Category: School of Mutation

FILMING AS TRAINING IN THE PRACTICE OF FREEDOM | Mao Mollona & MTL Collective Amin Husain & Nitasha Dhillon

Introduces Mao Mollona, with Amin Husain and Nitasha Dhillon MTL Collective. The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Film Archive and Militant Cinema holds this online meeting on 30 OCTOBER at 19:00 CET. Join us on Zoom platform by clicking on [] Meeting ID: 893 4362 7345

Decolonial freedom, means that freedom looks different for different people. It’s about other worlds existing within this world, about de-centering the center and having many centers, and still about a shared horizon of liberation that is always in the making and never ending. So no to means and ends, to dichotomies, and yes to and upon a politics that Fanon would say unsettles everything and creates something new that perhaps is and never was old, just not felt or seen.

Decolonial film is not made in isolation from movements and organizing but rather emerges—analytically, aesthetically, and economically—within and alongside movements and against the set rhythms of colonial logic. It is a form of action, a way of learning and doing from below, an epistemology of the south, emerging from practices, communities and locales of anti-capitalist and decolonial struggles, unmoored from the normative spaces and sites of settler, colonial and racist capitalism, and producing its own economies and ecologies of love and care.

Film as Action in the expanded sense. Between the screen of the film being viewed and the viewer lies the chemistry that can produced a shared basis and offering of affirmation, and confirmation, and language to ask better questions, another step, on the path less known and thus less travelled, perhaps longer, and in this way, also anti-capitalist, because the relationship to time is not about expediency, but an understanding that we walk we do not run because we are going very far.

Here, we are not talking about film as an object. We are talking about film as part of a space that can allow for breathing, for better questions, for transformation, for enunciation, for bridges of solidarity that build power across, and engages in the war being waged in the imagination. One answer is process, another is undercommons, a third is participation, a foot in the street and a foot in aesthetics or film, and another always in living and breathing, that triangulation.If decolonization necessitates abolition, how can cinema be used towards that purpose, interrogating what lies beyond and behind the frozen visual reality produced by the imperialist apparatuses of image-making (Azulay 2019)?

Experience and identity are not important in themselves. Fuck representation. Represent to whom? Where? Why? In the process of filmmaking as training in the practice of freedom, we are thinking of constructing relations, unearthing bonds, memorializing debts, upending domination, hallucinating time, perhaps by holding space for militant love and radical acts. text by Amin, Nitasha and Mao

  • Pontecorvo, G. 1966. Battle of Algiers.
  • Solanas and Getino, 1968. La Hora de los Hornos (Hour of the Furnaces)
  • Heiny Srour, 1984. Leila and the Wolves.
  • Assia Djebar, 1977. The Nouba of the Women of Mont Chenoua.
  • Akomfrah, J. 1986. Handsworth Songs
  • Caldwell, B. 1979. I & I: An African Allegory. 
  • Gerima, H. 1979. Bush Mama César, F. (2017) Spell Reel. 
  • Guzman, P. 1975. The Battle of Chile. 
  • Jafa, A. 2016. Love is the Message. The Message is Death. 
  • Nicolas, B. 1977. Daydream Therapy. 
  • Obomsawin, A. 1984. Incident at Restigouche (Canada, 46 min.)
  • Povinelli, E and the Karrabing.  2016 Wutharr, Saltwater Dreams 
  • Sanjines, J. 1969. The Blood of the Condor. 
  • Azoulay, Ariella. 2011. “Getting Rid of the Distinction between the Aesthetic and the Political.” Theory, Culture & Society 27 (7–8): 239–262. 
  • Azoulay, A. (2019). Potential History. Unlearning Imperialism. 
  • Barclay, B. 2003. Celebrating Fourth Cinema. Illusions.
  • Campt, T. 2019. Black Visuality and the Practice of Refusal. Women and Performance.
  • Croombs, M. (2019) In the Wake of Militant Cinema: Challenges for Film Studies. Discourse. -Dhillon, N. 2020. Life, Film and Decolonial Struggle.
  • Getino, Octavio. 2011. ‘The Cinema as Political Fact’. Third Text 25 (1): 41–53.
  • García Espinosa, Julio. “For an Imperfect Cinema.” Translated by Julianne Burton. Jump Cut 20 (1979): 24–26. Accessed September 2, 2016. 
  • Grande, S. (2013) Accumulation of the primitive: the limits of liberalism and the politics of occupy Wall Street’. Settlers Colonial Studies. 
  • Gray, R. and K. Eshun, 2011. The Militant mage a Cine-Geography. Third Text. Dillon, N. 2020. Life, Films and Decolonial Struggle.
  • Lorde, Audrey. Poetry is not a luxury.
  • MTL, “From Institutional Critique to Institutional Liberation: A Decolonial Perspective on The Crises of Contemporary Art’, October 165 (Summer 2018)
  • Povinelli, E. Geontologies (2018) 
  • Rizk, Philip. 2018. 858-No archive is innocent.
  • Teshome, G. 2011. Towards a Critical Theory of Third World Film. Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. 
  • Zeynabu, I. D. 2014. Keeping the Black in Media Production. One L. A. Rebellion Filmmaker’s Note. Cinema Journal 53.


