Since 1993 and at the invitation of various art institutions, the artist group WochenKlausur develops concrete proposals aimed at small, but nevertheless effective improvements to socio-political deficiencies. Proceeding even further and invariably translating these proposals into action, artistic creativity is no longer seen as a formal act but as an intervention in society. WochenKlausur aims to improve the supporting structure before improving the surface. Art’s big chance lies in its ability to offer the community something that also achieves an effect. The motives for concrete intervention based on art should not be confused with an excess of moralistic fervor. As a potential basis for action, art has political capital at its disposal that should not be underestimated.
directory - Politics of Space
In 2001, the volXtheaterkarawane was founded as a travelling project by members of the volXtheater XX Favoriten theater troupe and activists of the Platform for a World Without Racism; it existed as a project critiquing globalization until 2011. The goal was to raise awareness of the problematic immigration laws in Europe, the subliminal racism and sexism in the democratic countries, and the increasing state-run surveillance and control of citizens. With the support of different helpers and cooperation partners, from 2001 to 2006 the volXtheaterkarawane organized three large campaigns – NOBorder, NONation (2001), noborderZONE (2003), and noborderLAB (2004) – in the form of trips lasting several days to central locations of political events.
Activist art has come to signify a particular emphasis on appropriated aesthetic forms whose political content does the work of both cultural analysis and cultural action. The art collaboration Ultra-red proposes a political-aesthetic project that reverses this model. If we understand organizing as the formal practices that build relationships out of which people compose an analysis and strategic actions, how might art contribute to and challenge those very processes? How might those processes already constitute aesthetic forms? In the worlds of sound art and modern electronic music, Ultra-red pursues a fragile but dynamic exchange between art and political organizing.
The project consists in the appropriation of urban public spaces that have been forgotten, abandoned, or are sterile. Those spaces are occupied through artistic interventions that transform them into ceramic modules. The five members of the group choose the spaces with a critical eye over the city, seeking to humanize the urban environment and discuss how it is used and/or administered. The five members design, produce, and install the interventions. The result is a composite of panels, modules, and simple geometrical shapes, which when grouped construct more complex shapes. The final image is abstract. Using modern tiles, the group appropriates the aesthetics and the historical value of the tile in Brazilian culture, which arrived with the Portuguese national identity.
Eternal Tour is an association, which organized a nomadic festival held every year in a different city: Rome 2008; Neuchâtel 2009; Jerusalem and Ramallah 2010; Las Vegas 2011; Geneva and São Paulo 2012. Founded in Geneva in 2007, Eternal Tour brings together academics and artists who address issues such as cosmopolitism, tourism, migration, exile, but also creoleness, feminism, taxonomy, practice-based knowledge, and empirical thought. During each festival, including its preparation, the Eternal Tour team interacts with local partners: encounters, exchanges, reflections, research, and creations characterize this transdisciplinary think-tank. Is our world really globalized? What does cosmopolitanism represent in today’s world?
Our goals could be listed as:
• Reflecting on trash, waste, and reuse in all its formats and possible meanings
• Creating new points of views on consumption, garbage, the city, and contemporary urban life
• Promoting new possible attitudes and livelihoods through culture
• Helping other initiatives working on these issues and others that are similar
• Promoting networks of agents who usually remain apart in order to promote unexpected situations and reactions that are often very fruitful
• Participating in the global movements, places, and proposals of urban revitalization with bottom-up processes
• Promoting collective work and free culture – cooperation instead of competition
BaixoCentro is a collaborative, horizontal, independent, and auto-managed street festival conducted by an open network of producers interested in reframing this region of São Paulo downtown area around the Minhocão viaduct or “Big Worm.” With the slogan “The streets are made for dancing,” BaixoCentro seeks to encourage the appropriation of public space by people and make them interact on a daily basis in a more humane way. It is a movement of civil occupation that wants to crack, hack, and play in the streets. There is no institution behind it: neither companies, NGOs, or the government. Funding is also collective and associative via crowdfunding online platforms, such as Kickstarter, and other independent fundraising options (such as auctions, raffles, and donations).