system en Living Organisation – That Is, Self-Organisation <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Living Organisation – That Is, Self-Organisation</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Rop</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Fri, 04/19/2019 - 00:17</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Text</div> <div class="field__item"><h2>#SelfOrganisation</h2> <p>As we redefine our <a href="/subject/perspective" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">perspective</a> on <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> and self-organisation, and distance ourselves from the notion of <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> as the establishment of a small, free enclave, let us first consider this passage from On Complexity by the philosopher and sociologist Edgar Morin:</p> <blockquote><p><em>However, the machine, is, as a whole, much less reliable than each of its elements taken in isolation. In fact, it only takes a change in one of its constituent parts for the whole to be blocked, to break down, so that it can only be repaired by an external intervention (the mechanic). The living machine (self-organized), on the other hand, is entirely different. Its constituent parts are not very reliable. There are molecules that deteriorate very rapidly, and all organs are obviously made up of these molecules. Moreover, we see that in an organism, the molecules, as well as the cells, die and are renewed, to the point that the organism remains identical to itself even though all of its constituent parts have been renewed. There is, then, as opposed to the artificial machine, great reliability of the whole and weak reliability of the parts.</em></p> <p><em>This shows not only the difference between the nature and logic of self-organizing <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>s and the others, but it also shows that there is a consubstantial link between disorganization and complex organization, because the phenomenon of disorganization (entropy) follows its course more rapidly in the living than in the artificial machine. In an inseparable way, there is the phenomenon of reorganization (negentropy). There lies the fundamental link between entropy and negentropy, in no way a Manichean opposition between two contrary entities. In other words, the link between life and death is much closer, much more profound, than we have been able to metaphysically imagine. […]</em></p> <p><em>It is a relative <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a>, to be sure – and we need to remind ourselves of this constantly – but an organizational, organismic, and existential <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> nevertheless. Self-organization is in fact a meta-organization in relation to the orders of preexisting organization, and obviously, in relation to that of artificial machines. This strange relation, this coincidence between the meta and the self merits meditation</em>.<sup>1</sup></p> </blockquote> <p>Again, to avoid objectifying and fetishising disorganisation, here we should emphasise disorganisation as a consequence of living in a way that depends on the weak reliability of the constituent parts of a whole. I experienced this kind of disorganisation in my involvement with Arts Collaboratory, a network of some 20 art organisations, including Casco of which I was the director, all ‘purposing’ art toward their own respective social and political contexts, often with a baggage of colonial legacy. In the collective efforts of the members toward generating life – empasising ‘lifelines’ instead of deadlines, eco<a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>s instead of wired networks – there has been a constant cycle of reorganisation and disorganisation. I noticed this happening whenever this process got stuck, and I could see the team members starting to ‘fall out of love’, when they did not understand disorganisation as a process of generating life, but rather attempted to control the eco<a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> and turn it into a well-functioning machine. This panic then slows down the latent creativity of reorganisation. But what if we all could better embrace disorganisation?</p> <h2>#DeColonisation</h2> <p>While we need to be cautious not to objectify disorganisation, here I would say that we could unlearn to celebrate organisation. How often are our self-organising processes – the very nature of our life (and death) – oppressed by external interventions aiming to establish order within these processes?</p> <p> </p> <p><figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <img alt="Maid Mina goes shopping" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" height="280" src="" width="498" /> <figcaption>‘Maid Mina Goes Shopping: an Impression of Dutch Colonial Life’, from a compilation of film clips titled Van de kolonie niets dan goeds: Nederlands-Indië in Beeld 1912-1942, published by Tropenmuseum and Eye Film Museum, Amsterdam, 2003.</figcaption> </figure> </p> <p>The sequence of images above shows an everyday scene from colonial Indonesia (or, as it was then known, the Dutch East Indies) taken from a compilation of film clips titled Van de kolonie niets dan goeds: Nederlands-Indië in Beeld 1912-1942 (‘Nothing but Good News from the Colonies: Images from the Dutch East Indies, 1912-1942’). The scene shows a Dutch homeowner correcting her local domestic worker’s flower-arranging. Fortunately, the worker responds nonchalantly and then goes out for errand, which actually turns out be an occasion to spend time with a man with whom she is having an affair. The delayed errand irritates the landlady, who keeps looking at her watch.</p> <h2>#ReProduction</h2> <p>The word ‘<a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a>’, when understood in terms of life (rather than of mechanical replication), may be seen as a condition or a support structure which makes life possible. This particular sense of the word ‘<a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a>’ becomes clearer when we consider it from the <a href="/subject/perspective" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">perspective</a> of reproductive labour which has been gendered, racialised, undervalued and made invisible – including childcare, cleaning, cooking, doing errands, fixing and mending (the latter may also include for instance a cascade of email communications during unexpected conflicts or falling-outs). In their book Reproducing Autonomy: Work, Money, Crisis &amp; Contemporary Art, Kerstin Stakemeier and Marina Vishmidt argue for a reconstruction of <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> based on an expanded understanding of <a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a>: engaging with <a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a> as a context for generating <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a>. This may sound baffling to those who believe that what makes art ‘autonomous’ is its detachment from the usual <a href="/subject/mechanism" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">mechanism</a>s of production. How, then, can we even consider <a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a>? Isn’t art all about a ‘just do it’ spirit – even so for those who believe in art’s critical function and its social engagement against the brutal nature of our world? In light of such considerations, Stakemeier and Vishmidt outline a reality which the ‘autonomous’ must necessarily deal with:</p> <p>The power of capital to subsume areas of social activity which are not directly value producing appears to have massively expanded in 'our' time and it has changed the conditions for art as an economic, as well as extra-economic, entity. This means that within the relations constituting the totality, there is a significant sense in which art has been displaced from the <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> – relative or absolute – that was imputed to it in the modern period, or in the period of modern art. Art now enters much more directly into circuits of valorisation, be it in luxury manufacturing, brand enhancement, the ‘experience economy’, tourism, or gentrification. Its importance as an asset class has grown tremendously since inflated asset values, and the speculation in them, first became a significant basis for economic growth in the 1980s. It has also become much more visible in the disciplinary domain, with aspects of ‘socially engaged practice’ commonly included in the agendas of neoliberal social management, often in areas ‘plagued’ by disinvestment and ‘diversity’. If these developments reflect additional and more direct roles for art as a commodity or as social palliative, there is a further shift in the exclusive relations between art and labour, as object-critical and post-studio practices emulate various social services, whereas waged labour is encouraged to view itself as ‘creative’ in the most simplified and exploitative terms.