Free Cultural Spaces Symposium
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Free Cultural Spaces Symposium, Christiania 2015
September 9, 2015 at 7:22 am #624
*The 5th FUTUROLOGICAL SYMPOSIUM
ON FREE CULTURAL SPACES:
Individuals and Collectives within Free Cultural Spaces, (a spiral meeting)
On the 24th, 25th, & 26th of September2015, Free-Town Christiania, in Copenhagen, Denmark, will host the 5th Futurological Symposium On Free Cultural Spaces (FCS): Individuals and Collectives within Free Cultural Spaces.
The term Futurological Symposium is taken from Stanislav Lem’s novel The Futurological Congress (1971) and refers to a deep commitment to developing an evolutionary perspective on Free Cultural Spaces (FCS) or Autonomous Zones. Ruigoord, the Dutch village that originated the Symposium idea, has been an active Free Cultural Space since 1973. Along with ThyLejren (the People’s Lair) and Christiania in Denmark, Ruigoord is one of the longest-lived of the Northern European utopian communities that emerged from the tumult of the Sixties. Its foundational principles, and thus those of the Futurological Symposia, rest on the notion of Homo Ludens, Playful Mankind ― the idea that free and playful interactions between people generate powerful communal impulses.
Since their inception, the Futurological Symposia have aimed to co-create a dynamic, lasting, sustainable, non-hierarchical global network of FCS; to originate a transnational platform for independent cultural experimentation; and to exchange ideas about the forms and content of free cultural circuits. Free Cultural Spaces take many forms, including squatted and hacker communities, pirate radio collectives and stations, free-towns, Eco-villages, perma-culture centers, independent festivals, (semi) nomadic groups, communes and communities, occupied grounds, Unceded Indigenous Territories, etc. When connected as an independent collaborative network, they have the potential to trigger profound changes in individual participants and society at large by disseminating values and practices that can generate new and creative alternatives to mainstream culture.
The 1st Symposium was organized as a response to an increasing oppression of Amsterdam’s counter-cultural communities and focused on the historical projects that had transformed the city into a pioneering Free-Town in the 60s and 70s.
The 2nd Symposium engaged different disciplines (philosophy, futurology, anthropology, politics, ecology, town planning etc.) and welcomed representatives from The Cultural Defense Line of Amsterdam in an attempt to conceptualize and organize a broad association of collective efforts.
The 3rd Symposium was an international gathering aimed at creating a solidarity league and formulating a treaty of mutual cooperation among FCS and the people involved with them. Representatives from Europe ― Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the UK; Eastern Europe ― Russia; Asia ― Mongolia; North America ― the USA and Canada; and South America ― Colombia, gathered to share their visions. It was during this 3rd Symposium that the first steps were taken towards drafting a “Declaration of the Universal Spaces takes place in Christiania, Denmark on the 24th, 25th and 26th of September Value of Free Cultural Spaces.”
In August of 2014, the 4th Futurological Symposium: Creating Unity in Diversity took place at the Boom Festival, at Idahna-a-Nova Lake, Portugal. The Boom Symposium focused on festival culture. Festivals are playgrounds for the experience of freedom. They help shape group spirit and ethos and facilitate direct human contact among people who are nowadays often connected solely via the Internet. A festival experience often accelerate an individual’s awareness that life offers multiple alternatives to the constrained and constraining experiences that mainstream society advocates. It can establish deep and mutually enriching connections between FCS and experiences of personal liberation. The importance of festivals for the co-creation of a counter-cultural reality links festival culture to autonomous zones around the world.
The Boom Symposium explored the festival parameters of free cultural experience, and linked the Futurological Symposium project to Project Nuevo Mundo, an international network of sustainability-focused communities based in Mexico and Central America. Particularly interesting features of the “free culture” that animates FCS began to emerge, including the importance of developing and/or recognizing rites of passage to the mindsets that recognize the potentialities contained in FCS.
At Christiania, the 5th Symposium will debate the interactive importance of Individual and Collective Aims within Free Cultural Spaces. The 5th Symposium will address such issues as:
1) What is Free Cultural Space? (Free cultural space versus public space; the different relations represented by free cultural space and public space ― freedom of lifestyle; self-regulation and self-organization.)
2) FCS as defined by the groups that forms them. (Pioneers taking the initiative)
3) Collectivity as a social phenomenon. (The growth of social collectives; social cohesion within FCS)
4) Changes within FCS’. Changing structures of cooperation, coordination, communication and power; visions, roles, shared responsibilities, motivations.
5) Different understandings on individualism and collectivism in Europe and e.g. the USA.
6) Why institutionalize a collective? (Minimizing the importance of individual relations and the “social cost” of interaction)
7) What ties link institutional and social collectives? (Formally instituted collectives in relation to FCS and more flexible social collectives; formally structured collectives are more tightly bound to place than are flexible social collectives.)
8) What parameters define “the Culture of Freedom” that animates FCS? (What are the limits of freedom within FCS (aggression, hard-drugs, etc.)? How unfree is a FCS? Do pioneers create the identity that determines a FCS’s forms of freedom” What are the limits on individual initiative within a collective environment?)
9) Collectivism and individualism within FCS ― the individual as a part of many collectivities; losing individuality within collectivity.
10) Individuality within social collectives.
11) Individuality within institutionalized collectives. (EU-rules about collectives (normalization).)
12) Social versus institutional attitudes within FCS
13) Conflict resolution and cooperation between collectives and individuals within FCS
14) Developing flexible juridical forms that are democratic and protect continuity ― which forms best suit FCS?
The Futurological Symposiums are manifestations of a nomadic, decentralized event. Future Symposiums will take place in different FCS, and will focus on different aspects of FCS networks. The diversity between the projects and perspectives presented at each event will constitute its distinctive feature, with the connections, collaboration, and continuities it generates providing new and exciting synergies to the overall Futurological Symposium project.
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