Caritas: A Syllabus of Contemporary Study of Care


A research curatorial project that enters in a dialogue and critical inquiry on the breadth of anthropological, folkloric, architectural, historical, and curatorial practices of care.

What does your group want to come together for? What theme, issue, or subject is at the heart of collaboration? What kinds of questions do you want to explore?

Caritas is a research curatorial project that enters in a dialogue and critical inquiry on the breadth of anthropological, folkloric, architectural, historical, and curatorial practices of care. Caritas, a Latinate word for charity, foregrounds an exposition into the subjective feelings of care, charity, and compassion, but also marks the traces of its conceptual tension with precarity, discipline, and even violence. Hannah Arendt even imagines caritas, within the purview of St. Augustine, as a hope towards a happy life, but also as aftermath recollecting a self dispersed, and from our end, destroyed, yet still faces the world with grace. The paradox of caritas is the inevitable trace of a painful past at the heart of the process of caring. As a result, caritas, as a dialogical and critical inquiry, puts forth on the table these questions: how do we care without also proceeding to obsession, and to a certain extent, violence? How do we care by foregrounding the painful past without having a vindictive politics? How do we use the painful past to advance a future history of care?

Why this combination of minds, talents, and persuasions? What does each member bring to your group in terms of skills, processes, perspectives, and experience? What does each member of the group hope to take away from the collaboration?

We propose to answer our questions by creating a dialogue among scholars, researchers, curators, artists, and architects to talk about the practices of care from our respective fields, yet also foreground the histories of pain, which are moments in which violence, destruction, and precarity are the palpable affective politics of a specific historical episode in our local and national lives. Caritas also wishes to create a language and visual culture in which the moments of pain and suffering, the joy and happiness, are not polarized, but are deconstructed as bound together, and also as a socio-cultural ritual in kinship formations, which also speaks to the migrant population of nurses from the Philippines, the pandemic that presently spreads all over the country, the pacts of agreements to resolve political conflicts in the countryside, the mass housing problems, the displacement of folk communities and even the alienating effect of human solitude as we are all globally quarantined from death.

What research interests are furthered in this collaboration? How are artistic processes and interventions involved? How will community engagements be incorporated?

Despite the prevailing physical distance, the caritas that this project locates is an intimate contact zone for dialogue and critical inquiry. The contact zone brings the group to a question of disciplinal origins, and how such diverse backgrounds of our practices are also moments of intellectual pain yet also softened by extending ourselves to other disciplinal concerns as a form of intellectual caring. The interdisciplinary effort of this proposal wishes to build nodes of caring with one another to map a broader network of caring, which is also a new form of community or public sphere of care. Within such sphere, the nodes that form the network of public sphere of care also foregrounds the process of materializing cultural objects of care, such as archives, visual art, curatorial exhibition, methodology, medical practices, and architectural designs, which embody, but also solidify the material reality of care. The care that this research proposal aspires is to build a new imagination of care that does not only rely on the metaphysical paradigms but also in material, infrastructural, and even curatorial possibilities.

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