Nitasha Dhillon has a B.A. in Mathematics from St Stephen’s College, University of Delhi, and a Ph.D. from the Department of Media Study – University of Buffalo. Nitasha also attended the Whitney Independent Study Program in New York and School of International Center of Photography.

Amin Husain has a B.A. in Philosophy and Political Science, a J.D. from Indiana University School of Law, and an LL.M. from Columbia Law School. Amin practiced law for five years before transitioning to art, studying at the School of the International Center of Photography and Whitney Independent Study Program. 

Together, Amin and Nitasha are MTL, a collaboration that joins research, aesthetics, organizing, and action in its art practice. MTL is a founder of Tidal: Occupy Theory, Direct Action Front for Palestine, Global Ultra Luxury Faction, and most recently MTL+, the collective facilitating Decolonize This Place. Currently, MTL is in post-production of an experimental feature film, Unsettling (forthcoming end of 2020).

Unsettling takes viewers on a journey to Palestine, a land frequently invoked yet rarely heard or seen beyond the distorted representations of mainstream media and pain-driven documentaries. Unlike other films that take Palestine as their subject, the emphasis of this project is on land, life, and liberation rather than Palestinian oppression and dispossession, which, in any event, is captured unavoidably.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON, BUT NOT UNDISTURBED | Dmitry Vilensky & Joanna Warsza and Florian Malzacher

Discussion on the production of pandemic public sphere with contribution of Joanna Warsza and Florian Malzacher. Moderated by Dmitry Vilensky 
The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration  We have a situation here holds this online meeting on Wednesday 21 OCTOBER at 16:00 CET. Join us on Zoom platform by clicking on the link Meeting ID: 889 1093 5697

In last days it has become more then obvious, the pandemic is here to stay. A long winter ahead full of anxiety, solitude but also time to think and re-think. It is obvious to say that at the moment of pandemic the access to art has changed dramatically. It is not about lockdown when this encounter was almost completely impossible (the excuse to leave the flat for the meeting with art did not work). Performing arts are even in more trouble, since you can encounter art in intimacy, and it is so much more complicated with arts designed for creating assemblies.

What could be a new postcovid public sphere. Some people keep believing that it is a chance to build new relations based on care, celebration of reproductive work and mutual support. Others, in a deep pessimist way, predict that new reality could look more as a dystopia – with atomized individuals, full of fear, totally broken financially, psychologically and ethically, addicted to social media, when only online gallery showrooms survives. 

Most likely we can expect that future reality stays, as a hybrid of this opposite scenarios and we – art workers, could contribute to the proliferation of certain models. Those of us who criticize and attack the art system as it used to be, now need to show a courage of finding a way out and despite all failure try to create a new situation which help us to move forward 

Let’s start this discussion with a very simple question – can you imagine any art events which people will join even if they feel certain hygienic insecurity? What could be a role of public art in a new formation of the commons?  What would be art’s role in over-coming the isolation, the fear and taking care more about the mental health? How to go on… since we have to, but we can not go on undisturbed… 


Joanna Warsza is a Program Director of CuratorLab at Konstfack University of Arts in Stockholm, and an independent curator interested in how art functions politically and socially outside the white cubes. She was the Artistic Director of Public Art Munich 2018, curator of the Georgian Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale and associate curator of the 7th Berlin Biennale among others. During the spring of 2020 together with Övül Ö. Durmusoglu she co-initiated “Die Balkone: Life, Art, Pandemic and Proximity” in the windows and balconies of Berlin’s Prenzlauerberg where they both live. They are currently preparing the third edition of the Autostrada Biennale in Kosovo for summer 2021. 

Florian Malzacher is an independent performing arts curator, dramaturge and writer. 2013 – 2017 he was artistic director of Impulse Theater Festival (Germany), 2006 – 2012 co-programmer of steirischer herbst festival (Austria).

