Category: IRI



Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI)  is a group of curators, artists, activists, scholars with a shared interest in co-producing knowledge as artistic and political research-interventions aimed at implementing post-capitalist forms of life in the Mediterranean and the Global South.

MARCO BARAVALLE | Founding Member

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.

GABRIELLA RICCIO | Founding Member

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.

EMANUELE BRAGA | Founding Member

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.

ZEYNO PENKÜNLÜ | Founding Member

Zeyno Pekünlü is an artist. She is currently running the Istanbul Biennial Production and Research Programme at Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts,IKSV, Istanbul. She is co-founder of KIRIK, an initiative for people and topics in the cracks. She is part of the editorial board of e-journal Red Thread and member of IRI (Institute of Radical Imagination). Scanning a range of issues, from the construction of maleness and femaleness as gender roles, to questioning knowledge and its distribution, her works aims to decipher power that encompasses the intimate and the social simultaneously


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).

MABEL TAPIA | Founding Member

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 | Founding Member

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.

THEO PRODROMIDIS | Founding Member 

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. 

IRI Members 2018-2022 & ongoing IRI network

JESUS CARRILLO | Founding Member

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 LUC | Founding Member

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.

JASMINA METWALY | Founding Member

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. 

PHILIP RIZK | Founding Member

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.

MERIÇ ONER | Founding Member

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 | Founding Member

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 ( 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.  



by Massimiliano Mollona

Growing up in the 1980s (I was 10 in 1980) my politics has been a minor form of resistance – a militant self-reflection, a plural mode of articulation – against the immaterial violence of finance; the molecular capture of late capitalism; the ghostly superficiality of the neoliberal person and the grand narratives of the male, bourgeois, white civilization that (re)emerged at the end of history.

Today I face a different history. Capitalist institutions have reorganised themselves following the old predatory and monopolistic logic. In 2011 and 2013 I did not understand that the young comrades who were out in the street with me were fighting a different war – a war against their physical and political annihilation – and moved in a different existential space – a space of immense material and imaginative desolation. I could not fathom that their future would arch back into the folds of totalitarianism as witnessed by our ancestors.  Now it is clear. We live in a time of radical enclosures. People everywhere are being jailed, expelled, stigmatized and confined in intellectual, moral and physical enclosures put up by capitalist markets and absolutist states operating in tandem. It is not only about the “excluded.” The condition of refugees and exiles represent us all.

To be radical today means to claim the gestures of commoning, culture of solidarity and determination to exist in common back from the history of anti-totalitarian and anti-capitalist struggles and to bring these histories and practices to bear onto our future. I see culture, art and imagination as forces that can both freeze the flow of life (in a movement of institutionalization) and put life in motion (in moments of radical opening). Culture is radical (anti-capitalist and decolonised) when it goes beyond the enclosures of the “usual people” and builds connections across socio-economic divides; challenges the cynical language of the master and the exclusionary logics of difference,

negative freedoms, boycotts and art occupations that mirror the occupations of capital (it’s impossible to beat the master on his own turf) and embarks in empathic and sensuous journeys outside of the capitalist “self.” As we enter into a new era of primitive accumulation, the virtuoso skills of the baroque intellectual have become obsolete. We need a light and portable weapon stripped down to its very core (Susan Sontag – the radical intellectual as ascetic and destroyer).

For me radical imagination stems from a double movement of anti-capitalist critique and of epistemological and discursive construction of a new post-capitalist imaginary, including new forms of production and representation in which art and politics inform each other. But this radical imagination is risky. It needs a safe space and a long-term horizon to be cultivated.  The Institute wants to be such safe space – an alter-institution, both inside (because of where we come from) and outside (because of what we are aiming for) the hegemonic institutions of capitalism (museums, universities and institutional politics) and “the west” intended as a mental and a geopolitical space. The Institute wants to be a space of freedom, an exilic space turned into commons – not as act of survival but as “communal luxury.”

I see the institute as a research-curatorial-activist group engaged in research interventions (starting from the 5 we highlighted in Naples) and working with a methodology that combines pragmatic and tactical actions with an ongoing reflection on how, as a culturally diverse and geographically dispersed collective, we can institute otherwise.

The call from the projects comes from a specific urgency and the institute becomes a structure also for archive (memory and documentation). Became a repository. A specific methodology, and conceptual framework.


The Institute of Radical Imagination is a think-tank inviting experts – political scientists, economists, lawyers, architects, hackers, activists, artists and cultural producers to share knowledge on a continuous base with the aim of defining and implementing zones of post-capitalism in Europe’s South and the Mediterranean. The think-tank works nomadically across the nodes of the network – Madrid, Athens, Istanbul, Cairo, Palestine, Naples – and connects with other nodes in “global south” – Eastern Europe, Latin America, South-East Asia.

IRI is a hybrid between a travelling research centre, a refuge for intellectuals and artists at risk, a radical museum and a policy-making body generating ideas and applied knowledge that respond to specific urgent needs on the ground – more than a structure, an intellectual logistical infrastructure operating across existing arts, academic and activist networks.