THE ART OF THE PROCESS: Social Entrepreneurs in Albania
A project by Valentina Bonizzi
To produce social empowerment while working in a capitalist economy is one of the hardest challenges in contemporary society. Many exciting ideas have been formulated in this field. Nonetheless when implementing them, a few fundamental criteria must always be brought into play in order to avoid failures. While the conditions of production are often obscured behind the full-blown image of the outcomes, one should rather strive to revert this law of visibility. In other words, processes must be made visible. Taking cue from contemporary art insistence on the process over the final outcome, we can seek to expand these propositions from the art sphere to the social field.
How can art intervene in and contribute to the work of social entrepreneurs? How can art offer a model or simply a space of reflection for the development of socially sustainable micro-economies?
The Art of the Process is an exhibition/laboratory composed of a series of workshops made in collaboration with social entrepreneurs in Albania, presentations by contemporary artists working with participatory and community-based practices and a blog which will make available the progress of the work on line. Furthermore the program intends to activate a sustainable conversation between social entrepreneurs in the territory, by presenting and discussing Law 65 on Social Enterprises which is still in the process of being actualized.
What defines a social enterprise is not the kind of products or services that it produces but the aims and the methodology through which the production is realized. The term Social Enterprise was used for the first time in Italy at the end of 1980s to define several initiatives that were lacking of a constitution. Today social enterprises are considered initiatives producing public and private goods and services whose aim is not only the owners’ mere profit, but also the production of a measurable social impact.
Relational art developed at the end of the 1980s beginning of 1990s. As Nicolas Bourriaud writes, relational art comprises: ‘…A set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space…”. In these practices the artist shifts from being the pivotal center to become the activator of collective and participatory works.
Both social enterprises and relational art developed during a time of economic and political crisis in the 90’s that saw a reduction in individual power (mainly in the form of purchasing power), with a consequent increase of interest for collective initiatives. To this day social enterprises do not have a legal status in Albania as the process of actualizing the local Law 65 ruling on the matter of social enterprises, is still underway.
Through a series of workshops and discussions, The Art of the Process intends to activate a sustainable debate between social entrepreneurs in the territory, by presenting and discussing Law 65 as well as showcasing relevant art projects.
The Art of the Process will be collaborating with different social entrepreneurs in Albania such as: Qendra Rinore Arka in Shkoder who works in partnership with the community, business and government, to strive for excellence in meeting the needs of the ‘Total Person’, body, mind and spirit, through the provision of educative, supportive, recreational, cultural, sporting and welfare programs; Eco-social Farm Ana e Malit, a project that aims at increasing the number of the people involved in the social, cultural and economic life of the community. New York Tirana Bagels, the first New York style bakery in Tirana working as a social business with women against violence, more independent young collectives with the initiative of activating culture in their city; and others to be announced.
Artist’s collaborations include: Wurmkos Foundation (Sesto San Giovanni) a visual arts laboratory created in 1987 by Pasquale Campanella. It relates art and psychic problems without setting objectives of salvation. Baubaus (Milan) started in 2010 by Patrizio Raso at the Istituto Sperimentale Rinascita as a research-action which uses art to work on the experiential discovery of the self through collective observation and reflection. Stalker – Osservatorio Nomade (Roma) works since 1995 to propose collective practices of walking to perceive a spontaneous and autonomous becoming. The Wunderkammer Museum (Trento) defines itself as an artistic action, a political gesture a feat of acrobatics. It gathers and catalogues places within the urban texture by the people of live and cross the city. Fondazione Lac o Le Mon (San Cesario di Lecce and Cavallino) was initiated in 2015 by artists Emilio Fantin, Luigi Negro, Giancarlo Norese, Cesare Pietroiusti and Luigi Presicce. The foundation is an experimental center for the arts, based on self-education. Il Fondo Speculativo di Provvidenza is an artistic project by Luigi Coppola e Christophe Meierhans, Belgio/Italy) that generate and realises a political collective practice through the use of monetary capital, involving directly the audience in the process.
Confirmed guests will be Franco Marzocchi one of the founders of la Banca Etica/Ethical Bank and curator Luisa Perlo to represent a.titolo, a non-profit organization established in 2001 in Turin with the aim of investigating and promoting the relation between art, the public sphere and society.
The program of The Art of the Process will be ongoing between February and September 2017 and can be followed on line at:
Or in Albanian language:
For any information regarding the program please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: artiiprocesit
The program the Art of the Process is supported by the Italian Institute of Culture in Tirana