On Saturday 21 April, I participated in the biannual event NoPlace, which in this year took place in Santo Stefano di Magra, a little village close to La Spezia on the Italian Riviera. NoPlace is an experimental exhibition venue and that it arrives at its 4th edition confirms that rhizome-organized, i.e. horizontal and not hierarchical exhibitions and art events are possible. 525 artists showed their works, from the art student to the established artist, curating each other and taking responsibility for their own works as well as for their fellows. Basing on the rhizome concept by Guattari and Deleuze in A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia, the organization is structured on four levels: “the author of the origin of the rhizome invites max. four other authors. These constitute the second level of the rhizome and can invite up to three authors each, the third level. Those authors of the third level involve up to two each (the fourth level) closing the “generative” line. The activation of the rhizome is following a rigid rule which allows keeping the participation’s dynamic transparent and readable. Every author who causes attendances takes responsibility for the following level and doesn’t influence in no way the choices of those authors invited by her/him.” view noplace.space .This year’s edition took place in a former ceramic factory and in the shopping mall of Santo Stefano di Magra.
Two varieties of little paper packs were arranged in two round accumulation. On both paper wraps of drawing paper, are printed texts about the social organization. The one text, Leviathan by Thomas Hobbes in English language is printed on white paper and the other text, Errico Malatesta’s L’anarchia and other political writings, in Italian on pink paper. The Leviathan wraps contain sugar cubes, the Malatesta text wraps are empty. The caption card placed between the two accumulations with the title: Blood Sugar, subtitle: Freedom or Security, the texts’ titles and authors, and the invitation for the visitor to take one of the paper packs choosing between the red and the white ones.
We have still possibilities to choose for a social change. The idea of a social contract that offers us safety and protection from nature, especially human nature which conceptualized as dangerous, through sovereignty for which everybody should give up her/his freedom, mandating to an authority power and political decisions.
The concept of Hobbes is fundamental for democracies. The imaginary of the permanent threat and danger lead people to give up not only political power. The question of safety is still not resolved, it seems more often the government is jeopardizing democratic values and endanger the health of integrity and of the physical body as well. Sugar has this ambiguous value, too. This industrial product is sweet and comforting in the first taste and yet is diabetes one of the prevalent diseases of modern societies and not only: it seems the blood sugar values are changed to its worse all over the world.
On the other side are the empty packs with Malatesta’s writings about the social evolution and the autonomy process. What freedom promises: at first nothing comfortable or even nothing at all, except for the responsibility for the first steps in the unknown process with its ups and downs. A process of democracy which seems to us uncertain and threatening.