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Ecologies of sustenance – Workshop by Adelita Husni-Bey

Ecologies of sustenance – Workshop by Adelita Husni-Bey

Adelita Husni-Bey

ON NECESSARY WORK, 2021 (still), HD video, Zoom.

Ecologies of sustenance is a workshop drawing from Adelita’s research over the past two years into pandemic-era developments in the field of what is termed ‘essential work’. The workshop addresses the histories of the capture of carework in capitalist economies and focuses on the paradigmatic contradiction: how are certain workers both necessary, expected to work and undervalued, underpaid, put at risk and abandoned. What mechanisms of de-capture are possible? What urgent tools for analysis are available to us? What examples of radical healthcare practices can we study together? What can the ecological origin of the pandemic tell us about the future of both necessary work and mass disease? How can the concept of ecology be used relationally to rigorously analyze alternatives to superexploitation in healthcare and other essential sectors?

Partially based on the writings of Angela Mitropoulos and marxist epidemiologist Rob Wallace, the workshop will present the students with feminist, anti-racist alternatives to the neoliberalization of healthcare, through radical histories such as the Young Lord’s hospital takeover and ACT UP’s organizational model developed out of class struggle. The workshop will use political theater techniques to address and develop some of the keywords and themes of the workshop – which will include readings, discussions, embodied pedagogy and screenings. What is the essential work that needs to be developed to safeguard primary ecologies of sustenance?


Pre-workshop: Mandatory reader and exercise (‘images of necessity’) assigned

6 September, 10:00–12:00 and 14:00–17:00
Intro day: work and necessity. Basic image making around key terms and group intros

7 September, 10:00–12:00 and 14:00–21:00
Day two: Development of images, conversations – teach-in and presentations and dinner

8 September, 17:00–20:00
Day three: Adelita presentation and screening of On Necessary Work

9 September, 10:00–12:00 and 14:00–17:00
Day four: Conclusions, defining necessary work from the perspective of primary ecologies of sustenance and the refusal of salaried labor


Participation is free and it doesn’t require any specific knowledge. Only 10 spots are available, first come first served.

We ask participants to fully commit for the overall length of the workshop (4 days). The workshop is in English. To participate, please send an email with your name and contact details to both: Victoria McCarthy and Valerio Del Baglivo

Adelita Husni-Bey is an artist and pedagogue invested in anarcho-collectivism, theater, and critical legal studies. She organizes workshops and produces publications, broadcasts, and exhibition work using non-competitive pedagogical models through the framework of contemporary art. Involving activists, architects, jurists, schoolchildren, spoken-word poets, actors, urbanists, physical therapists, students, and teachers, her work consists of making sites in which to practice collectively. Her work was part of the Italian pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2017, and her most recent solo exhibition was The Reading, curated by Margarida Mendez, Appleton, Lisbon, 2021. She participated in Trainings for the Not Yet, BAK, Utrecht, 2020, Being: New Photography 2018, Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2018; Dreamlands, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2016; The Eighth Climate, 11th Gwangju Biennale, 2015; Really Useful Knowledge, Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid, 2014. She is a 2020-2022 Vera List Center Fellow with a project centered on the radical changes in social relations brought about by responses to past and current pandemics.