What is Hic Rosa?
Hic Rosa is a platform for critical public engagement with arts, culture, education, and the humanities. It curates educational and aesthetic experiences—e.g. intensive courses, fora, symposia, installations, and workshops—crossing boundaries of genre and place, in the service of philosophical and intellectual provocations that dismantle the walls between teacher and student, artist and audience, participant and observer, to produce radically intimate collectivities of thought and practice. It supports collaborative publication, broadcast, and dissemination of commentary, critique, and work that strengthens links between thought and expression towards transformative action. Our enrichment takes on a personal yet global scope by mentoring and encouraging participants to access networks of artists and thinkers with shared vocations across the world, and collaborating with other organizations. Our initiatives seek to provide time and space for intellectual engagement and developing conversations under conditions of rampant crises, when they all too often get sacrificed in urgencies and exhaustion of fixing broken worlds in the face of economic, political, and social inequalities and injustices. By linking artistic, cultural, political, and intellectual struggles, and projects around the world to each other, Hic Rosa necessitates a study of what connects us and, also, what keeps us apart in projects of similar intellectual and aesthetic inflection. It is our hope that incorporating critical and humanistic thought and action into our lives will educate toward overall sensibilities that are more just, fair, and hospitable in this troubled world.
Who are we?
We come together to convoke a platform for thought, action, provocation, production, respite, and recovery in the realms of aesthetics, poetics, and politics and their common material bases. What unites us is attentiveness to the methods and processes that irrevocably link everyday life with knowledge and cultural production, and we are interested in ventilating and revivifying the politics suffocated by moralistic or order-conserving foreclosures of thought, inquiry, critique, form, expression, and action. From the manner in which we organize ourselves in this collective, to the form and content of what we put out in the world, we seek to manifest a mode of solidarity and practices of counter-productions in art, education, and politics that are accountable to histories of exclusion and marginality, histories that are by turns a benign or insidious mockery of humanity, but more often maddening and murderous. Some of this work requires going “off the grid” in the manner of traversing planes of collaboration and coexistence, in the face of many arguments to the contrary, that link up the poetics and aesthetics of survival and reclamation: via the proliferation of productive and liberatory proximities between unsuspected partners across the world whose struggles call to be connected to and embraced by each other. To this end, our work is attentive to its actual, intersecting, and intended geographies.
We are all fortunate to have emerged from fairly radical educational backgrounds, as well as from particular political contexts that compel the bringing about of a new possibility, certainly beyond what is scripted by dominant institutions whose legitimation we cannot help having sought, but also beyond what many of our particular affiliations and homes to which we are often told to return have scripted for us. So, some of our faith in taking time, conspiring meaningfully and even joyfully, and resisting the blackmail of the loudest threat is owed to these spaces, as flawed and complicit as they may be, and it is a privilege we choose not to unlearn. However, this is not a naïve or flamboyant act, even if it is one of abundance in the face of austerities: it is an act that accepts, in the words of Langston Hughes, that there is “no such home,” and also as Aziz tells Fielding at the end of A Passage to India that we cannot be friends, not here, not yet. And then there are always the women who disappear into walls at the end of stories or are killed before the “real” story begins, or the refugees who make the border their home, who remind us that only the outsider ever has a real stake in making something fit enough to be home, and often the homes may not claim them back. So, in these impossibilities of time and space, we hope to invite, convoke, and conjure, scenes of possibility.