MEETING WITH THE SOCIETY OF THE FRIENDS OF THE VIRUS | Dmitry Vilensky & The friends of the virus

The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration  We have a situation here
holds this online meeting on Thursday 15 OCTOBER at 20:00 CET
Facilitated by Dmitry Vilensky, with The friends of the virus

We ask you to kindly register here to allow us to better organize the meeting
and join us on Zoom platform on October 15 at 20:00 CET clicking on the link

On 22 of March the co-initiators of 16 Beaver project have published first issue of the zine  The Society of the Friends of the Virus, Vol. 1. The project starts with provocative open letter to the virus:

Dear Virus, We want to write to you this communication, as a short note of thank you. To our human companions on this planet, such a gesture would appear a betrayal, since at this very moment you have been declared as an enemy of humanity. Not since the events of September ll has there been such unanimity and propogation of fear and the mobilization of uncritical construction of an enemy toward relinquishing further power to states and exposing our most intimate (i.e., personal and impersonal) details ? habits to the observation, surveillance, determination. In some states, even what …

16 Beaver Group has been inhabited since 1999 by a wide range of artists, intellectuals and activists who have for more than 20 years been involved in conjoining and considering the interrelations between art, political thought and action. Its name is based on the address where the space was initiated just below Wall Street.

Different friendships, collaborations, and initiatives have resulted over the years, including regular meetings, encounters, collectively produced situations and occasionally public-actions. Among the many anchors weaving the practices of those involved in the material and virtual space together has been the very question of what constitutes politics and a political activity today. And where do art and learning play a part in this process of rethinking life in common. 

the Society of the Friends of the Virus exists as a series of publications in the form of zines, and has extended into a series of weekly thematic online assemblies, where some of the ‘friends’ have been invited to share and discuss questions which they feel the virus has provoked or opens us all to reconsider. 

In this conversation, we will be joined by several contributors from the Society to think together the “mutations” in the social fields and how they may alter our conceptualizing of agency and even ‘what is to be done’ or as the Society has written, What/How is to be undone?

All publications of the Society of Friends of the Virus can be found on the website

Society Against the State

Society for Cutting Up Men

Society of the Spectacle

Society of the Friends of the Text

Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge

Société Anonyme

Society Must Be Defended

Postscript to Societies of Control

We begin with this list to map out trajectories of the invocations of ‘society’ which could be some reference points, in a sharp counterpoint to uncritical invocations of the term society, including the dubious ‘civil society’ notion which shall be familiar to readers of this text.

The exigency of the Society of the Friends of the Virus has been very precise, like the periods of 2001-2007, 2008-2019, this conjuncture, which we have sometimes referred to as the epoch of the virus, opens up to a critical shift in the way state and capital organize themselves in relation to the forces which stand opposed to their monopolization of the meaning and form life acquires in this century.

The attempt to find a way to struggle at every level of our lives and affirm what it is we are willing to do with our bodies in the conflicts of ‘interest’ (in all the variances and vagaries this word calls) that are laid ever more apparent before us.

Those who side with moderate steps and keeping things as they are, well, they will work to erase this moment as quickly as possible if they can. Turning it into a phenomena or event which they may later ‘reflect upon’ as yet another purloined letter for discourse produc- tion and ultimately oblivion. They will say, we were either mad or naive, unrealistic in assessing the powers of states and capital to recoup the gains of this entire viral affair. But this is the composure of impotence guised as intelligence.

We have lived long enough to see the fruits of these objectivities, which produce the most docile subjectivities. To shift our perspectives and our bodies in the lines where we see the faults, the fault lines of our deteriorated existences, and where desire wrests open paths which we have either been too fearful or too alone to embark upon.

Those paths do not lead to the existing institutions, they call for a multiplicity of strikes, exits, and this is why we intervene in this moment. Destroying the highly militarized states seems as improbable as voting our way through them. What this moment of stoppage opens is the possibility to take a deep collective breath, and not return to the states we have been living in and reproducing through our ‘participation’ and endless ‘activities of compliance’.

Our lives are structured like a performance organized by another who determines the rules and in which we are invited to ‘participate’. We know all about these forms of participation and they are as false as the pre-scripted roles and potential set of actions allotted. Everything is possible, in accordance with everything unquestionable.

To find our ways, we must discover new choreographies of our own collective un/making. Our names and biographies identify us and also stand in our way. We must take distance from ourselves to rediscover again the art of distances, most importantly from capital and state.

A l’amitié à venir,

The Society of the Friends …

Since March 2020 the Society has published four volumes:





Two supplements:

PERSPECTIVES Supplement Vol. 2

PERSPECTIVES Supplement Vol. 3

Five films:


And organized more than twenty assemblies with friends from 16 Beaver Group and Centre for Parrhesia:


On this occasion, we will be joined by some of the animators of the Society for a conversation about art, life, politics, strike and whatever questions you may have in relation to their published materials.

