Photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)
In the framework of Dopolavoro flagship of the Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture project, the exhibition Pirate Care: Learning From Disobedience will open on Thursday, October 8 at 8 p.m. at Exportdrvo (Grobnička riva bb, Rijeka), presenting the international network of activists and researchers who oppose the criminalisation of solidarity and work to build common systems of care for people.
The authors of the project are researchers Valeria Graziano, Marcell Mars and Tomislav Medak, with the contribution of Laura Benítez Valero, Emina Bužinkić, Rasmus Fleischer, Maddalena Fragnito, Mary Maggic, Iva Marčetić, Paula Pin (Biotranslab/ Pechblenda), Power Makes Us Sick (PMS), Zoe Romano, Chris Gorodtzki & Morana Miljanović (Sea-Watch), Cassie Thornton, Ivory Tuesday, Ana Vilenica and Women on Waves.
The exhibition remains open until October 31, every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free.
We live in a world where captains get arrested for saving people’s lives on the sea; where a person downloading scientific articles faces 35 years in jail; where people risk charges for bringing contraceptives to those who otherwise couldn’t get them. Folks are getting in trouble for giving food to the poor, medicine to the sick, water to the thirsty, shelter to the homeless. And yet our heroines care and disobey. They are pirates.
An example of pirate care: German NGO Sea-Watch, which conducts “illegal” rescue operations in the Mediterranean (photo Chris Grodotzki / Sea-Watch)
The exhibition Pirate Care is an introduction to the increasingly present forms of activism at the intersection of “care” and “piracy”, which in new and interesting ways are trying to intervene in one of the most important challenges of our time, that is, the “crisis of care”. The exhibition primarily considers the assumption that we live in a time in which care, as a political and collective capacity of societies to attend to the most fundamental needs of humans and their environment, is becoming more difficult or criminalised. Crucially, the practices of pirate care share a willingness to openly disobey laws and legal regimes, whenever these stand in the way of solidarity, and politicise that disobedience to contest the status quo. That disobedience and that politicisation are what defines these practices as pirate care.
An example of pirate care: Swedish network of organizations Planka.nu, which promotes free public transport, whose members pay into a monthly fund from which fines are paid for those caught without a ticket (screenshot from the film Hackitat)
The exhibition builds on the Pirate Care Syllabus. The Syllabus is an expanding work-in-progress created with activists and artists engaged in pirate care with the aim of activating collective learning from their practices. The syllabus lives on an online publishing platform developed in house by Marcell Mars, Sandpoints, allowing collaborative writing, remixing and maintaining of a catalogue of learning resources. The first version of the Syllabus was created in November 2019 during a writing retreat organised by Drugo More (HR) within Rijeka 2020 and launched on March 8th for the opening of the exhibition “…of bread, wine, cars, security and peace” at Kunsthalle Wien (AT).
With the Covid-19 outbreak in Europe in March, Pirate Care was one of the few activities supported by Rijeka 2020 that didn’t come to a halt. The work on the Syllabus transformed into a collective note-taking effort to document a wave of organising of mutual aid, solidarity and care in response to the pandemic, titled “Flatten the Curve, Grow the Care”. An expanded Pirate Care network of contributors collected and created notes, instructions and how-tos coming from grassroots initiatives in Croatia, Italy, the UK and beyond. That timely work has found resonance in scholarly and public media, with interviews, references and features in venues such as Artforum, Wired, Art Monthly, The Care Manifesto, MoneyLab #8, Venice Climate Camp, Institute of Networks Cultures and many others.
Presenting a selection of topics and examples from the Pirate Care Syllabus, the exhibition is an invitation to learn from the disobedient practices: resisting criminalisation of migration and solidarity, helping women where abortion is not available, commoning care-work where childcare is scarce, countering housing and debt crisis, supporting psycho-social health in vulnerable communities, politicising feminist health through bio and technical hacking and politicising digital piracy.
Book scanners built by Memory of the World project, “a network of interconnected shadow libraries” which stands for the free access to books for every member of society (photo Ivan Kuharić)
The Pirate Care project was initiated at Coventry University’s Centre for Postdigital Cultures and developed with the support of Rijeka 2020 – European Capital of Culture and Kunsthalle Wien. Produced by Drugo More.
Marcell Mars is a research fellow at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures. Mars is one of the founders of Multimedia Institute/MAMA in Zagreb. His research Ruling Class Studies, started at the Jan van Eyck Academy (2011), examines state-of-the-art digital innovation, adaptation, and intelligence created by corporations such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and eBay. He is a doctoral student at Digital Cultures Research Lab at Leuphana University, writing a thesis on Foreshadowed Libraries. Together with Tomislav Medak he founded Memory of the World/Public Library, for which he develops and maintains software infrastructure.
Tomislav Medak is a doctoral student at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures. Medak is a member of the theory and publishing team of the Multimedia Institute/MAMA in Zagreb, as well as an amateur librarian for the Memory of the World/Public Libraryproject. His research focuses on technologies, capitalist development, and postcapitalist transition, particularly on economies of intellectual property and unevenness of technoscience. He authored two short volumes: The Hard Matter of Abstraction—A Guidebook to Domination by Abstractionand Shit Tech for A Shitty World. Together with Marcell Mars he co-edited ‘Public Library’ and ‘Guerrilla Open Access’.