“bourgeois society seeks out security beyond the immediate moment and moves in a system of lines that are just as straight as the avenues … the image in which the common people represent themselves is an improvised mosaic. It leaves many cavities free.”

“The value of cities is determined according to the number of places in which improvisation is permitted.”

Siegfried Kracauer, Streets in Berlin and Elsewhere
Reprinted Polity Press 2007

With this short text I would like to consider Infrastructures of Inclusion as Infrastructures of Care by looking at the “spaces of uncertainty” as privilege sites for the emergence of cohabitation strategies and practices of commoning.

In the last decade, driven by our desires and curiosity, I started a long exploration through the “wild” inhabiting marginal and the derelict side of the Venice lagoon. Abandoned buildings, critical areas with uncertain function, places of insurgent daily practices, places adopted by citizens becoming the center of struggles for the definition of what it means to be members of a community.

Uncertainty has become a productive space to imagine new meanings and new forms of using places, but also to experiment unpredictable forms of thinking, of artistic language, of poetic praxis.
I became familiar with all this sort of places that manage to welcome the unexpected, to offer free space, to integrate un-programed uses, to allow appropriation and commoning, to give time to care, to image inclusive forms of governance.
Art and architecture then became an opportunity to politicize the real.

Venice and its lagoon now is suffering. We have suffered the risks of a series of accidents such as the one of the large cruise-ship or the repeated problems (technical and legal) during the construction of the Mo.S.E. (the system that should protect Venice from high waters). We have witnessed then a series of “arrests” during a brief period, several confinements that have made the contradictions of the world we live in more evident, accelerating the crises that were already taking place; the extreme hightide in November 2019 and the defusing of a 500-pound bomb dating back to World War that had forced Marghera and Mestre to be blocked due to safety concerns and isolated Venice with the blocking of traffic, the global pandemic and a recent explosion of a chemical factory in Porto Marghera. Last but not least, as result of the long lockdown, The Venice Biennale has announced that the 17th International Architecture Exhibition – “How will we live together? – curated by Hashim Sarkis, which was to take place from August 29th to November 29th, 2020, has been postponed to 2021.

In Venice, as in many cities in other countries the lockdown affected the cultural and educational sectors: schools and universities, libraries and museums has been in forced to be closed for ninety days causing crisis on budgets and casting a shadow over the possibility of their effective and immediate reopening. Suddenly emptied, the city appeared as an unprecedented field of possibilities, imagination and rethinking.
Facing Covid19 pandemic could be the chance for a rethinking of the civic and the political role of the arts and art institutions as fundamental infrastructures of inclusion? Can we image a new coalitions in between revisited cultural Institution and emerging spaces? Covid19 pandemic invites us to rethink art institutions and art practices: not more boosters for uncontrolled growth, but useful aesthetic and political dispositifs to turn our cities into more inclusive and caring cities.

What can we do now? My proposal is to explore the role art-practices in reinventing public institutions and social structures, to image new alternative spaces of collaboration and cohabitation in which to prefigure new forms of collective life.

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