<sup>2</sup><br />  </p> <p>If we agree with the above observation, then we should also endorse the following statement by the authors, in their pursuit of a redefinition of the concept of <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a>:</p> <p>An <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> that is constructed out of the <a href="/subject/solidarity" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">solidarity</a> of art with its own terms of <a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a> would not be a private <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> like the modernist one, finding its critical resources in its own special structure of production and affect, and saving them for a better age. The <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> at issue here would instead start out from its very integration to win for itself an <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> with a general, socialized horizon. This is not to forget that this <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> can only achieved with the destruction of the <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> that denies <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> to everyone who lives in it; the point is only that, as a result of its specific position, art does have its own resources for the articulation of means and suspension of ends. Such resources are capable of actualizing dimensions of an as yet only glimpsed social <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a>, which can neither be subsumed into a general ‘supercession and realisation’ (as in the Situationist International) nor treated as a form of inspirational social creativity based on self-evidently emancipatory premises. It remains distinct from that ‘useful art’ which accompanies and even, as in Tania Bruguera’s conception, instigates social movements, but which in the end remains thoroughly dependent on its institutional-material premises and can only jettison its artistic framing as an artistic gesture.<sup>3</sup><br />  </p> <p>The authors then propose further, and more concrete, artistic possibilities for such <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a> in the realm of <a href="/subject/reproduction" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">reproduction</a> – for instance, addressing issues of unpaid domestic and/or reproductive labour, and blurring the distinction between art and labour, thus bringing about a condition of non-specialisation (so that labour could become art too, allowing one to consider the conditions of artistic labour – ‘who cleans your exhibition space?’ – and of life itself). The authors also elaborate on subverting the definition of care by characterising reproductive and artistic labour as ‘a potentially negative commons, a productively anti-social streak’.</p> <h2>#UnderCommons</h2> <p>How then should we understand the valorisation of the condition of being ‘anti-social’ – not in the sense of being apathetic or psychopathic, but rather as the position that resists the normativity imposed by the current social order – in other words, a kind of <a href="/subject/autonomy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">autonomy</a>? This ‘anti-social’ or autonomous position in fact addresses the valorisation of reproductive labour, and is also related to the idea of the ‘undercommons’ proposed by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney, in much the same way as Vishmidt appeals for a ‘negative commons’ or a militant commons, in response to the rapidly growing field of commons-related discourse and practice. Moten and Harney too are wary of the possibility that the affirmative idea of the commons may be co-opted by the neoliberal capitalist economy in order to support the increasing equality it generates and the welfare <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> it proposes to dismantle. Efforts to strenghten the ‘commons’ in the midst of such rampant privatisation and commodification could thus have a counterproductive effect, and actually serve to consolidate the capitalist economy. However, as Ugo Mattei wrote (and as Vishmidt would agree), we usually expect the commons to be disruptive of existing <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>s, but not of that which can be co-owned and cooperatively managed. The concept of the ‘undercommons’ seems to be positioned somewhat differently. Rather than the subversive function of collective action, Moten and Harney pursue a parallel track allowing for what they refer to as ‘study’. This concept of study, borrowing from the struggle against slavery, describes a condition of being together in a resistance and struggle that takes place ‘underneath’ the institutional structure. For instance, this type of ‘study’ does not take place in the universities themselves, which Moten and Harney see as neo-liberal machines of professionalism, managerialism, bureaucracy and <a href="/subject/debt-economy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">debt economy</a>, but rather:</p> <p>They’re building something in there, something down there, a different kind of speculation, a speculation called ‘study,’ a debt speculation, a speculative mutuality. Mutual debt, unpayable debt, unbounded debt, unconsolidated debt, debt to each other in a study group, to others in a nurses’ room, to others in barbershops, to others in a squat, a dump, the woods, a bed, an embrace.<sup>4</sup></p> <p>At a tangent to the ‘negative commons’, they propose a ‘general antagonism’, which seems to propose an extreme form of critical collectivity, within an all-encompassing negation of the idea that existing <a href="/subject/institutions" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">institutions</a> may be capable of actual change.<br /> Politics propose to make us better, but we were good already in the mutual debt than can never be made good. We owe it to each other to falsify the institution, to make politics incorrect, to give the lie to our own determination.<sup>5</sup></p> <p>Moten and Harney refer to this condition as ‘fugitive planning’. However, to be a liar is no easy task, since we have been taught from birth that lying is bad. Still, rampant bureaucratisation and the breaking down of boundaries between work and private life teaches us to become proficient at lying to <a href="/subject/institutions" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">institutions</a>, and even to the self when it embodies these <a href="/subject/institutions" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">institutions</a>. The challenge is thus in maintaining this double track, working for (if not serving) an institution, while doing other things that we enjoy doing together, which are not seen and thus are not acknowledged by the institution. It may sometimes feel impossible to maintain this balance, which is why some will decide to withdraw from the world, while others will abandon the idea of change or of establishing a different social <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>, but will still join in the survival game within the <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> while seeking temporary refuge within little private spheres. Otherwise, how to continue living in this impossibility?</p> <h2>#UnLearning</h2> <p><figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <img alt="biking into the water" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /> <figcaption>biking into the water </figcaption> </figure> </p> <p><sup><em><span>Source: <a href="http://sitefor">http://sitefor</a><a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a></span></em></sup><br /> ‘Impossibility’ was also a recurring theme during ongoing discussions and exercises focusing on <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> institutional habits (in the context of an art organisation) which took place at Casco in <a href="/subject/collaboration" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">collaboration</a> with the artist Annette Krauss. Krauss drew our attention to the contemporary knowledge economy, which views knowledge as the accumulative matter of capital within a competitive market where lifelong learning is the given policy agenda. In response, she promotes the act of <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> by introducing a series of situations or ‘sites’ which serve to <a href="/subject/facilitate" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">facilitate</a> a collective engagement of <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a>. Her first example of such a ‘site’ was related to the act of riding a bike. Since riding a bike is unquestionably considered to be useful knowledge, <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> immediately provokes resistance. Why should we unlearn it? Furthermore, even if you try to unlearn, it turns out to be nearly impossible to do so, since we have come to embody this knowledge. When we ride a bike, we are no longer thinking about how to ride. However, engaging with this very character of impossibility, and with the initial resistance, is precisely what <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> is all about. Amusingly, Krauss appropriated the famous image of Bas Jan Ader’s performance of riding his bike into an Amsterdam canal – Fall II (1970) – for her <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> action Site of Unlearning (To Ride a Bike), while adapting it as an exercise for <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> how to ride a bike.</p> <p>Additionally, Krauss and the ever-changing Casco team created a photographic image of themselves cleaning together, in this case appropriating the image of Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s act of cleaning in front of a museum – Manifesto for Maintenance Art (1969) – which claimed such maintenance work as an artwork. Cleaning together has now become a weekly habit within the organisation, after initially being one of several exercises for <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> art-institutional habits which we have been engaged with under the title Site for Unlearning (Art Organisation). This exercise resulted from the team’s and Krauss’s analysis of institutional knowledge that needed to be unlearned at Casco, which turned out to be the psychosomatic experience of ‘busyness’, with the accompanying anxiety, frustration and eventually interpersonal conflicts, and which upon further analysis was shown to arise as a result of the logic of productivity. If an art institution is useful on the same level as a bike is useful, then its specific usefulness lies in presenting great art, every time, more and better. Yet it seems that such productivity comes at the cost of our body and spirit, and of our relationality, as was manifested in our previous cleaning habits. Only one or two of the team members were actually cleaning the office; the rest postponed or neglected such tasks because they were ‘too busy’. Casco has been relating – and at times working together – with mostly migrant domestic workers in the Netherlands and other parts of Europe since 2011, alongside its long-term project The Grand Domestic Revolution. The structure of perpetual inequality of gendered and racialised labour was however at work within Casco itself, thus replicating the very social <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> which we criticised. The <a href="/subject/mechanism" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">mechanism</a> that perpetuates this structure is also what hinders what we call ‘deep understanding,’ which should be seen as distinct from knowledge. Deep understanding is a mode of relationality with our life, with what we do, and with others. One may well ask at this point: have you succeeded in <a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a> this ‘busyness’ and the order of productivity?</p> <p><figure role="group" class="caption caption-img"> <img alt="Pouring water over the staircase" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /> <figcaption>Pouring water over the staircase</figcaption> </figure> </p> <p><sup><em><span>Source: <a href="http://sitefor">http://sitefor</a><a href="/subject/unlearning" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">unlearning</a></span></em></sup></p> <h2>#Joy</h2> <p>This order of productivity is embedded in the prevailing model of economic growth – a model which has led us to the situation, as expressed by Isabelle Stengers, in which we are confronted with a ‘coming barbarism’, the irreversible environmental disaster that comes in the figure of the earth as Gaia, destructive of humanity but not of herself. Currently, as Stengers explains, there is a ‘cold panic’ maintained by the current social order of accepting and perhaps broadcasting contradictory messages: on one hand, the necessity of a paradigm shift in face of the exploding environmental crisis, and on the other hand the necessity to continue or even accelerate trends of competence and competitiveness within the current economic model. Unlearning resists such a ‘cold panic’ – rather, it is a process of making the impossibile possible. This is not only a hardship, but also (or rather) a joy that comes with such ‘work’. Stengers distinguishes such joyful thinking from other existing forms of knowledge:</p> <p>Joy, Spinoza writes, is that which translates an increase in the power of acting, that is to say too, of thinking and imagining, and it has something to do with a knowledge, but with a knowledge that is not of a theoretical order, because it does not in the first place designate an object, but the very mode of existence of whoever becomes capable of it. Joy, one could say, is the signature of the event par excellence, the production or discovery of a new degree of freedom, conferring a supplementary dimension on life, thereby modifying the relations between dimensions that are already inhabited – the joy of the first step, even if it is uneasy. And joy also has an epidemic potential. That is what so many of the anonymous participants, like me, tasted in May 1968, before those who were to become our guardians, the spokespersons of abstract imperatives, dedicated themselves to have us forget the event. Joy is not transmitted from the knowledgeable to the ignorant, but in a mode that itself produces equality, the joy of thinking and imagining together, with others, thanks to others. Joy is what makes me bet on a future in which the response to Gaia would not be the sadness of degrowth but that which the conscientious objectors to economic growth have already invented, when they discover together the dimensions of life that have been anesthetized, massacred, and dishonored in the name of a progress that is reduced today to the imperative of economic growth. Perhaps, finally, joy is what can demoralize those who are responsible for us, bringing them to abandon their sadly heroic posture, and betray what has captured them.<sup>6</sup><br />  </p> <h2>#Some-How</h2> <p>The following sentences are speech fragments that I heard and wrote down during a five-day workshop in Berlin (January 31 to February 4, 2018) with a number of Arts Collaboratory members, where we attempted to implement a reorganisation in the midst of disorganisation, as part of the Arts Collaboratory self-organising process <a href="/subject/facilitate" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">facilitate</a>d by Maria Scordialos in partnership with Irene Vanikiotis. I hereby wish to thank all of the workshop members, especially Maria.</p> <p>Self-organisation is chaos until patterns appear.<br /> Until self-organisation becomes the capacity to operate, there needs to be a group of people to <a href="/subject/facilitate" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">facilitate</a>, not manage.<br /> We are moving from ‘what’ to ‘how’!<br /> Allowing multiple purposes while aligning them.<br /> Controlling the purposes, not controlling others.<br /> We are getting lost in endless discussions. How about going back and working alone?<br /> Now we need to ground ourselves.<br /> Unpacking Discomfort: it’s about hosting oneself, knowing one’s own hotspot.<br /> Self-organisation is like water with no container: sometimes it needs a topology.<br /> Self-organisation is brilliant when we can maintain continuity.<br /> Self-organisation is about interdependence.<br /> Looking at / evaluating what is not working generatively, by looking and listening through three lenses:<br /> which treasures / potentials are hidden in what seems like failure? What constitutes challenge, and where does it begin? Which tangible steps / practical ideas can we take moving forward?<br /> Rather than a paradigm of ‘plurality’, why not instead ‘spectrum’ (which is more inclusive)? Why not allow a space for all of us to have different <a href="/subject/perspective" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">perspective</a>s / entry points?<br /> Don’t try to problem-solve; don’t evaluate; focus on the roles of listener and speaker.<br /> Let’s cluster when you hear, instead of repeating.<br /> ‘The real leader is purpose’: what are we experimenting around?    <br /> You need to build a capability.