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Fortnights: Dystopia and Possible Avenues of Hope in the Area of Social Justice


FORTNIGHTS - Rhizome's communal learning series is untaught and unled. Our discussion/action groups are an opportunity for people to learn about a topic by reading, discussing, and then experimenting with the ideas that grow out of our discussions.

During the 2016-17 season Rhizome DC’s Fortnights held a reading and discussion group on Gilles Deleuze/Felix Guatari and Guy Debord’s Situationist International. The 2018/19 sessions will employ an even more participatory format, which will encourage everyone to present an author or reading of her/his choice in the area of social justice. Readings are available here:

OCTOBER 29, 7:30 to 9:30pm. We will have two parts to the evenings discussion:

I.        Jim Ryan, musician, poet and concerned citizen, will present short audio works by William S. Burroughs and the Czec poet Vladimir Holan to inspire a spirited discussion of the relationship between art and social justice

II.     “We Must Remember in Order to Forget: Working Through the Difficult Histories of a PA Coal Mine Town on an Individual and Communal Level.

In this Fortnights session Mary Perry and Cade Levinson - locals from the coal mining region of Northeast Pennsylvania - will apply concepts developed in archaeologist Michael Roller’s book on a nineteenth century labor massacre and the subsequent post-Industrial history of the coal mining region, to their own personal and family histories (texts available here). Making use of Walter Benjamin’s notion of the Destructive Character and the psychoanalytic phenomenon of repetition compulsion or the death drive, they will open a group reflection on both the dialectical connections between the resolution of individual and communal trauma and how remembering and working through the lost traumas of dark histories can be the only hope of preventing those previous dystopias from repeating in a new form.