Unmaking: Subverting The Every-Day

Expodium (Nikos Doulos & Bart Witte)
18 Apr / 22 Apr, 2016
Cittadellarte, Biella
TOPICS/TAGS: Research, politics of everyday, walking, urbanism, imagination, collectivity, hosting the social, play, participation, horizontality, consciousness, responsibility, ephemeral, narratology, alteration, discursive practices, ecosystems, subjective mapping, social engaged practices, demopraxy

unmake (ʌnˈmeɪk)
vb (tr) , -makes, -making or -made     
    1.    to undo or destroy
    2.    to depose from office, rank, or authority
    3.    to alter the nature of  

Put in a socio-political frame, ‘unmaking’ suggests models of subverting existing patterns of perceiving and intervening in the society/ world. It encompasses all those alternative mechanisms devised to implement change. While the everyday neoliberal ethos cultivates notions of apathy, disconnect and false autonomy, ‘unmaking’ exists as a path towards a counter narrative for enhancing empathy, co-dependency, co-operation and co-existence.

But can we perceive ‘unmaking’ out of the common emphatic norms of activism, rebellion and disobedience?

This module proposes a look on rather ‘dimmed’ processes of acting on ‘unmaking’; processes deployed in the basis of our every day encounters. They are inclusive, informal, discursive and hands-on actions, centered around (permanent and temporal) small-scale ecosystems.

“Globalisation ushers in new population groups that join the original city dwellers and transfer the city into an organism: ‘The city is a discourse and this discourse is truly a language: the city speaks to its inhabitants, we speak our city, the city where we are, simply by living in it, by wandering through it, by looking at it.”

R. Barthes, ‘Semiology and the Urban’ in The Semiotic Challenge,
Berkeley and Los Angeles 1994

For over a year now, Expodium has been openly exploring ‘unmaking’ through three basic themes - Urban Cannibalism, Walking and Play. Those themes address urban geographies and the living organisms that occupy them as interlaced particles of ecosystems in constant transition.
Through a set of readings, screenings and walks, mapping strategies and micro-interventions, pop culture references and science fiction scenarios, Expodium will tap into modes of relating with the urban environment on an ecological, social and political level. Within a five-day framework, we wish to collectively practice mechanisms of exchanging and transmitting ideas with a goal of generating tools of implementing artistic practices within the ever-changing every-day.

The module will accumulate an archive of reflections, impressions and visual manifestation as an inspirational manual for alternative systems of knowledge exchange.


April 18th
Guided tour to Cittadellarte (Curated by Elena Rosina), including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions.
Introduction to the Theorem of Trinamics, the symbol of the Third Paradise and the concept of Demopraxy.
Coming together – individual presentations.
Introducing Living Archive (Archive of impressions, reflections, visual documentation of Walking session).

April 19th
Empathy and the ‘other’ – overidentifying and temporarily becoming (reading group - collective discussions). Starting from Quotations from/ Thoughts after Symprovization on Art and Empathy (Mobile Authonomy - Exercises in Artists’ Self Organization, VALIZ, 2015), we will tap into the notion of empahty as a tool of overidentification and collective becoming, and continue with paradigms immerging from our engagement with Detroit.
Play – Perceiving play and gaming as a mechanism of re-establishing relations with public space, we will tap into the notion of role-playing through the practice of PLAY THE CITY project and advocate for the value of playful interventions within the city.
Observing the every-day: The Walking Culture – Rethinking flaneurie – the contemporay flaneur.
Tapping into the history of the flaneur as the observer of the every-day and identify the features of the contemporary successors of the city stroller.
Maria Lalou & Skafte Aymo-Boot : performance lecture "the act of projective architecture " part of the on going project [UN]FINISHED.
Walking session – exercise modes of reading the cultural landscape through walking + Screening

April 20th
Markus Miessen – The ‘uninvited outsider’ (Reading groups - regrouping - collective discussions).
Curating as facilitating (Case study: AGORA - Athens Biennale #4). Introducing the notion of the ‘uninvited outsider’ as a social practitioner who maneuvers through disciplines and objectively responds to given social challenges. Focus on the uninvited outsider as a facilitator of truly inclusive spaces. Introducing Athens Biennale #4 as a mode of facilitating rather than a model of curating.
Hosting – performing the social: The artist as a mediator, facilitator and agent provocateur.
Recap – reflecting on the work so far – building Living Archive (Reflections, visual documentation, archive).
Walking session.

April 21st
Ecology – the city as a living organism – basic thoughts around urban cannibalism. Understanding the city as an organism that feeds and destroys itself, we will address the urban beyond the bypolarity of man VS nature. We will question what is nature within the urban, bring in the foreground examples of how vegetation ‘eats’ out the built environment and recruit sience fiction to talk about the cannibal within the city.
Manifesto Anthropofago, Félix Guattari, Jelle Reumer, (reading group - collective discussions).
Observing the every-day: Subjective mapping – narratology, imagination, future urban scenarios, science fiction and super heroes. How is the city constructed through storytelling? Who subjective narratives and personal stories could form a cohesive narrative of the city? A closer look at Flaneur Magazine addressing the street as a storyteller.
Walking session. Devising microstrategies for communicating the surrounding. Collecting stories, devising narratives and imaginaries as we walk along.

April 22nd
Recap of the module – adding to the Living Archive – setting guidelines for NIGHTWALKERS session. Tapping into means of verbally communicating the archive. Identify the group as mediators, facilitators of the module’s narrative.
Practicalities and preparations for NIGHTWALKERS Session.
NIGHTWALKERS Session – open to the public.


The mentors will prepare a reader for participants with key texts, some of which will be discussed during the week. The reader will include pieces by authors, artists, curators and intellectuals, such as Markus Miessen, Pascal Gielen, Rebecca Solnit, Grace Lee Bogs, Jose Saramago, Wietse Maas & Matteo Pasquinelli, Frédérik Gros, Merlin Coverley, Félix Guattari and Jelle Reumer.
Relevant projects

• Athens Biennale [http://athensbiennale.org/]
• Urbanibalism [http://www.urbanibalism.org/]
• Laboratory of Immediate Architectural Interventions [http://www.arch.umu.se/en/education/master-studies/laboratory-of-immediate-architectural-intervention/]
• The Utopian Office - Hannah Kindler [http://hannahkindler.com/index.php/projects-detail/651.html]
• PLAY THE CITY [http://www.playthecity.nl/]
• Janet Cardiff - Walks [http://www.cardiffmiller.com/artworks/walks/index.html]



Expodium is a collective of three [Nikos Doulos, Friso Wiersum, Bart Witte]. Through a variety of methods of artistic research, we generate vital information about urban areas and at the same time activate those areas and their users. We are a satellite at grass-root level; framing local developments in global discourse. We document, archive, contextualize and frequently publish information and knowledge generated through our practice. We work unsolicited and we are for hire. We work with an international network of artists, architects, academics and the likes for mutual brain-picking. We collaborated with and worked for housing corporations, local governments, museums, universities, festivals and art institutions. We stroll and awe.

Projects, programs, residencies:

The residency fee includes accomodation and half-board.

Participation fee
570.00 €