The Zapatista utopia of “a world with room for many worlds” is no fantasy. It is a revolutionary project, combining conflict, practices of self-government and an exercise of imagination in the constant creation of new possibilities. These possible “new worlds” are not situated on the Eurocentric line of a linear future, but established on subordinates’ different temporalities.
In October 2020, a delegation from the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN), joined by comrades from the National Indigenous Congress (CNI), announced their trip to Europe to gain an idea of and set up dialogue with insurgent peoples’ struggles and forms of organisation in European territories.
Responding to this call, social movements, activist organisations, social centres and collectives and individuals from Madrid organised the Struggles for Life Encounter, a self-managed, self-organised event to receive the delegation and at the same time create spaces of contact and dialogue to allow a fresh articulation of struggles and social protests in times of pandemic and disintegration, as well as gaining awareness of and analysing the CNI’s and EZLN’s experiences of social, political and cultural articulation.
This programme, organised inside the framework of L’Internationale’s Our Many Europes project, is made up of activations in different formats — workshops, screenings, debates, exhibitions, and performances. It has been set up through collective and multi-disciplinary methodology that defines IRI’s work and holds a rolling dialogue with the Museo, participants in the Struggles for Life Encounter, and the collaborations of the Centro Cultural La Corrala. Museo de Artes y Tradiciones Populares, hablarenarte / Planta Alta and La Villana de Vallekas.
Andy Abbot is an artist, musician and cultural activator. He has exhibited and performed as a solo artist and in numerous collaborations, including with the Black Dogs art collective. He has participated in different solo and group projects as a musician and writes music for film, performance and installations. In 2012, he earned a PhD from the University of Leeds with the thesis “Art, Self-organised Cultural Activity and the Production of Post-Capitalist Subjectivity”.
Antenablue. The Observed Word is an artistic duo made up of poet, writer, actress and audiovisual creator Lilián Pallares and artist and poet Charles Olsen. Their publications most notably include the poem book-record Voces Mudas (2010) and the book Antípodas (2016), respectively. Both have received the Poets from Other Worlds distinction, awarded by the International Poetry Fund in 2017.
Natalia Arcos is an independent curator. From 2008 to 2013 she was director of programming at ARTV, a Chilean TV channel specialised in art, and from 2013 to 2020 she was a member of GIAP (the Art and Politics Research Group) based in Chiapas, Mexico, where she also directed the art residency centre at the same institution (CASA GIAP). Moreover, she has contributed to the books Para una estética de la liberación decolonial (Ediciones del lirio, 2020) and Los latidos del corazón nunca callan: poemas y canciones zapatistas (Traficantes de sueños, 2021).
Marco Baravalle is an artist, curator and member of S.a.L.E. Docks in Venice, a collective and independent space for visual arts, activism and experimental theatre. Currently, he is a research fellow on the INCOMMON project from the Università Iuav di Venezia. His fields of research include the relationship between art, theatre and activism, creative work, gentrification and the positioning of art inside the neoliberal economy. He is also part of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Elena Blesa Cábez is a researcher, artist and cultural mediator whose work is situated between pedagogy and artistic production. Her research is developed primarily from collective methodologies and dialectic practices, focusing on strategies being adopted from contemporary art to rethink the concept of citizenship in today’s Mediterranean context. Since 2018 she has been a resident at FASE, a space of creation and thought from the L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (Barcelona). She is also part of the collective Espècies invasores, as well as the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Érik Bordeleau is a researcher at SenseLab, from the Université Concordia, Montreal, and the Center for Arts, Business and Culture from the Stockholm School of Economics, combining his research with his role as a fugitive financial designer in the Economic Space Agency (ECSA). His work is articulated at the intersection of political philosophy, media and financial theory, contemporary art and film studies, and he is currently working on creating a master’s programme in Crypto Economy at the Global Center for Advanced Studies (GCAS), with sites in Dublin and New York.
Sara Buraya Boned works with Museo en Red and in the Museo Reina Sofía’s Public Activities Department and has supported the institution’s cultural programmes, public activities and collaboration networks in different ways. Her research and institutional work are intersected by her engagement with feminisms, care policies, urban commons, archive and the memory of social movements and critical institutionality. She also coordinates the L’Internationale European Confederation and is a member of the L’Internationale Online editorial board, in addition to being part of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Emanuele Braga is an artist, researcher and activist, and co-founder of the Macao social centre in Milan, the dance and theatre company Balletto Civile (2003), the contemporary art project Rhaze (2011), and Landscape Choreography (2012), an art platform which questions the role of the body under capitalism. His research centres on models of cultural production, processes of social transformation, political economy, labour rights, and the establishment of common assets. He is also a member of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Ilenia Caleo is a performer and researcher, focusing on queer studies and feminist epistemologies at Università IUAV di Venezia. She is one of the co-founders of Campo Innocente, a network established after the start of the pandemic to defend the rights of art workers and to promote universal basic income.
