BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #32: Relationship Anarchy

13 June 2024, 7 pm

at Avalon Collective, Clarastrasse 50, 4058 Basel

While we are all aware that capitalism is great in commodifying every little detail of our lives, it can still be heartbreaking to observe this mechanism even with our romantic relationships. We see that the need to find the perfect match can easily put us in the supermarket dilemma, in a logic of comparing best price offers and checking our own market value. Who signed up for this when you signed up to the newest subscription in your dating app(s)? Who thought they would simply follow the oldest romantic story on earth, the passionate dream to marry your ideal partner that will satisfy your needs until forever? And who just signed up because honestly, where are the alternative models and visions?

For our next soirée, we approach one of these alternatives. In the book “Relationship Anarchy. Occupy Intimacy!” by Juan Carlos Pérez Cortés (2022), we want to read about an approach that challenges mainstream ideas about relationships, mutual aid, fellowship, commitment, and companionship – by challenging institutions like marriage, and the gender roles and power dynamics that underpin all these ways of relating with others. In contrast to the misunderstanding of anarchy equaling ”people yelling, and other unsettling images of chaos” (Pérez Cortés) the text takes us to places where people are looking for committed communities.

The author approaches relationship anarchy through the lens of different visions and practices, giving space to personal reflections of practitioners: “Relationship anarchism then, to me, means community. A community that chooses care, cooperation, equality, acknowledgement that we are more than our relationship and that we all have different needs. And in that community, we make the rules that suit us, and end them when they no longer suit our community. And intuitively, I‘d say an anarchist relationship is a mutual support system against the brutal, oppressive capitalist world around us. The world is an extremely fucked up oppressive place that seeks to divide us but we have chosen to support each other, to create a safe space within the rooms that we share when we share them, to help each other through tough days and tough years, to remind each other that we’re in this together.”

Join us for a playful handling of the text at Avalon Collective on Thursday 13th June.

BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #31: Dismantling the state with jineology

14 March 7 pm

Bunker at Amerbachstrasse 55a, 4057 Basel

We invite you on an expedition into the heart of the nation-state: a bunker. Together, we will enter through a small door, descend a ladder, and explore an underground concrete world. The bunker serves as the ultimate safe space in case of war, and to this day, the Swiss state still obliges the organization of shelters for the inhabitants of every newly built building.

But are nation-states really the best way to organize and protect populations in our complex world? What if nation-states, with their insistence on borders and hegemonic structures, make us feel more unsafe than safe? What alternative ways of organizing society could actually replace the nation-states?

We will attempt to find some insight into such an alternative by together reading the text “Learn from Kurdish Women’s Liberation Movements to Imagine the Dissolution of the Nation-state System” by Eda Gunaydin. She describes an already existing way to organize society in Rojava, an autonomous region in northeastern Syria. Additionally, she explores jineology – the feminist theoretical approach used by Kurdish women to address long-standing conflict in the Rojava region. Jineology rejects the nation-state system and instead advocates for the self-governance model of democratic confederalism.

Joining us will be Nehir Gündoğdu, who is researching the Kurdish diaspora, and Zeynep Erogul from the rhythm collective DAF connection.




BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #30: Disappearance & Resistance

Thursday, December 21, 19h CET


Ibtisam Azem’s “The Book of Disappearance” imagines what would happen if every Palestinian between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea were to disappear overnight, without explanation – and how Israelis left behind would react to it. Is it, as one of the book’s protagonists suggests, the “cleanest” campaign of ethnic cleansing witnessed by humanity? Or is it a new type of Palestinian resistance, a way to reclaim space by creating confusion and doubt?

The Palestinian author drags us into a world of what she calls “shifting landscapes”: overlapping realities, created by forcing new narratives on places, houses, streets and beyond. Focusing on Jaffa and Tel Aviv, Azem works around how Palestinians navigate their own space and their surroundings, when every movement tells them that, somehow, they don’t exist. Mahmoud Darwish wrote about how “invaders fear memories.” Azem, through many layers of present memories and absent protagonists, reminds us how the continued presence of native people is considered a threat. And manages to appropriate and distort the famous Zionist claim of the land without people.

With the Blasphemic Reading Soirées, we are going to read excerpts from her book collectively. And while our group is usually based in Basel – city where Herzl and the Zionist congress made the decision to start the colonial project in Palestine – we this time opt for the online space to make participation from everywhere possible. At the same time, we see this as an invitation to consider the many layers of history that are present in the buildings and spaces of your own city – how colonial narratives and actions tried or are still trying to erase certain perspectives and how the many ways of remembering, in real life and in fiction, are acts of reshaping worlds.

Join us on zoom on the 21 December at 7 PM Basel time / 8 PM Jaffa time.

BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #29: Animals, Parks & Recreation

Thursday 6 July 6, 18.30

Meeting point: Entrance Tierpark Lange Erlen, Erlenparkweg 110, 4058 Basel

For the last Blasphemic reading soirée before the summer break, we will meet at Tierpark Lange Erlen to delve into the complicated relationship we share with the nonhuman members of our animalic family. In our beds, on our minds, behind bars, on grill bars in summer — is the concept of justice even useful to think about how we live with, of, and as animals?

We’ll take this question as a starting point, reading and discussing excerpts from philosopher Martha Nussbaum’s ‘Justice for Animals’ and getting further input from our partner in crime Pascale Hutter.  She has been interested in environmental issues and animals from an early age and went to study biology at the University of Zurich. Pascale works in an eco office in Baselland is committed to bat protection in her free time.
In addition to the reading, we will practice a performative score in relation to the non-human animals around us. The score is specially designed for the occasion by Krõõt Jurak and Alex Bailey, the artists behind Performances for Pets.

The soirée starts at 18:30, and is followed by an easy season finale barbecue by river Wiese. We’ll provide fire and beer with and without alcohol. Please bring your own blanket and what you’d like to eat/put on the grill. Plant based food is encouraged for this occasion.

ACCESSIBILITY: The reading is held in English and German. Tierpark Lange Erlen is wheelchair accessible. The barbecue by the river does not have optimal wheelchair access, but we are happy to assist with mobility if wished for.



Thursday, February 23, 18:30

Meeting point: Vogel Gryff Fähre, Unterer Rheinweg Basel

Ashes are blown into the Rhein, they are brought on mountaintops, returned to organic cycles in the soil or they are kept at private homes. There are many ways to shape the process of grieving. For some, it’s a relief to be able to choose their own rituals, while others are missing guidance in these moments. With a text by activist and writer Malkia Devich-Cyril, we will try to explore the political and collective dimension of grief. How far is grieving an individual, but also a collective skill? And what do we need it for?

In “To Give Your Hands To Freedom, First Give Them To Grief”, Devich-Cyril reflects on her own denial of mourning, and the feelings of guilt and blame that come along with it. It brings the writer to search for ways of grieving that produce agency and action. Especially in communities that have experienced a lot of forms of collective losses, resilient grief, so Devich-Cyril, is more than ever important to all struggles for twenty-first-century social justice movements. “Our bodies will die. Our organisations will die. Our movements will die. (..) Coping with loss is a skill that should be taught as fundamental to social movement leadership.”

Join us for a Soirée on the complexities, pleasures and joys of grieving, at the Vogel Gryff-Fähre, Unterer Rheinweg Basel. And bring warm clothes!

The text and soirée is held in English. All genders are welcome.

BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #27: Who cleans the world?

Thursday, October 17 November

Meeting Point: Auberg 2a, 4051 Basel

Clean air, clean water, clean houses, clean bodies, clean minds, and green spaces – this is how Françoise Vergès describes the needs of our time. In order to make this possible, we need the “invisible hands”: people who perform cleaning jobs discreetly. Who are the ones making spaces shiny for everyday’s activities? 

Vergès started to examine the relation between gender, exhaustion and race when she witnessed a strike of the black and brown women who clean Gare du Nord train station in Paris. Looking closer at the concrete struggles of female cleaning workers of color, she develops a decolonial feminism that works on the intersection of migration, the chemical industry, the economy of exhaustion, visibility/invisibility, race, gender, class, capitalism, and violence against women.

How does her text resonate in Switzerland? We are going to read “Capitalocene, Waste, Race, and Gender” together in the municipal cleaning centre of Basel (Stadtreinigung) and try to understand what differentiates cleaning domestic and public spaces, and how the clean/dirty division not only has a colonial heritage, but is still heavily connected to the militarization and gentrification of cities.

With us in the soirée is Ivan Rojas who works as a team leader in Stadtreinigung Basel-Stadt. He will share (in German) some insight in his work and be available for our questions.  

We also have a special guest via video, artist Mary Szydlowska, who is introducing us to her Cleaning Oracle-practice.

The text and soirée is held in English. All genders are welcome.

This evening is the third part of our trilogy loosely tied to Tinguely museum‘s thematic exhibition “Territories of Waste”.

©Museum Tinguely, Basel 2022
Fotos: Bettina Matthiessen

BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #26: Not wasted if turned into Art?

