A “Second Home” is a metaphor for what Sweden and a number of other host countries have aspired to become during an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe: a second home (and homeland) for hundreds of thousands of people fleeing war zones and political conflict. Definitions of “home” and “homeland” have been increasingly entangled with escalating violence and public debate, resulting in polarization around conceptions of territorial and cultural belonging while new nationalisms and geopolitical realities arise. The recent case of the Syrian refugees has been a poignant example, revealing the widespread fields of tension.
This symposium brings the concept of hospitality to bear on some of the most pressing social, cultural and political questions of our time. Hospitality implies an ethical relationship and pertains to which degree we are open to receiving the Other in a framework of civic duties and entitlements, but also with reverberations in the politics of representation, language and the creation of an aesthetic materiality. It necessitates ongoing public deliberation on how conditions of membership are created and sustained, and how peoples, cultures and difference can coexist, resources be shared, actions taken, and histories remembered.
Against this backdrop, the symposium will be constituted of four parts, each attending to mediated and artistic dimensions of hospitality with a view toward contemporary realities:
1) Perspectives on hospitality takes on broader questions such as “is hospitality a utopia, a form of “madness” in times of conservative extremism, or could hospitality engender greater understanding and respect?;
2) Mediating Hospitality addresses the significance of history and geography vis-à-vis the notion and practice of hospitality, media strategies in documenting displacement, social movements, and emancipatory activism in the face of new nationalisms;
3) Experiencing hospitality brings together examples of hospitality as performed, experienced, documented, designed, practiced and narrated in contemporary art;
4) Hospitable Futures, focuses on life after displacement and the place of hospitality in current educational and artistic strategies at home and abroad.