Hosting place for conversation as a research practice


Steffie De Gaetano, Alice Pontiggia, Silvia Susanna

Conceived out of the wish of maintain, extend and nourish the collective social space and time shared during the postgraduate course, Decolonizing Architecture Advanced Studies, we – Alice Pontiggia, Silvia Susanna and Steffie de Gaetano – established the DAAS Cineforum in autumn 2020. Over the years, it has become a research tool and a collective mutual learning practice that has slowly grown through the commitment of the extended DAAS community and beyond.

DAAS Cineforum is a (mainly) digital place for collective practice, and an experimental
research tool for investigating the knowledge that can stem from the vision of film materials followed by a collective conversation. Each session is built around one specific topic, be this from our existing research interests or one which has emerged in conversation. So far, themes tackled have included: the possibilities of inhabiting a female-manifesting-body; the question of what is home; (un)learning as a way of understanding architecture; agricultural practices as revolutionary tools; the construction and dismantling of power narratives through propaganda, fictions and buildings; and pleasure as eco-sexual activism. Thus far, DAAS Cineforum has organised six sessions, one of which was held in real life during the 2022 Difficult Heritage Summer School at Borgo Rizza in Sicily. Typically, for each session, invited guests receive the programmed film via email and may watch it in their preferred space-time before the scheduled online collective moment, i.e. the gathering in the forum. The forum is therefore an online space for reflection, conversation and the sharing of thoughts raised by the viewing of the video material.

The Cineforum’s curatorial approach aims to explore one specific topic in each session,
tackling also related issues through the confrontation of ever contrasting styles, narratives, registers, languages, epoques and geographies. The Cineforum performs as a collective research tool: a shared practice which discloses unperceived questions and opportunities; reflects on different linguistic codes; and confronts very different points of view. The aim is to delve into a theme and embrace the multifaceted possibilities that each selected film can open up in envisioning decolonial and demodern futures. The Cineforum also gives us the opportunity to practice the hosting of a safe space that revolves around the pluriversality of encounters between members of our community.