I really enjoyed our conversation around the notion of hospitality and our after-talk with Rick Lowe. Regarding hospitality, Derrida is very clear about the antinomy between the LAW of unlimited hospitality and the LAWS. He simply writes “hospitality should not be a duty, it should be a law without law”. And I ask myself: how can it be a law without law when we live in a society? Even if they are implicit, this collision will always be present.
We also explored this idea of the host and the hostess. Shouldn’t hospitality come from both sides? Why do we feel more confortable with some people than with other? What is our role in such an interchange? And also, how does the language play in hospitality? How can we be hospitable to someone else without trying to know her/him? Is there hospitality if we don’t try to engage with them? But which are the ways of knowing other people if its not through language, and through questions? Also focusing on language, why didn’t we think about hospitality in terms of a “right”, as Derrida proposes, when naming our connections during class? How do we connect rights to love?
And many of these questions and reflections came to the surface during our talk with Lowe. One of the things we usually discuss in our classes is how to engage a community while being an outsider, without being harmful and, even more, being useful. And when answering this question, he talked about “managing expectations”. This, in my view, has a lot to do with hospitality. And this also comes back to the idea of the “outsider” also being responsible for hospitality. Who is the host and who is the hostess in Lowe’s projects? Is it something that can be defined in “this or that” terms?