Synapse 1: Introducing a laboratory for production post-2011

Synapse 1 was the first of a series of OMONOIA events or ‘synapses’ running over the next two years. The aim of Synapse 1 was to consider the common ground between groups of scholars, activists, self-managed organisations, cultural producers and other civic subjects involved in urban practices of commoning, solidarity, urban welfare and participatory democracy. Synapse 1 asked participants to imagine how these urban experiments developed in times of crisis may become permanent and sustainable alternatives to the dominant economic and political model. Synapse 1 also asked to imagine the grassroot economic and political practices developed in Greece and Europe’s South as new common ground for an alternative European project.

    November 18, 2015
A day organised in three sessions of moderated panel discussions where participants make short presentations and respond to questions.
VENUE: National Theatre – New Rex, 48 Panepistimiou Street

09:00 – 09:30 Arrival of journalists, participants, conference attendees
09:30 – 10:20 Press conference
10:30 – 12:30 Session I
12:30 – 13:15 Lunch Break
13:15 – 15:45 Session I (continued)
15:45 – 16:00 Short Break
16:00 – 100 Session II
18:00 – 18:15 Short Break
18:15 – 20:00 Session III
21:00 National Theatre Play
Magda Goebbels by George Veltsos,
directed by Angela Brouskou

    Session I: Alternative Economies
This session explored four institutions of human economy – alternative currencies, cooperativism, urban welfare and commons – and reflected on how these forms can become permanent and sustainable alternatives.
Precarious Labour: Maurizio Atzeni, Dario Azzellini, Andrea Fumagalli
Cooperativism: Florent Berlioux, Thodoris Karyotis, Sharryn Kasmir
Commons & Urban welfare: Luigi Coppola, Sylvia de Fanti, Federica Giardini, Ugo Mattei
Alternative Currencies: Emanuele Braga & Paolo Caffoni, Robert Meister, Marco Sachy, Tiziana Terranova

    Session II: Rethinking Institutions
The Athens Biennale acts both as host organisation and mediator between artists, cultural producers and local initiatives and institutional space where notions of self-organisation, cooperation, sustainability and grassroots democracy will be experimented. The aim is to develop new institutional configurations and alliances between cultural producers and art institutions across Europe.
Max Andrews & Mariana Cánepa Luna, Maria Hlavajova, Leo Panitch, Emily Pethick, Adam Szymczyk, Hilary Wainwright, Amalia Zepou (moderator)

    Session III: The Perfomative in the Political
The invited speakers looked at relationships between aesthetics and politics –particularly at art and cultural production– and the role of artists and intellectuals in urban mobilisations and participatory democracy.
Athena Athanasiou, Angela Dimitrakaki, Costas Douzinas, Oliver Ressler, Kostis Stafylakis, Margarita Tsomοu & Angela Melitopoulos, Katherine Watson (moderator)

    November 19, 2015
An afternoon of public discussion and knowledge-exchange among scholars, activists, selforganised groups and cooperatives.
Participants met in working groups based on themes discussed on the previous day and exchanged knowledge and experiences. They were then gathered in an open assembly, where, from 14.00 until 17.00, under moderation, the proceedings of the Summit and potential future collaborations and actions were discussed.
VENUE: Bageion Hotel, 18 Omonoia Square

List of speakers:

Andrews, Max Co-director,Co-founder and Curator at Latitudes, Barcelona, Spain
Athanasiou, Athena Lecturer of Social Anthropology at the Panteion University of Athens, Greece
Atzeni, Maurizio Research Fellow and Lecturer in Labour and Industrial Relations at Loughborough University, UK
Azzellini, Dario Director, Writer, and Assistant Professor for Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria
Berlioux, Florent Doctoral Candidate at the Norbert Elias Centre, Marseille, France
Braga, Emanuele Artist, Researcher, Activist and Co-founder of Macao, new centre for arts, culture and research, Milan, Italy
Caffoni, Paolo Writer, Researcher, Member of Macao, new centre for arts, culture and research and Founder of Archive, Berlin, Germany
Coppola, Luigi Artist, Member of Parco Comune dei Frutti Minori, Brussels, Belgium
De Fanti, Sylvia Activist, Member of Teatro Valle, Rome, Italy
Dimitrakaki, Angela Writer and Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland
Douzinas, Costas Professor of Law and Director of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities at Birkbeck University, London, UK
Fumagalli, Andrea Professor of Political Economy at the University of Pavia, Italy
Giardini, Federica Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Roma Tre, Italy
Hlavajova, Maria Founder and Artistic Director of BAK Art Center, Utrecht, Netherlands
Karyotis, Thodoris Sociologist, Activist and Member of the Initiative of Solidarity to the Vio.Me., Thessaloniki, Greece
Kasmir, Sharryn Professor of Anthropology at Hofstra University of New York, USA
Luna, Mariana Cánepa Co-director, Co-founder and Curator at Latitudes, Barcelona, Spain
Mattei, Ugo Professor of International Law at the University of Turin, Italy
Meister, Robert Professor of Social and Political Thought at the University of California Santa Cruz, USA
Melitopoulos, Angela Artist and Researcher, Berlin, Germany
Panitch, Leo Professor of Comparative Political Economy and Political Sciences at the University of York, Montreal, Canada
Pethick, Emily Curator and Director of The Showroom, London, UK
Ressler, Oliver Artist and Filmmaker, Vienna, Austria
Sachy, Marco Digital Currency Designer for Think &Do Tank, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Stafilakis, Kostis Art Theorist, Artist, Researcher, Athens, Greece
Terranova, Tiziana Associate Professor of New Media and Cultural Theory at the University of Naples, Italy
Szymczyk, Adam Artistic Director of Documenta 14, Athens, Greece
Tsomou, Margarita Artist, Journalist, Activist and Editor of Missy Magazine, Berlin, Germany
Wainwright, Hilary Fellow of the Transnational Institute and Senior Research Associate at the University of Bradford, UK
Watson, Katherine Director of the European Cultural Foundation, Brussels, Belgium
Zepou, Amalia Vice Mayor for Civil Society and Municipality Decentralisation and Founder of SynAthina Platform, Athens, Greece