ABOLITIONISM: TOWARDS ALTERNATIVE MODES OF STUDY | Mao Mollona & Eli Meyerhoff, Max Haiven, Abigail Boggs, Nick Mitchell, Zach Schwartz-Weinstein

The School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Future of Art & Cultural Institution,
holds this online meeting on Monday 12 OCTOBER at 20:30 CET, 19:30 London, 2:30 EST.
Facilitated by Mao Mollona, with Eli Meyerhoff, Max Haiven, Abigail Boggs, Nick Mitchell, Zach Schwartz-Weinstein

We ask you to kindly register here to allow us to better organize the meeting
and join us on Zoom platform on October 12 at 20:30 CET clicking on the following link

Abolitionism in university follows the movement to abolish prisons and police, seeing these violent institutions as continuations of slavery by another name. Left abolitionism is both destructive—dismantling racial capitalism—and constructive, building alternatives, seeking to replace the prison-industrial complex which is the foundation of our capitalist system with alternative practices of community accountability, safety, and transformative justice. The Left abolitionist approach to universities also brings these two paths at once: reckoning with universities’ complicity with a carceral, racial-capitalist society while creating an alternative, mode of study and enquiry. 

Abolitionist University Study An Invitation
Questions upon reading Abolitionist University Study – Max Haiven


Mao Mollona co-founder of the Institute of Radical Imagination is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths’ College, London. His work focuses on politico-economic anthropology and film, especially on ideas of participation, labor, class and activism. He has done extensive fieldwork and several film projects in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Eli Meyerhoff (Duke University) – Eli has taught in Duke University’s International Comparative Studies Program, Education Program, and Literature Program. He works as the lab manager of Duke’s Health Humanities Lab, and is also a Visiting Scholar at the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. His book, Beyond Education: Radical Studying for Another World was published with the University of Minnesota Press in 2019. He has published articles in peer-reviewed journals (available for download at his page), including Polygraph: An International Journal of Culture and Politics, ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, The Journal of Curriculum Theorizing, The Journal of Environmental Education, and Cultural Politics. He is involved in many collaborative projects, including the collective of an open access journal, Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics, and a collective around Abolitionist University Studies.

Max Haiven (lakehead University) – Associate ProfessorCanada Research Chair. Broadly speaking, Max research focuses on the power of the imagination as a cultural, political, economic and sociological force. One dimension of his work is dedicated to understanding the role of the imagination in the reproduction of global capitalism, in particular the realm of finance and “fictitious capital.” I also look at how critical and radical artists approach money. A second dimension of his work focuses on social movements and, in particular, the radical imagination that animates the struggle for a better world. Max is currently working on a book on revenge. More information and regular updates can be found at More information about the ReImagining Value Action Lab, which will launch September 2017, can be found at

Abigail Boggs (Wesleyan University) –

A scholar of feminist and queer studies with a focus on the transnational dimensions of the contemporary United States university, Abigail Boggs joined the Wesleyan Sociology Department in the fall of 2016. She is currently revising her first book manuscript, “American Futures: International Students and the U.S. University,” which provides a critical genealogy of the figure of the international student in university policy, federal immigration law, and U.S. popular culture. She is also working with Eli Meyerhoff, Nick Mitchell, and Zach Scwartz-Weinstein on a project developing a framework for abolitionist  university studies (more information at Her writing has appeared in the Barnard Center for Research and Women’s Scholar and the Feminist, American Quarterly, and Feminist Studies as well as the edited collection Mobile Desires: The Politics and Erotics of Mobility Justice. She is on the editorial board for Abolition: A Journal of Insurgent Politics and has served on the steering committee for the Five College Center for Research on Women and the American Studies Association’s Program Committee. Boggs earned her B.A. in Women and Gender Studies from Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. in Cultural Studies from the University of California, Davis. Before returning to Wesleyan she taught in Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of Massachussetts, Amherst.

Nick Mitchell (University of California Santa Cruz) – Trained in critical theory, black radical thought, and feminist theory at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where Nick received a Ph.D. in History of Consciousness with an emphasis in Feminist Studies and served as a founding coordinator of the Black Cultural Studies Research Cluster and the Critical Race and Ethnic Studies Graduate Collective. After two years as faculty in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Riverside, Nick returned to UCSC as faculty in 2015. Mitchell’s research and teaching explore the social arrangements of knowledge and the ways that knowledge and its institutional practices arrange social worlds. Currently at work on two books. The first, Disciplinary Matters: Black Studies, Women’s Studies, and the Neoliberal University (under contract, Duke University Press), places the institutional projects of black studies and women’s studies not at the margins but the heart of the consolidation of the post-Civil Rights U.S. university.  The second book, The University, in Theory: Essays on Institutional Knowledge, grows out of conversations that have developed in recent years in the field of critical university studies.

Zach Schwartz-Weinstein   is an independent scholar who writes about universities and labor. He received his PhD in American studies from New York University in September.

