Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth,
Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth, installation view BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2024, photo: Tom Janssen
until 25 May 2024
Chapter three, convention

The convention in the context of the project Usufructuaries of earth is a two-day gathering that summons different practices of non-expropriative userships in relation to land, housing, social reproduction, agriculture, and knowledge.


Friday 24 May 2024
16.00–22.00 hrs

Saturday 25 May 2024
12–22.00 hrs

PRACTICAL INFORMATION
The public program is open to everyone, but it is advised to pre-book your ticket through Eventbrite in order to assure access.

A ticket for 1 day costs €6, a ticket for both days costs €10. BAK offers without-cost solidarity tickets to enable the participation of those who would otherwise be unable to afford a ticket. Some soup and snacks prepared by b.ASIC a.CTIVIST k.ITCHEN upon solidarity donation.

On 25 May, some elements of the program will be in Spanish with live Spanish-English interpretation. If you wish to make use of this, please bring a phone with the Zoom app, your own headphones and if possible, a portable charger.
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Convened by BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht together with artist Marwa Arsanios, chapter three of the project Usufructuaries of earth is a two-day convention that gathers artists, as well as other thinkers and social actors, to share and learn on usufruct as a way of undoing property from the regimes of privatization that perpetually usurp the earth’s resources for the interests of a select few. Along with chapter one of the project—an exhibition with works by Arsanios, and chapter two—consisting of a federated structure of reading groups and a slow-growing reader and learning curriculum on BAK’s online publishing forum Prospections, the third and culminating chapter of Usufructuaries of earth inquires into practices of ethically sharing the earth’s usufruct, and the ways to transfigure regimes of ownership into communal userships.

Taking place on-site at BAK on 24 and 25 May 2024, the convention brings together feminist, decolonial, and ecological practices to undo possessive imaginaries of earth, conjuring instead usufructuaries as mutually reciprocal userships of and with earth. “Usufructuaries” (from the Latin usufructus, referring to the enjoyment of common userships) is here a discursive and practical tool to undo (rather than conceal) and subvert (rather than negate) the idea of property that’s based on private ownership. Artists, farmers, women’s and indigenous rights activists, ecologists, legal scholars, political economists, geographers, and community organizers gather to align and learn from each other’s lived and imagined experiences. These include communal, non-expropriative userships in relation to land, housing, social reproduction, agriculture, knowledge, and culture. Speaking from situated geographies of abolitionist, Black, and feminist struggles, alongside legal perspectives on decolonizing property law and collective land reclamation as responses to generations of dispossession, Usufructuaries of earth connects the propositions of usufruct in ways that challenge the deeply entrenched ideology of private property that has come to be accepted as immovable bedrock of today’s global contemporary political formation.
The convention program is composed of two parts. The first part on 24 May 2024 consists of four working sessions, which involve invited contributors, as well as participants selected through an open call. Following on from these working sessions, during the evening of 24 May and afternoon–evening 25 May 2024, a public program of convivial propositions, conversations, sonic interludes, and commensal moments will take place. The contributors to the convention and the attending public narrate, learn, and share vocabularies, approaches, methods, and imaginaries that center regeneration over ecological destruction and collective usership over individuated profit, forming transgenerational alliances between usufructuaries of earth that have gone before, are happening in the present, or are yet to be.
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Contributors
Confirmed convention contributors to both working sessions and public program include: Joud Al-Tamimi (artist and curator, Berlin), Samanta Arango Orozco (grassroots educator and member of Grupo Semillas, Quindío, Colombia), Marwa Arsanios (researcher, educator, and artist, Berlin and Beirut), Bahaleen (artist-led research collective, Amman), Clara Balaguer (cultural worker and curriculum builder and BAK co-convener Community Portal, Utrecht and Rotterdam), Asia Bazdyrieva (art historian, Berlin), Aya Bseiso (architect and curator, Amman), Brenna Bhandar (critical legal theorist and scholar, Vancouver), Lucí Cavallero (activist and researcher, Buenos Aires), Iliada Charalambous (artist, Rotterdam), Arelly Collazos (guardian of Afrodescendent seeds and member of Grupo Semillas, Cauca, Colombia), Luigi Coppola (artist, Brussels and Lecce), Philippa Driest (artist, Rotterdam), Lama El Khatib (researcher and cultural worker, Berlin), Patricia Enriquez (researcher and activist, Pinay sa Holland, GABRIELA, Rotterdam), Denise Ferreira da Silva (artist and critical theorist, Vancouver), Layal Ftouni (researcher and educator, Utrecht), Veronica Gago (activist and theorist, Buenos Aires), Ruth Wilson Gilmore (abolitionist scholar and activist, Lisbon/New York), Stefano Harney (writer and educator, Cologne), Ola Hassanain (artist, Amsterdam and Khartoum), Maria Hlavajova (BAK general director, Amsterdam/Utrecht), Carmen José (illustrator, activist, and educator, member of Feministas en Rotterdam), Tareq Khalaf (design educator, filmmaker, and cultural activist, Ramallah), Grace Lostia (comrade b.ASIC a.CTIVIST k.ITCHEN and co-convenor Community Portal, Utrecht), Wietske Maas (BAK curator of research and publications, Amsterdam/Berlin), Dina Mohamed (researcher and BAK convener Fellowship of Situated Practice, Utrecht), Molemo Moiloa and Nare Mokgotho (artist collaborative MADEYOULOOK, Johannesburg), Massimiliano (Mao) Mollona (filmmaker, anthropologist, and researcher, Bologna), Yvonne Phyllis (agrarian, land, and labor researcher, organizer, and educator, Johannesburg), Nida Sinnokrot (architect and co-founder Sakiya, Ramallah), Philip Rizk (writer and filmmaker, Berlin), Shela Sheikh (researcher and educator, Paris), Khadija Tahiri-Hyati (president for cleaners for Dutch Federation of Trade Unions, Rotterdam), Lena Wilderbach and Elif Kaya (Jineolojî activists and members of Jinwar).

Convention, chapter three of Usufructuaries of earth, has been conceptualized by artist and researcher Marwa Arsanios and BAK convener of research and publications Wietske Maas in dialogue with BAK coordinator of research and publications Alexandra Martens Serrano, the BAK team, and all convention contributors.
Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth,
Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth, exhibition opening, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2024, photo: Tom Janssen
Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth,
Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth, exhibition opening, BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2024, photo: Tom Janssen

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Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth,
Marwa Arsanios, Usufructuaries of earth, exhibition opening BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht, 2024, photo: Tom Janssen