It is the paradox many of us encounter: while we dedicate ourselves to initiatives, projects and proposals that aim at a ‘better’ future (more resilient, fairer, more inspiring…), we experience to be operating from a present we increasingly feel alienated from. And there we find ourselves: continuously in the search for a resilient context for our practice and production. Looking around, sharing experiences with fellow souls, it is evident that this vulnerable position undermines the reach and impact of that future (and life) we care for.
However, if present is such, it is high time to use our capacity to disrupt its unfolding. In this desire, we are not alone. Over the last years, a vast number of initiatives have sprung up to take matters into common hands and re-design the very reality from where we work, how we live and how we exchange among each other. It may not come as a surprise that imagining, designing and constructing such different ‘existential’ and professional realities to a large degree entails working on their (different) economic groundings.
The double-module Carving Out the Spaces for Our Commoned Life: A Training Ground therefore takes different economic principles and workings at its core. In the two weeks we will explore whether we, as artists, designers or cultural practitioners can envision a novel mutually supportive economic ‘space’ for our lives and work. A daunting task, to which aid we will call some of the forerunners that have already started the transition. But equally a formidable challenge that demands we break down some of the assumptions and workings concerning the economy, delve into areas we usually experience as ‘outsiders’ and start re-creating them on our terms. Money, debt, insurance, time, services – to name a few.
The module consists of a five-day line of activities at Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto (Biella, from 14th to 18th of November, 2016), and a subsequent five-day line of activities at the Stoking House of City in the Making (from 21st to 25th of November, 2016).
The collective trip from Biella to Rotterdam marks the symbolic shift from Cittadellarte’s UNIDEE - University of Ideas, to City in the Making’s universe of enactment, where City in the Making re-imagines life and work, in a stock of former social housing for a period of 10 years.
PART 1: CITTADELLARTE, BIELLA
14th / 18th November, 2016 with Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen
Guided tour to Cittadellarte, including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions (curated by Elena Rosina).
Film screening(s) followed by common reflection. Short introduction of participants and the module.
November 15th – exposing the fragility of our existence
Outlining the challenge: a resilient context for our subsistence, and the precarious lives of us as artistic and cultural practitioners. Bringing in personal backgrounds and key moments related to this day’s topic, with images.
Envisioning the impact on our lives: imagining new horizons. A large mind-map drawing, based on groups experiences. Rounding up by identifying the basic needs and principles within our group.
November 16th – structures of deprivation, entanglement
Being a citizen in neo-liberal times. Demystifying some of the basics: money creation, debt & transactions, real-estate
(walk/funicolare to Biella Piazzo): Discussing parts of the book “Take Back the Economy – An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities”, by J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, Stephen Healy (2013)
November 17th – mutual support structures
Introduction to new forms of collective organisation and production, from REScoop (energy co-operatives), to Broodfonds (self-organised insurance), to eBanka (co-operative bank), to complementary economic spaces - the case of the Sardinian Exchange Network.
Discussing introduction and parts of the book “Bolo’bolo”, by P.M. (1983)
November 18th – universal future structures
Discussing the book “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and the World Without Works” Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams (2015)
Preparing for Rotterdam, outlining the seminar on mutual support structure (Wednesday 23rd).
Travel from Milano to Rotterdam
PART 2: ROTTERDAM (21st / 25th November, 2016)
November 21st – exploring City in the Making
Guided tour by Erik Jutten to City in the Making, including the buildings, the workshops, residencies and meeting the economic pioneers. (Schiestraat, carpentry workshop at Noordplein, Zwaanshaals, Bloklandstraat, Banierstraat, Pieter de Raadtstraat. Meeting on the way Schieblock, Luchtsingel bridge, ZOHO, Zwaanshals “creative” shopping street).
Introducing principles and challenges of City in the Making, with Piet Vollaard.
City in the Making emerging commons – conversations with Guido Marsille, Daan den Houter, Christine van Meegen (t.b.c.).
November 22nd – seminar preparation
Collective preparation seminar (7 questions/topics and 7 courses)
Collective preparation seminar (7 questions/topics and 7 courses), continuation
November 23rd– SEMINAR on mutual support structures
7 questions/topics and 7 course meal
Mutual support structures rooted in City in the Making’s emerging commons, their possible communities and resources. What could emerge from a network of buildings, spaces and people? What is lacking to make it a sustainable community?
Each participant prepares one topic for discussion – including a dish.
November 24th – pats from here
Individual work. What do you take from this, how do you see your path from here, which support structures we need to build?
free / Job Dura Award Ceremony
November 25th – collective (road)map
Drawing a large collective (road)map towards mutual support structures in wider society.
Preparing joint dinner.
• Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities, By J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy
University of Minnesota Press, 2013
• Bolo’bolo, By P.M.Autonomedia, 1983
• Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, By Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams Verso, 2015