• Assembly at the occupied Teatro Valle in Rome. The banner reads: “How sad it is to be prudent – from the theatre workers”. Source: P2P Plazas (https://p2pplazas.net/164), cc-by-sa-nc.
  • School of Improper Education organized by the Indonesian artists’ collective Kunci. Sekolah Salah Didik / School of Improper Education. Courtesy of Nuraini Juliastuti.
  • János Sugár, Fire in the Museum, OFF-Biennale Budapest, 2015. Photo by János Sugár / OFF-Biennale Budapest Archive. For this installation, groups of volunteers and audience have rotated to keep on the fire during the biennial.

Chiara De Cesari

Creative institutionalism and statecraft: Framework and mobilities

Chiara’s project brings together IMAGINART research across multiple sites, comparing case studies and examining intersections and interactions among overlapping fields of cultural and artistic production. In so doing, she builds on her research in Palestine and Italy, and on transnational platforms, as well as on fieldwork carried out by the other IMAGINART researchers.

In this project, Chiara is interested in the circulation of artists and bureaucrats, artworks and writings, ideas about art and policy, monies, as well as transnational spaces, networks, projects, and organizations (biennials, donors’ economies, international organizations and circuits, etc.) that connect and nurture national and local contexts. In particular, she focuses on the international biennial, a format proliferating across the globe that. For a number of scholars, the biennial represents an especially generative site at which to analyze art’s  political possibilities; at the same time, biennials and other cultural projects are deeply entangled with neoliberal economies. Indeed, they are commodified and commodifying devices of city- and nation-branding and so-called culture-led development and urban regeneration/gentrification schemes. Chiara’s project is also centrally concerned with how multiple, entangled genealogies beyond Western Europe and North-America nurture such institutional experiments.

This project poses the following series of questions: How do creative institutionalisms and counterinstitutionalisms differ across urban and national contexts? How do these differences relate to different forms of state transformation? How do creative institutionalisms connect across (national and other) borders? Finally, (how) does socially engaged art, especially as practiced by artists and cultural workers’ collectives, function as a form of experimental statecraft and mode of radical political imagining within shifting interconnected ecosystems? The project will develop a theory of creative, experimental statecraft and counterinstitutions focused on how they practice and produce radical political imaginations.