An exercise in radical participatory planning
At what point does health care become violence? Why do health care facilities turn into prisons, and what can be done to prevent this? Where are decisions made as to how health care is structured? What tools could be useful in challenging and rethinking the relations between patients, care providers, and society in a time of crisis? Such are the questions addressed by the Care Units Visual Assembly, initiated by artist Nika Dubrovsky and writer David Graeber. Participants from London, New York, Rojava, and Graz join to collectively decide on the nature of a hypothetical “care unit” in an approximately two-hour Zoom webinar. This care unit’s interpersonal relationships and behavioral protocols will be visualized in a live chalk drawing using stencil patterns on the campus of the Medical University of Graz. Register to participate in the Zoom conference, watch the chalk drawing on-site in Graz, or follow the webinar here on Paranoia TV. A more detailed plan for the assembly can be found here and further updates to be published soon.
Visual Assembly is an experiment in which the artist’s role changes from a skilful professional, craftsman or romantic author to a facilitator.
Does she lose his author’s autonomy?
What if the Assembly makes terrible (or stupid) decisions?
We are happy, that Visual Assembly as a part of the steirischer herbst was invited to be a part of the conference hosted by Graz’s legendary activist institution Forum Stadtpark. Titled Es könnte anders sein – Konferenz für Praktische Kritik – Utopie (It could be different – Conference for Practical Criticism – Utopia), the conference will feature participants such as Silvia Federici and Alexander Neupert-Doppler, among others, who will investigate the perspective for concrete and radical change today, examining the notion of “utopia” itself. They ask whether the emergence of new commons, radical redefinition of animal-human relations, or a world without racism are really that hard to imagine.
The International System of Typographic Picture Education was founded back in 1936. The name was coined by Marie Neurath. It was previously known as the “Vienna Method”. But after the Austro-Fascist victory in the Austrian Civil War in 1934, the pioneers of this innovative way of using images were forced to pack their bags and move to the Netherlands.
The Visual Assembly can be seen as what the Situationists called a Situography and what the Lettrists called Metagraphy and Hypergraphy – even Psychogeography in the 1950s-60s. Lettrism first appeared as Hurufism in the 1370s as حُرُوفِيَّة ḥurūfiyyah – a Sufi doctrine based on the mysticism of letters (ḥurūf). We can see contemporary or new Lettrism therefore as a materialist turn on classical Hurufism.
The Yes Man groupe! Often, I get inspired by their work and read their website. That’s what they’ve got:
As activist and writer George Lakey points out, “To win, movements need to expand. To expand, activists need to trust—themselves, each other, and people they reach out to.” This is true both within the team and with outside allies who are necessary to get the ball rolling. Creating an environment based on suspicion and fear can break a team apart and be totally counterproductive to inspiring others to join your movement.