Mixtape No. 2
Mixtape No.2 on Practitheorising Counterinstitutions is made by the IMAGINART project and its group members: Chiara De Cesari, Nuraini Juliastuti, Yazan Khalili, Abdulkerim Pusat, Aria Spinelli, Eszter Szakács, Carine Zaayman, Erick Fowler and Andrea Elera.
The workshop Practitheorising Counterinstitutions is organised by IMAGINART at documenta fifteen in Kassel, Germany. In this collective thought exercise, we take lumbung in the form it is practiced within documenta fifteen as a starting point for reflecting on how imaginative institutionalism is being experimented with in different parts of the world.
Lumbung is Bahasa Indonesia for rice barn, but it can refer, more generally, to places in domestic and community environments where agricultural produce is collectively stored. The artists’ collective ruangrupa transformed it into a transnational tool for gathering different cultural institutions and artists/activists’ collectives. The aim of lumbung is to create an ecosystem that lasts beyond the 100 days of documenta. lumbung blurs the boundary between art and social organising. As such, it comes close to many grassroots projects all over the world that are using artistic means to obtain sustainable socio-institutional effects. Disrupting national frames, documenta fifteen’s lumbung brings them together mobilising a national cultural institution as a device for international, or rather transnational, institution-building of a new kind.
In the workshop, invitees alternatingly adopt the roles of Storytellers, Theoreticians, and Harvesters. They rotate through these distinct positions over a series of panels. These rotations and movements reflect our methodology within IMAGINART, where we are very conscious of the mutable, relational quality of positionalities and the importance of recognising this fact. More importantly, by inviting participants to shift between modes of engagement, we acknowledge that practice is produced and reflected upon at the same time, and that theory emerges from and exists in collective practice. This is the basis for our hopeful, practical theorisation of yet-to-be institutional frameworks.
By combining practice with theory and reframing the latter as compost to fertilise crops from which to harvest institutional imaginaries, we seek to create the conditions for re-thinking the im/possible institutions we want to inhabit. In the following, the moderators of the group present summaries on the results of each panel. These text are accompanied by artworks by artists Daniel Aguilar Ruvalcaba and Diana Cantarey who visually map and conceptualise the ideas our invitees shared with us.
The invitees to the panels were: Ann Stoler, Melani Budianta, Ilenia Caleo, Quinsy Gario, Paul Goodwin, Annie Jael Kwan, Lara Khaldi, Jeroen de Kloet, Wayne Modest, Christa-Maria Lerm Hayes, farid rakun (ruangrupa), Deborah Thomas, Ming Tiampo, Wet Hole Group (Nikita Kadan, Bogdana Kosmina, Alina Kleytman), and Mi You.
We are deeply saddened by the loss of our former colleague and critical friend, Erick Fowler. A researcher, writer, and artist, who worked on the IMAGINART team for many months. Erick significantly contributed to our conversations on art, social engagement, and how to bring about new institutions of common life, bringing in his deep and passionate knowledge of abolition and decolonisation. Erick was a very smart, sharp, kind-hearted, and caring human being with great ideas who left us way too soon. His departure is a loss for our hearts and souls but also for scholarship. We dedicate our second mixtape to him.