We are a group of artists, curators, scholars and activists who work together to develop research, enquires, knowledge and practices – decolonised, anti-capitalist and non-anthropocentric – with the aim of prefiguring and enacting life after capitalism because
With the collaboration of the Solidarity School Mesopotamia and the Open School Piraeus, the Institute of Radical Imagination created a space to reflect on practices of radical pedagogy and set up together with solidarity schools for social activation and political prefiguration of education in the commons.
Researcher and curator base in Venice. Marco is a member of S.a.L.E. Docks, Venice. Founded in 2007, its programming includes activist-group meetings, formal exhibitions, screenings, and actions. In addition to managing the diverse programming at S.a.L.E. Docks, Baravalle is currently a research fellow at Incommon (IUAV) University of Venice). His fields of research include the relationship between art, theatre and activism, creative labor, gentrification, and the positioning of art within neoliberal economics.
Artist-choreographer, activist and researcher based in Naples and Madrid. Active in the movement for the commons and the Italian Movement of Self-Governed Cultural Spaces. Her focus is on forms of cultural participatory governance and prefigurative pratices. As resident member of L’Asilo, Naples, Italy she took part in the elaboration of the Declaration of Urban Civic and Collective Use.
Theorist, activist and artist based in Milan. Emanuele is co-founder of Macao in MIlan. He co-founded the dance and theatre company Balletto Civile (2003), the contemporary art project Rhaze (2011), as well as Landscape Choreography (2012), an art platform questioning the role of the body under capitalism. His research focuses on models of cultural production, processes of social transformation, political economy, labor rights and the institution of the commons.
Artist and activist exploring the intersections between transfeminisms and technologies by focusing on practices of “commoning care”. At the moment, she is a Doctoral Student at Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures. She cofounded MACAO (2012), an autonomous cultural centre in Milan, and SopraSotto (2013), a self-managed kindergarten by parents. She is co-author of “Rebelling with Care” (2019), “Pirate Care Syllabus” (2020) and “Ecologies of Care. Transfeminist perspectives” (2021).
Undisciplined and interdisciplinary antispeciesist feminist. She deals with the visual arts, new media and Critical Animal Studies. She teaches Sociology of the Arts and Critical Animal Studies at the Ca’ Foscari University in Venice, and is also a member of the International Association of Vegan Sociologists, the Technoculture Research Unit (TRU) and Ecologie Politiche del Presente. She writes on blogs, academic journals, militant journals, and is on the editorial board of Liberazioni, Studi Culturali, Lagoonscapes. Her latest book is Bestiario Haraway (Mimesis, 2020). She lives in front of the sea, with a daughter and three cats.
Artist and researcher based in Istanbul, Turkey. She is part of the editorial collectives of the culture and politics journals eXpress. Bir+Birand Red Thread. She is also part of several grassroots political networks; Müştereklerimiz (Our Commons) which aims to create both temporary and permanent alliances around the ideas of commoning practices and Dünyada Mekan (A Place on Earth) a multi-functional, self-organized solidarity space for white-collar and freelance workers.
Writer, filmmaker, anthropologist. His work focuses on the relationships between art and political economy. He conducted extensive fieldworks in Italy, UK, Norway and Brazil, mainly in economic institutions, looking at the relationships between economic development and political identity through participatory and experimental film projects. His practice is situated at the intersection of pedagogy, art and activism. Co-director of Bergen Biennale 2016, director of Athen’s Biennale 2017, founding member of the LUC Laboratory for the Urban Commons (LUC), Athens.
(What is to be done?) is a collective founded in 2003 in Petersburg with the goal of merging political theory, art and activism. Chto Delat sees itself as an artistic cell and also as a community organizer for a variety of cultural activities intent on politicizing “knowledge production”. In 2013, Chto Delat initiated an educational platform, School of Engaged Art, in Petersburg and also runs a space called Rosa’s House of Culture. These activities are coordinated by a core group including Tsaplya Olga Egorova (artist), Artiom Magun (philosopher), Nikolay Oleynikov (artist), Natalia Pershina / Glucklya (artist), Alexey Penzin (philosopher), Alexander Skidan (poet and critic), Oxana Timofeeva (philosopher), Dmitry Vilensky (artist) and Nina Gasteva (choreographer).
