Portable Polis (by Fred Dewey)
A mobile Hannah Arendt Working Group participating in Hacking Urban Furniture, ZK/U Berlin.
Led by Fred Dewey, May 13 through July 29, 2017, Saturdays 1-4pm
Portable Polis is a Berlin-wide public-participation project based on oral, close reading of texts by German-American thinker Hannah Arendt. One of Arendt's singular goals was to place serious thinking in the world where it is most needed. As such, readings will occur at sites around Berlin from texts related to the activities and focus of the site where each session occurs. For example, Arendt readings will include a text on refugees to be read at a refugee center, a text on the difference between labor and work read at a job placement center or labor site, a text on the private versus the public read at a private apartment, a text on public space at a legislative site, a text on thinking about the city and public life at bookstores specializing in that, a text on rightlessness at an urban site where housing and rights have been of concern, and texts where Arendt focuses on a particular German author read at an outdoor memorial to that person, in Berlin.
Following the theme of ZK/U's Hacking Urban Furniture project, participants will read aloud from a short piece or excerpt from Arendt around a table or a similar shared type of urban furniture. No prior experience with Arendt or any advance or concurrent reading is required. All sessions are free and open to the public. The ZK/U website will post the theme, site, map, and directions.
Sessions will be on Saturdays 1-4pm. Paper copies of the texts read will be provided at each site. Use of electronic devices is heavily discouraged. Sessions are in English, and where necessary foreign and German language versions can serve as accompaniment.
The Portable Polis is a project devised and led by Fred Dewey, teacher, activist, independent scholar, author of The School of Public Life (errant bodies/doormats, 2015), based in Los Angeles and in Berlin since 2010. Dewey began The Hannah Arendt Working Group in Los Angeles in the '90s and it has since been conducted around Berlin, in a squat in London, a university in Oslo (and Berlin), and a self-organized space in Amsterdam.