Syllabus is a monumental, 12m high semi-transparent curtain is being moved through the gallery, creating a space-filling moving image of a floating, giant arm. It is the left arm of the well-known feminist and activist scholar Silvia Federici, embracing not only the institution, but also creating a new protective space in Kunsthal Gent.
The artwork will exist in place in Kunsthal Gent for five years and is accompanied by a legal contract that requires the institution to carry out a program of activist readings and events for the period of five years upon public request for access. The contract between the artist and Kunsthal Gent reads: “Syllabus is simultaneously the space created by the curtain, the materials thereof, and all of the relational and temporal qualities of the artwork.” One of the conditions in the contract is that “... Kunsthal Gent shall host an activist reading group once every month for the duration of the loan. The syllabus for the reading group shall be set by Silvia Federici and Jesse Jones and shall consist of selections from Federici’s works and others. Kunsthal Gent shall offer these texts for sale in the gallery in a single book bookshop.”
To get involved please visit Kunsthal Gent website
The work will remain visible as long as the conditions of the contract are respected. The contract is on view in the gallery, copies are available upon request.
The single book bookshop can be found at the desk of Kunsthal Gent. The first book on the list is a recent book by Silvia Federici: 'Witches, Witch-Hunting, and Women' (2018).
Syllabus is a slow curated project that aims to use aesthetic form to activate relationships between the institution and its community by providing a contemplative space for hosting activists. In signing the contract with the artist, they commit to providing this space to activists in the city the institution. The legal contract is written by legal academic and activist Mairead Enright and the contract explores legal forms that merge land and property laws with historic forms of law present during the European witch trials. Enright and Jones have collaborated on previous legal contracts. Their aim is to animate the aesthetics of law in public encounters with art.
Silvia Federici is a feminist, writer, teacher, and activist. Her research and political organizing accompany a long list of publications on philosophy and feminist theory, women’s history, education, culture, international politics, and the worldwide struggle against capitalist globalisation and for a feminist reconstruction of the commons