Researcher based in Paris and Madrid. Her research focuses on art practices from the twenty-first century involving the use of archives, activism, political engagement that have as one of their main characteristics, the deactivation of the aesthetic function. Processes of legitimation, valorisation and visibility of contemporary practices in relation to the phenomenon of reification within new paradigms in both artistic and socio-economic fields are part of her investigation. She is co-director of the PHD level program Document & Art Contemporain (ÉESI, Angoulême – Ensa, Bourges) and she collaborates with the MNCARS. As editor, she has coordinated the following publications: Losing human form. A seismic image of the ’80s in Latin America(2013, 2014), Really Useful Knowledge(2014) and Desinventario (2015). She is member of the Red Conceptualismos del Sur platform.
Art historian member of the curatorial collective of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible, He is one of the key institutional agents of Spanish culture directing four of the major art institutions in Spain: Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona (1990–1998); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Macba, 1998–2008) and Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (Mncars 2008–2023). Author of Campos Magneticos (2o23) Borja-Villel is also recognized for his thesis exhibitions, which he curated in collaboration with specialists like Bernard Blistène, Jean-François Chevrier, Serge Guilbaut or Georges Didi-Huberman, among which are: Los límites del museo (1995); La ciudad de la gente (1996); Antagonismos. Casos de estudio (2001); Arte y utopía: la acción restringida (2004); Bajo la bomba. El jazz de la guerra de imágenes transatlántica, 1946–1956(2007); La invención concreta (2013); and Playgrounds. Reinventar la plaza (2014).
Sara Buraya Boned is Project manager of the current programme of L’Internationale, Our Many Europes. Europe’s Critical 90s and the Constituent Museum. She is also part of Museo en Red, an area of the Department of Public Activities of Museo Reina Sofía, where she has also been Coordinator of Cultural Programmes (2013–2015) and Coordinator of International Programs (2016–2020). She has been a member of the Editorial Board of L’Internationale Online. She is part of the collective projects Somateca, Archivos comunes and Calipsofacto.
Jurist and political philosopher. PhD in Public Law, Theory of National and European Institutions and Legal Philosophy at the University of Salerno, Italy. He is member of Laboratorio filosofico-giuridico e filosofico-politico ‘Hans Kelsen and editor of Soft Power, Euro-American Journal of Historical and Theoretical Studies of Politics. His research interests include: theory of commons and self-government, state of exception and emergency, processes of political subjectivation and transformation of institutions in contemporary governmentality. As resident member of L’Asilo Naples, he contributed to the drafting of the “Declaration of urban civic and collective use” recognized by the City of Naples, Palermo, Chieri and Turin. He is
Human rights lawyer and researcher based in Naples. Her work focuses on the protection of asylum seekers and migrants. As human rights observer she followed court cases in Kuwait, Turkey, and Morocco, in defense of freedom of expression and the rights of the Kurdish and Saharawi people. She also followed the case of the political arrests of protesters during the G20 in Germany, in 2017. She is currently a post-doc researcher at the Dept of Philosophy of Law University of Naples Federico II. Her research projects include new citizenship practices and transformation processes of public governance in the contemporary context, with a sociological-legal approach. As an activist and resident member of L’Asilo, she contributed to drafting the “Declaration of urban civic and collective use”. She is a member of the executive committee of the “European Association of Lawyers for Democracy and World Human Rights”.
Professional architect, dedicated to the rehabilitation of housing and productive spaces and the physical and social regeneration of territories. He has collaborated with various Self-Managed Social Centers in Madrid and participated in collective movements for the right to the city and for the right to housing. He has participated in European research projects in collaboration with public universities in Madrid, Valladolid and Bragança and participated as a scriptwriter and director in several documentaries. He publishes critical research articles in the field of architecture, territory and society.
Researcher, artist and cultural mediator based in Barcelona, Spain. Graduated in Fine Arts and master on Comparative Studies in Literature, Art and Thought, both at Barcelona. Currently, she is completing a masters on Contemporary Art History at Universidad Complutense, Madrid, hosted by Museo Reina Sofía. Her professional career is situated at a point between pedagogy and artistic production. Her research, mainly conducted from collective methodologies and dialectical practice, focuses on strategies that are being adopted from contemporary art to rethink the concept of citizenship in the Mediterranean current context. Since 2018, she’s an artist in residence at FASE, Space for the creation and thought (L’Hospitalet de Llobregat/Barcelona) and part of Espècies invasores collective.
Visual artist and director based in Athens, Greece. He studied Contemporary Media Practice at the University of Westminster and was awarded an MFA in Fine Art by Goldsmiths, University of London in 2007. His work has been exhibited and screened in galleries, museums and festivals such as Furtherfield, Galerija Nova, State of Concept, 5th and 1st Thessaloniki Biennale, 4th Athens Biennale, i.a. Since 2017, he has contributed to The School of Redistribution by Future Climates, to Project P.R.E.S.S. (Provision of Refugee Education and Support Scheme) by Hellenic Open University and part of WHW Akademija’s program To care for another, radical politics of care. Ηe is a volunteer at the Open School for Immigrants of Piraeus and a member of the Solidarity Schools Network. For 2020-2021, he is the co-leader of “An album from our square” at Victoria Square Project, supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Public Humanities Initiative (SNFPHI) at Columbia University.