</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-subject field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Subject</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/city" hreflang="en">city</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-written field--type-datetime field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Date written</div> <div class="field__item"><time datetime="2018-03-01T11:00:00Z" class="datetime">2018-03-01</time> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-string field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item">Binna Choi</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-keywords field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Keywords</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/decolonization" hreflang="en">decolonization</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/autonomy" hreflang="en">autonomy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/system" hreflang="en">system</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/perspective" hreflang="en">perspective</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/reproduction" hreflang="en">reproduction</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/solidarity" hreflang="en">solidarity</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/positions" hreflang="en">positions</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/debt-economy" hreflang="en">debt economy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/institutions" hreflang="en">institutions</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/unlearning" hreflang="en">unlearning</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/mechanism" hreflang="en">mechanism</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/imagination" hreflang="en">imagination</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/collaboration" hreflang="en">collaboration</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/facilitate" hreflang="en">facilitate</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-literature field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Literature &amp; Footnotes</div> <div class="field__item"><p>1. Edgar Morin, On Complexity, Hampton Press, 2008, pp. 17-19.</p> <p>2. Kerstin Stakemeier and Marina Vishmidt, Reproducing Autonomy: Work, Money, Crisis &amp; Contemporary Art, Mute Publishing, 2016, pp. 38-39.</p> <p>3. Ibid., p. 65.</p> <p>4. Stefano Harney and Fred Moten, The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning &amp; Black Study, Minor Com<a class="keyword-link" href="/subject/positions" rel="nofollow">positions</a>, 2013, pp. 67-68.</p> <p>5. Ibid., p. 20.</p> <p>6. Isabelle Stengers, In Catastrophic Times: Resisting the Coming Barbarism, Open Humanities Press, 2015, pp. 155-156.</p> </div> </div> Thu, 18 Apr 2019 22:17:11 +0000 Rop 53835 at Ceci n’est pas une école d’art? <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">Ceci n’est pas une école d’art?</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Rop</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Thu, 04/11/2019 - 14:11</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Text</div> <div class="field__item"><p>Since its origins in the 19th century, Western <a href="/subject/avant-garde" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">avant-garde</a> <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a> has been based on the development of <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> professionalisms taking place outside of the traditional institutions of art.1 Academic curricula, aimed at the transmission of traditional skills and conventions regarding the making of art, were rejected in favour of innovation. ‘Movements’ succeeded ‘<a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a>s’ and, ultimately, movements succeeded each other at an increasingly rapid pace.2 Over the course of the 20th century, they redefined art itself as objectless and time-based, and gave birth, as the American art critic Harold Rosenberg once famously put it, to the ‘tradition of the new.’ 3<br /> As the economy turned away from manufacturing to service production, the <a href="/subject/avant-garde" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">avant-garde</a> moved from the margins of mainstream <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a> to its heart.4 It secured the permanent cultural rejuvenation needed by an economic <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> based on the necessary production of novelty and sensation.5 Like the character Neo in the Matrix trilogy, <a href="/subject/avant-garde" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">avant-garde</a> <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a> strengthened the <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> it initially sought to overthrow: it acted in the manner of a virus that reinforces the defence mechanisms of its host once it has been overcome.6<br /> In light of these developments, one can see how the history of art education in the 20th century might be understood as an attempt to grapple with the far-reaching implications of these profound economic and cultural transformations, which ultimately favoured lifestyle and experience over the making of objects.7 Attitude had indeed become form, and ‘autonomy’ was elevated from a basic premise to a moral imperative: everyone became an artist.8<br /> Problems posed to education by the institutionalisation of the ‘logic of the new’ endure as of today. State-funded art academies in Europe struggle to keep up with a <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a> that relies on the necessity of constant change. Stifled by bureaucracy and a dependence on national and European political agendas, art academies often cannot keep up and are doomed to fail in their attempt to become the key players in the knowledge economy which they often promise to be.9<br /> They also see, in specific national contexts, their own traditional, state-led support <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>s being dismantled in the form of public funding cuts and encouragements to seek previously untapped financial opportunities. Public art education is caught between a vanishing base that still largely determines its shape, and the absence of a replacement for this base in the face of a competitive <a href="/subject/market-economy" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">market economy</a> – not to mention the impact of the Bologna Process on further competition amongst universities in Europe and beyond.10<br /> Partly as a response to these issues, individual artists as well as commercial galleries and museums have launched, since the early 2000s, a number of <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> educational platforms. In the UK, initiatives such as Open School East in Hackney offer free art education in exchange for students’ participation in collective work.11 B Academy in Rotterdam promises insider information about the local art world, presumably leading to institutional success.12 Art projects, as well, often take the form of educational programmes, with initiatives such as The Silent University and New World Academy by the artists Ahmet Ogüt and Jonas Staal respectively. They seem to exemplify what the contemporary art world has hailed as the ‘educational turn.’ 13<br /> The economic models behind these <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> educational initiatives vary widely. Based on a combination of exchange economy and private funding, Open School East constitutes a straightforward reaction to soaring tuition fees in state-funded art education, and to a general discontent with established curricula.14 Initiatives in the Netherlands also seem to be a response to cuts in state funding for <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a>, though other factors also play a role, such as the inability of established structures to appropriately respond to the realities of the profession (B Academy) or to pressing contemporary issues such as the refugee crisis (The Silent University).15<br /> In parallel to these <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> educational trends, art academies in the Netherlands are rebranding their programmes as ‘<a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a>s within <a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a>s.’ Consider, for example, the Sandberg Institute in Amsterdam, whose Dirty Art Department offers a programme called The Wandering School.16 The Sandberg has also hosted and accredited the School of Missing Studies from 2013 to 2015, based on an initiative which had started a decade earlier, as well as the University of the Underground17 (2017-2019). Though all of these programmes fall under the same jurisdiction, they also radically diverge from one another in terms of funding as well as in their educational goals and pedagogies, resulting in internal discussions about educational ownership and institutional credibility.18 Indeed, the University of the Underground attracts private investors and businesses to partly fund students’ tuition fee, whereas The Wandering School uses forms of civil disobedience such as squatting as pedagogical tools, in collaboration with local self-organised initiatives.19<br /> The Willem de Kooning Academy in Rotterdam also sees self-organised local initiatives as an opportunity rather than a menace to its own existence.20 Over the past year, it has been mapping self-organised local initiatives, including educational initiatives, under the name The Autonomous Fabric.21 In the long term, the Willem de Kooning Academy could set up partnerships and, ideally, make these <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> local initiatives responsible for part of its curriculum. The consequences for both parties, however, remain unclear.