Reflecting on Gathering for Rehearsing Hospitalities 2021 with Irina Mutt and Mike Watson

Frame Contemporary Art Finland is happy to publish two new essays by independent writer and curator Irina Mutt and theorist, critic and curator Mike Watson. The texts are commissioned and published in the context of Frame’s public programme Rehearsing Hospitalities (2019-2023) to offer a critical review of the programme and provide a platform for developing new art writing. Irina Mutt and Mike Watson were invited to follow the annual Gathering for Rehearsing Hospitalities in September 2021 and engage with the programme’s exhibitions, events and publications. 

This year, the gathering bridged hospitality and access with matters of security and safety. Hospitality, care, safety and security are matters intrinsically entangled, not simply through their definitions and overlapping meanings but as acts, practices, institutions, industries, infrastructures and systems of power. 

Given this context, Irina’s text focuses on thinking with the programme via three pertinent rubrics: rehearsing, hospitalities and companion. She reveals to the reader her visceral, and emotional responses to the programme while raising questions about accessibility and inclusivity. Adopting a somewhat non-linear, non-binary approach, the essay ultimately asks–what are the motivations behind the demand for radical change in the art world?

Mike Watson’s text situates the exhibition Secured – Politics of Bodies and Space at Vantaa Art Museum Artsi in the liminal space between politics and art. The text mediates the difficulty of transgressing the line that separates the artistic from the political in the museum space and asks, would it be more effective to use trade unions or political pressure groups as a starting point to engage with politics in the art field and beyond? 

More about the authors –   

Irina Mutt is an interdependent writer and curator from Barcelona, currently based in Helsinki. Her research ranges from video games to post-porn, to experimental publishing and temporalities outside the hegemonic sense of productivity or linear time. Her strategies include writing and curating from short distances and mixing politics with pleasure. Lately, she has been involved in an open and collaborative radio broadcast in Helsinki, and she still quotes Annie Sprinkle to talk about art.

Mike Watson is a theorist, critic and curator who is principally focused on the relation between culture, new media and politics. He has written for Art Review, Artforum, Frieze, Hyperallergic and Radical Philosophy, and has curated events at the 55th and 56th Venice Biennale, and Manifesta 12, in Palermo. In September 2021, he will publish his third book with ZerO Books, The Memeing of Mark Fisher: How the Frankfurt School Foresaw Capitalist Realism and What to Do About It.

Both essays, and the gathering they speak of, are part of the five-year Rehearsing Hospitalities programme, which connects artists, curators and other practitioners in the field of contemporary art and beyond to build up and mediate new practices, understandings and engagements with diverse hospitalities.