The Convivial Laboratory

Design and spatial activism

by Linda Di Pietro
Chief Cultural Office

«We have  lost  the  pleasure  of  being  together.  Thirty years of  precariousness  and  competition  have destroyed  social  solidarity. Media virtualization has  destroyed  the  empathy  among  bodies, the  pleasure  of  touching each other, and the  pleasure of living in  urban spaces.  We have lost  the  pleasure  of love,  because  too  much  time  is  devoted  to work and  virtual  exchange».

Francesco Bifo Berardi and Geert Lovink. 2011. “A Call to the Army of love and to the Army of Software,” published online by the Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam )

We Will Design 2024 stands at the intersection of spatial and cultural dynamics as a platform to promote conviviality, intended as a collective need based on cooperation, mutual care and solidarity.  
New domestic landscapes peep out, from cohousing, to a new generation of cooperativism, to self-building collectives. 
New inhabitants of different origins, faiths, cultures and socio-economic statuses inhabit contemporary cities. 
New public space uses make visible unexpressed possibilities and challenge the question, who is in the wrong place? 
Conviviality becomes a tool of conversation, an exceptional architectural tool to promote inclusive design, where different voices and bodies come together in the sharing of active knowledge and the pursuit of desires through informality and spontaneity.  

“We celebrate the spaces informed by conviviality as those where racial, ethnic, religious, class, and gender differences are rendered unremarkable and ordinary. These are spaces where inequalities are neutered.”  

— Lemonot - Sabrina Morreale e Lorenzo Perri 

Starting from Ivan Illich’s concept of conviviality (1973, tools for conviviality), as a practice of “living together” (con-vivere), the Convivialism Movement was born and then became a Manifesto, signed in a second version in 2020 by over three hundred authors from different disciplines.  

WE WILL DESIGN seeks to imagine new forms of coexistence and interdependence based on Convivialism principles such as cooperation, democracy, dialogue between cultures, equal dignity, and ecological responsibility. 
We want to explore the ability to create different forms of interdependent relationships, contemplating our behaviours, feelings, and spatiality. 
We will use performativity as a tool to rewrite the spatial conditions of everyday life. 
We will promote the fantastic and the desirable as guiding principles. 
We will commit ourselves to creating exceptional and ordinary rituals to share with the visitors and citizens of the design week.  

During the Design Week 2024 BASE opens the doors of its spaces to the construction of a temporary community of designers, architects, and artists under 30 who will live and work within the spaces. Those will be transformed for the occasion into a laboratory of “conviviality” that invites visitors to reflect on the most innovative practices of coexistence, cohabitation and sharing currently present in Europe and their interrelation with the spectre of migration, gender, ability, health, and cultural background. 

What would it be to transform BASE into a place of political presence where designers, artists and students live and reinvent the space? 

While cities erect futuristic and elitist constructions, utopian visions of domesticity survive and autonomous solutions of informal settlements proliferate: living becomes a gesture of resistance and affirmation of human dignity. 

We must begin to inhabit thoughts and projects and not anymore just spaces and objects. We inhabit the future, we inhabit disturbance, we inhabit worlds that do not exist, bodies that are collective organisms. 

So... is this getting serious?

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