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And suddenly it’s summer. The fresh green of spring makes place for a deeper, darker shade. It’s a warm afternoon, the sun is high and shadows are short. It’s time to play. Time to carry out plans. That also means it’s time to say yes to certain things, and no to other things. It’s time to show yourself, it’s time to manifest: it’s time for action. No more room to wriggle. As the myth of endless economic growth comes to an end, we can conclude that there are no modern solutions for modern problems. “We have to look elsewhere, for other-than-modern world-making possibilities,” as Wong and Krier’s pluriversal guide Arturo Escobar writes. Arturo Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverse. Radical Interdependence, Autonomy and the Making of Worlds, Durham: Duke University Press, 2018, p. 19 “Design needs to move away from binary systems of thought and towards radical imaginations.” Where being radical (from radici, root) implies embracing an uncompromised – but non-moralistic – way of being. Easier said than done: binary dilemmas keep creeping in. This unsettling process demands we dare to root ourselves in history, community and place. Only then will life-affirming positions and actions come into view. The makers in this section, in one way or another, all put their bodies on the line, and step out of conventional roles to make kin with hedges, sheep, rivers, human rights, or protest marches.

 


 

la C.A.R. (Cellule d’Actions Rituelles) / INITIATION MASKS

21st century, ZAD (Zone to Defend), Notre-Dame-des-Landes, Brittany

Practice the ‘no’ of resistance and the ‘yes’ of the imagination with la C.A.R., Cellule d’Actions Rituelles. From a reclaimed territory near Nantes that fought off a climate-wrecking airport project, la C.A.R. initiates events that bridge art, activism and magick. By using both artistic and activist tools, they advance what they call “a world that exists because another one was resisted”. A world without a clear distinction between protest and the creative process, or between pleasure and political success. Step into a woven headpiece and let yourself be taken on a journey to worlds worth fighting for, and worlds that need to be resisted – such as Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse.

Cynthia Hathaway / WASA, WOOL ALLIANCE FOR SOCIAL AGENCY

2018-ongoing, the Netherlands / Pakistan and other locations

Artistic researcher Cynthia Hathaway wonders: “In what way is wool a mirror of (un)sustainable practices and (im)balanced relationships?” To find some answers, Hathaway dives deep into the world of wool, shepherding and recycling. And this leads to new questions: why is wool as a material so undervalued in Europe and elsewhere? And can rural practices such as shepherding inform urbanism? Cynthia takes this literally: she mobilised a herd and its shepherds and organised a walk through Tilburg – a city in the Netherlands with a strong textile heritage – in an attempt to reconnect worlds. Hathaway: “Through wool and walking we will have the opportunity to think on an inclusive scale about where we are heading and where we want to be.” Let’s walk with her and find out.

Li An Phoa / Drinkable Rivers

2005-ongoing, European watersheds

Why do we take it for granted that we humans cannot drink straight from rivers any more? We almost seem to have forgotten that this was ever possible. Activist and researcher Li An Phoa finds this unacceptable. Drinkable rivers are an indicator for healthy living conditions for all beings. Over the past fifteen years, Phoa has been walking 18,000 kilometres along rivers on different continents. On the way she talks to scientists, school kids, activists and politicians and sets up water quality measurement hubs. Her ultimate goal: drinkable rivers within her (and our) own lifespan.

Tomás Espinosa / Continuum II

2020, Bogotá

Can we re-imagine our own presence in this world? Artist Tomás Espinosa has collaborated with La Red Comunitaria Trans, a group of fierce Colombian trans women, for a few years now. Together they develop workshops, interventions and performances in the public space with the aim of generating personal growth and higher visibility for the trans community. They fight for safer lives and equal rights. In this case, art equals activism. In Espinosa’s work, the tension between public space and intimacy, and the omnipresence of violence, are recurring themes.

Ola Hassanain / Charette (16 minutes, 20 seconds)

2019, Khartoum

Artist and spatial practitioner Ola Hassanain believes that everyone should have the right to appear in public space on their own terms. You are watching a discussion around the routes taken by demonstrators in the Sudan Revolution of December 2018. The revolution led to a short-lived transition towards democracy, until interrupted by a military coup on 25 October 2021. The charrette setting positions you as stakeholder in a discussion about the built environment. Demonstrators, sit down and take the shapes of the routes in your hand: how to navigate the city safely as protesters, when we are unfamiliar with it? Especially when we know that Google Maps doesn’t show essential facilities like pharmacies and gas stations in Khartoum. How can we rely on our localities and the ecology of inhabiting space to help us exit state aggression?

Suzanne Dhaliwal / Inclusive Climate Campaigning

Ongoing, Croatia

High on artist and activist Suzanne Dhaliwal’s agenda: a more diverse climate-activist community and the inclusion of human rights in the climate debate. For Dhaliwal, listening is an important, but easily overlooked element of activism. By hacking the iconic activist tool, the megaphone, and inverting it into a listening device, it becomes both a tool and a metaphor.