Residency Unlimited

Meet Over Lunch: Of Animacy Reading Group by Nella Aarne

Image courtesy of Nella Aarne

Virtual Talk
Thursday March 17 | 1:00pm EST

Of Animacy Reading Group, hosted by RU’s curator-in-residence Nella Aarne, convenes online to discuss Maggie Nelson’s essay ‘Art Song’ in Nelson’s latest book, On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint.

‘Art Song’ enquires into how the aesthetics of care have been deployed in – and developed into a prominent political facet of – contemporary art practice. Drawing from psychoanalysis, queer theory, current political debates and a selection of case studies, Nelson asks whether it is possible, or fruitful, for art to always primarily care, heal and repair.

Under discussion:
Maggie Nelson, ‘Art Song’ in On Freedom: Four Songs of Care and Constraint (Jonathan Cape, 2021)

The full book is available for purchase here

Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary, as excerpts will be read together to support open discussion.


Nella Aarne
Nella Aarne is a Finnish curator living and working in the UK. She convenes the Of Animacy Reading Group and co-directs Obsidian Coast, an independent curatorial platform committed to artist moving image and feminist, environmentally sustainable practices. Her work considers ethical encounters, collaborative learning and redefined notions of productivity. She is invested in critical thought that calls for heightened sensitivity to our own socio-political and material entanglements with boundless subject positions, histories, living beings, molecular compositions, technological apparatuses and infrastructures.

Of Animacy Reading Group
Convened by Nella Aarne, Of Animacy Reading Group primarily thinks through feminist engagements with human and nonhuman agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and science. The readings and discussions meander through a multiplicity of concepts and ways of thinking, building a vibrant web of ideas – the shape and character of which organically unfolds over time. Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought. The reading group has previously gathered at the ICA in London from 2017 till 2020 and at Kim? Contemporary Art Center in 2020 and is currently hosted regularly by Obsidian Coast.

This program is made possible with support from the Finnish Cultural Institute in New York

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