CLAIRE BISHOP ° Revisiting Participation

of Spectatorship (Verso, 2012). In anticipation of a reprint to mark the book’s tenth anniversary, this talk will gauge the development of participation over the last decade in art and performance (and beyond). It will revisit the book’s blind spots—namely, omissions concerning technology and race–and reflect on how the book’s central aesthetic argument, in favor of antagonism, has lost force in the last decade.

DAVID MULDER VAN DER VEGT ° The Architecture of Assembly

Parliament is the space where politics literally takes shape. Here, collective decisions take form in a specific setting that organizes relationships between political actors through architecture. The architecture of spaces of political congregation is not just an abstract expression of a political culture – it participates in politics. Since 2010, architecture office XML has explored the double-sided relationship between space and politics in a series of projects, ranging from art installations, and research, to an interior for a meeting hall of European government leaders in Brussels. In 2016, the office published the book PARLIAMENT, that documents and compares the plenary halls of the parliaments of all 193 United Nation member states. Looking closer at the settings of these deliberative spaces and exploring their tactile and symbolic meaning, also raises questions about the ability of political spaces to envelop collective-decision-making for the specific challenges of today. Parliaments seem to be merely expressions of the past that anchor the political status quo. What role can architecture play in rethinking our models of collectivity? Can the architecture of parliaments provoke another politics? Comparing settings between East and West, North and South, democratic and authoritarian regimes, allows looking at national assemblies as more than mere ornamental and symbolic representations of national values, taking them seriously as actors in the shaping of future times.

MARKUS MIESSEN ° Crossbenching

“Crossbenching” is a practice of individuals acting without mandate, a conceptual frame that he generated out of the necessity to come to terms with a critique regarding normative forms of participation. His work as an architect has interrogated everyday spaces for pluralist governance and the spatial choreographies of how to set a setting. Crossbenching, as a practice, acknowledges the critical importance of social gathering based on the performative, the choreographic, and space as its mobilizing agent: the potential to think the question of democratic becoming through the physical scale (and design) of assembly. By presenting friction as a productive variable, he emphasises the emancipatory potential of architecture and design as a tool to shape what he calls “Cultures of Assembly”, a democratic setting, which is highly choreographed, while dealing with questions of physical proximity and accountability generating productive friction between its oppositional bodies. In a Mouffian sense, this produces a space for choreographed agonistic debate. Here, architecture and design become an enabler: both in terms of how an audience may react to it, but also in terms of how a setting influences the way its members talk to each other, and the way in which they interact. This is not to be mistaken with a form of social engineering. But rather: the power of the object.

XII: Pitfalls of Representation. Assemblies in Theatre (Milo Rau, School of Resistance, Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination & Florian Malzacher)

Numerous theater makers and artists have been inspired by the concept and the performative reality of assembly in recent years, creating, directing, initiating trials, parliaments, congresses, summits and assemblies in white cubes and black boxes, on proscenium stages and public spaces. But the relationship between theatrical and political representation remains complicated. What are difference and proximity between physical presence within an art institution and on, for example, an occupied square? The 12th edition of The Art of Assembly looks at the often productive, often ambivalent relationship between art and activism, inviting three very different initiators of assemblies: Theater director Milo Rau believes in staging and realistic representation in his plays, while for his tribunals and trials he invented what he calls „symbolic institutions“; the School of Resistance uses theatrical settings but understands itself as an activist, not an artistic project; and the activists Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan believe: If you truly want to do politics, you have to desert the institution of art and entangle insurrectionary imagination into the everyday life of movements.

SCHOOL OF RESISTANCE ° Assembling Political Power

On the weekend of the German federal elections of 2021IIPM, NTGent, Schauspiel Köln and the School of Political Hope hosted together with #LeaveNoOneBehind and numerous organizations from all over the world a School of Resistance for a new politics of humanity and justice. How can the system of dehumanization, illegalization and exploitation of migrants in Europe be overturned? A manifesto signed by over 80 public figures and a joint fundraising campaign which supports human rights lawyers to bring responsible politicians and officials to court, explored new possibilities and potentials for the convergence of art and activism. Is art a future tool for survival for global citizens to become agents of change in times of crisis?

