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atelier, gathering, workshop

Vladimir Miller Settlement 16

14 September-3 October 2020 / a.pass

The Unconditional Institution

Settlement 16

During the days of Sept 14th – Oct 3rd 2020 a.pass will come together and host an open workspace called Settlement. In the course of these three weeks we will share our current work processes within an open collaborative workspace. We aim to create a poly-central gathering that is self-structured, self-organized and open to contributions from anyone. You are cordially invited to join this process by establishing your own space in the a.pass Settlement and sharing some of your ideas, practices or works with others. The materials and structures available at the a.pass main space will be a common resource for all who join to create whatever is needed to facilitate this process. The schedule for these three weeks will be developed on site by its participants and shared online on the a.pass website.

please let us know if you want to join this workshop by subscribing a week before you come. covid measures will be followed in the shared environment to ensure it safety. 

some key ideas which have informed similar spaces before:

encountering processes

The potential of this setup is that it allows us to encounter each others processes instead of products of our artistic work. Processes are much more difficult to make visible and to see as they require a different mode of attention and participation. The attempt to witness a process requires a change in the temporal mode of being-together in the collective space.

no spectators

The space we are trying to facilitate is open, but it is not an exhibition. There is no „spectator mode“, and no institutionalised responsibility for hosting visitors. However any participant (including possible newcomers) is welcome to invite and host anybody according to the logic of their work process. Anybody is welcome to join the collective space for any timespan, respectful of the fact that Settlement is a predominately a workspace. The (growing/changing) group will try to provide enough information at the entrance, so that everyone feels welcome and knows how to join and share.

productive instability

We will collect most of the materials for the space from the a.pass storage and re-accommodate them towards our purposes. This strategy produces a space that is fragile, self-made, and constantly changing. Such a space influences the sociability within it towards similar qualities – towards a more fluid social contract. In asking for a hands-on construction and deconstruction of its makeshift set-ups, such a space allows for a quicker change of settings and a decentralised mode of (self)organisation. For this reason, the suggestion is to refrain from using usual furniture (tables and chairs) and improvise new set ups for „work-stations“ and collective moments out of what we can scavenge.

 

The Unconditional Institution

While this workshop is a place for all involved to develop their own and collaborative work, it is also a place where we can come together around a common concern or concerns. Settlement invites to think about research in a similar way: as a material contribution to the shared environment, a place to care for which can bring other researchers together in collaboration.. The time frame of three weeks allows to actually build these spaces and consider their material conditions, access and affordances.

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Coming out of the a.pass conference Research Futures, and as the initiator of this workspace Vladimir Miller will contribute a focus on the idea of an Unconditional Institution to the shared space. This focus is not a mandatory collective topic of discussion, but a first in hopefully a number of collaborative focal points which will develop during the process. This work on the Unconditional Institution will take the form of a collective debating and writing of a manifesto in conversation with all who want to join.

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If neo-liberalism behaves as if it was unconditional (in the sense of all-encompassing), how can public institutions hold against and within this condition? They need to be built on fundamentally different politics in order to be able to provide a real alternative.

How can we rethink institutions as care places for specific practices and topics? How can we rethink their borders and access on the basis of time and labour investment into shared concerns, and not on the basis of belonging?

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The practice of Settlement is asking the question of access on a granular level: if our practices are mini-institutions within the artificial mini society / space of the Settlement, what are their modalities of conditional and unconditional access? Learning from our own small institutions we can look towards the bigger ones and develop desires and paradigms of how they should be working.

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The idea of the Unconditional Institution is rethinking the fundamental ideas of access which institutions are built on. How can we turn the paradigm of conditional access to institutions around? Can we imagine institutions with unconditional access? How would that work within a society where conditional access is the very foundation of social and economic life? Can we create a utopian imperative for institutions to give unconditional access to their resources like space, time, materials as part of their structural organisation?




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