Autogestion. Self-Organization and Social Transformation

Panel discussion with Isabelle Frémeaux, Hermann Josef Hack, John Jordan and Shelley Sacks
February 27th, 2013

From the Right to the City movement to the Transition Towns network, the role of self-organization has come back to the front stage of social, political and environmental practices involving activists as well as artists. How do self-organized communities search for »paths through utopia«? What is the connection to notions like »autogestion« or »horizontalidad«? How do these ideas and practices relate to the field of social sculpture? Which relations do these practices entertain with the global politics of e.g. climate change conferences? And what roles are artists creating for themselves at the confluence of micro- and macro-politics of (un-)sustainability? Isabelle Frémeaux, Hermann Joseph Hack, John Jordan, and Shelley Sacks will discuss these and some other related questions.

Isabelle Frémeaux was a senior lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College-University, London, until she resigned in December 2011 to escape wage labour and academia. Her action research explores popular education, storytelling and different forms of resistance. John Jordan is an art activist. He co-founded the direct action groups Reclaim the Streets and the Clown Army, worked as a cinematographer for Naomi Klein’s »The Take« (2004), and co-edited the book »We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anti-capitalism« (Verso 2004). Together Fremeaux and Jordan created the film/book »Pfade durch Utopia« (Nautilus 2012) and co-founded the art activism and permaculture collective The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, whose interventions continue to erupt across Europe. They are presently setting up the new commune La r.O.n.c.e. in Brittany, France.

Shelley Sacks is an interdisciplinary artist working internationally in the field of connective practices and social sculpture. She regards her longterm collaborative projects such as »Exchange Values« (since 1996) and »University of the Trees« (since 2006) as »instruments of consciousness« and flexible frameworks that open up new ways of seeing, linking inner and outer work. Her work includes more than forty actions, site works, installations and social sculpture projects, involvement in grass roots organisations & cooperatives, and collaborating with Joseph Beuys. Shelley is director of the Social Sculpture Research Unit at Oxford Brookes University.

Hermann Josef Hack is an artist, founder of the »Global Brainstorming Project« (1991), a platform to provide communication of researchers, scientists with the general public by the means of art. Influenced by his teacher Joseph Beuys, Hack develops social sculpture with a global aspect and attention to the cyberspace dimension. Among his public interventions is the »World Climate Refugee Camp« (since 2007), a model camp made of approx. 1.000 miniature tents, to visualize the plight of millions of climate refugees in the center of European cities, e.g. Berlin, London, Dublin, Madrid, Bruxelles, Hanover, Bremen, Bonn, Weimar, Frankfurt/Main.

Dr. Sacha Kagan is Research Associate at the ISCO - Institute of Sociology and Cultural Organization (ISKO - Institut für Soziologie und Kulturorganisation), and at the »Global Classroom« project, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Sacha Kagan founded the International level of Cultura21, Network for Cultures of Sustainability, as well as the International Summer School of Arts and Sciences for Sustainability in Social Transformation (ASSiST). The focus of his research and cultural work lies in the trans-disciplinary field of arts and (un-)sustainability.

The event in english language has been initiated and was moderated by Sacha Kagan and is part of Konferenzwoche 2013.