ART EDUCATION IN LIMBO | Dmitry Vilensky & WHW Akademija (Zagreb) and School of Engaged Art (Saint Petersburg)

Mladen Stilinović’s text-based work Drei Tage bis zum Ende der Kunst (2002)

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting is on Thursday July 23 at 19:00 CEST. Facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky, with WHW Akademija (Zagreb) and School of Engaged Art (Saint Petersburg) 
register here

A dialogue between two informal art schools – WHW Akademija (Zagreb) and School of Engaged Art (Saint Petersburg) 

Art practice was always adventurous journey into unknown – to shape something which not yet exist, or it is already with us but people need some navigation to discover it. Such practices were often happening at the back ground of more or less stable world outside art. Now the background for art making is changing – the whole societies stays in limbo and no experts could predict what would happen in a next few days. 

The global pandemic has already completely transformed the situation with education from elementary schools to Universities.  The “temporary” shifting of all classes online has created a crucial dispute about the future of pedagogy and relations inside schools. What is the community of learners would mean nowadays? And how this situation has influenced the art education which was always based on personal live encounters with mentors and between students? 

Also we are faced with deep transformation of the whole idea what art could and should be. The shift of art practice into direction of reproductive work, care, therapy, healing and community building has questioned the whole convention of art making and its distribution. 

What do we teach and how do we learn during pandemic? 

How does our school survived under this condition – what have we already learned? What do we gain and lost already? 


WHW Akademija is an independent, tuition-free interdisciplinary study program for emerging artists founded by the curatorial collective What, How and for Whom/WHW in 2018.  The name of the program, like that of the collective, includes the acronym for the three crucial questions of economic organization, What, How, & for Whom. Based in Zagreb, Croatia, the program accepts 8–12 fellows per year. Its aim is to work with the participants in Zagreb over the course of seven months on new forms of self-determination based on modes of critical reflection, curiosity, and encounters among artists, artworks, arts professionals, scholars, and practitioners in various disciplines. The program consists of a series of intensives, experimental exercises, workshops, and seminars, as well as a range of exhibitions, performances, and discursive programs that are in large part open to the public.  WHW Akademija is realized in partnership with the Kontakt Collection, Vienna. The collection focuses on experimental and neo-avant-garde art in Central, Eastern, and South-Eastern Europe from the late 1950s onwards. See more here

The School of Engaged Art was initiated by Chto Delat collective in 2013 The School of Engaged art is a radical art education initiative with the goal of establishing a community of cultural workers which use art practice as a tool for transformation of society based on the values of justice and equality. The School is established and operate inside Russian social and political situation where basic democratic freedoms are under threat, in conditions that offer no support for any critical culture, and where there are no academic programs in contemporary art at all – this situation demands to develop its own tactics and method how to survive and reclaim the access to art and public sphere. The curriculum of the school is a hybrid of poetry and sociology, choreography and street activism, political economy and the sublime, art history and militant research, gender and queer experimentation with dramaturgy, the struggle for the rights of cultural workers with the “romantic” vision of art as a mission. A central component of our school is the care for collective practice.  We are convinced that a community of learners together are able to challenge the status-quo of artistic life and combine horizontal and delegation power structure. In the last 7 years we worked closely with about 140 young professionals who are now play a decisive role in the local cultural life – organizing public campaign (feminist-queer, precarious workers, conferences and exhibitions). The project is realized with the support of Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, Moscow and Chto Delat Mutual Aid Fund. See more here:

POPULAR EDUCATION AND KNOWLEDGE IN COMMONS | Mao Mollona & Rebecca Tarlau, Lea Ana Blaustein, Zeynep Tul Sualp, Alessandro Mariano

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Future of Art & Cultural Institution. The online meeting is on Tuesday, July 21 at 16:00 CET; 10:00 US; 11:00 Argentina & Brasil; 18:00 Istanbul. Facilitated by Mao Mollona, with Rebecca Tarlau, Lea Ana Blaustein, Zeynep Tul Sualp, Alessandro Mariano
register here

This session will bring in conversation the radical pedagogies of the Bachilleratos Populares in Argentina, the Landless Movement in Brazil and the Academic Without Campus (Kampussuzler) in Istanbul for the construction of a common imaginary of horizontal, grassroots, post-capitalist and non-Eurocentric practices of learning and study. 

Epistemologies of the South are those ecologies of knowledge that exist outside the western, patriarchal and capitalist episteme. They are varied and different, but they are all born out of struggle. For de Sousa Santos, they are ‘diverse practical, empirical, popular and vernacular knowledges with one feature in common: they were not produced separately, as knowledge practices separated from other practices’ (de Sousa Santos, 2018). In them, theory is inseparable from the grassroots struggles for the socialization of knowledge and life. Militant knowledge production is production in commons and for the commons. Epistemologies of the south are not just struggle for liberation of knowledge, they are also sociologies of absence – investigations of the radical invisibility and irrelevance produced by western colonialist and capitalist episteme. But in parallel to such sociology of absences, epistemologies of struggle points also at radical emergences – the new possibilities and potentialities associated for instance, with the decolonizing, feminist, workers and landless movements.

