In this episode of Costellazione, Italian-Libyan multidisciplinary artist Adelita Husni-Bey (b. 1985) discusses her recent work, “On Necessary Work” (2021), made in collaboration with nurses in Denmark and the US—places with widely different systems of healthcare in societies with divergent values around collective life. Husni-Bey's collaborators generated video footage and participated in paid zoom workshops to share their experiences. Husni-Bey frequently uses workshops in her practice, exploring the potential of radical pedagogy and cooperative collaboration.
Modeled as a radical film workshop, exploring the potential of radical pedagogy and cooperative collaboration, the result is a 32-minute film and contemplation on the intersections between care, labor, gender—and survival. Husni-Bey prompts us to ask ourselves: What counts as “necessary work”? What is essential (and for whom)?
On Necessary Work (2021) was exhibited in “Work It Out” at the Kunsthalle Aalborg, Denmark.
About the artist:
Adelita Husni-Bey uses experimental pedagogy, participatory artistic strategies, and ideas associated with anarcho-collectivism to investigate collective experiences based on race, gender, class, and citizenship status. Drawing upon moving-image media, experimental theatre, text-based practices, and collaborative programs, her frequently site-specific work mediates embodied experiences of participants within spaces of authority and asks us to contemplate the potential for liberation in collective practice. Her work has been shown at MoMA, MAXXI, the Whitney, the Gwangju Biennial, and Reina Sofia, among other venues, with recent solo exhibitions at The New Museum (2018) and the Venice Biennale (2017) where she represented Italy. She is a represented in Italy by Galleria Laveronica.
On Necessary Work (2021). Images courtesy of the artist.