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Even naming you is doubtful – cultural – managers, workers and, in between, operators.

Creative industries and little to no contemporary art, again, managers, operators, workers.

It is not your responsibility to sustain your existence

Some words come too close to the face

Sustainability is a bit like performativity, loving etymology but abjected otherwise, abused 

On sustainability,

With fragility and responsibility

Culture is an organism, not a mechanism

It is much messier 

More dynamic than linearity allows

Repeat this after me

Culture is an organism, not a mechanism

Repeat this over and over until the parasympathetic nervous system activates and rests in itself  much like a beautiful brown dog in its beautiful brown body

Sing, that is.

We are forced to use a language that is not ours (in funding applications)

So, sustainability – the life after, the real life of a project

With fragility and responsibility

Write a manifesto, unmanifesto, she said

I will write a poem, unpoem 

with the dead language undead.

Culture is an organism, not a mechanism

It’s a living mess

Culture is the fourth pillar for sustainability, after economy, ecology and ….

3+1 pillars that are circles

Searching, waiting for a new language

New taxonomy of culture

(and should start thinking about it before others do it for us again)

When the pillars are circles

What the artists say

What the managers say

Everything is loss, loss, so no need to pretend.

This is for you, art activists that want to make the right to art and culture a matter of public interest

What constitutes good cultural governance – what are the public goods to put at the centre of things – unless the economy is and remains the ultimate public interest…

What Is art’s power, what makes power powerful?

Or what, what… where does art differentiate itself from culture?

Culture is an organism, not a mechanism

„Link expert knowledge with artistic imagination and civic exploration

Recognize civic imagination as public interest and public good – every individual has the right to participate to the imagination and realization of its community/city” 

Think of it ecologically

Instead of economically

Change the model, the perspective, the language

Allow for an organic dynamic messier one


Instead of careless society, think art work relations understood as affective solidarity and mutual regard

Instead of meritocracy based on productivity, efficiency, market markers, think… and here you know your need

Instead of ”eternal immigrants” running away from precarity and instability, imagine…

Instead of performance measure, …

Instead of …, …

When you get lost, repeat after me, sing with me

Culture is a matter of regeneration

Culture is a matter of symbiosis

Culture is a matter of positive and negative feedback loops, it is failure included and it is fine

Culture is a matter of fragility

Culture is a matter of mutual dependence, and that is a good thing.

Yes, sing, make it an artificial, alienation tool, until it hits and rests in your body. Move with it, move the arms and the thinking along.

Take it as an exercise to at least diversify perspectives and enrich the discussion. New taxonomies bring new visualizations and,  

Maybe, possible shapes for ethics and aesthetics of care?

Culture discussed as an ecology

What does this really mean? 

Do not think in separations, think in layers and connectivity, observe and feed on configurations of relations & patterns and make optimal use of their inter-dependency. Think in terms of permaculture, consider the cultural ecosystem

Make cultural the ecosystem, make ecosystem the culture

Aim high, why not, truly see culture as the 4th pillar of sustained development, turn culture also into a perspective and a thinking model

I grid myself today

You are in front of me, you are on my right, you are on my left, you are inside me, you are behind me

Beyond and above

An organism, not a mechanism.

Resourcing ourselves,

Sustaining an entire ecosystem, not a plant.

Culture consists of moments when people and things come together in concentrations.

An organism, not a mechanism.

Culture is a regenerative life-cycle, mostly failing, allowing for time and the unexpected. 

(Lars Ebert’s workshop in the laboratory should be public).

Facing the literal unknown, while working and now while living, controlling only the intention and trusting the process – performers, people in therapy, and humans in general, they all know.

Imagine curating, collecting and conserving working with time and not against it, regeneratively and less economically.

And then let go.

Others have done it for us and we run behind it

Now, with the pandemic and the absent body, now transformation is already happening

Now is a moment of change and one of these changes could be that we

Unapologetically, we

Start writing our own taxonomy

(ecology needs classifications, we have to know what we are talking about, what we need)

What do you need?

