Valentina Karga

NA Fund Academy 2016: “We need places where we can fall in love”


I just had the good fortune to be invited to take part in this academy in Basel.  It was a really deep and meaningful exchange with an amazing group of people, with whom we shared many views and questions. Basel has an inspiring alternative side: a quite big and well-working urban agriculture network, an alternative currency (the Netzbon), while 23% voted YES for the basic income. The whole experience reminded me of my utopian dreams of a world where work and money are disassociated, money has no storage value (like the netzbon) and it is just a means-to-an-end and people do work which they find meaningful. Enough generations were brought up with the idea that you have to endure jobs you don’t like, or you don’t even understand (see bureaucratic or financial sector), in order to make money and try to find happiness in consuming. The time to search for meaning elsewhere has come. Just like we talk about closing the loop of production and consumption, this is like closing the loop between work and meaning. By saying so, I had to think of a book of David Grabber (whom I mentioned a lot during the academy but for another book) ,  The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy. The basic income campaign was asking people: What would you do, if your income were taken care of? I would grow food in the city, continue make art to challenge people’s subjectivities and engage them in discussions/actions about change, save seeds for the future, and more self-work towards complete deconstruction of all the views and convictions I grew up with, that block me from being free from fear and critique (critique is pointless without engaging in change). Basically, what I already do, only that now I also have to do some extra work in order to overcome financial stress. My belief is that we should not worry if people will want to do cleaning jobs any longer, but rather if they will engage with the whole financial and bureaucratic nonsense. A society where basic income could function as a model, will be a society that is not afraid to change because is aware that the pattern of the cosmos is a constant alteration of collapse and rise. Resisting the change, resisting the collapse, will only eventually make the collapse bigger, and more painful. So, let us go down the Seneca cliff (a concept we learned from Ugo Bardi at the Academy) willingly, knowing that after the fall, we will rise up again, into a new ‘now’, a now that suits more the current circumstances, not an anachronistic now. The only thing we need to keep in mind is to save enough seeds to start again. It seems that young urban women, understand the necessity of the fall the best of all, since they are the majority that voted YES to unconditional basic income. Apparently, Chuz Martinez knows this too, as she spoke to us about her dream of a female art academy. And, just like we learned at the Systema intro (a martial arts practice from Russia), that was introduced to the group by Sophie Krier, what we can do to prepare for the fall, is to become flexible like an algae, allowing ourselves to follow the force of the fall, and do not resist it. In this way, the fall will shake us, but it will not break us. We are heading towards a collective consciousness where one can find peace, even while fighting. And so, by practicing acceptance instead of resistance, one might find a revelation about love, like I did: during a reflective ‘exploration’ introduced to the group by Julia Stern, I discovered that love is an inner state of complete acceptance and openness. At last, Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro, apart from brining all this program and people wisely together, introduced us to Body Weather, a japanese practice coming from a combination of agriculture and dance, and this completed my vision of communal living, working and creating; a complete flow of life, without the need to separate, what is work, what is life and what is creation. Everything is in everything.

Thank you all, until we fall in love again!

Some more info about the concept and the program and more links bellow:

n his 1977 lectures “How to live together,” Roland Barthes addressed the philosophical problem of the coexistence of individuals through the lens of the everyday: food, things, places… Achieving the utopia of a collective, “idiorhythmic” subject, requires us to overcome arbitrary division as much as to open spaces of shared interests. How can relations of commons be translated into cultural methods to build a convivial society? Can the sense of emplacement give new meaning to our engagement with the global issues of the world? In times of acceleration and separation, intuitive practices of the local and slow life constitute a precious knowledge. A growing number of citizens are becoming involved in a horizontal process of ecological and social “transition” that takes its roots in simple gestures of everyday life: growing food, preserving seeds, bartering knowledge, and building tools of resilience to prepare for the multiple crises that lie at the horizon of our complex, yet fragile systems of organization: debt, peak-oil, anthropogenic climate change, crop yields and a general decline of efficiency rates.

From June 20 to 24, Nature Addicts! Fund will host its fourth mobile academy in the city of Basel, where the fund has a 3-year partnership with Institut Kunst to bring international artists to the new exhibition space Der Tank located within the School of Fine Arts, FHNW Academy of Art and Design .

Curated by Stéphane Verlet-Bottéro, the academy “We need places where we can fall in love” invites 12 emerging European artists to debate on the cultural implications of the shift to relationships of places and commons, interact with local “transitioners” who are developing practical alternatives from urban agriculture to local currencies, and look at how issues of rhythm, space, living and working together, are addressed by a number of artistic initiatives in and around the city.

Participants: Inge Ceustermans, Etienne Chambaud, Sjim Hendrix, Valentina Karga, Sophie Krier, Tiphanie Mall, Katarzyna Przezwa?ska, Simon Ripoll-Hurier, Paul Smyth, Julia Stern, Hanes Sturzenegger, Yesenia Thibault-Picazo

Contributors: Ugo Bardi, Béla Bartha, Bastiaan Fricht, Chus Martínez, Mathilde Rosier, Pierre Tandille, Isidor Wallimann, Marilola Wili


swiss basic income campaign


swimming at Manifesta


Pablo Helguera at Manifesta, making fun of the artworld, through the corridors of the institution


alternative currency Basel


and a selfie with Ugo Bardi, read him here.