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Rahel Spöhrer / Switzerland

Acziun Susch is welcoming Rahel Spöhrer for a short research residency in August. 

Hosting in Times of Exhaustion and Hostility

Artistic, curatorial and dramaturgical practices of hospitality and hosting are shaped by ambivalent actions: they imply gestures of inclusion and exclusion, care and regulation, invitations as well as rejections to collaborate and share spaces (Beatrice von Bismarck, Benjamin Meyer-Krahmers). Thinking about hosting practices allows to reflect on politics of inclusion and exclusion, logics of invitation and rejection within artistic practices, art spaces and institutions. What zones of contact are created, and which are avoided? Which bodies, things and materials are brought into conversation, towards whom and what are boundaries drawn? How do artists and curators as hosts deal with gatekeeping and power structures involved? How can practices of hosting be negotiated and become regeneratively effective in exhausting systems and in times of hostile politics and environments?

In the residency, Rahel Spöhrer explores how the politics, economies and ethics of hosting are experienced and explored in artistic practices; how the practices of a programmer and dramaturge changes when understood as host; how curators practice openness to uninvited guests, uncontrollable matter and unpredictable structures of relations and meaning.

The research asks what the political and economic conditions and limits of hospitality are in times of global conflict, rigid border policies and exhaustive, and extractivist modes of production; it further explores how it is possible to endure differences, redistribute resources and allow divergent temporalities in the field of art.

The research project is made possible and supported by #TakeHeart, Fonds Darstellende Künste within the framework of Neustart Kultur and takes place in conversation and exchange between the artists, producers, dramaturges and curators Anneliese Ostertag, Sofie Luckhardt, Anastasiia Antonenko and Rahel Spöhrer.

Mit freundlicher Genehmigung von Rahel Spöhrer. Foto: Lorenz Widmaier
Courtesy Rahel Spöhrer. Photo: Lorenz Widmaier

Rahel Spöhrer is a dramaturge, researcher and programmer working at the intersection of theater, performance and visual arts.

Since 2021 she is curatorial director of the artsprogram at Zeppelin University and member of the European research project FEINART, which explores the future of independent art spaces in Europe. In her research as well as her teaching activities, the question of collaborative, caring, and regenerative modes of production plays a central role.

Since 2019, Rahel has been researching the topic of touch as contact zones (James Clifford, Karin Harasser), hapticality (Fred Moten and Stefano Harney) and haptic aesthetics (Laura Marks) in the arts. She is interested in the production, ethics and politics of relations of proximity and distance in performance and theater. On this topic, together with Belle Santos, Anneliese Ostertag and Sofie Luckhardt, she developed the digital program "h a p t i c a f f i n i t i e s - an online study group on touch and intimacy in the arts" in 2021.

At Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA), she is part of the founding team of “Future Art Education”, a research project on the issue of extradisciplinary teaching and critical pedagogy in art schools and beyond.

She is co-founder of the performance group THE AGENCY, which has been developing immersive performances that have been shown internationally since 2015. Within this framework, Rahel worked as artistic director and dramaturg until 2021. THE AGENCY's work has been shown at the Münchner Kammerspiele, Haus der Berliner Festspiele and Volksbühne Berlin, Gessnerallee Zurich, and most recently at Theater Neumarkt in Zurich.