<br /> The Autonomous Fabric arguably formalises a dynamic that is already at work. Self-organised local initiatives do indeed constitute a fertile breeding ground for teaching staff on an individual basis, as a result of an informal management <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a> that favours a non-official, network-based hiring policy. This provides the academy with part of its necessary flow of experts, and strengthens the links between the <a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a> and the city of Rotterdam. Close collaboration with actors in the local field is also to the advantage of students, who are thus brought in contact with potential local employers or mentors as well as <a href="/subject/future" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">future</a> clients.<br /> Many of the self-organised initiatives mapped as part of The Autonomous Fabric constitute true attempts to challenge the status quo and to create <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> forms of education. M/Other Voices seeks to counter the negative effects on women’s careers of motherhood-based gender inequality in the cultural sector.22 The New School Collective is a think tank that addresses critical issues in education with, as its ultimate goal, the establishment of an elementary <a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a> with art education at its heart.23 Most of these initiatives have sprung from an urge to act outside of existing institutional structures, with their confining hierarchies and potentially discriminatory dynamics. Often they are also in opposition to the logic of efficiency that is turning public cultural institutions into profit-driven businesses.<br /> This is perhaps where the most critical issue of these potential collaborations between public educational institutions and their <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a>s may reside: in the definition and type of exchange that can happen. Will it be a form of outsourcing? A one-directional process in which the academy will pay for the services it needs, when it needs them, towards a reduction of operating expenses and risks, as well as long-term savings in areas such as training and social benefits? Or will it be possible to instead establish strategic alliances towards common goals based on shared norms and values?<br /> The answer to these questions is crucial, as it will most surely shape the <a href="/subject/future" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">future</a> of the Willem de Kooning Academy as well as, potentially, that of its prospective collaborators. Collaboration may well constitute one more step towards the transformation of public education into a commercial enterprise with its myriad strategies for minimising costs and maximising profit by further harnessing local manpower and expertise on a more or less precarious basis. But it may also become the true birth of a <a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a> that is not a <a href="/subject/school" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">school</a>: a continuous exchange of expertise, services and learning opportunities towards the collective creation of an equalitarian <a href="/subject/future" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">future</a>.<br /> This means that self-organised initiatives will have to make sure that they know what they want to get out of this process. And, in order to assess the likelihood of success, also to return the enquiring gaze. They need to map the internal organisation and institutional dynamics specific to the Willem de Kooning Academy. What might be the potential restrictions resulting from the academy’s dependence on the jurisdiction of the Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences? And which aspects of its internal management style might stand in the way of, for example, the formulation of common goals? Alternative initiatives will have to equip themselves with such knowledge in order to act strategically.<br /> They should then pause and evaluate the actual added value of the collaboration for themselves, beyond the obvious – and often much needed – extra income and institutional guarantees. May <a href="/subject/avant-garde" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">avant-garde</a> <a href="/subject/culture" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">culture</a>, with its history of co-option, serve as a cautionary tale. Self-organised initiatives should hold their ground and turn collaborative partnerships into opportunities for achieving their own agendas, rather than simply going along with a <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> that may turn their autonomy into mere branding and cost-saving strategies. If they fail to do so, they will only have helped the rejuvenation of a <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> that feeds on its own critics, probably at the cost of their own reason of being. They must <a href="/subject/claim" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">claim</a> back the ‘autonomous fabric’ before it has even begun.</p> <p> </p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-subject field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Subject</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/education" hreflang="en">education</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-written field--type-datetime field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Date written</div> <div class="field__item"><time datetime="2018-03-11T13:11:25Z" class="datetime">2018-03-11</time> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-string field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item">Catherine Somzé</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-keywords field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Keywords</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/culture" hreflang="en">culture</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/institutionalized" hreflang="en">institutionalized</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/school" hreflang="en">school</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/market-economy" hreflang="en">market economy</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/alternative" hreflang="en">alternative</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/future" hreflang="en">future</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/system" hreflang="en">system</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/system" hreflang="en">system</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/avant-garde" hreflang="en">avant-garde</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/claim" hreflang="en">claim</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-literature field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Literature &amp; Footnotes</div> <div class="field__item"><p><em><strong>From the Critique of Art-Educational Institutions to the Institution of Art-Educational Critique</strong></em></p> <p>1. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">David Cottington, ‘Origins: Emergence and Consolidation 1820-1914’, in: </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Avant-garde: A Very Short Introduction</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> (Oxford, Oxford University Press), pp. 22-47. </span></p> <p><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">2. </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Renato Poggioli, ‘The Concept of a Movement,’ in: </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Theory of the Avant-garde</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> (Cambridge, MA and London, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1968), pp. 16-40. </span></p> <p>3.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> Harold Rosenberg, </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Tradition of the New</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, 1960 (New York: Da Capo Press, 1994).</span></p> <p>4. <span>Matei Călinescu, ‘The Crisis of Avant-garde’s Concept in the 1960s’, in: <em>Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-garde, Decadence, Kitch, Postmodernism</em>, 1987 (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996), pp. 119-124. </span></p> <p>5.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> Paolo Virno, </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> (New York: Semiotext[e], 2004). </span></p> <p>6. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Luc Boltanski and Ève Chiapello, ‘The Test of the Artistic Critique,’ in: </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The New Spirit of Capitalism</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, 1999, (trans.) Gregory Elliott (London and New York: Verso, 2007), pp. 419-482. </span></p> <p>7.