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Platform, Action, Exhibition


Curated by Institute of Radical Imagination & Sale Docks

April 17-20, 2024

Sale Docks, Venice 


Gathering into the Maelstrom in Venice at Sale Docks is a four-days program curated by Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI) and Sale Docks in the framework of Museum of the Commons, a cooperation project by L’Internationale a European confederation of museums, arts organizations and universities.


Our world is warming up causing immense turbulence: the historical moment we are living in is a frightening vortex. War is at the center of the vortex, a black hole from which we can no longer escape. Gaza represents a point of no return in history, claiming for the end of colonial processes that have been going on for centuries. Capitalist extractivism has brought the planet to the brink of collapse, causing energy crisis, massive migratory processes, and a fascist and xenophobic crisis in those communities on the belief they have some form of privilege.


It is within this maelstrom that Institute of Radical Imagination and Sale Docks launched back in 2021 the Art For Radical Ecologies Platform, an international community of artists, academics, and art workers who came together and wrote a manifesto by engaging in discussions with eco-activists from around the world and participating in struggles.


Since the moment of its foundation the Institute of Radical Imagination has tried to offer itself as a platform for those forms of resistance, and to think about their possible intersections with art. The same goes for Sale Docks, a space that was occupied in Venice in 2007 and that has, since then, become a reference for international art workers’ struggles and local activist groups, having developed an institutional model alternative to the typical neoliberal art institution and its links to mass tourism and toxic philanthropy. 


The Gathering into the Maelstrom -  from 17th to 20th of April in Venice at Sale Docks Dorsoduro 265 - is an invitation to learn to inhabit this vortex, rooting artistic production in ecological struggles, and transforming the field of contemporary art into a political territory. To generate a Museum of the Commons we can not avoid questioning the toxicity that permeates institutions and, at the same time, building non-capitalistic, non-colonial, non-patriarchal, and non-anthropocentric alliances.


Opening on Wednesday 17th, the first three days of the program present talks by representatives of decolonial thought like François Vergès and Yazan Khalili, screenings of  films by Oliver Ressler, the launching of Art for Radical Ecologies Manifesto book, Museum of the Commons Climate Assembly, and an exhibition of props realized in a workshop with Taring Padi, CJL and Powernotte. The fourth day features an action on the water in collaboration with Comitato No Grandi Navi (the local Committee Against Big Cruise Ships). The goal of the action is to temporarily occupy an island in an area where Cruise Ships transit and dock, posing a serious threat to the fragile ecosystem of the Lagoon and to a city like Venice already overwhelmed by mass tourism. 




Location: if not specified otherwise all events are taking place at Sale Docks, (Magazzini del Sale), Dorsoduro 265, 30123, Venice.

All events are free entrance.


Sunday 14th Tuesday 16th 

  • Workshop Taring Padi, CJL, Powernotte

Props production for the No Big Ships Demonstration & exhibition


Wednesday April 17th

  • 15.00 - 18.00 Lecture: Françoise Vergès. 

IUAV University of Venice, in the context of “Saperi che liberano” lecture series. Address: Tolentini, Santa Croce 191, Venice.

  • 18:30 - 19:30 Artist Talk: Taring Padi in conversation with Charles Esche


Thursday April 18th

  • 18:15-21:15 Cinema as Assembly  discussion and screening  with Oliver Ressler, Massimiliano Mollona, Filipa Cesar, Sonia Vaz Borgues 

Screened films by Oliver Ressler

- Ancestral Future Rising, 4K video, 20 min., 2023

- The Desert Lives, 4K video, 55 min., 2022

- Not Sinking, Swarming, 4K video, 37 min., 2021


Friday April 19th

  • 10:00-12:00 Museum of the Commons Climate Assembly

  • 14:00-17:00 Workshop Raising Care Acts of Questioning open workshop around the politicization of care, autonomous healthcare strategies and the philosophy of “buen vivir”.

  • 17:00-19:00 Book Launch  Art for Radical Ecologies Manifesto (Bruno, Venice 2024) 

and Panel with contributors: Françoise Vergès, Manuel Borja Villel, Ashley Dawson, Maddalena Fragnito, Federica Timeto, Gabriella Riccio, Emanuele Braga, Marco Baravalle, Raluca Voinea, Ovidiu Tichindeleanu.

  • 19:15-21:00 Artist Talk: Yazan Khalili 

May 16st - July 28h opening hours Thursday to Sunday: 2:00-6:00 pm

  • Exhibition: Taring Padi,CJL, Powernotte, Oliver Ressler

Saturday May 25th 

  • Comitato No Grandi Navi (No Cruise Ships Committee) on waters Action 


Participating People and Collectives:

Françoise Vergès, Manolo Borja Villel, Taring Padi, Yazan Khalili, Oliver Ressler, Filipa Cesar, Institute of Radical Imagination, Sale Docks, Ashley Dawson, Raluca Voinea, Ovidiu Tichindeleanu, Power Notte, Comitato No Grandi Navi, Museum of the Commons Climate Assembly, Andreco, Mike Bonanno, Paolo Martone, Rosa Jijon.


