[NGO Kontrapunkt, Skopje, Macedonia]
Intro presentation: Deschooling Classroom, by Iskra Geshoska
(22 Jan, 13.45 – 15.45)
Is power always in question? (What does it mean “to be together” and “to be against”?)
This project will raise several questions about the potential to create a public sphere where different knowledge might be constructed throughout many different layers of society. There cannot be one single platform for a coherent, final, and permanent trajectory. There are only trails to be followed, no matter where they lead. It is difficult to establish a model on a structural political level that would defend the idea that an institution might be developed without any predetermined starting point and destination.
Deschooling Classroom is just a fragment of this huge effort in our societies to stimulating collaboration among those who aim to intervene in the existing cultural system, to challenge the conceptual and infrastructural set-up of cultural institutions, and to create new supporting infrastructures for independent cultural scenes.
How could we maintain anti-capitalist practice in culture, continuing to produce surplus value that cannot be used for the institution’s profit, and how could it be dispersed back into everyday life to become egalitarian common knowledge? These are the central questions we must solve in our everyday practice. We should think about new institutional modes that would cultivate political instincts and provoke democratic, emancipatory activity in the spheres of labour and politics, in the sphere of open dialogue, modes which will offer opportunities to permanently reinvent themselves. Is it possible in post-transition societies to define an apparatus, a set of strategies that will overcome the limits of majority knowledge and that will establish a different, decentralised form advocating open collective structures where self-organised communities facilitate the horizontal production, exchange, and distribution of knowledge? How can we resist and change this rather sad situation? How can we resist the binary oppositions of recognition-refusal, dominance-subordination, and have the chance to permanently reinvent them. Deschooling Classroom aims to critically reflect on mainstream education and to find various alternatives, more appropriate to the new social conditions and the increased importance of the service industry.
Iskra Geshoska is executive director of NGO Kontrapunkt (Cultural center Tochka). She is working in the field of cultural policy especially concerning the issue of independent cultural scene. She was consultant in the Ministry of Culture of Macedonia in the period of 2002-2006. She is publishing essays and theoretical overviews concerning cultural studies and performing arts. At the moment she is running the three year regional project Deschooling Classroom in partnership with TkH, Belgrade.