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> Steven Henry Madoff (ed.), </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>Art School (Propositions for the 21</em></span><sup><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>st</em></span></sup><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em> Century)</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, (Cambridge, MA and London: The MIT Press, 2009), pp. ix-x. </span></p> <p>8. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Thierry de Duve, ‘When Form Has Become Attitude –And Beyond’, in: Stephen Foster and Nicholas deVille (eds.), </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Artist and the Academy: Issues in Fine Art and the Wide Cultural Context</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> (Southhampton, England: John Hansard gallery, 1994), pp. 23-40. </span></p> <p>9.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> Jeroen Chabot, ‘Essay #1 / Reflections on Art Education’, in: Jeroen Chabot </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>et al</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">. (eds.), </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>Reinventing the Art School in the 21</em></span><sup><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>st</em></span></sup><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em> Century</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> (Rotterdam: Creating 010 and Willem de Kooning, 2013), p. 5.</span></p> <p>10<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> Pascal Gielen (ed.), </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>Institutional Attitudes: Instituting Art in a Flat World</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> (Amsterdam: Valiz, 2013), pp. 16-21. </span></p> <p>11. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">David Batty, ‘Alternative Art Schools: A Threat to Universities?’, in: </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Guardian</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, 21 Oct. 2013, <a href="">…</a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018.</span></p> <p>12.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>B Academy</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> <p>13. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Irit Rogoff, ‘Turning,’ in: </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>E-Flux Journal </em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">#00, Nov. 2008, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> <p>14.Sam Thorne (ed.), <em>School: A History of Self-Organized Art Education</em> (Berlin: Sternberg Press, 2017), p. 25.</p> <p>15. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">Ogüt’s </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>Silent</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>University</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> constitutes a knowledge exchange platform for and by refugees and asylum-seekers, allowing them to reflect upon their condition through academic formats such as courses and conferences. See website: <a href=""></a>. Olafur Eliasson’s </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>Green Light </em>travelling workshop invites, as its website states, ‘refugees, asylum seekers, and members of the public to participate in a multifaceted program of creativity and shared</span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> learning.’ See website: <a href=""></a>.</span></p> <p>16.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Wandering School</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> <p>17. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>University of the Underground</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> <p>18.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> UUGH! Or: Issues Regarding University of the Underground,’ 17 Sept. 2017, <a href="">…</a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> <p>19. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>School of Missing Studies</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018.</span></p> <p>20.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"> David Batty, ‘Alternative Art Schools: A Threat to Universities?’, in: </span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Guardian</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, 21 Oct. 2013, <a href="">…</a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018.</span></p> <p>21. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The Autonomous Fabric</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018.</span></p> <p>22.<span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em> M/Other Voices</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> <p>23. <span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB"><em>The New School Collective</em></span><span lang="en-GB" xml:lang="en-GB">, <a href=""></a>, accessed 26 Feb. 2018. </span></p> </div> </div> Thu, 11 Apr 2019 12:11:24 +0000 Rop 53834 at You already changed <span class="field field--name-title field--type-string field--label-hidden">You already changed</span> <span class="field field--name-uid field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden"><span lang="" about="/user/1" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Rop</span></span> <span class="field field--name-created field--type-created field--label-hidden">Sat, 02/17/2018 - 17:54</span> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-text field--type-text-with-summary field--label-visually_hidden"> <div class="field__label visually-hidden">Text</div> <div class="field__item"><blockquote><p><em>An artist should avoid falling in love with another artist</em> <sup><small>Marina Abramovic</small></sup></p> </blockquote> <p><span><strong>How can one relate as an artist to a community in a sustainable way? How to avoid institutionalisation without losing the power to organise? How to not become cynical while working in a public environment and seeing that many people just don’t care? How to start thinking about artistic education as a critical point of entry to the social fabric of the city?</strong></span></p> <h2><strong>A. Paper tour</strong></h2> <p>I will first take you on a tour through the <a href="/subject/practice" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">practice</a>s of four Rotterdam-based initiatives. This paper excursion is the result of an afternoon of walking, talking and reflecting upon a challenging question: how can art schools teach their students to have an impact upon <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a>? The second part of this text focuses on this question.<br /> Although the four initiatives each have a different focus, they have this simple fact in common: they started doing. This is important especially nowadays, when public environments – libraries, community centres or public spaces – are disappearing from city life, being replaced by online spaces and social media. How does this affect local <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a>? And which long-term effects can be brought about by artist-run social spaces? Is community-building a goal, or a vehicle for something bigger?</p> <p>Join us on our tour!</p> <h3>1. Critical community: Upominki</h3> <p>‘After finishing art school I expected to work as I had been <a href="/subject/educate" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">educate</a>d: as an autonomous artist,’ says Weronika Zielinska. ‘But when I became a mother, the real struggle began.’ She started Upominki – meaning ‘gifts’ in Polish – in 2012 as a non-profit artist-run space. ‘My biggest question was: how to combine family life with remaining part of a critical artistic community?’</p> <p><em>A small connection</em><br /> Weronika had to re-train herself: ‘There is only a small connection between the art school and the outside world. I needed skills I hadn’t been taught. How to improvise? How to organise? Where to find space? How to become self-sustaining? How to make money through projects?’ Upominki became her tool to address these questions.<br /> Weronika has been successfully running Upominki for five years now. She recently moved Upominki to her new family home in Rotterdam-West. Using a white marker, she writes on the window: When basic needs are met, it’s easier to be creative. ‘Are you able to be generous? Can you build relationships? In the end it’s all about giving and receiving,’ Weronika states. It’s as if she wants to say: it’s hard to meet obligations towards a community, when you yourself are in <a href="/subject/survival" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">survival</a> mode.</p> <h3>2. Local community: Leeszaal Rotterdam West</h3> <p>Leeszaal Rotterdam West started as a low-key organisation, not long after the <a href="/subject/neighbourhood" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">neighbourhood</a> library closed: ‘We didn’t write a plan,’ says Maurice Specht. ‘We just started by tapping into the local fabric.’ Free space was provided by a housing corporation. ‘We’re completely run by volunteers.’ So how do you maintain a library?</p> <p><em>Aliens </em>   <br /> ‘Do as little administration as possible. People just take books – some bring them back, others don’t.’ Of course, some money is involved: ‘The DOEN Foundation gave us €50,000. After the first year we hadn’t even spent half of the money. So we contacted them and asked if they preferred us to waste the rest of it on something expensive, or save it for later.’ The DOEN Foundation agreed to the latter. ‘Now we still have about €15,000 left.’ Maurice smiles: ‘You have to assemble your life in such a way that you can live like this.’<br /> This is an important issue for Maurice: ‘We have to change the money <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>. We didn’t accept funding from the local government. We don’t want to maintain their pace. We don’t want to force the people we work with. We want to stay independent.’ This <a href="/subject/independence" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">independence</a> makes Leeszaal Rotterdam West stand out. ‘People like us because of our presence in the <a href="/subject/neighbourhood" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">neighbourhood</a>.’ But: ‘Especially artists are coming like aliens and then leaving again. My question to them is: how can you work on a long-term basis?’</p> <h3>3. Ambitious community: Freehouse / Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie</h3> <p>‘Using small-scale interventions, we plugged an ambitious artistic <a href="/subject/network" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">network</a> into a local framework and language.’ Ramon Mosterd explains how Freehouse functions as a tool: founder Jeanne van Heeswijk brought her international <a href="/subject/network" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">network</a> as an artist to the local market square in the Afrikaanderwijk <a href="/subject/neighbourhood" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">neighbourhood</a> in the south of Rotterdam. Funding helped allow these experimental interventions to grow into more viable ways of making money. ‘Along the way, we used institutionalisation in order to become a growing force.’</p> <p><em>Oh no, not another group of students...</em><br /> ‘At first it functioned as an art project, rooted in Jeanne’s <a href="/subject/practice" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">practice</a>: a portrait of <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a>.’ But gradually it has become more than that. Operating from the Gemaal op Zuid building, a former surface-water pumping station, Freehouse set up Afrikaanderwijk Coöperatie, which facilitates new forms of shared space for meeting and interacting: sometimes it functions as a professional <a href="/subject/neighbourhood" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">neighbourhood</a> kitchen, a church or a library; on other occasions it could be a (web) shop, a shared office, a gallery or a meeting space.<br /> ‘But when people come and go, how can you establish a clear identity?’ Ramon laughs a bit: ‘Sometimes we whisper: oh no, not another group of students...’ He continues: ‘You need to organise in order to be taken seriously by the local government. How to find time and money to set up an organisation that can carry this responsibility?’ The main thing is to stick with the process. ‘Keep a goal in mind, but work based on intuition.’</p> <h3>4. Attentive community: Conversas</h3> <p>‘People are too busy! There is no time anymore after finishing art school.’ Constança Saraiva co-founded Conversas – ‘conversations’ in Portuguese – in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2012 as an ‘open space for open people’. Conversas is a series of weekly informal meetings where three people share ideas, projects or stories with the gathered group. Later she moved to Rotterdam ‘because I fell in love with someone who lives here’ – and she brought Conversas along.</p> <p><em>Being a good host</em><br /> Conversas events are currently being organised in various cities around the world, and thus also in Rotterdam, in this case on February 15 at Upominki. ‘Conversas are a basic tool for organising a critical <a href="/subject/network" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">network</a> after you graduate,’ Constança explains. ‘We organise through social media, but meet in real life. We invite people to speak out. It’s a positive model in which we secretly help each other, by being a good host, by listening, and by raising questions to get each other to talk.’ Her motivation: to provide <a href="/subject/alternative" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">alternative</a> ways of learning from others. Conversas are open to everybody. ‘Our <a href="/subject/network" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">network</a> is mostly made of creative people, but we believe that we can learn from anyone, even more so from people who think differently and come from other backgrounds,’ Constança says.</p> <h2>B. How to teach?</h2> <p>What do these four <a href="/subject/practice" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">practice</a>s mean for art education? They are all related to artists – and all but one are rooted in the <a href="/subject/practice" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">practice</a>s of these artists. Only Leeszaal Rotterdam West functions at somewhat more of a distance from this. A closer inspection raises questions such as: How to work with, or within, the <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>? How to teach the art of using the social fabric as artistic material? How to teach the art of bringing back artistic production to the <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a> involved? Based on these questions, I wish to advance four proposals for art education. The core of each of these proposals is the verb ‘to teach’.</p> <h3>1. Process</h3> <p>Within all artistic <a href="/subject/practice" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">practice</a>s, the same simple question arises: how to survive? Constança says: ‘There is no time anymore after finishing art school.’ ‘How does one find time?’ Ramon adds. Maurice has adapted his life in such a way as to create the necessary space and time. But still, as Weronika found out, ‘I needed skills I hadn’t been taught.’ These artists have all struggled and are looking for tools to develop and grow.<br /> Thus, art schools will need to introduce a course called ‘Process’. Here, students will learn to address questions such as: How to start? How to prioritise? How to work based on intuition? How to persevere? How to finish? And how to work in a sustainable way?</p> <p><em>Hardship</em><br /> An example of a course focusing on process is Marina Abramović’s teachings on performance art – a time-based and process-based <a href="/subject/practice" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">practice</a>. At the beginning of a workshop she takes her students to a place ‘either too cold or too hot, never comfortable’ and, while fasting ‘for three to five days, drinking only water and herbal teas, and refraining from speaking’, she does various exercises: lying on the ground for as long as possible, going to a forest where a student is blindfolded and then tries to find the way back home, or trying to remember the very moment between being awake and falling asleep. Through these durational exercises, she wishes to give students ‘the general feeling that the hardship was worth it.’1 Only after these exercises does she allow students to start working.</p> <h3>2. Organisation</h3> <p>Money and institutionalisation are a second struggle. Weronika seeks a degree of self-sufficiency. Maurice didn’t accept funding from the local government, because of a desire to stay independent. On the other hand, Ramon says: ‘You need to organise in order to be taken seriously by the local government.’ And Constança hopes to reach more people than just friends and artists.<br /> Thus, art schools will need to introduce a course called ‘Organisation’. Here, students will learn to address questions such as: How to find the necessary money? How to write proposals? How to build a team? How to collaborate with people who aren’t (already) friends? How to communicate about events? Using Facebook, for example, how to reach more people than just friends?</p> <p><em>Intuitions</em><br /> Today the individual is subject to pressures from different types of seemingly overpowering organisations: the state, big corporations, or the financial <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>. Self-organisation and collectivity are important tools as counter-forces, but they too are part of the same process, as the hipster movement or the history of the internet clearly demonstrate. Starting from a simple desire to share information, the internet grew into a <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a> now controlled by a few big corporations and characterised by ‘filter bubbles’ and algorithms. The same basic story also applies to money and organisation.