This iteration brings in conversation three popular pedagogies – three post-capitalist and decolonised modes of study (Meyeroff, 2019): the Bachilleratos Populares in Argentina, the Landless Movement in Brazil (MST) and the Academic Without Campus (Kampussuzler) in Istanbul. These three pedagogies have emerged in liberated zones, outside state control and in connection with powerful social movements. Although their social constituencies vary – some are rural some urban, some deal with primary education and other with higher education –they are all connected to feminist, anti-capitalist and decolonial struggles. Some have been incorporated and perhaps also co-opted, into those progressive/populist states emerged from such counter-hegemonic struggles. Some have maintained autonomy or even a healthy collaboration with it. Lastly, radical pedagogies are not educational, as in the western ‘banking model’ (Freire, 1970). But they involve practices of restorative justice, aimed at healing, curing and reconnecting what it has been torn apart by capitalist and colonial enclosures.

The aim of this panel is first, to generate an intercultural translation between these different epistemologies and imagine their possible ‘unity in difference’ and second, to imagine how these radical pedagogies can be invoked to liberate the Eurocentric, capitalist and patriarchal imaginary associated with contemporary Western educational institutions.

In particular, the panel will address the following questions:

  • What is the relationship between radical pedagogy and social movement activism? How do these forms of militant engagement with the world, overlap, intersect and dialogue?
  • Do states enhance or stifle radical pedagogy? And what is the desirable relationship between nation-states and popular schools?
  • What are these schools’ central principles of governance, methodologies and curricula? 
  • What can our western education system learn from these militant modes of learning?
  • What has been the impact of the pandemic on these popular schools?

Mao Mollona is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths’ College, London. His work focuses on politico-economic anthropology and film, especially on ideas of participation, labor, class and activism. He has done extensive fieldwork and several film projects in Brazil and the United Kingdom.

Rebecca Tarlau is an Assistant Professor at The Pennsylvania State University affiliated with the Adult Education and Lifelong Learning program, the Comparative and International Education Program, and the Center for Global Workers’ Rights. Her ethnographic research agenda has three broad areas of focus: (1) Theories of the State and State-Society Relations; (2) Social movements, Labor Education, and critical pedagogy; (3) Latin American education and development. She is the author ofOccupying School, Occupying Land: How the Landless Workers Movement Transformed Brazilian Education (2019, Oxford University Press).

Ana Lea Blaustein is Professor of Literature and Linguistics graduated from the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), she is a PHD candidate in Education at the same institution. She is a member of the Group of Studies on Social Movements and Popular Education (GEMSEP) and lecturer in the research seminar “Popular Education and Social Movements in Latin America” (Sociology-UBA). She also teaches Spanish as a foreign language and works in teacher training institutes. She was part of a team responsible for a research project selected by CLACSO-TNI-IEALC grant “Support Programme for Engaged Research: Struggles over Public Sphere in Latin America and the Caribbean” (2016-2017). Her research interests include literacy practices, youth and adults’ education, popular education and social movements. She worked in Bachilleratos Populares (Secondary Schools for Youth and Adults) for nearly ten years.

Z. Tül Akbal Süalp has a BA degree in Psychology and studied Political Science, Cinema Studies and Sociology in New York and İstanbul in MA and PhD levels and taught cinema, media and cultural studies in various Universities in Istanbul.  Since 2016 Spring She has become part of the members of Academics with no Campus (KAMPÜSSÜZLER) Academics with No-Campus is an initiative mainly organized by people who have been dismissed from their university positions in Turkey because they signed a petition entitled “Academics for Peace–We will not be a party to this crime”We insist that learning could take place only through a process within which theory and practice reinforce and feed each other. We aim at the wholeness, mutuality and relationality at all stages of the formation and dissemination of knowledge.

Alessandro Mariano National Education Sector for the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement.


Image from @Reco

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting is on Thursday July 16 at 19:00 CEST. Facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky, with Oxana Timofeeva.
register here

Today provoked by pandemic situation we hear more and more often different proposals for establishing Universal Basic Income (UBI). The UBI is often presented as the only measure which could save human life in front of growing precarity and forthcoming competitions with AI and robots. 

As correctly and precisely mentioned by previous panel of IRI:

it is a necessary condition in order to rethink our extractivist ecological model, to correct many race and gender asymmetries and, last but not least, to change the art world’s present neoliberal structure. UBI must be seen as a tool to open up new subjective spaces, alternative to the dominating entrepreneurial individualism and focused instead on commons and care. 

At the moment looks like that some affluent societies could come closer to implement this measures not at universal/global level but at their national proximity – regulated by local governments and national agencies. 

If we look back, we could discover that something similar to BI was already existed – in the West it was called welfare system, in the socialist countries it was a system of all-embracing social support and exchange of basic work/services for basic wage covering basic housing, basic food and basic health care. 

I think that we should analyses what is basic? 

