Rhyzom maps emerging cultural productions in local contexts (eco-cultures, local skills and alternative economies, traditional practices and cultures of resilience, rural/urban exchanges) and aims to reinforcing them through a European interdisciplinary network, which constitutes a cultural collaborative platform for reciprocal empowerment and trans-local dissemination.
The network has started with five organisations, within the framework of the EU Culture 2000 programme. These organisations have in common an interest in local cultural practice, each of them bringing a different perspective and a specific set a questions: atelier d’architecture autogérée is interested in cultures of resilience, Agency in education as cultural practice, PS2 in regional and rural aspects of cultural production, Cultural Agencies in models of cultural collaboration and institutional practice within peripheral contexts, Public Works in methodologies of exchange and networking cultural knowledge, goods, and people.
Fieldtrips were organised to investigate existing practices and initiatives with the idea of setting up connections and networks of production and dissemination. The project tried to literally ‘make a rhizom’, that is to say, if we quote Anne Querrien, ‘going towards the other in the perspective of an alliance and the construction of a temporary micro-territoriality that will soon after be shared with others, by the new offshoots of the rhizome’.
It is this micro-territoriality that we wanted to discover when we visited a series of projects in different European regions that had in common their way of questioning stereotypes and promoting authentic values anchored in the local. In the South of France, we visited a series of self-managed farms
(Cravirola, Bauchamp, Caracoles de Suc), eco-villages and intentional communities in Germany (Brodowin, Gut Stolzenhagen and Siebenlinden) as well as traditional forms of self-organised projects in Romania (Obste and Monasteries), emerging eco-networks like Transition Towns in Totnes or rural art networks like myvillages in Höfer Waren. We have also participated in gatherings that addressed the role and necessity of creating new types of organisations or institutions that can stimulate the idea of common knowledge production and dissemination. (i.e. Casa Invisible in Malaga, Grizedale in Cumbria, Mobile Community Centre in Ballykinler Northern Ireland, Organic Centre and Leitrim Sculpture Centre in Ireland).
A number of workshops followed as moments of collaborative experimentation, fabrication and critical reflection which engaged directly local and trans-local participants. The production of workshops was disseminated locally in different formats (exhibitions, installations, shops, fanzines, etc.) but we have also decided to put together a collective publication in order to reflect on the experience of our networked collaboration and the findings and connections this has facilitated.
The book TRANS- LOCAL-ACT: Cultural Practices within and across is an attempt to create transversal links and connections within and across different local framings and to seize instances of the dynamic and complicated nature of notions of ‘local’ and ‘culture’ through multiple forms of practice. The book is written by architects, artists, activists, curators, cultural workers, educators, sociologists and residents living in different rural and urban areas in Europe and is addressed to anyone concerned with the relation between culture, subjectivity, space and politics today.
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