Harvest - preparation for Lumbung Calling
Morten Goll (Trampoline House) and Tim Corrigan (Project Art Works). Transcript: Carlota Mir
Zoom - 1 April 2022
MG: Trampoline House and Project Art Works both work with the idea of multiple identities, which are used to carry the authorship. We want to challenge authorship.
TC: Yes! Also, we both want to work for the most vulnerable people, and include them. People are not inherently vulnerable, but made vulnerable by social systems.
MG: Who does documenta fifteen benefit? Does it actually benefit our communities, or does it benefit the art world?
TC: That’s a difficult one… It’s quite ambiguous, isn’t it?
MG: I think what we can say is that we are using Lumbung to question documenta fifteen from the inside.
TC: Project Art Works works between the glamorous art world and the deeply unglamourous world of social care, and there is a clear relationship with Trampoline House in this sense. The personal is political.
MG: Ah, care… Care is overused in artspeak. With asylum seekers, care focuses on the body, but everything else is uncared for and neglected on purpose. At Trampoline House, we’re really bad at artspeak. We have our own language: we speak Trampoline House English. This English comes from the camps, where people teach themselves English. But Project Art Works do need care in their communities.
TC: They do,they need care - but what we do is create supported environments where people can be themselves - that is the opposite of the usual power dynamic in care settings.

Circle III. Navigating Systems of Care and Control

Image: Trampoline House info sheet, featured in Hübner installation area. Artist: Anna Farley (Project Art Works).
3’ 10’’ Themes of hospitality and care are central to documenta fifteen [...] The purpose of these conversations is really to share and to listen and to learn, but also to expand and challenge how we might think about the ethical and the political tightrope that bridges the meeting points between care and control, and not only at the level of the State but also within the most intimate levels of our relationships in working towards and perhaps rehearsing more radical communities of care and hospitality that are convened by art’. Yasmin Gunaratnam
8’ 36’’ First of all, apologies that Shakira cannot be here. Shakira Mukamusoni is an activist who has been working for several years inside of the Trampoline House community and a vital voice inside it. [...] She's originally from Congo and she has experienced the worst of the Danish asylum system. [...] Shakira is currently doing important research for our documenta project in the camps - in Avnstrup concretely - and the connection is really bad there, so sadly, it just has not been possible [to get her online]. We think it's important to show her absence [onscreen] because it's really also part of our community’s presence in documenta fifteen: people cannot travel, they cannot access reliable connection and they are faced with really dire material conditions. Carlota Mir
12’ 52’’ Trampoline House is a way to take action, to propose that there is a different way. Trampoline House is not helping people: we try to give people the tools, knowledge and information so they can help themselves in this vulnerable situation that they’re in. We do that by offering job training and internships, legal counselling, medical counselling, psychological counselling, language classes, workshops, art exhibitions, democratic fora, community dinners, and socialising. Tone Olaf Nielsen [film clip]
14’ 45’’ If you want to promote democracy, you have to deprogramme yourself: you have to get to a point where you can meet on equal terms. That's not easy because the inequality between the asylum system and a general citizen in Denmark is immense - but this house is creating a social frame where it is possible to feel equality. Morten Goll
22’38’’ We have quite an expensive system for asylum seekers, but the problem is that it is used to isolate people, so people are being put in these camps and they’re being victimised. It doesn't mean that they starve or have no roof over their heads - on the contrary, their bodies are taken care of. There's also a healthcare system, although it's lower quality healthcare in comparison with their Danish system but still, the system respects the human body, but it doesn't respect the individual as a citizen, or anything like that. MG
1h 01’ 00’ ‘The chain’ means to be stuck in a grey area: neither detained nor free, without a perspective of a future. This happens in Denmark but also in Europe. So what does it mean? It is about creating a structurally violent exhaustion strategy that provokes a lot of emotions and feelings. We started the conversation with Project Art Works thinking about that: how to face emotions like rage, frustration or exhaustion inside very normative systems? Power structures work to create sad emotions, sad feelings. This is really essential to the exercise of power, and rage is a consequence of that. That is the daily mechanism of the chain. It separates people from the capacity to act, it separates people from each other and it stops them from having access to public and social life. This is linked to the conditions of an oppressive society, so what we are also trying to do is create positive emotions, affect, and personal relationships and really to shape this space through that, so that we have access to a space that be transformed by the actions that we are doing. Tone, when speaking with Project Art Works, she was talking about ‘massaging’ the system: so, not tackling the system from a direct perspective but trying to carve out the creative ways in which we can really have the possibility to act through our bodies, through our relationships. I think this is really important inside the chain as a symbolic structure. Sara Alberani 
1h 17’ 14’’ Usually after six months, a lot of the people who live in the camp system go sick. They become sick. It’s the illness of being isolated, and most of them have levels of depression. Then, the response from this healthcare system in the camps is to start medicating people. And we think that's an utterly wrong approach, because actually what happens in the camps is that people react in a healthy way to a sick system. And that's really why our response at Trampoline House is an antidote to this system that makes people ill: we offer people to become part of the community, which they have no way of being part of otherwise. MG
30’ 55’’ [At Project Art Works], we use art to enable people to be visible and to be creative on their own terms in ways that completely resonate with their innate ability and ways of interacting with the world. The context at the moment is that for example, in the last two years, two-thirds of the people who've died in the UK through the pandemic are disabled, and people requiring support in all areas of their life, so there's a profound inequity in society between neurodivergent and non-neurodivergent communities or disabled and non-disabled communities. In this sense, it's very important to create a platform of visibility that is recognizable as a place of value. And in our society. culture is valued. Kate Adams
34’ 44’’ The term non-verbal [inside the neurodivergent spectrum] is very important in terms of how we think about the contemporary conditions of citizenship. I think you're [both] working in different domains of what I would think of as ‘intimate citizenship’. So how do we honour people's different forms of agency within a wider system that can be dehumanizing? YG
43’ 44’’ The difficulties for people in the practical solutions to living and receiving the support that they need are very central to [Project Art Works'] work. We operate in a system where we do have systemic structures that can provide support, but they tend to be very adversarial. So, for someone who needs support in all areas of their life - they aren't actually innately vulnerable in themselves, they're made vulnerable by adversarial systems which tend to be discretionary especially as adults - the art in the studios it has no boundaries: it operates on the basis of fixing environments and not people, so the environment we create enables freedom, which then enables a person to flower and to be free and to respond and to lead the development of a practice, whatever that might be. That then creates a real sense of value and agency for the individual, which then radiates radiates out to the family, and I think that that's a really important aspect because it repositions someone as not an object of need and of risk and of assessment and of services and of public funds, but as an extremely vital creative force. KA
48’00’’ There's this idea that society and culture here are open and liberal and accessible, but one of the things for us is how invisible people are in communities in civic and community life, in leadership in [Carl makes noise in the background] programs of culture and exhibitions. And we've tried very gently to challenge these things, because there's a lot of fear in society - I think - about difference. KA
53’00’’ [In social systems] Care means a lack of care, actually. I think that there's been such an overuse actually of the term care recently, especially in the art world, in cultural contexts, etc, but I think it's really important to remember that especially for our communities, care is a really ambiguous word and it's loaded with tension, because conventional structures of care and State structures… I mean, I think that people in our community are allergic to them, because to them care is means of top-down control, means victimisation, means infantilizing, means debilitating. I don't think that this necessarily means that we should abandon the word, though. I think what Trampoline House does is to confront that, working with care as a way of working with a system that's already toxic, and trying to reverse that. [...] For instance, if somebody is a French teacher then they can teach [French in the house] or they do maintenance tasks [...] but it's really about having a space that enables public access and care giving [to others] as a pre-establishment of a social democratic contract [of citizenship, of rights and obligations] which is suspended in the case of asylum seekers for many many years. CM
54’ 16’’ The concept of the chain comes from the fact that you know we [refugees and asylum seekers] just keep circling in a loop, and everything just keeps repeating itself, you know like […] in terms of sustaining people's bodies, but at the same time the system strips people out from their humanity and from their individuality because when you are a rejected asylum seeker in Denmark, you just have no access or no right to to basically anything. You can just sleep and eat and breathe, and that’s all of your rights. Muhannad Al-Ulaby
1: 02’ 40’’ [Thinking about the element of voice in Project Art Works] and particularly the acoustic elements that you can hear now [Carl making noises with his voice in the background] [...] I wonder if you wanted to say something [...] about words literally slipping through the fingers - so all the things that we can't represent - and perhaps looking at measuring your worth and the importance of that. YG
1h 04’31’’ Language and words are sort of redefined within the kind of studio in many ways, because the art making becomes this shared language between people. [...] Some people make work in a very autonomous way and have this incredible relationship with materials, and other people make work in a very instinctive way, and with other people it's very collaborative, and actually [through] the use of materials and art making practice [...] this language is created between people, which creates these kind of relationships, and yeah, there's obviously a lot of fun in that exploration and of kind of redefining the parameters of what a relationship can be and how we communicate with each other. [...] So much of the work [both artworks and films] is the trace of this activity, this conversation might not even be recognised by the maker as something to keep - it just is a trace of this engagement. Tim Corrigan
1h 07’07’’ Yeah, and also it creates a layer of insight for audiences if they have this thing on the wall that looks like a work of art, and it may well be a work of art - it depends how you feel about it. But it is this recognisable object, and then there is a greater, much more sensitive and deeper insight into the origination of that object on the wall. And sometimes that can both inspire audiences, or it can actually disturb them interestingly, because it plays with ideas of value - fundamental cultural and human value. It's one of the reasons why… [Carl shouting in the background] I think that's what Carl wants to say on that issue! - It is one of the reasons why it's so important to have [the artists] in public exhibition spaces [...] and also be visible. This also causes, very often, complex responses in people, because there's still an idea that if someone doesn't use language to communicate, then they don't have agency [...] if people don't use the learnt modes of social interaction and communication, then they are threatening to a civic understanding of what it is to be human, and to be able to contribute. KA
1h 23’ 30’’ I think it's exactly this: it's the fact that we [at Trampoline House] build unique support structures that wouldn't otherwise exist that really makes the art, and I think that is something that I can also see at work in the practice of Project Art Works - the idea of fixing an environment that over time becomes a structure, and it becomes a model - perhaps - for doing things differently. CM
Photo: Trampoline House Meeting. Image: Viktoria Steinhart.
Photo: Sam Smith, Ignition at Hastings Contemporary, 2021 © Project Art Works