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Social    Pleasure    Center

Social    Pleasure    Center   2021 - ongoing

Social Pleasure Center (SPC) is a hub for hosting access to somatic healing and communal activities for connection and resilience. For ‘soma’ we embrace the understanding of the body as physical, psychological and spiritual/creative.


SPC is conceived as a choreography of the social body, hosting ‘technologies for mutual empowerment’ and coordinating the emergence of community’s proposals as a commitment to radical hospitality and redistribution of resources. SPC gathers primarily but not exclusively the LGBTQI+ community with a strong liaison to the Berlin dance and art scene. SPC intersects migrant cognitive labour, solidarity initiatives linked to social justice and is centered on pleasure as an organizing principle, in the line of a joyful yet militant feminist praxis.


SPC is especially concerned with generating a culture paradigm that off-sets the imperative of a private and self reliant self, promoting instead an intermediary zone of healing and belonging, beyond the nuclear family, the workplace and the entertainment/ cultural industry. It has in mind the model of a community center, where people can participate based on donation. SPC dreams of being supported as an ongoing initiative by an existing institutional space for consistently contributing to undo and question power-over structures, holding onto a queer feminist social reproduction intention, weaving discourse with embodiment.


Initiated by Maria F. Scaroni, Caitlin Fisher and Heather Purcell, SPC landed in a former casino called Fortuna in Berlin Neukölln in the midst of pandemic, in 2021, though spores of SPC in form of events happened already in 2020 (Hoop Dreams, Heizehaus Pilot/The Rehearsal, Smooth Pursuit on Skates).


We use Fortuna to run a program aiming at continuity and gathered via Telegram a community of around (atm) 700 people who receive weekly notification of what is happening and can register directly. We chose to rent a space because it was relevant to us to test a longer period of time and a fixed location, that turned out to be crucial for community building and to establish networks of mutual support. Hybrid playgrounds emerged where bodily techniques and creative activities (breath work, restorative QiGong, dance improvisation, pop dance, athletic training, drag workshops, writing lab, authentic movement practice, drawings labs, crafts, movie nights) met technologies of connection (mindfulness meditation circle, emotional CPR training, peer-to-peer mental health circle, critical whiteness lab, consent lab, harm reduction circle). Adding to the program are occasional public events like Contra Market and participatory performance series (power point presentation night, karaoke, the wheel of fortuna, club culture movie night, a.o.).


The impact on community was very strong, as many people affirmed enthusiastically the need for such a space and many found a place where to encounter body-based practices that would make them feel welcome and not othered and a place for gathering to practice self care together in a way that is accessible financially and at hand because of the strategic location. In 2022 SPC has been invited to co-host the platform IMPACT at Pact Zollverein in Essen in November 2022.

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