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Para-institutional


The prefix para- conjures up several vectors of movement in relation to an institution or the institutional. It can connote being besides, travelling along with, almost resembling, and extending from. It can be parasitical and lead to paraesthesia; feeding off and sustained by while giving rise to a strange, sometimes unnerving, tingling. A para-institution can be paradoxical; housing contradictions but also moving beyond accepted tenets and practices of thought. It opens up possibilities for the parallax effect of observing materials from more than one vantage point. The para- is a posing of questions of hospitality and hostility, of relationality and rupture.

“What relations do we really have with each other? How do we live together? What really is this system which collapses at the slightest noise? Who or what makes this noise? Who or what prevents me from hearing whom, from eating with whom, from sleeping with whom? How can I love, whom should I love? Whom could I love and who will love me? Who forbids love?” (Michel Serres, The Parasite, 1982, p11-12)