Posts Tagged 'Belief Attitudes'

Zone of Unconditional Hospitality

Jim Hearn

Serial Space, Wednesday 28th April


It is as though hospitality were the impossible: as though the law of hospitality defined this very impossibility, as if it were only possible to transgress it, as though the law of absolute, unconditional, hyperbolical hospitality, as though the categorical imperative of hospitality commanded that we transgress all the laws (in the plural) of hospitality, namely, the conditions, the norms, the rights and the duties that are imposed on hosts and hostesses, on the men or women who give a welcome as well as the men and women who receive it.
Derrida & Dufourmantelle, 2000, p.75-7.

To create an installation entitled, Zone of Unconditional Hospitality. Such a zone, it is envisioned, will be marked out on the floor of an exhibition or social/public space (perhaps with red tape or chalk), and have a sign which states, Zone of Unconditional Hospitality. Such a sign would necessarily be written in as many languages as possible.
This installation is imagined as a collaborative cultural space where what fills or enters such a zone is open to visitation rather than simply invitation.

Such a space necessarily functions as both literal space and prototype.

Collaboration from peers will be sought in regards what might constitute hospitality in such a space; how the provisioning and reciprocity of the signposted hospitality might look and feel.

Given the scope of what constitutes hospitality, such a Zone of Unconditional Hospitality, addresses first and foremost somatic needs. The poly-cultural requirements human beings have for food, drink and accommodation, while the most basic of things to comprehend, can be difficult to locate outside the meta-narratives of hospitality as a function of industry and hospitality as a function of charity.

One of the desired outcomes of this research project will be to transgress Derrida’s stated impossibility of unconditional hospitality. And while the research findings may result in nothing more than a list of such impossibilities, the construction of such a zone is critical in and of itself.

Another key outcome will be to disrupt dominant ways of knowing hospitality in this particular Western moment: which is to say, hospitality as a function of industry (the hospitality industry) and hospitality as a function of charity. Such a disruption will elevate notions of what constitutes hospitality, over and above, as it were, industry and the traces and memories of hospitality as a function of charity and the omniscient gaze.

Such a Zone of Unconditional Hospitality seeks to function as a cultural space where the host is not always the host and the guest is not always the guest: it is, in and of itself, a zone that transgresses sovereign hospitalities.

‘An act of hospitality can only be poetic’, (Derrida & Dufourmantelle, 2000, p.2)
Derrida, Jacques & Dufourmantelle, Anne (2000) Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle invites Jacques Derrida to Respond. Stanford:Stanford University Press.

Jim Hearn is a researcher, writer and chef.

He has a BA (Hons) First Class from Southern Cross University and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at UTS in the Centre for Transforming Cultures.

Jim had three short films screen on Eat Carpet before writing and directing a half-hour of television for SBS in early 2000. He worked on the script for CHOPPER and an adaptation of Andrew McGahan’s novel LAST DRINKS. He has also been employed as a script assessor for the NSWfto.

Jim is currently writing a book about his experiences in the hospitality industry.


A two day forum of creative research, experimentation and practice held from April 28-30 at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Serial Space Gallery, Chippendale.

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