Some Bios:


Institute of Radical Imagination: Institute of Radical Imagination (IRI)  is a group of curators, artists, activists, scholars with a shared interest in co-producing knowledge as artistic and political research-interventions aimed at implementing post-capitalist forms of life in the Mediterranean and the Global South. (


Sale Docks is a collective and independent space for visual arts, activism, and experimental theater located in what had been an abandoned salt-storage facility in Dorsoduro, Venice, Italy. Founded in 2007, its programming includes activist-group meetings, campaigns for art workers’ rights, exhibitions, screenings and workshops. (


L’Internationale  in its current configuration brings together eight major European art institutions: HKW (Berlin, Germany); MSU (Zagreb, Croatia); Museo Reina Sofía (Madrid, Spain); MACBA (Barcelona, Spain); M HKA, (Antwerp, Belgium); MSN (Warsaw, Poland), Salt (Istanbul, Turkiye), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven, the Netherlands), with Institute of Radical Imagination (Naples,Italy), (Bucharest, Cluj and Iasi, Romania), and VCRC (Kyiv, Ukraine).  L'Internationale has three academic partners: HDK-Valand (Gothenburg, Sweden), NCAD (Dublin, Ireland) and ZRC SAZU (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and three associate organizations IMMA (Dublin, Ireland), MG+MSUM (Ljubljana, Slovenia) and WIELS (Forest, Belgium). The confederation takes its name from the workers' anthem "L'Internationale", which calls for an equitable and democratic society with reference to the historical labor movement. 'Internationale was founded to offer an alternative model to globalizing art institutions that replicate the structures of multinational powers and their centralized distribution of knowledge. Believing in the power of art to be a platform for the discussion of a renewed social contract, we advocate for a new internationalist model that challenges exclusivity and emphasizes common heritage through interconnected archives and constituent-led approaches, fostering individual and collective emancipation.


Françoise Vergès is a French political scientist, historian, film producer, independent curator, activist and public educator. Her work focuses on postcolonial studies and decolonial feminism. Books in English: The Wombs of Women: Race, Capital, Feminism, Duke University Press, 2020. A Decolonial Feminism, Pluto Books, 2021. 

In 2023 she published in French: Programme de Désordre Absolu, on the decolonization of museums. An interview with Francoise Vergès is featured in Art For Radical Ecologies Manifesto, Bruno, 2024; edited by the Institute of Radical Imagination. The book will be launched on April 19th.


Manuel Borja-Villel Director of the Development Program of the Catalan Museum System, Art historian, member of the curatorial collective of the 35th Bienal de São Paulo – choreographies of the impossible, He is one of the key institutional agents of Spanish culture directing four of the major art institutions in Spain: Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona (1990–1998); Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (Macba, 1998–2008) and Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid (Mncars 2008–2023). Author of Campos Magneticos (2o23) Among the exhibitions he programmed at the MACBA were shows dedicated to Vito Acconci, El Lissitzky, Öyvind Fahlström, Peter Fischli & David Weiss, Robert Frank, David Goldblatt, Luís Gordillo, Raymond Hains, Richard Hamilton, William Kentridge, Perejaume, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Gerhard Richter, Martha Rosler, and Antoni Tàpies, among others. Borja-Villel was also a member of the Consulting Committee of Documenta 12 (2007), and the chair of the jury for the 52nd Venice Biennial (2007).


Yazan Khalili:  is an architect, visual artist, and cultural producer Born 1981. He works in and out of Palestine, and is currently based in Amsterdam, Netherlands, where he is a PhD candidate at Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA), University of Amsterdam. He is an architect, visual artist, and cultural producer. His works have been exhibited in several major exhibitions, including, among others: Documenta 15 2022, KW, Berlin 2020, MoCA Toronto 2020, New Photography, MoMA 2018, Jerusalem Lives, Palestinian Museum, 2017, Post-Peace, Kunstverein Stuttgart 2017, Shanghai Biennial 2016, Sharjah Biennial 2013. He is also the co-founder of Radio Alhara (2020-).


Oliver Ressler is an artist and filmmaker who produces installations, projects in public space, and films on issues such as economics, democracy, migration, the climate crisis, forms of resistance and social alternatives. Ressler has had solo exhibitions at Berkeley Art Museum, USA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; Centro Cultural Conde Duque, Madrid; Alexandria Contemporary Arts Forum, Egypt; The Cube Project Space, Taipei; Kunsthaus Graz, Graz and comprehensive solo exhibitions at Wyspa Institute of Art, Gdansk; Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz; Centro Andaluz de Arte Contemporaneo – CAAC, Seville; SALT Galata, Istanbul; MNAC – National Museum of Contemporary Art, Bucharest; and Cultural Centre of Belgrade.


Filipa César: (Porto, 1975) is a. A Berlin-based artist and filmmaker. She is interested in the fictional aspects of documentary, the porous borders between cinema and its reception, and the politics and poetics inherent to moving images. Her praxis takes media as a means to expand and expose counter narratives of resistance to historicism. Since 2011, César has been looking into the origins of cinema in Guinea-Bissau as part of the African Liberation Movement and its imaginaries and cognitive potencies, developing that research into the collective project Luta ca caba inda. She has participated in the  research projects Living Archive (2011-13) and Visionary Archive (2013-15), both organized by Arsenal—Berlin. Selected film festivals that have screened her works are:include Kurzfilmtage Oberhausen; Curtas Vila do Conde; Forum Expanded-Berlinale; IFFR, Rotterdam, and Cinéma du Réel. Selected exhibitions and screenings also include: SFMOMA; São Paulo Biennial; Manifesta 8, Cartagena; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunstwerke, Berlin; NBK, Berlin; Hordaland Art Center, Bergen; Futura, Prague; Khiasma, Paris; Tensta konsthall, Spånga; Mumok, Vienna; MoMA, New York; Harvard Film Museum, Boston.

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