CONTACT ZONE: REPAIRING CRISES. PRESENTATION
The LAP will be developed over various annual editions. The first edition, set to take place between January and June 2022 under the title “Contact Zone: Repairing Crises“, recovers the notion of contact zone in the sense in which Clifford Geertz (1999) perceives the museum as an open public sphere, as a citizen’s laboratory where meanings and cultures intersect, a space for interpellation and a constant combination of narratives and accounts from non-hegemonic perspectives. A notion based on anthropologist Mary Louise Pratt’s (1992) conception of contact zones as social spaces, spaces of interference, intermediate spaces of negotiation between cultures, spaces of permeability, confrontation or resistance. “Contact Zone” is therefore conceived as a relational space, as a territory of confluence between education, research, dialogue, thought and critical thinking, from which to address debates related to the complexity of our reality in crisis and, ultimately, with contemporary political, social and institutional problems. As a laboratory of ideas, it aims to construct new spaces of shared knowledge, transformative spaces that both raise and open up questions, and that through a constellation of concepts and knowledge allow for the redefinition of the limits of the institution itself.
The programme was born of crises, not only to carry out an analysis based on its multiple dimensions, but also, and mainly, to propose what could be essential politics of “reparation”. Reparation is a concept that, within the framework of this proposal, operates in a polysemic way. Reparation in the sense of rebuilding what is damaged. But also reparation in the sense in which the worldwide movements in defence of human rights adhere to the demand for a more just, egalitarian, sustainable and free society.
The project was conceived before the COVID-19 crisis, essentially focused on the 2007–2008 international financial crisis and its consequences, but also on recognising ourselves as heirs to multiple unresolved crises. The public health situation caused by COVID-19 has further evidenced the need for radical transformations in the economic, political and social systems, and has hastened and made visible a latent crisis of the institutions that support our democratic societies, and this in turn clearly affects cultural institutions as well. For this reason, global awareness has raised tremendously in regards to social and economic inequalities, global precariousness, racism, the finitude of our planet’s resources, the unlimited exploitation of nature and other problems caused by the centrality of the economy in regards to public policies, to the detriment of the centrality of people and their well-being.
In its first edition, the Laboratory of Art and Thought raises the need to think about this contemporary complexity, developing its activity through five intertwined thematic axes that constitute the nervous system of Es Baluard Museu’s entire educational activity: New Institutionalisms, Environmentalisms, Feminisms, Borders and Work. Five axes that, from different perspectives, will approach some of our society’s greatest challenges: social inequality, respect for human rights, climate change, global precariousness and poverty, displacement and borders, and the need to rethink institutional structures in order to respond to these challenges.