Deveron Projects since its inception as a residency host has by its very nature engaged in a great deal of hospitality, or hospitable gestures, made towards both invited (guest) artists/visitors who come here to work and live, and the local community—ourselves becoming both guest and host through this process. Although already an implicit part of the way in which we have chosen to operate, it was in 2013 that we made the choice to investigate further the complex and ambiguous nature of the challenge of hospitality. Continuing on from our previous work, we wish to investigate the notion of hospitality further, particularly hospitality as an ethical problem in the arts.
To investigate hospitality as ethics further we turn to Derrida's portmanteau 'hostipitality', which helps us to reveal the complex relationship between enmity and generosity at play in acts of hospitality. Derrida noting, "the close etymological proximity between hospitality and hostility, both of which are derived from the word foreigner (hostis)," alerts us to the delicate con-fusion—between stranger-guest, economic and non-economic relationships, implacement-displacement—held in suspension when host-guest are engaged together through hospitality. This conceptualisation of hospitality, or hostipitality, acts as fertile ground for us to actively investigate the power relationship between ourselves, our community and our guests.
The problem of hospitality is historic, being among one of the most fundamental concerns of both religion and philosophy, and has played an essential role in defining the very basic of social relationships. Hospitality remains a burning issue today, both politically and philosophically: over the last twenty years we have seen, through commercial globalisation and an increase in tourism and long distance travel, and economic hospitality ('the hospitality business'), grow rapidly. This alongside the recent movements in population within Europe and from other continents into Europe—i.e. economic immigration, refugees and asylum seekers, contributing to the growing anxiety and xenophobia felt both in the UK and Europe towards strangers, or, 'foreigners'—has seen traditional notions of hospitality thrown into question. We believe this makes investigating the ethics and implications of hospitality all the more critical for us as a hosting arts organisation.
On a very basic level we want to investigate what it means to be a good host, and of course also a good guest?
Join us every Friday at our Friday Lunches as we attempt to put our theorizing about hospitality into practice.