BLOCC is a system of learning that tackles the relationship between contemporary art and gentrification through an initial curriculum that aligns local struggles with planetary-scale infrastructural analysis.
The system reflects an entirely new way of teaching. The template can be adapted to any setting or educational environment, and remains open ended as it builds. As BLOCC teaches and learns from collective experience, history and theoretical knowledge, its form crystalizes differently in different cities. The idea is to fight gentrification through education, one generation at a time.
While not exceptional in its relationship to gentrification, the field of Contemporary Art is but one arm of an extensive global drive towards urban renewal that often leads to displacement of rooted, urban populations. This is a phenomenon that is now running rampant across urban centres and their peripheries globally. Whether intentionally or inadvertently, the artistic field (galleries, project spaces, artist studios, beautification projects, biennials, and the cultural capital these projects bring with them) has become at best, a useful pawn in this process and at worst, an eager profiteer.
BLOCC aims to unpack the ways that the artistic field in the contemporary moment—with its reliance on deregulation, mobility and precarity—feeds neatly into the capitalist wheels of gentrification. Moreover, BLOCC will attempt to disentangle the reliance of Contemporary Art on this system of displacement, through its educational platform—providing students with the possibility to engage in creative solutions, and developing tools which might train a new generation of artists to reallocate the resources of Contemporary Art in the fight against gentrification.
As the first step in this process, our group has developed a series of educational modules, tackling Contemporary Art’s infrastructure with a multipronged strategy derived from organizing, theoretical, institutional, artistic and art historical knowledge and practice. These modules amount to a series of lectures, discussions and exercises, all working to counter Contemporary Art’s role in the production of cities where the majority of inhabitants cannot afford to live.
BLOCC was designed by the fellows of Sommerakademie Paul Klee 2017-2019 as a response to Tirdad Zolghadr’s REALTY framework