MILO RAU ° From symbolic Institutions to Microecologies

Milo Rau believes in staging and realistic representation in his theatre plays, while for his tribunals and trials or the General Assembly he invented what he calls „symbolic institutions“ – an open, often antagonistic gathering of opinions and conflicting thruths. Recent projects like The Revolt of Dignity or the School of Resistance tries to hack the economic and political systems by means of art, constructing what Milo calls „alternative micro-ecologies. In his talk, Milo will trace his path from theatre plays and trial projects like Orestes in Mosul or The Moscow Trials to symbolic institutions like The Congo Tribunal and General Assembly – the basis for his actual holistic approach in projects like The Revolt of Dignity or A filmschool for Mosul that he develops with various partners from the arts, civil society and politics.

ISABELLE FREMEAUX & JAY JORDAN / LABOFII ° Compos(t)ing Together to actually do shit!

co-design and deploy forms of creative disobedience since 2004. Consensus decision making and assembling is at the heart of this process, which is always entangled with radical movements and yet also has a foot in cultural institutions. Whether it was co-organising the horizontal processes of Climate Camps, transforming theatre stages into meetings to organise disobedience, facilitating the mass talk shops at Occupy London or at the zad of Notre-Dame-des-Landes, coordinating shared life and struggle against an airport and its world – the Labofii has tasted many flavours of assembling. This talk/film explores Labofii’s experience of these different contexts and ask how can artists use assemblies in the art world without becoming extractivist and loosing the powerful potential of reciprocal relationships to activist movements

© Barbara Braun / MuTphoto

ANDCOMPANY&CO. ° The Ant of Assembly

Ants are a „secret world power“ – dumb individually, but supersmart as a collective: a „superorganism“. They make decisions without an approving authority. And without a process of deliberation. But maybe there is more to learn from ants. andcompany&Co. is in the process of transforming into the ANTCOMPANY. Recent research has shown that ants play an active role in the natural process of „weathering“. Thus they could help to cool down the planet. And to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground. The time for theorizing is over, time to start to experiment! Time for ANTiFA ACTION AGAINST FOSSIL FASCISM! Two species, one demand: CANCEL INDUSTRIAL CO²!

Floating University © Pierre Ardenis

XI: Architectures of Hospitality (Merve Bedir, Benjamin Foerster-Baldenius/raumlabor berlin, Marina Otero Verzier & Florian Malzacher)

Hospitality – with all its seeming generosity – is a complex concept: Who is invited into our societies, our assemblies? What are the relationships between guests and hosts? Is unconditional hospitality possible? The architecture of public space, the infrastructures of coming together, the borders and thresholds around them inform how we come together, what is prevented from happening, what is possible. The 11th edition of The Art of Assembly looks at the physical relations of gatherings, how bodies and objects are organised, how radical concepts of democracy can be represented in space. Architect and researcher Merve Bedir since long researches infrastructures of hospitality and mobility as well of the residue of solidarity in urban and public space. For raumlabor architecture is a tool, in search for a city of possibilities, considering themselves activists, operating within the urban landscape. And for architect and scholar Marina Otero Verzier is concerned with how the work of architects, in coordination with other social and institutional techniques, produces differential spaces that either facilitate or prevent their encounter of bodies.

X: Politiche della moltitudine – ITALIAN VERSION (Antonio Negri, Anna Clara Basilicò & Marco Baravallle)

La moltitudine è una “molteplicità di singolarità che agiscono insieme” (Antonio Negri/Michael Hardt), “i molti, visti come molti” (Paolo Virno): una rete che non è omogenea né autoidentica. Il concetto di moltitudine è controproposto all’idea di popolo. Un soggetto rivoluzionario difficile da afferrare o da definire – di volta in volta lodato o criticato per questa apertura. La decima edizione di “The Art of Assembly” affronta il tema dell’assemblea come strumento e strategia della moltitudine per prendere decisioni e comunicare. Antonio Negri rivisita il concetto che – insieme a Michael Hardt – ha reso popolare nei primi anni 2000, mentre l’attivista climatica Anna Clara Basilicò discute il suo potenziale per i movmenti del presente.