Communitism is a project that began in Athens in December 2015 and will end April, 2018. It was the momentary vision of one that got realised and developed collectively by approximately 55 people throughout the three year period. Our main goal is the creation of a community run sociocultural center, which will be housed in any of the multiple abandoned cultural heritage buildings existing and crumbling in the area of Metaxourghio*.
Through yearly participatory events we invited people in two buildings of early 20th century Athenian cultural heritage and we created opportunities for three different communities to interact. We started with creative audience in 2016, adding local artists in 2017 and we are now bringing in international artists in 2018.
A three levels methodology has been developed for this project has be created.
Initially, we as the creative people of Athens, come together to realize the full potential of our capacities, capabilities and realise the joy of common space and collective work. We explored our possibilities and broadened our inspiration horizons.
Then, inspired and ready to communicate needs, we make clear that our approach will be positive and creative, and learned through practice how to develop our interdisciplinary vocabulary/codes by coexisting with local artists.
Finally, the communication is expanded to an international level, where we are presented with practises of ‘other’ and expand our ability to grow in our directions. All participants of this process have been given three perspectives and are now expected to be able to visualize and implement their own community structure responsive to their needs.
This is the essential artistic act in which each member of the project team has participated: The conscious decision to become part of a circle that they will be forming , while allowing the circle to form them too. As contemporary dervishes, we aspire for a field of shifted common practices, that we believe could shift the energy of our world.
The project worked in two directions, both inwardly and outwardly.
Inwardly, because the Communiteam itself has been, for the last 3 years, an open laboratory of explorations on what constitutes a participatory structure and eventually how its elements can be implemented successfully on a collectively run space of commons, devoted to social and cultural issues. As an expected outcome of an experiment, the team is aiming to have all the necessary assets in place, by the end of the project. A building to run and a plan to do so.
This will be our proof that by connecting to building owners who are losing their legacies on debt and decay, and taking up the responsibility to save them for common use, we can all benefit from a creative way of living.
Outwardly, by spreading the main idea symbolically through the events.
Communitism vol.I: introductory event , introduced the locals to a new idea. Building owners sharing their buildings with creative communities who in return would maintain a healthy and standing building. This vision was the seed for a new community to develop around it.
Communitism vol. II: Identity issues/ Does the land own you, or do you own the land? took the opportunity to provoke some thoughts on what forms the contemporary local identity and suggest a positive approach. This was a way of pointing out that if we are to be creative, we have to reduce stagnant criticism and increase the positive ways of approaching ourselves.
Communitism vol. III: Europe was taken by a Bull states the insignificance of all theories about Europe or the world’s future. We are in no condition to predict all that can, or will, happen as of now. The future can be as surreal as the myth from which the name of our continent originates. What matters is what we do, here, now, on a personal level along with the people that form our communities.
We have selected 17 projects facilitated by an international line-up of artists, collectives, cultural producers and theoreticians to respond to and interact with the building. Over the two months leading up to the event the building is slowly transforming. Interventions, including sensory experimentation, site specific installations and participatory performances, throughout the building and neighborhood, will manifest in creative experiences, new relationships and continuing projects.
After a year of managing this building, we are now in the final stage of what an impromptu unofficial community can do in terms of building maintenance: Most of the existing infrastructures are working and most of the damaging factors have been stopped.
The building, working as our community’s mirror is now in a very vibrant stage, full of creative people reviving it daily. Six different spaces of social and artistic content are running within its spaces. However, in order to start reversing the damaging factors and actually restore the building, we will need a more efficient commitment from all of the interested parties: Community, building owners, local stakeholders and participants.
We will be happy if we trigger more initiatives to create more and more spaces for the creative commons, as a continuation of our spiral progress. With the creation of such clusters within the city, we can actually educate ourselves on behaving communaly. The gains of our prototype will always be available to people that share our values. Our vision is to eventually impact our society on a larger scale, exceeding the expectations of what a group of people can or cannot do and make it visible to cultural heritage buildings.