{ assemblage }


Keywords: carving, making space, coming together, gathering, to assemble, safety vs security

“There is no space independent of subjects,” wrote Jakob von Uexküll in his volume A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans (1934). Each living subject, in the opinion of the Estonian biologist, lives in its own bubble of subjective constructs; as a product of perceptive signs awakened by the external stimuli needed for activation of the multiple functional cycles in which it is involved. So, what is the relationship that defines the encounter of various subject bubbles in a specific environment, namely a defined time and space? Can they form a community? If so, how?

Since our coming together, our journey has been far from straightforward. The multiplicity of events, restrictions, closed doors, and unpredictable setbacks have, in fact, scattered our project into many tracks that we are simultaneously working on. We have embraced the multi-directionality of our happenings, welcoming the contaminations of our encounters, as an unintentional and spontaneous form of what Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing calls “assemblages” (The Mushroom at the End of the World, 2015), as we work among the environments of the Royal Institute of Art of Stockholm and its international student body during our temporary stays there and beyond. Tsing further identifies assemblages as a polyphonic ensemble of “autonomous melodies [which] intertwine”, challenging the notion of unity of progress with a pluriversity of voices and trajectories, through harmony and dissonance, in the assemblage of our coming together.

Tsing seems therefore to suggest that we need to make conscious decisions about our way to proceed, in writing our histories. If so, how do we want our assemblages to be? Aware that the main modern obstacle for inhabiting a non-domestic space is the creation of safety, we would like to investigate this term in greater depth, from its origin to its difference from the modern concept of security. We will also work on uncovering how knowledge of security performs in the everyday, in pre- and post-pandemic perceptions, and in how the military structure of the island is still reflected on its actual spaces. One of our goals is the activation of a series of communal debates on these topics.


Steffie de Gaetano, Alice Pontiggia, Silvia Susanna