matters of care | materie di cura
With Radio Earth Hold (Rachel Dedman, Arjuna Neuman, Laure de Selys), Siyada/the North African Network of Food Sovereignty (feat. Nadir Bouhmouch & Soumeya Ait Ahmed), Halqa f’Dar /Awal (feat. Abderrazak Baba, Mohamed Bariz, Hajiba al Maqori Azalia, conceived with Soumeya Ait Ahmed and Abdellah Hassak), and the Trainings for the Not-Yet (Jeanne van Heeswijk).
Cura: ‘quia cor urat’, or because it warms the heart
The online exhibition programme of Qanat Cura opens on 25th July with matters of care | materie di cura, a proposal curated by Francesca Masoero.

Resonating with the general framework set by Qanat Cura, matters of care | materie di cura aims at both exploring and sustaining different forms of care, solidarity, and struggle, each grounded in some of the current material, environmental, political-economic, relational, and epistemological matters affecting our worlds. Indeed, instead of projecting towards the light at the end of the tunnel, the argument underlying this proposal is that in order to start practicing radically renewed forms of solidarity and care, we should start looking at and relating to those practices and modes of being together that emerge from within ‘dark’ matters and times of ‘crisis’. For this, each invited project directly argues for or indirectly sets examples of transversal mutualistic solidarities and transterritorial sympoietic world-making, even while being embedded in specific localities and embodied by different approaches and languages.

Our journey starts along longitudinal aerial lines with Radio Earth Hold, a collective which explores the potential for planetary forms of solidarity using sound, radio, and listening as catalysts and vehicles for supra-natural connection. The project presented here, The Colonial Voice, addresses precisely how electromagnetic radiation exists all around us, functioning at a bigger-than-planetary scale.
How might this reorganise relationships between the individuals and the world? What solidarity is engendered by the recognition of our participation in the transmission of planetary sound? 
The Colonial Voice sketches answers to these questions by investigating the uses and counter-uses of radio as an infrastructure of both (neo)colonial power and grass-root resistance in the long occupied lands of Palestine, while making those matters resonate with the birth of Mni Wiconi at Standing Rock, with radical midwifery practices, and the acousmatics of sound in the womb.
From the more-than-planetary reverberations of ethereal radio waves, matters of care | materie di cura moves to the city’s surfaces of Marrakech, to its square(s) and circles, through the invitation made to Halqa f’Dar, a solidarity initiative launched by LE 18 during the Covid pandemic and addressed towards the halayki (i.e. the artists performing by assembling in circles, in halqas) of Jemaa el Fna. The special episode presented here, Lgriha, developed at the intersection with Awal, a programme focused on the valorisation of oral arts from different Moroccan regions, unfolds through a multi-generational and non-linear narration in which the voices of three hakawati (storytellers) and maalam (maestri of different arts) explore times of resistance, modes of assembling, and communal spaces of sharing, as particularly embodied by the circles of the halqas embedded in the Jemaa el Fna square.

A step away from urban grounds, the third contributor to this project leads us to dig into struggles operating from within cultivated fields as much as in excavated undergrounds. Reuniting peasant-based organisations and grassroots associations, farmers/agricultural workers/fishers unions and social movements, Siyada, or The North African Food Sovereignty Network (NAFSN) strives to achieve food sovereignty, climate, and environmental justice in North Africa by fighting through mobilisations about, and research into, the devastating role agribusinesses and other forms of capitalist extractivism has on local communities and the planet at large. The planetary scale comes prominently back in the picture here through the video pamphlet featured as an entry to NAFSN’s diverse actions, The Coronavirus Remedy, which unpacks the structural political-economic causes of the present health world crisis, and calls for a radical transformation in our modes of relating and caring for land and water as the only path to take to reknit together our fragmented fields.
Yet, how can we feel we belong to a territory, when territories are fractured? And how can we be together in times of strandedness?
While the featured projects all invite to listen to, in order to (un)learn from modes of belonging that constellate our landscapes, in September, matters of care | materie di cura proposes a conclusive public e-training on the politics of relations conducted by artist Jeanne van Heeswijk. Grounded on concerns related to how to build shared conditions of belonging and drawing from her years-long praxis in ‘training for the Not Yet’, this event is conceived as a moment to actually enact modes of collective becoming / becoming collective. By curating a time-space of care conducive to share in common personal trajectories, communal memories, and established histories, the training wishes to develop a non-linear collective time-line as a precondition to test the possibilities of being together otherwise at the end of time.

Time, the time to care, but also time as a matter of care, is indeed a pattern that, in chiaroscuro, underlies this whole proposal. While embedded within each of the projects invited, this matter is made further explicit through some of the references enlisted in a tentative biblio-biography complementing this exhibition. As having moved from air to earth, passing through the fire that animates all forms of political or poetical commitment, this curatorial gesture, even more as coming into the world in this particular time, could not avoid having both waters and Black matters among its (re)sources. This is why the ‘library’ page of this Cura offers some space to a number of writers, thinkers, activists, and artists that have explored and shaped matters such as hydro-feminism, afro-futurism, water and ocean studies, critical and anti-racist theory, and environmental science fiction.

A conclusive note on design and on the main icon organising the home-page of matters of care | materie di cura.

Originally drawn as shafts, as the external edge and border of a qanat well, and as a reference to the very first exhibition programme of Qanat in 2017 tellingly called ‘Between Wells’, these graphic representations of an infrastructure of the commons also seemed to offer a compelling visual index to allow to navigate through the proposal. As stand-alones, they may be seen as windows from which we can look at what lies under and from which we can listen to the murmuring of invisible waters flowing under the surface. Collectively we can see them forming connections, networks, paths, infrastructures, bringing the different contributors in relation to one another. Yet, and with some intellectual or aesthetic freedom, those thin circles punctuated by surrounding dots can also be looked at rather meaningful representations of the contents proposed by each contributor. They may be read as the incipit of a propagating radio signal, as the rather literal symbolisation of a halqa (circle) of assembled people, as the graphic representation of a (corona) virus, as the left-over of a water drop, or still, away from a linear progressuality directing towards a set future, as an image of the circularity of times. 

matters of care | materie di cura has been conceived and curated by Francesca Masoero. Many thanks to Nassim Azarzar for offering the use of his videos as animated backgrounds, to Shayma Nader for the Arabic translations, to George Bajalia for the proofreading. Special thanks to Soumeya Ait Ahmed for the conversations leading to the definition of some of the contributions and particularly to her and to Abdellah Hassak for the involvement in the conception of the special edition of Halqa f’Dar Lgriha, and to all the participants for their enthusiasm and contributions.