In May 2021, Prof. Dr. Marina Gržinić and her research team, Dr. Sophie Uitz and Dr. Jovita Pristovšek, launched a new FWF-PEEK project at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. As a work of artistic and theoretical research, “Conviviality as Potentiality: From Amnesia and Pandemic towards a Convivial Epistemology” builds on the findings of their still ongoing PEEK project (AR 439), led by Prof. Gržinić, called “Genealogy of Amnesia: Rethinking the Past for a New Future of Conviviality” (2018–2021). “Genealogy of Amnesia” focused on three European territories and their traumatic pasts (Austria and antisemitism, Belgium and colonialism, and former Yugoslavia and turbo-nationalism), emphasizing amnesia as impediment to convivial life and researching the closure of experiences, memory and history, constituted by the genealogy of amnesia in Europe.

The new project “Conviviality as Potentiality” proposes a new focus on conviviality, expanding the scope to outside of Europe and widening the analysis of conviviality by shifting from amnesia to the notion of pandemic. If the 20th century can be called an amnesic century in terms of the suppression of traumatic pasts in the European context, then the 21st century can be described as a pandemic century, where conviviality is marked not only by its relation to amnesia and oblivion, but to the global narrative of the pandemic and the social order of distance, contagiousness and isolation. This reconfiguration of spatial and temporal dimensions will not only have implications in terms of how we (re)construct memory and history but also, most importantly, for future conviviality as such.

The aim of this project is to engage in processes of co-establishment with artists in order to establish and share what will be called “convivial epistemologies.” In order to attain convivial practices of living together it is necessary to find a new common epistemological ground.

The question of conviviality as potentiality will be researched in connection to relevant predicaments in South Africa, Australia, Lebanon, Israel and Austria:

  • Decolonial practices from LGBT*QIA+ communities for new society formations in the post-apartheid regime in South Africa;
  • Refugee and native community activism against nationalist isolationism and white regimes of power in the context of the violent recurrence of coloniality in Australia;
  • The enhancing of community through images and taxonomies of the material in a public image archival space, in the shadow of war in Lebanon;
  • The conceptualization of convivial epistemologies in exchange with artistic grass-root collectives and art students, migrant organizations and LGBT*QIA+ communities in the context of the anti-migration and anti-refugee regime in Austria.

With local and international artists and research partners, this project seeks to co-develop a new definition and practice of conviviality as positive, affirmative action of doing in the form of changing.