Matteo Pasquinelli on Sat, 26 Apr 2008 01:28:19 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Multiversity, or the Art of Subversion

[fwd fyi. /m]

First call

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 processes.

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  
subjective forms.
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.

Docks 187-188
Punta della Dogana

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