Autonomous Organization is opening a free space that will be a resource center for sharing and creative economies.
So this has been a strange journey with so much beautiful support! Thank you all!
We know this project will happen one way or another...but we're in the final few hours and got such a generous donation yesterday, we'd love to appeal to you all for one more round of promotion for this project!
xElysa and Khalil
This Thursday join us for a talk to launch the space by Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis on October 4th, 7PM, at The Commons, 388 Atlantic Avenue in Downtown Brooklyn. It will also be livestreamed by Global Revolution TV.
Update: ***We invite you to join The Public School, Basekamp, Global Revolution TV, Organize for Occupation, Cindy Milstein, Silvia Federici and George Caffentzis, The Commons, Shareable Magazine, Brownstoner, Brokelyn, Teresa Ponza, The Holdout, Bluestockings and countless members of the community....in supporting this project!***
Opening this November, The Base will be a storefront in Bushwick, Brooklyn for the proliferation of free resources. You will see within its walls: organizing, resources for free living, skillsharing and workshops, a library and local research. Fostered by the needs and ideas of it’s users, participants are invited to lead their own projects, request skills and aid, and locate the tools they need for the struggles they are engaged in.
- Renters Rights Cooperative, with a housing lawyer
- DIY skillshares, for example urban foraging seminars, construction lessons, English and Spanish lessons
- Weekly and biweekly boxing, MMA, and kung fu lessons
- Monthly goods sharing event
- Free dinners
- Film screenings
- Self-organized student meetings
- Research, leading to talks focusing on local Brooklyn history
- College student run political discussion group and radio show
- A meeting space for several worker-organized groups
- Offset printing workshops and use
Autonomous Organization is an art practice that fuses social structures, community organizing, and creative economies. Drawing on these burgeoning practices, we knit together multiple strategies to establish social and economic connections based on mutual sustainability.
We’re just on the cusp of bringing our satellite projects under one roof in our neighborhood! It will be a nexus for creative collaboration, an exchange point for skills and goods, a space for public presentation, a production studio for visual interventions, a library of pragmatic DIY strategies, and a think tank for user-driven experiments – all geared toward transforming how we constitute our relationships towards each other and towards our material needs.
While there are many projects that will be running in this space; here is brief overview of what we already have established.
Our Renters Rights Cooperative has teamed up a housing lawyer with local families and individuals to figure out if their rent is inflated and to begin preparing a course of action to lower this monthly expenditure. Through ongoing efforts between Autonomous Organization and local residents we have collectively created information that addresses constituents in our neighborhood – and implemented simple DIY methodologies for lowering rent and working against gentrification.
We realized from living in this part of Brooklyn, there is an informal method for sharing furniture and clothing: people drape sweaters over front gates or stack larger items outside their fences. This has been happening sporadically around town and unfortunately when it rains, things get destroyed. From participating in and observing this process, we devised another project. We want to invite people to continue sharing their unneeded stuff in our space, making it possible for folks to give away clothes, tools, food and be able to consistently find the things they need for free.
Our DIY self-sustainability workshops, covering park foraging to biogas production to urban chicken farming, will be offered here. In addition, attendees will be invited to program their own events and request skill sharing and knowledge through our open-source infrastructure, inspired by The Public School.
In addition to these projects we plan to offer free classes such as MMA, boxing, English, and Spanish, provide meeting space to groups organizing in their workplaces, host a cross-university discussion group and radio show, offer free dinners utilizing donations from community gardens, provide a book and tool lending library, and program talks and screenings. We’re also proud to offer the site as a space for self-programming where participants can host their own skillshares and request the ones they’d like to see.
Moving into a space creates the ideal hub for these projects to develop and flourish, and for new ones to take shape. We envision creating a singular environment where people can cross pollinate through the horizontal networks that are currently being fostered.
So far we’ve received donations of furniture, computer equipment, tools and books. A monthly fundraising series we initiated is helping to cover the operational costs like electricity, printer cartridges, and paper. All we need now is to fill the space! This kickstarter campaign will provide us with the funding necessary to jump start our operations and projects.
