To reparatively remember: On 'we offered Maurice dates, grasshoppers and water'

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In this keynote talk Quinsy Gario will reflect on the work that he and Mina Ouaouirst collaborated on for In The Presence of Absence, the municipal acquisitions exhibition in Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Gario and Ouaouirst grapple with the responses and aftermaths of colonization and occupation in Morocco, Tobago and Latvia. The work centers the life of St. Maurice through literal and figurative weaving practices and departs from the urge to repair the absence of knowledge on the life of St. Maurice. All we know of him is parsed through a lens of servitude to others; as a soldier for the Roman empire, as a martyr canonized by the Catholic Church and as a patron saint of the Blackheads Brotherhood. The work attempts to contemplate how to fill in the gaps of knowledge with improvisational singing, poetry, carpet weaving, photography, video, sound works, and collage. Each with their own timing but woven together in the exhibition through affinity. In the lecture, Gario will weave together the varying threads that come together in the work and contemplate strategies of repair for colonial violence.


QUINSY GARIO is a performance poet and visual artist from Curaçao and St. Maarten. His work centers on decolonial remembering and unsettling institutional and interpersonal normalizations of colonial practices. Gario's most well-known work, Zwarte Piet Is Racisme (2011–2012), sought to denormalize the racist Dutch figure and practice of Zwarte Piet (Black Pete). His current practice attempts to delink from gendered and Westernized artistic genealogies by working together with his family and family of friends. He has an academic background from Utrecht University in media studies, gender studies and postcolonial studies and is a graduate of the Master Artistic Research program of the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Gario received the Royal Academy Master Thesis Prize 2017, the Black Excellence Award 2016, the Amsterdam Fringe Festival Silver Award 2015, The Kerwin Award 2014 and the Hollandse Nieuwe 12 Theatermakers Prize 2011. His work has been shown in Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), MACBA (Barcelona), SMBA (Amsterdam), MHKA (Antwerp), Witte de With (Rotterdam) and Göteborgs Konsthall (Göteborg). In 2017 he received a Humanity in Action Detroit Fellowship and he is a 2017/2018 BAK Fellow. Gario is a member of the collectives The State of L3 and Family Connection and is currently a participant of the Advanced Performance And Scenography Studies program in Brussels.



“The claim of equality is not only spoken or written, but is made precisely when bodies appear together or, rather, when, through their action, they bring the space of appearance into being.” — Judith Butler

This year's Studium Generale Rietveld Academie is about different experiences and manifestations of the body, and about (dis)embodiments in art and life. We have become hyper aware of our bodies and those of others: Through Covid-19, the quarantines and guidelines for physical distancing, we are not only dealing with (our) viral bodies, vulnerable bodies and lonely bodies; in attempts to continue life, we manifest ourselves nonstop behind our screens as virtual bodies and data bodies. This creates new life forms, but also more techniques to be controlled, excluded and manipulated. For much longer we have been dealing with social and political differentiations that are made between bodies that matter and those that would matter less. All over the world, protest is embodied by people assembling and allying in resistance.

What are experimental and emancipating strategies and practices for fluid embodiments? How can we form resistant collective bodies without losing our own subjectivity and fleshy "matter"? How can we think about this from art practice and theory?

“It is precisely because our bodies are the new enclaves of biopower and because our apartments are the new cells of biovigilance that it is more urgent than ever to invent new strategies of cognitive emancipation and resistance.” — Paul B. Preciado


Studium Generale Rietveld Academie is a transgressing theory program that addresses students and faculty across all departments and disciplines at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, as well as the general public. It wants to understand how art and design are entangled with other domains (from the personal to the political, from the vernacular to the academic), how ‘now’ is linked with past and future, ‘here’ with ‘elsewhere’. Click here for more information:.