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31 October – 5 November 2023
A.G.E 2023: Grieving and Political Transition - The Abundance of Decay

When was the last time someone you loved asked you how you wanted to die?
When did you last offer someone this question?
Don’t you want to be asked it, and by someone that knows how to listen?

Why Grieving? Why Now?

It may be easy to see how a fear of letting go drives conservative policies and in turn, inhuman governance that grossly undermines the value of life through late-capitalism’s machines of abstraction. It could be intimated that denying the impact of death is the first step in such abstraction and that subsequent stagnation on key issues is a result of disengagement with its movement. By this we mean death in a felt sense, its uncontrollability, its stench, its mystic and myth.

Faced with ecological grief and an awareness of decay at a scale beyond human comprehension, it's clear the practices we lack make our systems nervous. Such nervousness sets in motion unscratchable distractions, whose farcical logic is exemplified in the gestures of those who’d sooner colonize Mars than sit for a moment with loss and its immensity. Such reflexes are dangerous, and their effects do not play out equally as unmet grieving builds in the chasms of inequality.

But what is to be done here? How do we practice?

We might take momentary comfort in our critique of such policies and attitudes, seeing them as built of flailing and blind desperation. It’s something else however, if we really stay with them, and allow ourselves to touch the driving fear behind them.

Might we consider for a moment that this is something utterly human? Is this something we might echo too if we just had space to listen?

This AGE we’ll be thinking about how such refusal lives in us so we might begin the process of decolonising our own embodied contractions around loss and longing. In this breath, feeling the grieving is an act of accountability that takes us beyond self-interest and into intimacy with the more than human universe. We’ll be asking what collective practices of letting go might support us in our activism - artistic or otherwise? How might this energetic redistribution disrupt cycles of burnout, by intimating different forms of solidarity only knowable through the hindsight of release.

If the depth of our grief(s) shows(s) what’s really at stake, defines the quality of our entanglements and the force of our love, how might we dance with it differently? How might moving with grieving break open false identities, jog stuck records and make possible transitions we have no right to control?

This work is tissue based enquiry - somatic at its core with no way of anticipating outcome. Knowing here comes from the doing of being, sitting with its subtitles to hear hidden lessons. It needs to be held and done in kinship with each other in resonance with physical materials that can offer up their wisdom.

Joining us this year to steer some of our sessions we are super grateful to have Siegmar Zacharias.

Siegmar’s somatic practice embraces uncontrollability to shift cosmologies through the body. She is a death doula; she dances, she drools, she constructs environments where slime might seep up to your feet and some unruly substance could make you feel creepy. She thinks about infrastructures viscerally, in both artistic and social practice, while “exploring the politics of intimacy & alienation toward a queer feminist post-humus poet(h)ics.” Her re-searching has seen her move with psychoacoustic strategies, plant knowledge and liquefaction's logic, investigating transformational dynamics with collaborators beyond the human.

Because this is BOARC and its AGE, we will be thinking about all this and more in the context of self-organizing principles and DIY infrastructures - but where you decide to cut in is totally up to you.

Come for yourself, your loves, your ancestors, your projects - come to share your work, your thoughts or simply your time… but do come if you can as this process is important.

A.G.E opens with a ritual on the evening of October 31st and finishes on Sunday November 5th. If you want to join us, costs are £15 a day for food (cooked communally), £10 to come during the day or £30 for an overnight stay (some bursary places available, get in touch to discuss).

Email to book a place.