Within welfare state it was pretty clear that bureaucracy has an expert power to calculate how many calories one should consumer a day, how often one need to new underwear, how many sq. meters should be sufficient for one person, what kind of medical services should stay accessible and at which quality level. So, it did not differ much from the situation when one speaks about regulation of prison’ population or orphanages. 

In general we are demanding the return to some bio-political regulations which right now sounds like a golden age of humanity which was later kind of annihilated by the assault of neo-liberalism. 

But we definitely not returning – we reconsider this radical survival strategy in completely new political situation. And we should stay sensitive to this new challenges. 

To recognize them more precisely we suggest to reconsider the BI through the concept of the gift. Right now young generation do not remember that the topic of the gift economy was the most fashionable in artistic and intellectual discourse during the nineties. Jean Baudrillard (after Marcel Mauss and Georges Bataille and some other anthropologists) in his work differentiate between the symbolic realm and the realm of signs and signification. According to his ideas “signs can be exchanged like commodities; symbols, on the other hand, operate quite differently: they are exchanged, like gifts, sometimes violently as a form of potlatch”. And he warns us that contemporary society more and more often converting this “symbolic” element into commodified signs. This we could watch very clearly in the tendencies of art world. 

Anthropologist Marcel Mauss studied the notion of the gift, particularly the notion of the “hau” – the invisible energy emanating from social relations which keeps valuable objects in circulation – to imagine a socialist state or rather commons, based on non-commodified and generalized reciprocity permeating all social relations. 

According to Georges Bataille, there are two types of economies: the general and the restricted one. Restricted economies are human activities subordinated to the production, accumulation, and growth of individuals, households, states, etc. The general, or planetary economy is the one of the non-productive expenditure. In nature, it is presented by the sun which gives light and warmth to all living beings without ever receiving anything back. In case of humanity, the general economy becomes the gift economy. How does the gift economy relate to the contemporary condition of total capitalist alienation of labor, and especially artistic labor? What is the connection between labor as our essential activity, and the gift?

So we would like to suggest to look deeper what the idea of gift means nowadays and see if we could re-approach the BI – as a new form of unconditional gift system. And as we know that any gift is a manifestation of sovereign power it imposes a certain rules of exchange – putting someone into position of debt. Gifts are not innocent and to operate inside gift economy one need to acquire a special knowledge and type of behavior – then we could reclaim a gift – basic income not as a basic compensation to temporary save our life (and as a general recognitions of our humanness) but as a precondition for plenitude of living in commons. 

So we would suggest the basic questions in relation of the transformation of art system in connection with possibility of establish BI 

1) If artists receive BI (in its minimal or utopian version) as a kind of a “gift” should they consider their artistic manifestation as a gift to society and do not demand additional remuneration? How do we combine BI and new market regulations which keeps competition afloat? 

2) With implementation of BI the old dream which haunting art world might come true: everyone becomes an artist and do not need a special institutional recognition. Would BI diminish a professional approach to art and undermine the difference between professional and amateurish approach? 

3) Would artist with BI need art system at all or they manage to establish their own system of the distribution of artistic practice – making it more local, more social and convivial?   

4) The implementation of BI could be hardly imagined practically at global scale. Like industrial revolutions it could start from the most affluent countries and then (hopefully) spread around globe. How could we soften the growing inequalities between the artists with BI and those who do not have any support? What kind of international structures of redistribution we might need? 

5) If we consider BI not just as a gift, but more as a dole could it be particular “poisoned” for the artists which system put in the position of returning gift in a form of “welcomed” withdrawing from work and from any additional responsibility of the cultural institutions?


Oxana Timofeeva is a Professor of the Centre for Practical Philosophy “Stasis” at the European University at St. Petersburg, leading researcher at Tyumen State University, member of the artistic collective “Chto Delat?” (“What is to be done?”), deputy editor of the journal “Stasis”, and the author of books History of Animals (Maastricht: Jan van Eyck, 2012; Moscow, 2017; London: Bloomsbury, 2018), and Introduction to the Erotic Philosophy of Georges Bataille (Moscow: New Literary Observer, 2009). She is also author of numerous contributions to e-flux journal and other art magazines.

Recommended readings:

The Case Against a Basic Income by DANIEL ZAMORA

David Graeber on basic income 

Can a Universal Basic Income rid the world of bullshit jobs?

ART FOR UBI (Manifesto)

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration Art for UBI. The online meeting is on Friday July 10th at 18:00 CEST. register here [registration open until Thursday July 9th at 12:00 CEST]

While the art market confirms his status as a safe-haven assets provider for the financial elite, the current pandemic has highlighted the fragility and precarity of art workers around the world, a condition common to a growing portion of humanity. In this situation a UBI (Universal Basic Income) would then represent a solution and indeed an urgent measure to implement. But UBI is not “only” a response to poverty, it is a necessary condition in order to rethink our extractivist ecological model, to correct many race and gender asymmetries and, last but not least, to change the art world’s present neoliberal structure. UBI must be seen as a tool to open up new subjective spaces, alternative to the dominating entrepreneurial individualism and focused instead on commons and care. 