<br /> During a debate, Anne Miltenburg, a brand developer, said something like: ‘When you’re supported by the money <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>, it’s too late already. You’re part of the <a href="/subject/system" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">system</a>, and there’s not much you can do to change that anymore. The most interesting part is over.’ Or, to paraphrase the sociologist Joop Goudsblom: when we think together, we create institutions, which then grow and eventually replace our intuitions.2 Thus we should teach each other to cherish and hold on to this first phase of organising, in which we are intuitively searching for solutions without yet finding them. Because although this part seems hard, it is the most open and fruitful.</p> <h3>3. Transmission</h3> <p>Finishing art school, Weronika discovered: ‘There is only a small connection between the art school and the outside world.’ Especially Maurice and Ramon are critical of art students: ‘Artists are coming like aliens and then leaving again. My question to them is: how can you work on a long-term basis?’ And: ‘Oh no, not another group of students...’ To explain these observations: when working within the framework of <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a>, how sustainable is the traditional concept of the artist?<br /> Thus, art schools will need to introduce a course called ‘Transmission’. Here, students will learn to address questions such as: How to renounce the institutional status of art? How to communicate with people who don’t know art or artists? How to present yourself to people who are cynical towards art and artists? How to stay generous? How to become an accomplice to a person, an organisation or a community – and vice versa? How to use this social field for sincere artistic production?</p> <p><em>Understanding</em><br /> In 1974 the artist and furniture designer Enzo Mari published a booklet titled Proposta per un’autoprogettazione, enabling the public to make ‘easy-to-assemble furniture using rough boards and nails. […] Anyone, apart from factories and traders, can use these designs to make them by themselves.’ Mari thus provided ‘an elementary technique to teach anyone to look at present production with a critical eye.’ 3 Because: ‘The world was not only made for the rich, who live in large apartments and villas, but most people live in two-room apartments.’ So: design does not become design by formally contributing to someone’s status. ‘Design is only design when it communicates knowledge,’4 Mari states.<br /> Similarly, the artist Renzo Martens refers to the example of the Unilever series in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, London: ‘Every year a new spectacular exhibition, where art gets to show how important it is for people. This includes very critical, politically motivated works by Ai Weiwei, or works by Tino Seghal about changing labour conditions. Great artworks, sponsored by Unilever. And therefore by plantation workers who earn nothing.’ To Martens this means the very bankruptcy of art: ‘An artwork should first and foremost be a reflection upon itself. When you have great artworks […] that don’t show any understanding of the fact that they’ve been paid for through heartbreakingly abject poverty, then these are just bad artworks.’5</p> <h3>4. Change</h3> <p>After graduating from art school, ‘instead I became a mother,’ says Weronika. Constança moved to Rotterdam ‘because I fell in love with someone who lives here.’ Ramon calls for more intuition. And Maurice describes what makes his activities possible: the fact that they are embedded in his personal life, adapted in such a way that it allows him to live this way. All four are touching upon something important: the layer of everyday life, biography and personality. A decision to start doing begins here.<br /> At first, I thought of using this space to propose a course on personality. But thinking further, the opposite approach became much more interesting: the art school as an institution should train its teachers to open up. Education itself will de-institutionalise and become part of city life and <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a>, as an engaging force supporting change within society. Because, as the artist and architect Apolonija Šušteršič wrote: ‘As citizens we lack power, but the influence we have, we can use to bring about change in our immediate surroundings, based on communication, respect and trust.’6 So: when we work to change art schools, what is the concept of this change?</p> <p><em>Urgent questions</em><br /> According to Šušteršič, the concept of change that is needed in order to open up art and art schools towards <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a> focuses on two main issues: de-materialisation of the artwork, and multidisciplinarity. Art is not just objects, and art is more than a reflection upon art itself. Bonds between people, and the creation of platforms to support these bonds, thus become the core of artistic production and education. Referring to philosopher Jacques Rancière, Šušteršič adds: ‘The unequal relationship specific to common ways of knowledge transfer – a one-way transfer from teacher to student – is unsuitable here.’ The opposite is needed: an equal process of exchange, in which the knowledge of an educator or an artist, the experience of <a href="/subject/communities" class="keyword-link" rel="nofollow">communities</a> or the public, and the professional competence of students are understood as equivalent to each other. We no longer live in a world in which independent artists struggle in their studio, isolated from society. In the studio, we still have to deal with gallerists, curators, the museum or the public; similarly, in city life, we have to deal with politicians, policymakers, developers and citizens. There is no more neutral ground. To quote again Šušteršič: ‘What matters is whether art manages to relate to the urgent questions of contemporary society.’7</p> <p>The good part is: the world as it once was no longer exists. You’ve already changed. Now act like it.</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-subject field--type-entity-reference field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Subject</div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/education" hreflang="en">education</a></div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-date-written field--type-datetime field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Date written</div> <div class="field__item"><time datetime="2017-03-30T15:54:18Z" class="datetime">2017-03-30</time> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-string field--label-inline"> <div class="field__label">Author(s)</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item">Klaas Burger</div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-keywords field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Keywords</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/communities" hreflang="en">communities</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/practice" hreflang="en">practice</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/independence" hreflang="en">independence</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/survival" hreflang="en">survival</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/system" hreflang="en">system</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/neighbourhood" hreflang="en">neighbourhood</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/network" hreflang="en">network</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/alternative" hreflang="en">alternative</a></div> <div class="field__item"><a href="/subject/educate" hreflang="en">educate</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="clearfix text-formatted field field--name-field-literature field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field__label">Literature &amp; Footnotes</div> <div class="field__item"><p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> Marina Abramovic, <em>Walk Through Walls: A Memoir</em>. Penguin Random House UK, 2016. Page 222-224.</span></p> <p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> Sander Pleij, <em>Joop Goudsblom</em>. Vrij Nederland, Year 78 #01. Page 101. </span></p> <p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> Enzo Mari, Autopogettazione? Edizione Corraini, 2014. Page 1.</span></p> <p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> </span></p> <p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> <a href="" rel="nofollow"></a> </span></p> <p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> Mariska van den Berg, <em>Stedelingen veranderen de stad</em>. Trancity / Valiz: 2013. Page 137. </span></p> <p lang="nl-NL" xml:lang="nl-NL"><span> Idem. Page 142 - 144.</span></p> </div> </div> Sat, 17 Feb 2018 16:54:18 +0000 Rop 53760 at