This fourth and final gathering in the Annotating series looks at practices of unbuilding and instituting. The readers assembled by the contributors joining this event focus on practices that involve adaptation, liberation and flight as strategies and tactics of elaborating a past, present and future of ways of life in, through and against Institutions. They examine the legacy of instituent practices in transnational context and propose to question the when of infrastructures.

Susannah Haslam and Tom Clark (adpe) elaborate what the practices of unbuilding infrastructures are if we were to think of them as ways of life. If infrastructure leads a double existence — as plan and as realisation, enfolded into one functioning means — we begin positioned between, before and after this split. Proposing to define not what infrastructure is, but when it is, the reader annotates its texts toward the possibility of an alternative what; a model of space-time not premised on infinite infrastructural expansion and thus enclosure and certainty, but on a precise means of assembly points, slippages and breakages that engage such possibility. In addressing this question, the reader includes texts (from written words to organisational practices) that show how infrastructure composes and determines the limits of possibility between its indeterminacy and what counts as life for infrastructure; how infrastructure is a way of life; the infrastructural as a value system and means of materialisation; and how to begin the task of unbuilding these lives, those which infrastructure present as ‘proper’. Anchored by the texts’ engagement with various aspects of art, design, policy and education the reader will set a ground for unbuilding/building infrastructure as methodology. Unbuilding may then come to mean an action on, or model of, infrastructural objects that could be policies, architectures, artistic works, events, interventions repetitions etc., but which can be represented by a proxy object in/as the reader.

adpe is a collaborative research practice between Dr Susannah Haslam and Tom Clark which aims to better understand the relationship between art, design, policy and education through conceptual and procedural research.

Sarrita Hunn and James McAnally of Temporary Art Review propose an informal reader and discussion for what comes after Instituent Practices, understood as artistic and curatorial practices that “invent new forms of instituting.” In their examination of its legacy, they question how artists and independent projects challenge, comply with, and sometimes imitate traditional institutional forms, and whether and how (self-initiated) organizations could consider their own operational mechanisms in order to responsibly address the social, political and cultural fabric in which they operate. Their reader engages the legacy of institutional critique, ongoing institutional and organizational experiments, Raunig, Ray, Novotny et al.’s notion of ‘instituent practices’, and is informed by an interest to connect this predominantly European continental theory to institutional experimentation in the United States and elsewhere.

Dorothée King’s research on the transmutation of pedagogical utopias between Europe and the US attempts to demystify the trope of an ideal art school having existed on either side of the Atlantic and seen from the other side. Like the Bauhaus has been sold as the rational ideal of a market aligned creative practice in the US, conversations in Europe about radical art education keep referring to the Black Mountain School as a kind of Shangri-La of artistic freedom and experimentation whose qualities are sought to be recovered. Her research focuses on how the creation of the artist subject has been colonized by different supranational hegemonies, such as the Bologna system or American academic imperialism, and attempts to create awareness of the context in which art education takes place, and which stakeholders influence the making of the western, modernist artist subject.

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