Figure it Out: The Art of Living Through System Failures explores practices and phenomena in which systems and institutions fail specific communities and populations. Trapped within constraining situations, these people are starting to develop strategies of lying, cheating and stealing to counter their limitations and powerlessness vis-à-vis these systems.
From the position of the dispossessed and excluded, actions and practices that would be condemned in the mainstream, assume a different ethical and political connotation. In popular culture, these practices are frequently celebrated as a cunning and crafty reworking, often poetic or humorous. They have also expanded into the digital sphere as well, where they are getting recombined in interesting ways facing new kinds of algorithmic power structures. Figure it Out will explore the use of these practices as forms of resistance and tools for bypassing rules, as attempts to obtain access to key rights that remain foreclosed for certain groups. The aim is not to indiscriminately celebrate personal gain through illicit behavior, but to acknowledge the ingenuity that comes in finding a way out of an impossible situation. Possible examples come from a broad variety of practices – such as the avoidance of internet censorship by transformation of entire websites into image formats or the camouflage techniques of migrants adopting a ‘western’ look to fool surveillance algorithms.
The project will explore similar practices that enable disenfranchised groups to overcome barriers established by administrative and algorithmic regimes. The focus is on the strategies of rural women, eco-commoners, LGBTIQ+, migrants, etc. in conflict with corporate or state rules.
Figure it Out involves partners from Croatia, France, Greece, Malta and Serbia who will work with and engage different communities sharing their stories through art productions, exhibitions, a radio festival, bonfire events and web-zines.