If artists are already creating new collective economy models and alter-institutions, these small scale experiments will be much more valuable when connected with those growing social movements around the world fighting for a Universal Basic Income.


Wouter Hillart STATE OF THE ARTS (BE): State of the Arts (SOTA) is an open platform to reimagine the conditions that shape the art world today, working on art labor and organization will report their recent discussion based on UBI. 

Andrea Fumagalli (Commonfare and BIN – ITA). Andrea is a professor and UBI activist. His intervention will focus on the differences between some of the existing European income tools and the UNIVERSAL BASIC INCOME. Also he will focus on the potential of bottom up welfare organisation.

Anna Cerdà i Callís (Murga Cooperative – Barcelona).  Anna is part of a cooperative that launched a manifesto/petition stating the importance of UBI for everybody, art and cultural workers included. Gent que treballa en cultura, per una renda bàsica universal i incondicional

Salvo Torre (POE, Politics, Ontology, Ecology – ITA) Salvo is a researcher in political ecology. His speech will address the ecological implications of UBI.

Marina Donatone (Campo Innocente – ITA) Campo Innocente is an Italian network of performing artists and cultural workers. They recently spoke against corporatism and the drive towards an utter fragmentation into hyper specific professional figures. Instead they see UBI as the unifying goal for all the art and culture workers,

Marco Baravallle (S.a.L.E. Docks – ITA) Marco is a member of S.a.L.E. Doks, a self-managed art space in Venice. His intervention will focus on the importance of UBI and dis-identification in the organization of art and culture living labor.

Anna Rispoli and Christophe Meierhans (Common Wallet- BE) Common Wallet is a community based practice in Brussels created by artists. They are socializing their personal income basing the access to liquidity on mutual aid principles.

Emanuele Braga (Macao – ITA) Emanuele is an activist and artist, member of Macao, center for art and research in Milano (IT). His intervention will describe the self organized Basic Income redistribution within the community of Macao in the last 5 years.

Gabriella Riccio (L’Asilo – ITA) is an artist, activist and researcher, member of L’Asilo, art & culture common in Naples IT. L’Asilo elaborated on UBI within the framework of The commons as ecosystems for culture on EU scale.

THE ART CARE AND CARE ABOUT ART | Dmitry Vilensky & Janna Graham

Photo Catastrophes, performance at MUAC by Chto Delat

School of Mutation within the framework of the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting is on Thursday July 9th at 19:00 CEST. Facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky, with Janna Graham.
register here [registration open until Wednesday July 8th at 12:00 CEST]

The questions for the assembly:

  1. The practices of care do not need a critical apparatus. Aiming for good and wellbeing – they themselves become an unconditional good. Can we care critically, or can we criticize with care?
  2. How can we formulate the good of art and how will it differ from the immediate humanitarian benefit of caring for life in general – the reproductive labor?
  3. How to build relationships of equality in a situation of care?
  4. Your favorite art projects, which is based on the practices of care?
  5. Many art institutions in their recent statements speak about their priority of caring for artists in their programs. What manifestations of institutional care do we need to continue our work in art?
  6. Practices of caring can be considered as part of the practices of the participatory and community based art with their old dilemma – to do “for” or to do “with/together.” Is it possible to combine these positions?
Continue reading “THE ART CARE AND CARE ABOUT ART | Dmitry Vilensky & Janna Graham”


Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images – source online new CNN Channel 3000

We open the first appointment of the School of Mutation with the iteration We have a situation here. The online meeting on Thursday July 2nd at 19:00 CET is facilitated and composed by Dmitry Vilensky with choreographer Alexandra Pirici.
register here [registration open until Wednesday July 1st at 12:00 CEST]

Today all of sudden we happen to live in the moment when the burden of historical injustice become unbearable. These situations usually pop up at the moment of revolution or popular uprising and it demonstrates how the system of power is constructed and still rooted in the old system of oppression. The culture and art always have always been pleading a leading role in forming a historical block and , establishing a certain image of power which could inspire, scare and glorify certain dominant narratives. 


SCHOOL OF MUTATION | Public Presentation

The Institute of Radical Imagination inaugurates the SCHOOL OF MUTATION with a public presentation online on June 25th 18:00 CET

please register here to join us online!

…on “mutation”…

As pioneered by Deleuze and Guattari, “mutation” has been increasingly used in the social sciences since the 90s to give an account of the complex transformations of global capitalist societies, which defy the epistemological capacities of humanistic disciplines and the axioms of traditional political thought.  

Continue reading “SCHOOL OF MUTATION | Public Presentation”