THE SCHOOL OF MUTATION

an open re-learning platform on

the Future of Cultural Institutions, Radical Care and Art for UBI


The Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI), a translocal organization engaged in theoretical and practical explorations of the commons, is launching a platform focused on the need to learn anew and re-make the world of culture in the unfolding of the biopolitical emergency brought on by Covid-19.

Since the beginning of April, due to our desperate experience of quarantine, we have been discussing the idea to set up an online school and we are now launching this platform not just out of the impossibility of off-line meetings, but also out of necessity to share new knowledge and experiences from different locations – such as Istanbul, Venice, Milan, Naples, Istanbul, Madrid, Athens, Saint Petersburg, London and other places where many members of IRI – artists, theorists, activists are based. 

Together we want to explore and develop new practices and knowledge that contribute to the formation of new forms of life and its meanings as the practices of struggle for the commons.

The Common meant as decommodified social relations of making, caring and learning. 

This pandemic has accelerated the ‘externalities’ of late capitalism, as deaths and dispossession disproportionally fall upon, the most precarious and vulnerable population, the necropolitics of capitalist enclosures rehearse its new powers in nursing homes, immigration camps, prisons and patriarchal households; and new technologies of immunization, isolation and extermination prefigure a biopolitical and anthropological regime-shift, unimaginable and unpredictable and yet terrifying. And yes despite these, the sudden degrowth, demonetization and socialization of life opens up new possibilities for re-learning, regathering and redoing from below.  

Our  program of re-learning is based on new forms of research which analyse and mutate  COVID-related forms of human and non-human interventions into some process which could benefit the movements of commons, care and asceticism in culture, and radical imagination across art and society. As Paul Preciado has suggested

We must operate a critical reappropriation of biopolitical techniques

P. Preciado

The program is based on the idea of building an immediate community of researchers who share similar concerns and looking for ways out of our “old and new normality” – known as quarantine, distancing, control, sickness and death. We are looking for other mutations, from individualization to commonality, from profit driven innovations to radical care and life in community. 

Nothing starts from the scratch and we need to use this dramatic moment of frustration, confusion and deep economic crisis to resist the possible transformation of education into a new form of alienated profit driven business. We do not want to participate in the process of instrumentalization of health control for benefiting nationalistic consensus of purity. Instead, we want to start a process of commoning with all “dirty” groups – a new International of vulnerable and precarious beings.  

We invite you to join our open structure, which combines research-seminars facilitated by IRI members with your own ideas about transformation of art and culture during the pandemic and the ensuing regime of health control. The themes of these seminars are composed of four iterations: archives & militant cinema; the future of art institutions; radical care and art for UBI, which will be developed organically by all school participants.  

How to participate

The seminars will be running online on Jitsi and require registration to the program’s activities. Once signed up, you will receive the weekly program of the seminars along with a link and an access password. The program of seminars is free to attend for anyone who is registered. We welcome everyone who wants to engage in discussion and imagine with others the tools for solidarity, care, and mutation. 


ITERATIONS

  • WE HAVE A SITUATION HERE
  • THE FUTURE OF ART & CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS
  • ART FOR UBI
  • RAISING CARE
  • FILM ARCHIVES & MILITANT CINEMA

> WE HAVE A SITUATION HERE

A series of assemblies dedicated to the paradoxes in the art making. Following the tradition of learning plays the constituency of each assembly will be faced with a set of urgent questions which they try to scrutinize from different positions with the help of invited guests. Facilitated Dmitry Vilensky and other members of Chto Delat collectively.

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> THE FUTURE OF ART & CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS

This series of conversations focuses on the immanent mutation of museums and universities in the light of post-corona crisis. Institutional mutation in the current pandemic context describes the major historical shift in forms of human livelihood we are experiencing, which disrupted existing borders, boundaries and crossroads – between material infrastructures and structures of imagination; humans and non-humans, creativity and survival, tragedy and regulation, debt and freedom, autonomy and openness – but also opened the possibility of their redefinition.

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> ART FOR UBI

The stop due to the pandemics severely hit already precarized sectors like arts, theatre and culture. If it is true, like social movements have been claiming for years, that a universal basic income should be granted as a remuneration of our lives “put to work”, today the urgency is higher than ever. And this urgency requests parallel answers: we need to contrast impoverishment and at the same time to restart abandoning the schemes of the past, towards models that are able to prioritize commons and care. In order for this to happen, the struggle for universal basic income is crucial. In a time of pandemics income is not “simply” a welfare net. To final win it, would mean to win an indispensable condition to allow us to radically rethink the (art) system without succumbing to the blackmail of precarity and to the threat of poverty. Lastly universal basic income becomes fundamental in order to put production at the service of care, while today it is exactly the opposite. And art can play a role in this, by experimenting practices of organization of new institutions and communities.  This are some of the reasons behind the ART FOR UBI Manifesto that will be discussed during these two meetings.

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> RAISING CARE

In these times of pandemics many aspects of what we understand as “care” have emerged to be in the centre of the feminst, ecological and, after all, public agenda. The confinements at home in many places (for those who have one), have put the focus in the daily activities needed to sustain life. Covid-19 have shown the consequences of welfare institutions being impoverished by decades of neoliberal economic policies, like public health institutions, schools and elderly nurseries. A situation already denounced by activists and workers reclaiming rights and the visibilization of the work of keeping alive life, environment and communities.  The School of Mutation wants to propose a space to start a fundamental conversation for the years to come. Structured as a series of assemblies and conversations, this program proposes to build a space of sharing, listening and learning from concrete experiences coming from different territories that could articulate the potentials objectives, strategies and reflections that connect struggles into a new cartography of radical care in the present times. 

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> FILM ARCHIVES & MILITANT CINEMA

The aim of this series of conversations and practical collective exercises is to build together a militant archive of images. We will discuss images and build a common imaginary of militancy and learn the practical skills of filming, framing, editing, and distributing militant images. Where do images come from? What do they want? What do they do? How are they produced and where do they circulate? Who are their authors, activators, annotators and owners? What do images need to flourish and be valorized? What kind of images count as militant? Is their act of bearing witness and providing evidence enough to make them militant? What kind of political space is the space of the archive? Is it national, local or international(ist)? Can images activate the future rather than just ‘taxidermically’ (Rony) capture the past? Can cinema not only be reflexive of the condition of life under capitalism but also attempt to change them?

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