By contributing, you can help us build this resource center for new economic models that will help create self-sustainable alternatives to instrumentalizing wage labor and cultivate organic social networks that will help neighbors provide for each others basic needs.
What the money is for:
The main thing about this space is that we want to be able to offer everything for free. Your donations will make this possible!
Set up and build out:
We’re designing this space to be very flexible: a classroom, studio, mini gym, dining room, meeting space. We’re putting up walls, constructing a kitchen, and building custom-designed modules on rollers to move in and out depending the use of the space. Our kitchen will be run off of biogas (a unit that produces fuel by digesting kitchen scraps). We’ve also got our sights on bookshelves, audio visual equipment, and printing and print making equipment.
We want to make sure each of the programs we’re bringing in and all of the events community members program have the supportive infrastructure that will allow them to spread as far as possible. We’ll need to rent equipment for specific events or one-time events. We are also eager to have the resources to bring in lawyers, academics, trainers, etc., to share and assist dependent on the needs of folks that come in.
Advertising is essential: we want to make sure people in the area know about the events and that they can use the space for free for their own. We’ll publicize the events and classes online, in fliers, posters and local newspapers.
This is the Urban Foraging workshop:
Here are some images of the space:
It's going to take some time and labor to build out, but we're super eager to jump in and start building! The location is excellent. It's a very accessible area (right by the Myrtle-Broadway stop on the JMZ) and there's a lot of foot traffic on Broadway. It's the ideal spot to attract random pedestrians.
Autonomous Organization is a collaborative project by Elysa Lozano and Khalil Robinson. Previously, Khalil established a legal program for undocumented workers, English classes for undocumnted immigrants, and a ‘Know Your Rights’ seminar at the 5 Towns Community Center. He is currently a co-partner of collectively run photo/video studio, Running Rebel Studios. Elysa has commissioned proposals for utopic colonies in a high-rise in Houston, conducted research on how project spaces are able to sustain themselves, and developed pragmatic models for horizontal economies. She is currently programming DIY workshops and organizing free classes.
Websites and links to reviews and other projects:
This is the photo/video studio that Khalil currently runs: http://runningrebelstudios.com/
This is the community center he developed programs for: http://www.fivetownscommunityctr.org/
Here's a review of an Autonomous Organization project: http://artforum.com/picks/id=25392&view=print
“Autonomous Organization recently solicited proposals to redevelop its headquarters as a socialist colony. The subsequent exhibition of submissions—itself occupying an off-site storefront—eschews propaganda to thoughtfully probe the promises and pitfalls of collective organization and equitably shared resources.” — Kurt Mueller, Art Forum
Another review of the same project: http://www.artlies.org/article.php?id=1901&issue=66&s=0
This is a description of 'The New Art Economy Summit' that Autonomous Organization held in San Francisco: http://www.happenstand.com/sanfrancisco/events/6586-the-new-art-economy-summit
This is an Autonomous Organization research project that tracks how start-up spaces fund themselves and develop projects: http://invisiblevenue.typepad.com/project_space_survey/project---space-survey-is-a-research-based-artwork-by-elysa-lozano-for-autonomous---organization-that-informally-surveys-the.html
This is a magazine Elysa writes for: http://www.artpractical.com/writer/elysa_lozano/
This is one of the spaces that hosted our projects: http://www.cage83.com/83.html
Inside Running Rebel Studios:
Poster of N55’s Communal Bakery:
Still from Zanny Begg's film Focus Group:
Choose one of these three glossy posters produced by Teresa Ponza:
Choose from a selection of handprinted T-shirt with a unique design by artist Adam Dirks:
We just like white on black, but since they will be hand printed, we can choose the T-shirt color and either white, black, or blue ink. Creative collaboration is fantastic, so if you have an idea of placement or overlay, hit us up!!
Magazine designed by Autonomous Organization featuring a compilation of texts including some by Giorgio Agamben, Jacques Rancière, Tiqqun, and Colin Ward.
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.