Practitheorizing Counterinstitutions

The workshop Practitheorizing Counterinstitutions is organized 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 is to create an ecosystem that lasts beyond the 100 days of documenta. Lumbung blurs the boundary between art and social organizing. 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 mobilizing a national cultural institution as a device for international, or rather transnational, institution-building of a new kind. Imaginative institutionalisms elsewhere then must be brought into the frame for the broader significance of the lumbung practice at documenta to be fully understood.

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