Beyond Social Media Determinism? How Artists Reshape the Organization of Social Movements
journal contributionposted on 24.06.2019, 08:45 by Alberto Cossu
Artists and creative workers are engaged once more in the social and political space. In the current wave, which started in the early 2010s, they have taken part in broad social movements (e.g., Occupy, Tahrir Square), created movements of their own (e.g., Network of Occupied Theaters in Italy and Greece), experimented with alternative economic models and currencies (e.g., Macao and D-CENT), carried out social research and radical education, partnered with institutional and social actors, supported neighborhoods, filled the void left by states’ retreat from the social, and hosted and co-produced art at a time when the budget for culture and independent art is being decreased in numerous countries across the world. This article aims to investigate the organizational and relational aspects of artistic social movements. Drawing on a 2-year-long ethnographic study conducted for my PhD dissertation and deploying a number of research techniques, including participant observation, digital methods, and semi-structured interviews, I propose a new understanding of the meaning of organization in contemporary artistic social movements. My article, focusing especially on data gathered on Macao, “The New Centre for Arts, Culture and Research of Milan,” constitutes an attempt to reflect on emerging organizational models in social movements.