In these polarizing times, when the boundaries between us are getting angrier, and when it seems contemporary politics only adds to a culture of divisiveness, we claim sanctuary. Or rather, we re-claim Sanktuaree! Sanktuarees are circles of practice that teach us to wait at the edges of what it means to be neighbours, to be citizens, to be human. Sanktuarees bear the implicit idea that boundaries are vibrant places, and that we are produced by intersections and the grotesque.
The generative ritual of Sanktuaree invites us to pay attention to the ways we collectively perform the normal, and to make room for other places of power as we welcome the outlier, embrace the irregular and weird, and stitch a politics of the impossible. Sanktuaree is a form of contemporary asylum-giving, except the recipients here are rivers, human others, trees, the marginalized, and even conversations we would normally refuse to have. It’s about making the ‘radical other’ safe, warm, forgiven and at home.
How do you start a Sanktuaree?
It’s not easy. It’s not meant to be easy. In a time when we are witnessing the ‘app-ification of social justice’ – when ‘likes’, ‘activity’ and rising numbers on social media platforms are easily interpreted as ‘success’ – we are hesitant to apply the same template of justice-making. Instead we want to call attention to a world that is not easily resolved…a world that is stern and contoured and textured in ways that clicking a button often obfuscates. As such, against the run of play, we have built some slowness and resistance into the fabric of this endeavour – a ‘resistance’ that may prove paradoxical to the modern self and its addictions to user-friendliness, but one which teaches many truths not readily available to many of us.
Sanktuarees ‘begin’ with a desire to initiate an ongoing activity that is shared with ‘radical others’. To host a Sanktuaree is to become a midwife. To do that, one must go through an ‘initiation’, which is not self-determined, but negotiated with a curated gathering of midwives. This gathering or council does not unilaterally assign an ‘initiation’ in a way that is insensitive to local or situational constraints. What we hope to do is to actually meet you, to talk with you, to become ‘with-nesses’ to the art you will create. As such, when you ‘Create your Sanktuaree’, you will hear from us before your project pops up on our website. After we’ve had a conversation – which rarely happens in today’s pixel-mediated world – we will post your project in the system, connecting you with a network of other Sanktuarees around the world.
What happens in a Sanktuaree?
It depends. Meeting others and embracing the edges is such a revolutionary act that we ourselves can say little about it. We trust in our collective wisdoms that the particular creative endeavour that brings forth a Sanktuaree will provide its own logic for what to do during Sanktuarees. However, we offer the following question as a central inquiry one can share with human and nonhuman others that are in our Sanktuarees: How are we related? How do I come from you, and you from me? Find a mutually agreeable way you can hold this question with those you are hosting, within the structure of your space, and then share your adventures with the network of other Sanktuarees. Even failures to hold spaces in meaningful ways are treasured resources in this bold experiment into the heartland of the ‘other’.
What is the life-cycle of a Sanktuaree?
How long should a Sanktuaree last? As long as you can hold it, as long as your hosts are willing to be held and willing to co-build the space with you. As long as the Sanktuaree wants to be kept alive.
How are you making space for the ‘other’?
Find the others
What happens when all the Sanktuaree projects in close proximity come together? You tell us! Learn about how to co-create a Sanktuaree Carnival below.