehensive monograph, Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty, published by the Walker Art Center. Eiko & Koma were honored with the first United States Artists Fellowship (2006) and Doris Duke Artist Awards (2012). They were the first collaborative pair to share a MacArthur Fellowship (1996) and the first Asian choreographers to receive the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award (2004) and the Dance Magazine Award (2006). Eiko has performed alone in many locations of postnuclear meltdown Fukushima for her multi-year work A Body in Fukushima, her collaboration with historian and photographer William Johnston. The project produced many exhibitions, screenings, lectures, and performances, as well as a publication of a photography book of the same title that includes artists’ essays. In 2016, Eiko was the subject of the 10th annual Danspace Platform, a month-long curated program that brought her a special Bessies citation, an Art Matters grant, and the Anonymous Was a Woman Award. Co-presented by Performa 2017 and Met Live Arts, Eiko occupied each of the three Metropolitan Museum of Art sites while projecting a seven- hour video she created from A Body in Fukushima photographs. Eiko regularly teaches at Wesleyan University, NYU, and Colorado College. 


Readings with Nina Lykke
24 February 2022, 4–6pm 
Lyssingsrum at the Royal Institute of Art

“Dear Nina,
I’m sorry you can’t come to Stockholm for Eiko’s Delicious Movement Workshop. Covid continues to make everything much more difficult. I would have loved it if you could have come but I think that given all the changes it’s not a bad idea that we could give a reading of parts of our book next year, when I come back to Stockholm to work with Ariel in the Lyssingsrum. I’d intially thought we could present one of the Interrupters on radiation but that was because of the cross over with Eiko’s work so how about we read segments of Scar and Sexuality, Twinning or Cosmic Gnosis? Maybe even Holy Peat!

Love always,

Nina Lykke is Professor Emerita of Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of the International Network for Queer Death Studies, and the International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Research. Her current research focuses on cancer cultures, critical patienthood studies, geopolitics of cancer, queer widowhood, death, dying, mourning and spirituality in queerfeminist materialist and decolonial perspectives. She is also doing research on autophenomenographic writing, and experimenting with ways to combine poetic and narrative writing with critical-affirmative philosophical and cultural theoretical inquiries. She is managing co-editor (together with Jeff Hearn) of the book series Routledge Advances in Feminist Studies and Intersectionality.

A Cave of Uneven Experience

A sound experiment with Ariel Bustamante
Lyssningsrum at the Royal Institute of Art
24 – 29 February 2022

“Querido Chu,
Would you come to Stockholm to work with me on another Transit in the House of Cancer? You know I tried so hard to have Eiko, Nina and you coincide  during a week in late November but since this was impossible, and Turba Tol Hol-Hol Tol now has our full attention, I imagine that you and I will return to the recordings of my conversations with them as source material for us to finally construct the cave only after Venice. Until then we can use the Lyssingsrum to enroll people in the practice of escucha and to spatialize the sound design for Holy Peat! 

Por supuesto siempre cuidando que no nos caguen,

Ariel Bustamante is a sound artist based in La Paz/Bolivia. His practice concentrates on long-term processes of both craftsmanship and sensorial research. Bustamante is a member of the Multispecies Ontology Laboratory at the Institute of Anthropological and Archeological Research at the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, Bolivia. Before moving to Bolivia he lived in Finland. During his two-year residency at Aalto University, Bustamante worked at the School of Arts, Design and Architecture at the Department of Media. The result of the residency, a comprehensive communal soundtrack “Why Do We Do the Things We Do?” consists of a series of self-reflective conversations between two or more individuals and a sculpture, an intimate, acoustically isolated conversation room. In the autumn of 2015, the room was placed in the center of Helsinki at Kampintori, and it was a venue for numerous occasional conversations and encounters. The work still serves as a standstill sculpture for deep-seated conversations placed at Aalto University’s Otaniemi campus.