Thursday, October 27, 2022, 18:45
Conservation Room at Tinguely Museum, Paul Sacher-Anlage 4, 4002 Basel
(meeting at the museum’s info point)

For the second part of our trilogy loosely tied to Tinguely museum‘s thematic exhibition “Territories of Waste”, we are going to read the text “From Trash to Waste”, on Art‘s media Geology by Yvonne Volkart. The text describes the understanding of waste both as an activity of polluting the world based on consumerism and capitalism constrains in relation to “goods” and garbage and as form of matter and media itself that changes public property to private also reflected in art. In the current art and media discourses about revitalizing the trash as an artistic material, the concepts of waste, devaluation, and global justice have acquired a meaning that no longer merges into the trash discourse, but rather takes place in the concept of new materiality. The question of Volkart ” Not wasted if turned into art?” raises the questions about a new evaluation and reception of the geology, material and relational aspects of waste and how it effects the ways of imagining and planning the future of ecology and geopolitics relative within our relationship to materiality and nature.

In Tinguely museum with the guidance of Chantal Willi our partner in crime, we will have a short tour in the conservation room and being introduced to her practice there in relation to the objects and materials.

For those who want to have a look at the text beforehand, you can find the English version here .

The Soirée will be held in English.
All genders are welcome.

Photos: BRS & Museum Tinguely



Thursday, September 15th 2022, 19:00
Garden of Tinguely Museum, Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, 4002 Basel
(meeting at the museum’s info point)

On the beautiful riverside premises of pharmaceutical giant Roche’s very own Tinguely Museum, we will gather in and for a ‚Waste Garden‘ Soirée. This is the first part of our trilogy loosely tied to the museum’s thematic exhibition ‚Territories of Waste‘, opening September 14th. Together with Polish artist Diana Lelonek and amidst companions from her ongoing research project  ‚Center for the Living Things‘, we will read ‚Wasteplants: Towards· a Precarious Aesthetics and Ephemeral Heritage‘. The short text challenges our understanding of the ideas of conservation and contamination, as well as creativity. If we no longer associate waste solely with destruction and the end of things, we will get to peek into – and maybe even learn from – the vibrant, nonhuman collectives of wasteplants.

A magic potion, neither ’natural‘ nor cultivated, but collectively compos(t)ed by BRS motherboarders and our partner in crime will send our senses wandering and our thoughts to new directions.

For those who want to have a look at the text beforehand, you can find the English version here a few days before the Soirée.

The Soirée will be held in English. All genders are welcome.

BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #23: Imaginative Justice

Thursday, May 12 2022, 19:00
Meeting Point @ „Basel Weil am Rhein Grenze“ Tram 8
(Customs / Zoll Weil am Rhein)

Small Switzerland faces a big decision: On May 15, a vote will decide whether Frontex should receive even more money despite continuing human rights violations – or whether it is time for a new beginning.
The fear of such new beginnings is huge because they always confront us with uncertainties. If not Frontex, then what? What might be a different approach towards borders? How to include queerfeminist perspectives? How else could all this money be invested?

With a text by E. Tendayi Achiume, we take a step towards Imaginative Justice and approach visions that are thinking beyond existing conditions. „Migration as Decolonization“ looks at fortress Europe and how it seeks to hold back so-called economic refugees. Achiume reminds us that with colonisation, many Europeans left the continent for economic reasons and used non-European resources to build a better life. The ongoing economic imbalance in the world today therefore needs a counterbalance: economic migration must be understood and supported as a necessary response to the colonial era.

Our special guest will be Selam Habtemariam, part of the Migrant Solidarity Netzwerk and of the No Frontex referendum committee. We are going to read together – where else – on the external border of Switzerland, in a garden right next to the German customs!

The soirée will be hold mostly in English, but don’t be shy if you think your English is not perfect enough – we always find a way to communicate. And as usual: all genders welcome!

BLASPHEMIC READING SOIRÉE #22: Humans, Machines and Labour

Friday, April 22, 2022, 19:00
HGK Critical Media Lab, Freilagerplatz 1, 4142 Münchenstein
(i.e. Tall glasshouse, 3rd floor)

Together with, we invite you to the challenging universe of algorithms. We will read “Calculation and the Division of Labor” (2017), a text by Lorraine Daston. It traces the development of automated computing power that now shapes our digital everyday life. We will talk about the meaning of the “automated” and ask ourselves, how the invention of algorithms out of a bourgeois-patriarchal setting is related to the systematic devaluation of digital care work. How algorithms shape a digital hierarchy of gender. And where the subversive deviations for a queer-feminist digital future might lie.

Lorraine Daston is Director at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

The Soirée will finally happen in physical presence and will be held together with, a network that organises events on topics related to the digital universe. They will bring along several short movies that shed light on the connection of gender, the division of labour and technology.

For those who want to have a look at the text beforehand, you can find the English version here a few days before the Soirée.

The Soirée will be held in English. All genders are welcome.