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 neighbourhood – 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. Maybe as a 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 neighbourhood, an isolated workers dwelling area in the heart of Milan, has been subject of a gentrification intervention through the realization of an urban plan committed to Hines, a Texan corporation. From that moment, the pivot of the antagonistic movement against the top-down plan of the municipality, has been an abandoned factory, leftover of the Milan industrial past, and occupied by several associations, that merged into the artistic project of constitution of an art and community center, Isola Art Center
Faced with the wicked conscience of planners accusing the neighbourhood’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 claiming the right to the city as a democratic, “radical” need, re-asserting the necessity – for both groups and individuals – of an active control and projectual freedom over their life. 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: neighborhood committees, volunteers, urban designers, philosophers, art critics, curators, besides – obviously – artists. Isola Art Center thinks of a center for and community life as an urban device: as an urban-scaled collective service actively supporting self-empowerment occasions. Isola Art Center, quoting Rancière, believes that “the logics of demonstrations [has always], inevitably involved an aesthetics of manifestations”.
We Do It wants to present again a rearticulation, through a series of documents, of the protest lead by the antagonist movement. The project intend to illustrate at the same time, both the municipality plan (in the making), both the one by a parallel city planning the has been object of the opposition.