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NOTES ON MAPPING THE INSTITUTE OF RADICAL IMAGINATION
Emanuele Braga – Marco Baravalle, November 2017
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”.
Representative logic – 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?