Glossary of independence
Before the Internet, the term “net” was used to describe the twining of threads of different materials, crossed and tied together in a more or less regular fashion so as to obtain a connected, functional system that included empty spaces. Today, the knots of the net are made up of interconnected wires (communication channels) used to exchange data and messages.
As far as independent production spaces are concerned, the net becomes a system to exchange, link, spread and intertwine content. A series of knots (spaces) and threads (relationships) that become a homogeneous system thanks to the work of a tailor (independent creation). The resulting structure is thus to literally “net” the system and therefore interact/replace/overlie it.
Non-profit and no profit
Generally speaking, the non-profit and no profit expressions are used with reference to activities the earnings of which are re-invested in new projects; in the field of independent practices, they describe actions carried out irrespective of market principles, which is the only way of ensuring independence of thought and freedom of expression. However, culture cannot be considered as a mere consumer product, and the profit that it generates cannot be measured by use of economic parameters only. It is to be based on different parameters. It should rely on sharing dynamics, rather than competition. It should make use of horizontal processes, rather than vertical ones. It should be based on enrichment, rather than gain. Non-profit is thus a vision, a mental approach, before even being a practice.
Adieu. Bientôt va… finir… une certaine manière de voir: this is how Monsieur Teste, the bizarre character created by Paul Valéry, says goodbye to the reader. The verb “to see” can be considered, as per synonymy, as one of the two meanings of the verb “to observe”: observing as a consequence of seeing, but also as a result of circumstance. According to Jonathan Crary, observers are not only those who see, but also those who «observe rules» and comply with them so as to conform to those social practices belonging to a system of conventions and limitations that in turn influence its very perception.
Practice means concreteness, experience, knowledge. It is the process whereby the theoretical abstraction of a principle becomes reality, the test bed for innate potential. Such was the original meaning of the word πρᾶξις – praxis in Greek. Indeed, independence relies on practice, namely the part of the process that is to lead to the production of culture and thought. Therefore, practice is the space of relationships, words, research, experiments and sharing.
The galaxy of independence contains a plethora of ever-changing practices; it is a precious, cutting-edge source of models and suggestions for other social areas.
In order to move inside the ‘Zone’ where Andrej Tarkovskij set the film Stalker (1979), the characters are to throw forward a rock that tells them which way to go. This gesture, which combines willpower and arcane fortuity, represents the deep meaning of the word “project”, which comes from the late Latin proiectare: to throw forward.
The contamination of Independent Spaces with the variables of group work, the open, experimental relationships that communities share and the relative freedom that derives from their self-proclaimed independence from the system enables them to recover the awareness of the risks of their project, which releases them from the somewhat sterile mechanical nature of institutional and commercial planning.
A relationship is an intersubjective action, a form of communication between two or more individuals that takes place in a shared time and space. A relationship implies a response that does not only involve the factual/objectual dimension, but mainly the emotional/behavioural one; the words “contingency” and “immateriality” could thus be attached to it. «Naturally take note of this date, time and minute on the ready-made as information». The ready-made is first and foremost an appointment: an unforeseeable alternation that leads to knowledge upon taking place and manifesting. Reality came first, followed by the unconscious and finally by society: such three elements are now held together by relationships.
From producers to consumers, from consumers to consumed, to quote Benjamin Barber. In order not to be tout court consumers, let alone consumed, we need to go back to being producers. Hence the need for research and experimentation. Such is the meaning of experimentation in independent practices: there are no limited spaces whereby to define oneself. Rather, constant critical repositioning is required with respect to space, images, and the very statute that legitimises artworks. A critical eye spots daily connections, revisits the past, fragments the present and paves a ground-breaking way through the modern world. Curiosity, commitment, dedication, technique, and knowledge: such are tools that shape the future.
Space is a founding element in the definition of the Independent Spaces pair. The presence of space characterises the ever-changing continuity of actions. Indeed, actions take place in space, which becomes the host of visions, projects, discussions and opportunities.
The physical manifestation of space is the point of contact with the audience, whether it be the transient kind typical of the world of art or the permanent communities within which it acts.
In view of their independence, the Spaces can attach a nomadic meaning to their collocation by using the networks that they help create. Therefore, space incorporates the definition of what art does as an independent entity.
The territory is laddered, polymorphic, alienated, controversial, dematerialised, standardised, reweaved, evoked, envisioned: in one word, restless. Whatever its state, even the Italian Constitution considers it as a public good (P. Maddalena, 2014). From judicial to functionalist definitions, the broad concept of territory enables the recognition of the relational and processual nature that characterises it, thereby defining it as «a highly-complex organism, an ever-transforming neo-ecosystem» (A. Magnaghi, 2000). Understanding the importance of the stakeholders that take part in the physical and symbolic shaping of the territory is paramount for every project that operates on this scale too.