MULTIVERSITY, or the Art of Subversion (Venice, 16-18 May)
matml at gmx.it
Sat Apr 26 05:37:55 CEST 2008
MULTIVERSITY, or the Art of Subversion.
16, 17 and 18 May 2008
The event "Multiversity, or the Art of Subversion" is the fruit of a
joint effort between Uni.Nomade and S.a.L.E. (Signs and Lyrics
Emporium), between a trans-territorial network of militants and
researchers carrying out a critical analysis of the themes of
contemporaneity and a self-managed space, called S.a.L.E. docks, born
a few months ago in Venice so as to intervene on a practical level in
the world of cultural production. A world which, not only in Venice,
has affirmed itself as preferred area for current capital valorisation
In fact, if we concentrate on contemporary art, this undoubted
importance can be seen on at least three levels.
The first is the central role which immaterial assets and knowledge,
creativity and affections, relational and communicational talents
assume for contemporary forms of production: artistic production
cannot get away from this centrality.
The second is the relationship between cultural production and the
metropolis where the interlacing between town-planning and
architecture, fashion and design, art and literature, in that
productive social space par excellence - the urban basins - becomes on
the one side a crucial element in the process of subjectification
through which are built the multiplicity of forms of life which
inhabit it, to the other decisive factor for defining the strategic
positioning of each metropolitan area in the economic competition
between global cities.
The third is the relationship between the art market and the financial
capital: at a global level, banks and multinationals are the among the
main investors in a sector which today seems to be the only one to
have not been even slightly touched by the crisis which has overrun
the world system of money circulation.
What we are now seeing is a complex capturing system, which capital
has brought into play in the multiple flow of informal cultural
production, from the appropriation of the ability to cooperate of
individual intelligences and individual ways of life, to ensure the
valorisation of what has been defined as the "symbolic collective
The complexity of these dynamics depends on a double mechanism of
exploitation, where the first aspect is made up of the barriers of
intellectual property and from each further moment of private
appropriation of general social knowledge, while the second is the
parasitic rapport which is established towards the creative production
by those speculative interventions occurring in the body of the
metropolis, there where state and private institutions, large events
and art fairs, and cultural zones and meta-zones are established.
Where S.a.L.E.'s experience wants to immerse itself critically, what
the Multiversity event has decided to face, is called "culture
factory", that is the place of valuation of cognitive capitalism, but
it is only so in the measure in which it, before anything else, the
place of creative subjectivity, of the expression of the multitudes,
and consequently, the space of a face-to-face between creative freedom
and autonomy of cooperation on the one hand, and the system of
dominion and exploitation of this productive force on the other.
In this light, Multiversity, will present, discuss and compare, with
the most advanced European and global experiences, the first results,
although partial, of an enquiry on the city's job insecurity linked to
contemporary art and intangible work. Here the main question is to
understand widespread behaviours and the methods of intervention which
could change a social composition, already central in the forms of
contemporary production, in a political composition. Examined also
will be the core issues of the role of university training on the one
side, and the communication network on the other side, played within
the most complex organisation of the work of the "culture factory".
An indispensable requisite for this discussion is the comparison
around contemporary art understood as a "wider social institution":
from the historical-artistic events which drove art in the post-war
period from the transcendental space of medial specificity to the
social space with its relationships of strength, to the relationships
established between art, social movements and cultural activism
outside of any avant-garde rhetoric, to the methods of capture by the
institutional artistic system and by the financial ciruits of a vast
heritage of critical thought and conflicting ways of life. For these
reason, the Multiversity event will be organised into four seminar
1. Art and activism
This means problematizing historical events and contemporary forms in
the interlacing between art and activism.
Some of the questions to start off the discussion will be:
Which road was travelled to reach the conception of the work as
transcendental to a conception of the same as object, process or
dynamic able to intervene within man's space-time and subsequently,
within social processes?
How did we go from a judgement of the work based on a topography of
its material characteristics to one based, instead, on the analysis of
its function, or even its efficiency in social terms?
How does it function today, in this post-Ford era, activist art? What,
once all avant-garde rhetoric is abandoned, is the position of art and
artists with respect to movements?
2. Art and the market: between creative freedom and financial capture
This second point must necessarily move from gathering date on the
size of the art market and its relationship with financial capital.
Art is taken here as an example of paradigmatic value because of the
extreme paradox which affects it: if artistic work expresses a maximum
level of creative freedom, at the same time it is subject to maximum
fixation within the financial capital.
3. Art and metropolis
This session will deal with the theme of the return of efficiency of
artistic paradigm on social institutions. Naturally, it will be
necessary to widen the spectrum of research to spheres such as design,
fashion, graphics and architecture.
We know how contemporary metropolises, defined by the important
concentration of Knowledge and creative workers, feed the
entertainment industry through a consistent substratum of informal,
continually renewed, cultural production. On the other hand, a
multiplicity of elements worked and re-worked by contemporary
artistic-creative production establishes metropolitan life and its
Using a formula, we could say that "art designs its own factory".
And it is this continuous and irreversible cycle which we are
interested in looking into.
4. Art and multitude: for the enquiry into social composition,
conflicts and organisation of live work in the "culture factory"
This session will examine the core of the relationship between
singularity and multitude, and between individual production and
construction of the common.
There are two research plans which will proceed in parallel.
The first is historical-artistic and concerns the attempts which,
starting in the 60s, were developed by artists in response to the
rhetoric of the individual genius, up to the current platforms of
collective production tied to the affirmation and diffusion of social
The second plan concerns the survey into social composition of
precarious workers which has grown around the culture industry's
drive. From the students in the training circuits to temporary workers
in the cooperatives for logistics and stage design, trainees,
networkers, project consultants, freelancers, to that global class of
artists and professionals intent on becoming an integral part of the
international art system.
In all this wide social galaxy, we will need to investigate the
material conditions of life and work, needs and aspirations, desires
and possible assertions.
All this to get to the key point: how to transform this social
composition into a political composition?
Speakers: Marco Baravalle, Chiara Bersi Serlini, Antonella Corsani,
Anna Daneri, Alberto De Nicola, Claire Fontaine, Brian Holmes,
Maurizio Lazzarato, Antonio Negri, Pascal Nicolas-Le Strat, Hans
Ulrich Obrist, Osfa, Matteo Pasquinelli, Judith Revel, Gigi Roggero,
Devi Sacchetto, Pier Luigi Sacco, Marco Scotini, Marko Stamenkovic,
Javier Toret Medina, Angela Vettese, Giovanna Zapperi.
1) Friday 16 at 17:00 - Art and Activism
21:00 - Performance: Margine Operativo
2) Saturday 17, 9:30 - Art and Activism (second session)
14:00 - Art and Market
17:30 - Art and Metropolis
21:00 - Performance....
3) Sunday 18, 9:30- Art and moltitude.
Punta della Dogana
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