Lecturer in Contemporary Art History at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid since 1997. Head of the Cultural Programs Department of the Museo Reina Sofía from 2008 to 2015 and General Director of Cultural Programs of Madrid City Council from 2015 to 2016. Member of Conceptualismos del Sur Network and member of the Project team of L’Internationale from 2013 to 2015. His research combines the history of early modern representations of nature with the critical analysis of contemporary art institutions and discourses. Selected writings: Space invaders, Madrid, 2018; Arte en la Red, Madrid, 2004
Translator and editor of works by authors such as Toni Negri and Félix Guattari. Since the 1990s he has participated in different political networks and research groups from the Post-Workerism milieu. He is also part of the Universidad Nómada and the Fundación de los comunes.
Xenia Kalpaktsoglou is a curator and writer. In 2005, together with Poka-Yio (Polydoros Karyofyllis) and Augustine Zenakos, she founded the Athens Biennale, a non-profit independent organisation, which she co-directed until July 2016 when she stepped down. During this time, she co-curated 2 editions, AB1- Destroy Athens, 2007 and AB3-MONODROME, 2011. Her curatorial practice has evolved to focus on two primary functions: that of an initiator of artistic platforms and networks, and that of a facilitator of artists’ projects while her process is heavily rooted in collaborations. Currently she is involved in the set up of LUC (Laboratory for the Urban Commons), an Athens-based research laboratory constituted by local and international researchers, activists, and cultural producers which aims to operate as platform across different solidarity economies, grassroots movements, knowledge and cultural communities.
Artist and director. Over the course of the last 5 years, Metwaly’s works shifted towards film and video. In 2011 she co-founded a media activist collective Mosireen born during the revolution in Egypt, combining citizen media and cultural activism. She presented her work in a number of exhibitions, including in 2010 I want to be White for Youat BWA Wroclaw, Paradise Paradiseat Townhouse Art Gallery in Cairo, and international festivals. For the Jogja XII Biennial in Yogyakarta, in 2013 she premiered the video From Behind the Monument realized during Resò 3 residency at CESAC in Caraglio. Since 2010 she collaborates on projects with filmmaker Philip Rizk. Together, they have recently co-curated a program How to Act: On Stages and Storytellers in Beirut and Cairo. In 2015 their feature-length film Out on the Street was presented in the German Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale and at MoMA. She is currently an artist in residency at DAAD in Berlin.
Filmmaker and writer based in Cairo, Egypt. He studied philosophy in Freiburg and Chicago, and Middle East Studies in Cairo. Together with Jasmina Metwaly, he directed the feature film ‘Out on the Street’ (2015), which premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival and was part of the German pavilion at the Venice Biennale. Rizk is a member of the Mosireen video collective, and his texts have appeared online, in journals and in collected volumes. Rizk was a resident of the DAAD program in Berlin in 2016, and is currently working on a film titled “World without Maps.” His text “An affront to etiquette” reflects on the process of the making of the film. Since 2016 Rizk has been teaching film part-time at the American University in Cairo.
Architect and Director of research and programs at SALT. Focusing mainly on Turkey and its surrounding geography after 1950s, she develops material culture research with a comprehensive and progressive approach. Her work circulates in forms of print and online publications, exhibitions, and public programs. Recent exhibitions include Commissioners’ Exhibition, SALT Galata, Istanbul (2017), One and the Many, SALT Galata, Istanbul, 2016; SUMMER HOMES: Claiming the Coast, SALT Beyoğlu, Istanbul, 2014, and Modern Essays 4: SALON, SALT Galata, Istanbul, 2012. Recent contributions to publications include The Long 1980s (2018) and Documentary Remains (2018). Öner lives and works in Istanbul.
ELENA LASALA | Founding Member
Researcher and cultural worker currently head of Archive of Hamaca -experimental audiovisual platform-. Graduated in History of Art at the Universitat de Barcelona. After studying a master on Contemporary Art at Museo Reina Sofía by Universidad Autónoma, Madrid, she starts collaborating with the Institute of Radical Imagination as coordinator. Her professional path transits from the care practice of artistic residency space -Planta Alta-, public activities in the museum field, to the curatorial assistance of several cultural agents. Her research focuses on practices involving cultural labour, memory and archives, feminisms and affective urban fabrics. She’s also taking part of a research collective focused on local artists working from/about precarization (ColectiVVAA) and a project along other IRI members on activist archives (Archivos Comunes) and Care (Raising Care).