Take the moment and map your last project. What sustains its real afterlife?

Is it expected or unexpected ecology?

Maybe it’s not only the clean clear path of steady partners, maybe it’s a climate or a universe that developed.

Maybe, a community of practice, an ecosystem of producers, receivers, friends, commons, funders, suppliers a.s.o. And the commons, maybe they are venues, ideas

A rhizome that flourishes with time and change (artists would call it process)

And that feeds on trust and collectivity.

Describe and draw, yes, draw, the ecosystem of your own project, the human and nonhuman links

This is about relationships.

And chant away your reserve –

While waiting for the right vocabulary for the funders, that is explanatory, opportunistic but also doesn’t entirely betray you, or maybe it doesn’t at all, with the right amount of referential distance to trigger transformation, to propel you and your reality ahead into the unknown escaping the logic of the market

While waiting for it to surface the individual mapping, and the different needs and perspectives of art workers involved

Allow the darn chant


Culture is an organism, not a mechanism

This is about the cultural logic of relationships and long-term rhizomatic development that is much more akin to the way we think and work

Or, find your own indicators, do imagine them

Start from specificities, the core of the artistic field, the context, the region, the hybrid, the distinctive combination of the cultural work or the constellation you are in, the very specific logic of performing arts

Make use of art and culture to think and name, an imaginative act that follows

So chant and draw the ecosystem of relationships and practice, of connections and time, of your own project

Maybe it’s a permaculture or dark pedagogy model that you have already embedded in your good practices, maybe it’s growing your own food 

Or maybe…

First, the drawing, then the indicators, an indicator being how the government sees you

Or, maybe, just draw a landscape of where we are now.

Set the bases for reflection towards where you want to go

Self-evaluate and decide what to abandon and what to reimagine

Start small, in your context, in your body

Just stop

Use both the methodology of reflection and embodied knowledge

Stop and understand how you are today 

Your mood

While you push the mountains a bit further to the right by hand

Your hand. And make more space inside

For how you are 

How are you in this particular radical situation that invites the imagination, the transformation of our sector that is already happening as it is happening, the transformation of reality? How are you in this permanent state of crisis, ecological, sanitary, political, social, economy shifting?

But, first, stop and rest

And describe your mood in one or two words.

Take time, take space, take needed resources and shapeshift


Make clearer the deep disconnection of how art is actually created and what the authorities and the funders know or care about

Make art activism, because art is not really only culture if it is at all

Engage politically, poetically and performatively by means of daringly applied and nuanced language; make it magical, make it SF, make it real – a true spell!

Make it a pdf, viral, pure policy of amazing collective intelligence

Do you know you are just being deprived of your right to be in the presence of culture?

Do they know culture is anyways happening to them, careful or careless as they are? 

To us all?

Consider culture a cross-sectorial feature of contemporary social change, consider culture holistically embedded in all the other sectors – consider this when writing a project.

Artist and manager, art worker, cultural worker, inside the same body or under different skins

Fill in the pdf with the alternative local operations that are already happening

Put a spell on your government that has already let go of the arts sector

Repeat endlessly the connected and practical and transformative vocabulary that your work and your being needs.

And while you are at it,

Hack the institutions, cultural and art ones, also by engaging culturally any other kind of institution or funder or context.

Do try to not reproduce the model imposed on you, in what you work and how you organize and call the working

Make culture more „art”, make it a soft parasite inside systems, make it work in systemic ways

Open up the scene, get out of the bubble and all the rest, and connect with other sectors with shared values. Build your alliances protecting the marginalized, also and especially the language-fragile ones

They need you so.

Bring together identity politics reals with the unsituated.

In the same pdf ☺

Adriana Gheorghe

The poem was created by Adriana Gheorghe at the invitation of Colectiv A Association and Goethe Institut Bucharest within the Cultural Management Academy 2020 program whose theme was The Laboratory of the Absent Body. Reset scenarios for performing arts and is inspired by the interventions of Milena Dragićević Šešić, Milica Ilić and Lars Ebert.