Debate panels organized by Medialab-Prado in collaboration with Amador Fernández-Savater.
"Newspapers, political parties, museums… We see it everyday, it’s even a commonplace: traditional intermediaries are in crisis. What used to be far today is near, the distances that used to support hierarchies are now eroded, and what used to be the monopoly of a privileged minority nowadays can be done by many. Everywhere an increasing feeling of essential unsynchronicity between ways of life and institutions that organize collective life is growing. This is a complicated phenomenon, rooted in the intersection of different displacements and transformations: the emergence of the Net, the market’s hegemony or new practices of social self-organization; however, not in the least marginal. Just to sate a fact: in a recent survey, the 73 % of the Spanish population affirmed to agree with the 15 M movement, whose central slogans are “No, they don’t represent us!” and “They call it democracy and it isn’t”.
Collaborative encyclopedias, assemblies and encampments, experimental and open institutions… New spaces and institutions are reflecting on and exploring other ways of managing goods and resources, of producing and distributing knowledge, of speaking out and deciding, of organizing community life itself. But that is precisely where the problems start. The very multiplicity (of voices, of subjects, of topics) that has dynamited the old vertical models, thus opening the field of what is possible, might also be expressed as fragmentation and instability, as an interference between different languages, clashes and hostility. This ambivalence is at the very heart of our experience of the present.
Therefore, the realm of what is possible is opening; new conditions for experimenting other ways of being together and doing things together are taking place. However, nothing is given and everything must be reinvented once and again. We see the growing cracks in many of the intermediaries that divide and depotentiate the represented. However that does not automatically create inhabitable and participatory worlds, worlds that are open and inclusive, own by everybody and nobody. Mediation, as a (horizontal) practice of welcoming and connecting, accompanying and facilitating, listening and translating, sense producing and cohabitation, has turned into an urgent and demanding challenge." by Amador Fernández-Savater.
Medialab-Prado (MLP) is thought as a laboratory open to everybody, regardless of his or her discipline, diplomas or level of possible commitment; a laboratory thought especially for encounters, collaborations and exchanges; a laboratory where one can experiment with knowledge freed from the hunger for legitimation; a laboratory where there is room for life, bodies and affects, informality and closeness, celebration…
But in order to make it possible, it is essential to count with an extensive labor of mediation. What does this mean?
Since the very beginning, MLP has had a program of mediation and a rotating team of people with very different experiences who have fulfilled this “mediating” role. The mediators work in the surfaces of contact: at the very border of the inside/outside, MLP’s area of exchange with the exterior. They make sure it is porous and permeable, but also firm and secure. They welcome the visitor, they establish a dialogue with him or her, they describe what takes place in MLP, they take care of the space, they act as liaison between different people, between people and projects, etc. Sometimes barely visible and certainly always complex, the work of the mediation team enables and supports a web, an environment of cooperation that nowadays defines MLP.
The relocation of MLP to the Wood Mill Area (La Serrería) comes with new challenges. MLP will be more exposed than ever to favorable and unfavorable forces. Its destiny greatly depends on this surface of contact. Thus the investment in mediation is of key importance. The idea is that the program and team of mediation should be richer and more diverse in their functions, more present and relevant in the day-to-day life of the wood mill. Ultimately, mediation practices are not limited to a determined group; the possibility of a space to be re-appropriable by its users depends on everything and everybody (machines, tools, spaces, languages, community).
The aim of this encounter is to continue to reflect on what mediation work consists of, without necessarily circumscribing it to cultural centers. That is, to share thoughts and experiences with anybody who wonders how to mediate without interfering, how to guide without directing, how to facilitate without simplifying, in sum, how to construct common worlds in very complex conditions and within social heterogeneity.
Friday, November 4
10:00am: First Session. What Mediation? Collective reading of Los Justos. Ética de la inteligencia colectiva by Pierre Levy, presentation of debate tables and introductory remarks by Marcos García and Laura Fernández (Medialab-Prado) [+info]
Friday, November 11
10:00am:Second Session. Yes-say the Other. Converstation with Juan Gutiérrez [+info]
Friday, November 25
Friday, November 16
10:00am: Forth Session. (Self-)management of Chaos. Talk-debate with people involved in the experiences of the Social Centers El Patio Maravillas, CSA La Tabacalera, Cine sin Autor and Acampada Sol. [+info]
Friday, January 13
10:00am: Fifth session. Evaluation of the debate panels. [+info]
Friday, January 27
Sessions are open to anyone interested. If you want to attend please fill in the following form