Ana Campillos Sánchez-Camacho is a designer, researcher and cultural manager. As a co-founder of and contributor to Nada Colectivo, she explores performative design, networks and care through coordinating projects such as Galaxxia and Locus*. An awareness of class, immaterial culture and mental health is at the heart of her creative conceptions, and she collaborates in the Raising Care Assembly from the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Jesús Carrillo is a professor of Contemporary Art History at the Autonomous University of Madrid and part of the Southern Conceptualisms Network and the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI). His research combines the history of the early modern representation of nature with the critical analysis of contemporary art institutions and discourses.
Anna Cerdà Callís is a cultural manager and activist. She has worked in MACBA’s Exhibitions Department since 2005 and combines her work as a curator with the sphere of music, co-directing the popArb Festival from 2005 to 2015 and, since 2017, designing and organising Acció Cultura Viva. Moreover, she is part of the La Murga Advisory Council and participates in MIM (Music Industry Women) and on the board of the Xàfec Association of Small Festivals.
Maddalena Fragnito is an artist who explores the intersections between transfeminisms and technologies, focusing on practices of “common care”. She is currently a PhD student in the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University and part of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Pablo García Bachiller is an architect specialised in refurbishing buildings, bioconstruction and social urbanism, all of which make up his fields of research. He has participated in the operation of different self-managed social centres, consumer cooperatives, etc. and is a member of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Francisco Huichaqueo is a visual artist and Mapuche film-maker. He is an academic in the Faculty of Humanities and Visual Arts at the University of Concepción, Chile, and develops his work around themes that concern his Mapuche lineage, spanning video installation, documentary film and essay film. His work has been displayed internationally in museums, galleries and festivals, for instance Human Resources in Los Angeles and the 2020 Berlin Biennale, among others.
Elena Lasala Palomar is a cultural worker and researcher. She combines management work with research on collective projects involving archives, care and affective urban grids. She currently manages the archives in the audiovisual platform Hamaca and is part of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Massimiliano (Mao) Mollona is a writer, filmmaker and anthropologist with multidisciplinary training in economics and anthropology. His work focuses on the relationships between art and political economy, and he has carried out extensive field research in Italy, the UK, Norway and Brazil, mainly in economic institutions, analysing the relationships between economic development and political identity through participatory and experimental film projects. His practice is also situated at the intersection of pedagogy, art and activism.
La Parcería Infancia y Familia is a working commission from the La Parcería Association, a collective of thought, creation and action for producing art and culture projects which place childhood and motherhood at the centre. Its practice understands play as language and community care as political territory, with its focus resting on diverse and changing families, vindicating communal, ancestral and dissident forms of upbringing. Carolina Bustamante and Carmen Elena Camacho, mothers, migrants and cultural workers, are behind this commission.
Theo Prodromidis is a visual artist and film-maker. He has been part of Future Climates — The School of Redistribution, from the project PRESS (a programme of education and support for refugees) from the Hellenic Open University, and the programme To care for another, radical politics of care from the WHW Akademija in Zagreb. He is a member of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI), a volunteer at the Piraeus Open School for Immigrants (Greece) and a member of the Network of Solidarity Schools from the same country.
Gabriella Riccio is an artist, choreographer, curator, activist and researcher who is active in the commons movement and the Italian movement for independent cultural spaces. As a member of L’Asilo, her work addresses cultural commons and participatory democracy, and she has also published essays on the relationship between dance and philosophy and on the intersection of ethics, aesthetics and politics. She is also part of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).
Anna Rispoli is an artist and artistic director, and creator of the performance Income. The Unconditional Speech, commissioned by the Wiener Festwochen Festival Vienna (2021). She researches the connection between artistic creation and civil space, making performative use of the urban fabric to explore the relationship between humans, cities and identities, and is part of Common Wallet, a Brussels-based artist’s union centring on practices of economic solidarity.
Kuba Szreder is a researcher and independent curator. He works as an associate professor in the Art Theory Department of the Academy of Fine Arts, Warsaw. His work focuses on interdisciplinary projects combining art and critical reflection, and international social experiments. In 2009, he founded the Free/Slow University of Warsaw and, in 2018, with Kathrin Böhm, created the Centre for Plausible Economies in London. He is the editor and author of publications that address issues such as the political economy of global artistic circulation, art strikes and forms of artistic self-organisation, etc.
Dmitry Vilensky is an artist and educator, co-founder of the artistic collective Chto Delat (What to Do?) and editor of the same-titled newspaper, for which he also produces graphic artworks and is in charge of the layout design. By and large, he works in a framework of collective interdisciplinary practices using video, photography, text, installations and social interactions. Moreover, he is a curator and head tutor at The School of Engaged Art, an art school from Saint Petersburg. He is also part of the Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI).