An online night school made up of discussions, talks and readings exploring Eastern and Western histories and practices of cultural autonomism. Five sessions, from October to December.
8 October, 7pm: Cultural Autonomism: Learning Not to Labor, a discussion with Stevphen Shukaitis and Tomas Marcinkevičius.
The discussion will be live streamed and accessible without registration on Kaunas Artists’ House FB page. The event will be in English.
6 October, 7 pm: Reading group moderated by Tomas Marcinkevičius. This session will take place online, and in English. Please register until 5 October at email@example.com
About the session “Cultural Autonomism: Learning Not to Labor”
Autonomists envisioned a world where new forms of creative expression would proliferate through the mass refusal to participate in meaningless soul crushing work. In our first session, we will learn about the various cultural strategies Autonomists developed to unlearn work, considering both their shortcomings and potentials in our own contexts. Stevphen and Tomas will guide the session and consider this problematic through reflection on the regional contexts in which they personally encountered such politics – for Shukaitis, Brooklyn of the 90s, and for Tomas, somewhere between Alytus, Kaunas and Vilnius in the 00s and 10s.
In the reading group before the public talk, we will look at Shukaitis’ text “Learning Not to Labor” (11 pages) as a background. The paper traces the refusal of work as (post)autonomist strategy of political resistance and follows its overlap with cultural/artistic labor—trends that to this day define (at least partly) most (post)autonomist political practices. Plus, it introduces some of the most popular autonomist terminology and the problematic of, quote, “cultural politics becoming substituted for all forms of politics”. On the other hand, autonomism also suggests a possible way out of this impasse: the focus on ever-dynamic class composition.
The text can be found here
Stevphen Shukaitis is an academic worker. He likes to do things with his friends, some of which end up making books: https://www.minorcompositions.info and https://www.autonomedia.org/
Tomas M. is a member of the May 1 Labour Union (G1PS), editor of left-wing news portal Gyvenimas per brangus (gpb.lt), and still a PhD student of political science at Vytautas Magnus University, Kaunas.
About Paths to Autonomy
While the pursuit of freedom could be taken as the goal of numerous cultural movements throughout modernity, cultural autonomism –– appearing in the late ‘60s –– critically departed from these cultural and political precedents. Autonomism came to be the name for diverse Leftist political movements that rejected political parties and official union representation in the late 60s–90s. Autonomists were found in squatting, free radio, zine and urban community art movements. The night school hopes to explore the numerous geographic and strategic paths to autonomy through dialogues between Eastern and Western thinkers, activists and artists.
Project is organised by project space Kabinetas and political hub Luna6.
Communications partner Kaunas Artists’ House.
Event design by Studio Cryo.
Project is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture.