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Ultradependent Public School

Ultradependent Public School is a curriculum to learn what we really need to enact the worlds we really want. UPS is co-convened with an extended faculty of students, educators, and practitioners. Emphasizing study as a radically collective, public labor that lives in-between institutionalized hierarchies, UPS inhabits the edges between formal classrooms and everyday life. It?navigates ?kitchens, print shops, housing squats, community centers, garages, radio stations, hallways, and sidewalks as sites of study.?

As a follow-up of sorts of Trainings for the Not-Yet (2019/2020) convened by BAK and artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and Clara Balaguer with multiple collaborators in Utrecht and beyond, UPS rehearses the idea of an exhibition as a series of trainings, this time configured as the bones of a temporary school. Acting as UPS’s agent faculty ahead of the project, seven study nodes spent months doing outreach and field work to construct a curriculum informed by a current landscape. Each through a specific realm of inquiry, they have labored toward an understanding of how both collective and individual agency could manifest in processes of learning, despite—and because of—structures that have failed us.

At the time of writing, these are the study nodes feeding UPS. They may multiply on short notice.

Ultrahospitality takes the kitchen as a place where study and political action meet, employing food and its service to forge collective learning in committed community. It is convened by Escuela de Garaje (Garage School) under the ministration of artist and educator Santiago Pinyol.

Ultrastudio investigates the act of publishing as a technique to build more habitable communities. It is convened by the BookBinding Workshop of Gerrit Rietveld Academy/Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam (designers Miquel Hervás Gómez and Ott Metusala) together with cultural worker and housing rights advocate Lila Athanasiadou.

Ultraemergence is a federation of affiliated and unaffiliated student groups that are already filling the gaps in their curriculums with subjects that emerge from like-hearted desire. It is convened by currently enrolled students Lorenzo García-Andrade Llamas (Dirty Art Department, Sandberg Institute) and Carla Arcos (Social Practices, Willem de Kooning Academy).

Ultracirculation is interested in a kind of knowledge that can only be created in transit, tracking movements that escape mainstream routes to capital—cultural, intellectual, economic, political. It is convened by artist publisher and organizer Elaine W. Ho and artist, anthropologist, and organizer Wan Ing Que.

Ultradistro uses festivity and improvisation as methods for distributing information, labor, and resources within a living structure. It is convened by Espacio Estamos Bien, a nomadic cultural space run by artists Mariana Jurado Rico and Francisca Khamis Giacoman.

Ultratranslation is concerned with increasing literacy, collective skills, and institutional commitment around language justice. It is convened by cultural worker Alejandro Navarrete and language justice worker Jen/Eleana Hofer.

Ultraspirit searches for where the spirit and spirituality could reside between institutions and the communities that give them life.

Ultramethods retools forms of instruction on the coastlines of technic and magic, searching for alternatives to the master’s tools. It is convened by the cultural workers in and around BAK Community Portal.
The collective result of these investigations is a series of propositions as epistructures (see next section) that could remain after the close of UPS, should they generate desired and sustainable life/work forms for the institution. Or they could just as easily be dismantled and redistributed for fertile afterlives elsewhere.

For two months in April•May 2023, UPS transforms BAK into a schoolhouse with distinct study areas: a gymnasium, a copybar, a bootleg library, a gift hall, a microcosmicroom, and a cafeteria. Sixteen artworks as learning objects are located here and around the city of Utrecht, activated by an intensive public program of trainings. Symposiums, rituals, field recordings, workshops, day-long radio shows, lectures, skill-shares, assemblies, beauty salons, bootleg distros, beauty salons, and cook-offs are only some of the ways UPS configures the act of training.

There is a concrete material kinship between the learning objects that form this project’s physical landscape: paper, the ultimate school supply. As any teacher or student working in precarious contexts will confirm: as long as you have paper, a surface on which to record and transfer knowledge, you have a classroom. Inside BAK as a temporary schoolhouse, paper and its archival and circulatory afterlife is handled by individuals, collectives, and totally new pairings for whom publishing (or making public) is an artistic practice for building community.

Ultradependent Public School is assembled by Clara Balaguer—curator of BAK’s civic praxis program—Jeanne van Heeswijk, and an extended network of collaborators including:

Alejandro Navarrete, Alfred Marasigan, Alice Strete (Varia/Fizz/Magiun), Andrea González, Angeliki Diakrousi, b.ASIC a.CTIVIST k.ITCHEN (Berend Bombarius, Grace Lostia, Jun Saturay, and others), Bea Misa-Crisostomo (ritual dumaguete), Black Book Assembly, Black Earth Events, BB Workshop at Gerrit Rietveld Academie and Sandberg Instituut (Gersande Schellinx, Miquel Hervás Gómez, Ott Metusala), Carla Arcos, Cengiz Mengüç (Anadolu Ekspres), Charley Ranzijn, Clara Balaguer, Coopia, Czar Kristoff, Dante Carlos, Eindhoven University Rebellion, Elaine W. Ho, Embodied Theory Assembly (Khurram Saleem, Kiek Korevaar, Rita Sousa), Erasmus School of Colour, Escuela de Garaje (Santiago Pinyol), Espacio Estamos Bien (Francisca Khamis Giacoman, Mariana Jurado Rico), Gabriel Fontana, Glenda Martinus, Harriet Rose Morley, Hong Kong-Mainland Relationship Repairment Study Group, Hopscotch Reading Room (Erin Honeycutt, siddhartha lokanandi), Hussein Shikha, Ita Fatia Nadia, James Rae Parnell, Jason Dy, SJ, Jeanine van Berkel, Jeanne van Heeswijk, Jen/Eleana Hofer, Jina Collective, Jo-Anneke van der Molen, Juan Pablo Pacheco Bejarano (Espacio Comunal), Julia Wilhelm, Khairunnisa, KUNCI Study Forum and Collective (Fiky Daulay, Gatari Surya Kusuma, Syafiatudina with School of Improper Education), Lila Athanasiadou, Lina Ruiz (Micelio Cultural), Linda Zeb Hang, Lorenzo García-Andrade Llamas, Lucrative Dumpster Dive, lumbung Radio, Maja Irene Bolier, Maria Molteni, Marina Monsonís (La Cuina del Macba), Massa Madre’s Orchard, Mokum Kraakt, Pablo Marte, Paul Pfeiffer, Public Sewer, Publifluor (David Le Simple, Femke Snelting, Ludivine Loiseau, Nathan Izbicki, Olivier Bertrand, Pierre Huyghebaert, Sophie Boiron), REDACTED NAMES, Renan Laru-an, Repelsteeltje, Sadrie Alves, Sandra Lange, Sean van den Steenhoven, Senka Milutinovi? (Reading Rhythms Club), Sergio Rojas Chaves, Sjaak, SPIN, Staci Bu Shea, Stevphen Shukaitis, Stranded FM (Jolijt Bosch, Luke Cohlen), Teresa Borasino, The Garden Department, Thomas Orbon, Tools for the Times, Trash Bunker, Triwish Hanoeman, Ulises (Gee Wesley, Kayla Romberger, Lauren Downing, Nerissa Cooney, Ricky Yanas), Utrecht in Solidarity with Palestine, Vishnu Vardhani Rajan, Wan Ing Que, and more.