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(im)possible complicities


Berlin, May 23-24, 2019

Fromet-und-Moses-Mendelssohn Platz 7-8
10969 Berlin DE

Participatory approaches in local policy are evergreen prescriptions, undisputed receipts for any intervention aimed at spatial development, social cohesion and cultural empowerment. Creativity is the natural seasoning of initiatives aimed at social and spatial development in distressed territories. Artists and designers seek the complicity of citizens and local communities to legitimate their production. In return, their language and skills may empower communication and organisation capacity of local communities. They can support reflexive capacity and give voice to local struggles, or engender in the most successful cases solidarity. There is a rich body of literature addressing innovation at the micro-level, but the local scale alone cannot be where all problems are created, understood and solved. While the localist discourse is often used to veil receding public support and let local communities compete alone for survival and resilience, creativity that fosters social innovation finds itself distorted into palliatives, if not mere cosmetic practices. The purpose to produce benefits for local communities and dispossessed subjects may easily turn into producing visibility for the creative players themselves. Artists and social workers who mediate co-productive processes end up, consciously or not, serving vested interests. Green-washing, art-washing and gentrification are some of the words employed to spell out the cooptation of creative forces by dominant players and economic forces.

This conference is an exercise to look at practices and reflections which may shed light on this context, helping to discern, understand and critically study community-based co-production and co-creation. It looks at a number of fields related to activism in housing, public space development, employment, migration, energy efficiency, climate change, food and waste management, urban poverty etc.

(Im)possible Complicities conference looked for ideas that come from practice and concrete engagement in distressed territorial contexts. We  discussed the potential and pitfalls of co-creative projects with activists, artists and academics who share a constructive as much as critical view on the topic.

The conference is part of the CoCreation– EU Marie Curie Rise project involving academic and non-academic partners from Europe and Latin America. The conference have a practice-oriented multidisciplinary approach, including non-strictly academic formats and interactive presentations.


Conference Program

Day 1

  14.00 Registration
  15.00 Welcome and intro on the program by Lorenzo Tripodi
  15.10 Where are we? Introducing Feldfünf by Marenka Krasomil

Productive or seductive: towards a critical manifesto of co-creation. Sue Brownhill (Oxford Brookes University) and Laura Colini (Tesserae). Watch here the video
Co-incidences and the multiplicities of Co-. Julia Udall, Sam Vardy, Goran Vodicka (Sheffield Hallam University), Paula McCloskey (Derby University). Watch here the video
Art Subtraction. Giovanni Fiamminghi (Tesserae)
Meine Nachbarschaft / Your Neighborhood. Daniele Tognozzi (Kunstblock & beyond, Tesserae).

  16.45 Coffee break

  17:00 Session 2: Cocreation methodologies in place

Network of Collaboration or Co-optation. Oscar Natividad (Oxford Brookes)
Struggles against experiences of disrespect in Brazil: Slam resistance and public urban space. Giovana de Souza Possignolo (University of São Paulo). Watch here the video
Transcending Boundaries through Graffiti. Benjamin Van Praag (Bath University)
Re>centering periphery- Museums of resistance and counter narratives. Lorenzo Tripodi, Manuela Conti, Laura Colini (Tesserae / ogino:knauss)

  18.30 Aperitif & dinner break

  19.45 Session 3: Keynotes. Creative placemaking or neoliberal art-washing?

Place Guarding: An End to the Slow Violence of Creative Placemaking and Gentrification?.
Stephen Pritchard (Northumbria University). Watch here the video
Place Internationale. Commune, Co-research & Curatorial urbanism.
Jochen Becker (MetroZones)
Territories: collective stories, collective action. Bernardo Gutierrez. Watch here the video 

Day 2

  09:00-09:30 registration

  09:30-11:00 Session 4a:  coproduction vs cooptation 

ps Wedding, a neighborly initiative in Berlin’s Brunnenviertel. Sabine Horlitz, Oliver Clemens (ps wedding e.V)
Social innovation and civilian resilience: Naples and the case of “Beni Comuni”. Emilio Caja (Oxford University)
Pandion: the art of real estate staging. Kim Sonntag (Kunstblock & beyond)

  09:30-11:00 Session 4b: Environment and coproduction

Reframing food as an urban question. Thomas Kuyper (University of Antwerp)
What if Plants co-create? Francesca Guarascio (Janub Cultural Association) and Giulia Toscani  (EPP-Expose, Propose, Politicize)
Co-production at the [social] neighbourhood scale. Jose Roberto Lagunes Trejo (Fundación Hogares)

  11:00-11:15 Coffee break

  11.15– 12:45 Session 5a. Mapping and co-design

The city through the eyes of others! Mapping and spatial research methods between representation and process. Antje Lehn  (Academy of Fine Arts Vienna) and Korinna Lindinger (Technische Universität Wien) .Watch here the video.
The Mapping San Siro Experience: from a wandering research group to established community hub? James Patrick MacNeil (University of Milano-Bicocca). Watch the video here.
Apriti Piazza! Annalisa Pecoriello (Mhc -Progetto territorio, University of Florence). Watch the video here
Constituent relations across the city: Three perspectives from practice. Julia Udall, Sam Vardy, Goran Vodicka (Sheffield Hallam University), Paula McCloskey (Derby University). Watch the video here.

  11.15– 12:45 Session 5b_ art, co-creation and gentrification?

Anti part-time publicity. Marenka Krasomil (Feldfünf.e.V) and Katharina Marszewski
All that glitters is not gold – Art as Autonomous and Sustainable Place-Making in Cultural Squatting. Giulia Carones, Andrea Premarini, Edoardo Mancuso  (Lume)
A Platform for Arts Along the Railway in Signal Towers. Natalia Irina Roman (Site Specific Ideas)

  12:45-14:00 Lunch break

Citizen engagement and collaborative urban knowledge creation – means and incentives for a shared data commons. Ina Blümel (German National Library of Science and Technology / Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts)

Camera as an exploratory methodology: to investigate the gendered experiences of primary school fe/male pupils’ in Northern India. Vandana Singh (Bath University)
Local collaborative design-projects as catalyst and research-instrument of urban transformations. Hendrik Weiner (Raumdialog, HafenCity-University Hamburg)
Implementing Ideas Workshop to develop Interventions of Urban Mobility. Pétilin Souza, Márcia Silva (Minho University)

  14.00- 15:45 Session 6b. Performing public space: dance, theatre and participation

Fulcrum: On the Border. Dylan Quinn (Dylan Quinn Dance Theatre)
Dance, periphery and identity: the experience of Internazionale CorazonElena Dragonetti, Francesca Marconi, Carlo Venegoni (Cure cultural association). Watch the video here.
Embodied Map Tools. Alessandro Carboni. Watch the video here.
Village – a participatory process of co-creation. Aje Andrea Bruecken, Nadja Roder-Winkel

  15.45 Coffee break

  16.15 – 17.30 Plenary discussion and final remarks