Carving out the spaces for our commoned life: a training ground

STEALTH.unlimited (Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen)
Erik Jutten and Piet Vollaard
14 Nov / 25 Nov, 2016
Cittadellarte, Biella / Stoking House at City in the Making, Rotterdam
TOPICS/TAGS: Research, collaborative action, new economic narratives, commoning, art politics & the art of politics, activism, demopraxy, imagination, imaginary, reality of life & work, gift

It is the paradox many of us encounter: while we dedicate ourselves to initiatives, projects and proposals that aim at a ‘better’ future (more resilient, fairer, more inspiring…), we experience to be operating from a present we increasingly feel alienated from. And there we find ourselves: continuously in the search for a resilient context for our practice and production. Looking around, sharing experiences with fellow souls, it is evident that this vulnerable position undermines the reach and impact of that future (and life) we care for.

However, if present is such, it is high time to use our capacity to disrupt its unfolding. In this desire, we are not alone. Over the last years, a vast number of initiatives have sprung up to take matters into common hands and re-design the very reality from where we work, how we live and how we exchange among each other. It may not come as a surprise that imagining, designing and constructing such different ‘existential’ and professional realities to a large degree entails working on their (different) economic groundings.

The double-module Carving Out the Spaces for Our Commoned Life: A Training Ground therefore takes different economic principles and workings at its core. In the two weeks we will explore whether we, as artists, designers or cultural practitioners can envision a novel mutually supportive economic ‘space’ for our lives and work. A daunting task, to which aid we will call some of the forerunners that have already started the transition. But equally a formidable challenge that demands we break down some of the assumptions and workings concerning the economy, delve into areas we usually experience as ‘outsiders’ and start re-creating them on our terms. Money, debt, insurance, time, services – to name a few.

The module consists of a five-day line of activities at Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto (Biella, from 14th to 18th of November, 2016), and a subsequent five-day line of activities at the Stoking House of City in the Making (from 21st to 25th of November, 2016).

The collective trip from Biella to Rotterdam marks the symbolic shift from Cittadellarte’s UNIDEE - University of Ideas, to City in the Making’s universe of enactment, where City in the Making re-imagines life and work, in a stock of former social housing for a period of 10 years.


14th / 18th November, 2016 with Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen

November 14th
Guided tour to Cittadellarte, including the Pistoletto, Arte Povera collections and temporary exhibitions (curated by Elena Rosina).
Film screening(s) followed by common reflection. Short introduction of participants and the module.

November 15th
– exposing the fragility of our existence
Outlining the challenge: a resilient context for our subsistence, and the precarious lives of us as artistic and cultural practitioners. Bringing in personal backgrounds and key moments related to this day’s topic, with images.
Envisioning the impact on our lives: imagining new horizons. A large mind-map drawing, based on groups experiences. Rounding up by identifying the basic needs and principles within our group.

November 16th – structures of deprivation, entanglement
Being a citizen in neo-liberal times. Demystifying some of the basics: money creation, debt & transactions, real-estate
(walk/funicolare to Biella Piazzo): Discussing parts of the book “Take Back the Economy – An Ethical Guide for Transforming Our Communities”, by J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron, Stephen Healy (2013)

November 17th – mutual support structures
Introduction to new forms of collective organisation and production, from REScoop (energy co-operatives), to Broodfonds (self-organised insurance), to eBanka (co-operative bank), to complementary economic spaces - the case of the Sardinian Exchange Network.
Discussing introduction and parts of the book “Bolo’bolo”, by P.M. (1983)

November 18th – universal future structures
Discussing the book “Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and the World Without Works” Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams (2015)
Preparing for Rotterdam, outlining the seminar on mutual support structure (Wednesday 23rd).

November 19th
Travel from Milano to Rotterdam

November 20th

PART 2: ROTTERDAM (21st / 25th November, 2016)

November 21st – exploring City in the Making
Guided tour by Erik Jutten to City in the Making, including the buildings, the workshops, residencies and meeting the economic pioneers. (Schiestraat, carpentry workshop at Noordplein, Zwaanshaals, Bloklandstraat, Banierstraat, Pieter de Raadtstraat. Meeting on the way Schieblock, Luchtsingel bridge, ZOHO, Zwaanshals “creative” shopping street).
Introducing principles and challenges of City in the Making, with Piet Vollaard.
cooking together
City in the Making emerging commons – conversations with Guido Marsille, Daan den Houter, Christine van Meegen (t.b.c.).

November 22nd – seminar preparation
Collective preparation seminar (7 questions/topics and 7 courses)
cooking together
Collective preparation seminar (7 questions/topics and 7 courses), continuation

November 23rd– SEMINAR on mutual support structures
continuous (10-17h)
7 questions/topics and 7 course meal
Mutual support structures rooted in City in the Making’s emerging commons, their possible communities and resources. What could emerge from a network of buildings, spaces and people? What is lacking to make it a sustainable community?
Each participant prepares one topic for discussion – including a dish.

November 24th – pats from here
Individual work. What do you take from this, how do you see your path from here, which support structures we need to build?
cooking together
free / Job Dura Award Ceremony

November 25th – collective (road)map
Drawing a large collective (road)map towards mutual support structures in wider society.
late afternoon
Preparing joint dinner.

• Take Back the Economy: An Ethical Guide for Transforming our Communities, By J. K. Gibson-Graham, Jenny Cameron and Stephen Healy
University of Minnesota Press, 2013
Bolo’bolo, By P.M.Autonomedia, 1983
Inventing the Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, By Nick Srnicek and Alex Williams Verso, 2015



Ana Džokić, Erik Jutten, Marc Neelen and Piet Vollaard are the initiators of City in the Making, an association opening abandoned (economically “toxic”) real-estate as a site to produce a new kind of economic and cultural reality. Ana and Marc are heading the practice STEALTH.unlimited, connecting visual arts, urban research, spatial interventions and cultural activism, like in the fiction-based project Once Upon a Future (Bordeaux) and Disassemble, a community based intervention (Gothenburg). Piet Vollaard is an architect, writer and cultural producer. He has been the initiator and 18 years the principal of ArchiNed, since 2013 runs the no-budget nomadic gallery 30KUUB, he authored a range of books on architecture. Erik Jutten studied at the Royal Academy of Visual Arts (The Hague), and has since been active as a driving force enabling projects and artworks to get realised in public space.

The residency fee includes accomodation and full board.
Travel expenses related to the trip to Rotterdam to be covered by the participants.

Participation fee
850.00 €