ERC Artivism team at the 3rd CombArt International Conference in Porto.


The ERC Artivism team is participating at the third International Conference “CombArt: Arts, Activism and Citizenship“ at the University of Porto.

Prof. Monika Salzbrunn is presenting the keynote “ Revolutions and imagined futures from below: Artivism through fabric, bodily performances and discourses in urban settings”, where she presents the different ways activists imagined their possible futures in their urban setting when their belonging and its infrastructure is at stake.

She will present the short film produced by Artivism and directed by Monika Salzbrunn and Pascal Bernhardt Defile Maddalena la Superba” (2019) as an example of the reappropriation of the public space and the repowering of the actors, through performance and cloth fabrics.

Tomorrow, 31 May, Sara Wiederkehr and Prof. Monika Salzbrunn will present the collective paper “Utopias in discourses and artivistic practices. Insights from Genoa, Yaoundé and Los Angeles”. In this presentation, the team discusses results of their research project, specifically how Art in activism and activism in art tends to display utopias and imagined futures but also to put into practice a community-oriented way of sharing common ideas, values and means. Various artistic expressions facing political goals and criticizing power relations and economic logic have been combined with concrete ways of living together and/or creating occasions for gatherings (through urban gardening, common meals etc.).

In understanding the city as a process in a spatial scale as Low (1996) states it, we approach street and performative arts and artists as part of the dynamics of the city where the different discourses come together. This way, we approach the urban space and its dynamics through the knowledge and the practices of the people who live in those urban spaces, which are characterized by the constant negations between the social and cultural values and the power politics, forming the cityscape and the built environment (Low 1996: 400).

We will present insights from long-term empirical research in Genoa, Yaoundé and Los Angeles, and we will show how artivists manage to express their imagined futures under precarious political and economic conditions and how they create narratives and practices of belonging to their urban spaces.

“The third edition of COMbART conferences aims, precisely, to amplify and give continuity to the reflections that have been developed in previous editions, fostering discussions about the ways in which “combat arts” can be involved in the way we imagine possible futures. Thinking about a credible future, this third edition will focus on “utopias” and “imagined futures”. With this thematic, we intent to place the idea and conception of utopia at the center of social sciences, arts, and humanities debate, as well as to highlight methodologies funded on arts-based research.” (CombArt 2022)

For more information about the Conference:

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