The Autonomist Anomaly
Curated by Felice Moramarco coming Fall 2023
August 24 – October 11, 2023
Opening Reception 5 – 6:30pm August 24
8/30 Artist Talk 6pm
9/1 Curator's walk through [in Italian] 10am
9/1 Curatorial workshop [limited to IC students] 12:10pm
Through archival images and materials and the film Settembre ‘77, this exhibition will look at the cultural production and organizing of the Italian movement Autonomia. For almost a decade throughout the 70’s, Autonomia upset the Italian political system with a wave of uprisings, animated by radical demands of equality and social justice. Through audio recordings, super 8 videos, photos, and magazines from the archives of activists of the movement, the Autonomist Anomaly recollects some of the crucial events that marked the history of Autonomia. By giving a glimpse into the dynamic organization of the movement and its unusual forms of political struggle, the exhibition aims to highlight the unique political experience that was Autonomia, and its enduring legacy that is still relevant today.
Autonomia constituted an unparalleled anomaly in the history of Western post war politics. An aspect that immediately stands out is the remarkable impact that the movement had on the cultural and political life of the country, despite its lack of any kind of organizational structure. Having been more than a homogeneous movement, Autonomia was in fact a constellation of collectives, groups, pirate radios, magazines, often very diverse from each other, but all connected by the strong commitment to construct forms of collective life beyond state authority and private property. Autonomia was “the body without organs of politics” as the philosopher Sylvere Lotringere defined it, a political organism without a centralized organization, thus constantly evolving, expanding and within which contradictory elements coexisted.
Furthermore, Autonomia introduced within the field of political struggle, aspects of private and public life that were traditionally considered non-political. The right to idleness, collectivization of happiness, liberation of desire, general feminization, expanded sexuality constituted some aspects the movement decisively advanced. To some these are ancillary cultural battlegrounds with little political value, but they were part of a larger project that aimed at radically revising the boundaries of political discourse. The radicality of this project inevitably led Autonomia to a frontal clash with state authorities, mass media, and both right-wing and left-wing parties. Despite the power imbalance, for the decade it was active, Autonomia was a catalyzing force dramatically affecting political and cultural life in the country.
Felice Moramarco is a Milan based writer and curator, founder of the curatorial platform DEMO Moving Image Experimental Politics. His practice and research focus on rethinking art’s agency in light of the current cultural, technological, and political paradigms shifts, exploring the possibilities of artistic practice to operate politically and configure new realities. He received his MA in Philosophy from the University of Bologna and his MFA in Curating from Goldsmiths. He held teaching and research positions at Goldsmiths University of London, University of Westminster, the British School in Rome, Nordland Art and Film School and at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. He has curated various exhibition projects across Europe and the US, also in collaboration with renowned art institutions such as Ambika P3 in London and the Museum of Modern Art of Bologna.