Like a swing between questions and answers that recedes and advances, descends and rises, the different activities, the formats – case studies, international calls for papers – the field research, the actions of the Studio Roma 2016 program investigate processes of evaluation, the notion of value and that of surplus value.
Studio Roma approaches the theme of surplus value by attempting to outline an extensive definition of the processes of extraction of raw materials of the global economy. These practices today are not only about the supply of natural materials like petroleum, metals or minerals, are no longer materialized only in the effects of land grabbing, extensive cultivation or exploitation of natural reserves. Complex and sophisticated operations now form an alchemy of algorithms, data and endeavor made possible by specialized innovations of logistics and financial markets. These are techniques that have reached an unprecedented level, also in the conversion and transformation of human activities in urban contexts into a resource of economic value.
Studio Roma 2016 questions the realm of values, building subtle bridges across experience to interact with a hypothesis: today, when the production capacity of economic wealth is increasingly marked by the social participation of its workforce, valorization and its criteria of measure are defined inside the social circuit. The multiplication of values in the economic system grasps things at their most paradoxical: production and living in society have become facets of the same whole. Ethical inclinations, aesthetic orientations and attitudes become the “raw material” that is directly exploited, to an increasing extent, transforming work in the wider, general sense.
A program that observes the processes of creation and production in the infrastructures of surplus value, where wealth lies in the management of mobility, the circulation of goods and the accumulation of data. The study of the city-hub and the field research to the port of Genoa investigate the global infrastructures of the logistics of flows, networks, interconnection and mobility. The port of Genoa is also the place in which to investigate changes in work, trades and professions impacted by the continuing evolution of techniques and specialization.
Studio Roma crosses the metropolis where economic valorization unfolds in a multiplicity of forms equal only to the proliferation of the values we want to investigate. Research on the middle ground between production and society, where value is attributed to ideas, languages, ways of living, networks, knowledge. A combination capable of continuously reaching beyond its own limits, in the moment in which they are recognized as such, as Rome has done: this city has advanced through expansions that have traced epochs and fragments without recovering, reintegrating, reconnecting what has already been made. A stratified city made of ruins, capable of spontaneous self-organization that gives rise to unknown social forms. Its economy today transforms pieces of city into ruins even before they have been finished and utilized, whose informal use – often obstructed or even openly contested – is their most vital energy.
A program of activities that seeks the magnitudes of neoliberal value assignment following the trail of academic production and artistic creation along the traces of excess, of new prototypes of measure. Taking form from situated observation, from critical approaches regarding the present regimens of evaluation and from specific situations of evaluation, the research attempts to shed light on the tension between institutional legitimacy and practices, reflecting on the multiple relations that exist between the situation, the forms of work and evaluation. The workshops activated in this program foster practices that attempt to subvert, if not suspend, the conventional modes of evaluating the arts and sciences, thus prolonging the reflection on possible alternatives.
The ambiguity of these hypotheses, the undecidability of the contemporary, are the place where Studio Roma will linger during the weeks of this program formulated by the fellows of the Swiss Institute and the team of Studio Roma, with the precious contribution of the Stalker collective (in particular Lorenzo Romito, Giulia Fiocca and Francesco Careri), Sergio Bologna, Alain Bovet and Olivier Voirol.