WHW What? How? and for Whom? is a curatorial collective formed in 1999 and based in Zagreb and Berlin. Its members are curators Ivet Ćurlin, Ana Dević, Nataša Ilić and Sabina Sabolović, and designer and publicist Dejan Kršić. WHW organizes a range of production, exhibitions and publishing projects and directs Gallery Nova in Zagreb. Over the years WHW has been intensively developing models based on collective way of working, collaboration between partners of different backgrounds and involvement with local advocacy platforms. What, how and for whom, the three basic questions of every economic organization, concern the planning, concept and realization of exhibitions as well as the production and distribution of artworks and the artist’s position in the labor market. These questions formed the title of WHW’s first project, What, How & for Whom, dedicated to the 152nd anniversary of the Communist Manifesto, in 2000 in Zagreb, and became the motto of WHW’s work and the title of the collective.
Writer and teacher of contemporary art history and theory at the University of Edinburgh where she also directs the MSc Modern and Contemporary Art and leads The Global Contemporary research group (https://www.eca.ed.ac.uk/research/global-contemporary-research-group). Working across Marxism and feminism, she has authored and edited a number of books including Gender, ArtWork and the Global Imperative (2013) and Economy: Art, Production and the Subject in the 21st Century (2015) with Kirsten Lloyd, with whom she recently co-edited the special issue Social Reproduction and Art for Third Text (Sept 2017). Angela is also an essayist and award-winning fiction writer, publishing in her native Greek.
The second gathering of the Institute of Radical Imagination takes place from 28th of May to 2nd of June 2018 at the Ingobernable, Madrid.
The five-days event in Madrid will consist in two parallel sets of events: a MASTER in Urban Commons, organized by La Ingobernable in collaboration with IRI and involving various Spanish urban commons and social centres and a three-day workshop about the Institute of Radical Imagination’s forms of governance, sustainability, future projects and potential collaborations with social centres and urban commons across Europe’s south, the Mediterranean and the global South.
Relationship between the visible and the invisible
To map or to create a diagram means to visualize a certain chose contents, be it the physical geography of a portion of space or the relational network of people and organizations working to define an Institute for Radial Imagination. Of course, by creating maps, we are only partially describing already existing territories that will define the space covered by the Institute activity.
During the first phase of this attempt we immediately encounter a first problem of knots that can not be mapped, of relations that can not be made public because of safety reasons. This happens in Turkey of course, but it could happen elsewhere, especially if IRI will focus on the space of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. So first of all we decided to allow a geography of opacity, but the presence of invisible territories must not lead to a disengagement on these very portions of space. How do we visualize the urgencies, the emergencies, but also the richness of answers and the agency that these invisible territories embody? How do we, as an Institute, culturally and politically deal with it without paternalism and without the arrogance of representing them and speaking for them?
Translation and Geography
An issue, linked to the previous point, that emerged in the conversation with alessandro Petti, in that of translation of the theoretical vocabulary of the Institute. Alessandro noted that the vocabulary of the commons could be shared even in the Arab context, even if, historically, it has more to do with Islam. Alessandro also pointed out that it would be important to really engage with the space of the Mediterranean also by promoting activities in those contexts that apparently look “more difficult”.
Another issue with design the rational map of the Institute was the difficulty of appear in the diagram as a spokesperson of a certain activists group, where the issue of representation is especially felt. Again, the dialectic between visibility and invisibility comes back and it raises questions about the individual and the collective. Questions that are probably relevant for our Insitute too. How an aspiring Institution for Radical Multitudinarian Imagination represents itself?
Finding the right routes
The single knots of the Institute already show a very complex geography, a variety of fields of intervention that (from activism, to art, to academia) compose a rich map. This may sound obvious but the map Showa that we deal with individual or collective subjects characterized by full agendas and scarcity of time, sometimes facing a lack of resources, sometimes dealing with repressive political conditions and/or with the global economy attention. A crucial challenge for the future of IRI will be to serious consider these starting conditions. We need to find those unexplored routes on the map that will boost meaningful cooperation between the different knots and not only a reciprocally instrumental relation on episodic bases.
Towards a queer Institute?
We must pay attention to gender balance, the risk of creating a male Institute is always present. And gender balance is a good starting point, a deeper reflection should be developed on the “becoming minor” of the institute. Do we instead want a queer institution? What does it mean? How do we achieve this goal?