002 Adelita Husni-Bey: Introduction
My name is Adelita Husni-Bey. I’m an artist and pedagogue and I was born in Italy but my father was Libyan and I’ve been living in the states since 2012.
I’m very interested in radical, anarcho-collectivist education which is a kind of education that is centered on learning not as a competitive practice but as a way to sort of nurture collective growth. So for example schools that I’ve been studying and interested in like the modern school. And that school to me was particularly interesting because as an example of the kind of schooling that I’m interested in, it had no grades and there wasn’t a very fixed timetable and the kind of education was based on this model dreamt up by Peter Kropotkin who’s an old anarchist thinker from the 1850s and Kropotkin believed in integral education. And integral education is a concept whereby you don’t learn through like one subject but you have a more kind of laboratory oriented education. And so integral education which is the basis of the anarcho-collectivist schooling basically means that you learn together. This was also radical at the time there were no gender differences so kids would learn in the same classroom and you would also not be divided by age, so different age groups would be learning together.
To me the core of the work I do is to try and think about how we could be different subjects had we been brought up in a society that had taught us differently. Or had taught us using radical pedagogical methods, what would this place look like? We tend to think of capitalism as though it were a neutral space, as if it were the natural system that we exist in, as if there isn’t maybe the possibility of an alternative. And I feel like radical education is a really interesting place to start thinking about what that would look like and what kind of subjects would inhabit a society that wasn’t so happily reliant on capitalism.
Audio guide: “Adelita Husni-Bey: Chiron,” New Museum, New York, 2019.