Nov 12 to Dec 20

We do it. The Isola neighborhood in two inadequate descriptive systems

with Adrian Paci, Andrea Sala, Bert Theis, Christoph Schäfer, Danilo Correale,Enzo Umbaca, Yang Jiechang, Maria Papadimitriou, Mariette Schiltz, Millepianimagazine, Museo aero solar (Tomas Saraceno), OUT (Office for Urban Transformation),Paola Di Bello, Stefano Boccalini,, Wurmkos

curator: Marco Scotini
assistant curator: Matteo Lucchetti

Opening and curator’s talk:
November 11, 6 pm

The city is the privileged field for the exertion of power. Subjugation procedures are deployed everywhere (on bodies, on language, on places). But nothing is in itself political for the mere fact of hosting the exercise of power relationships, and yet anything, upon the right occasion, can become so. Over the last seven years, the Isola neighborhood—both in itself and within the city of Milan—has become a «political» space. It has become a field of forces, tensions, resistance, desires and aspirations. Perhaps as the heritage of its local past, the Isola has ended up representing a disturbing element for modern urban narratives: speculative projects, spatial police projects, gentrification.
Starting from 2000, the Isola neighborhood, an isolated working-class district in the heart of Milan, has been the subject of a gentrification intervention through the realization of an urban plan for which Hines, a Texas corporation, was commissioned. From that moment on, the hub of the antagonistic movement against the top-down plan of the municipality has been an abandoned factory, a leftover of the Milan industrial past that is now occupied by several associations that have merged to undertake the artistic project of constituting an art and community center, Isola Art Center.
Faced with the wicked conscience of planners accusing the neighborhood’s antagonist action of «stalemating,» Isola had nothing to show but a transforming reality, a new, multi-cultural social morphology, stories of progressive contextual adaptations, a collective and projectual intentionality based on self-organization. When accused of boasting for its community an originary ideological purity, Isola can and has to answer by claiming the right to the city as a democratic, «radical» need, re-asserting the necessity—for both groups and individuals—of active control and projectual freedom over their lives. Isola Art Center was born in those years with the aim of catalyzing the neighborhood’s actions and forces. It is an open and indeterminate artistic platform, ready to host within itself a progressive investment of different subjects: neighbourhood committees, volunteers, urban designers, philosophers, art critics, curators, besides —obviously—artists. Isola Art Center thinks of a center for community life as an urban device: as an urban-scaled collective service actively supporting selfempowerment occasions. Isola Art Center, quoting Rancière, believes that «the logics of demonstrations [has always], inevitably involved an aesthetics of manifestation».
We Do It. wants to present again a rearticulation, through a series of documents, of the protest led by the antagonist movement.
The project intends to illustrate at the same time both the official municipal plan (in the making), and one drafted by a parallel city planning board that has been the object of the opposition.

Marco Scotini is an art critic and independent curator based in Milan. He is director of the Visual Arts School there and director of the Master of Arts program in Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies at the Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti (NABA). He is also one of the founding members of Isola Art Center. Scotini regularly collaborates with «Flash Art» and other journals in the field and is also the editor of «No Order Magazine—Art in a Post-Fordist Society». His writings and interviews have appeared in «springerin», «Domus», «Moscow Art Magazin», «Brumaria» and in many exhibition catalogues. He is also curator of the ongoing project «Disobedience» (2005–2009). In addition, he is director of the Gianni Colombo Archive in Milan, for which he has curated shows, among others, at the Neue Galerie in Graz, 2008 and at Castello di Rivoli in Turin, 2009