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Paolo Naldini, director of Cittadellarte, reflects on the automatisation of psychic life, to which the human being, in the current geological era of the Anthropocene, has been increasingly inclined. From this perspective, Naldini first analyses four devices that play a key role in this process - habit, fear, awe and conformation - then identifies as many antidotes to promote de-automatisation: creativity, research, dialogue and civic engagement. “The psychosocial research undertaken at Cittadellarte with workshops dedicated to art for social transformation and the art of demopraxy,” he says, “has led us to identify four antidotes, counterweights or drugs to work with to counterbalance the uncontrolled effects of the rampant automatisation we are experiencing”.
Paolo Naldini, director of Cittadellarte, intends to argue that the proposal of demopraxy and the method of social design that refers to it can offer adequate tools for dealing with the urgent challenges that our societies are called to respond to. The contribution focuses on four skills in particular (creativity, dialogue, research, civic engagement), taken as key devices to proceed along the path of deautomatisation. The argument develops into how to reduce the intensity of the automaton condition. In fact, it is assumed that the path traced by these four abilities opens up to the exercise of authorship. And that the latter form the basis of any conscious and responsible practice. The central thesis of the text is that demopraxy occurs when the organisations that make up the social fabric (community of practice) exercise conscious and responsible, therefore deautomatised, practices within their fields of action and along the supply chains and networks of which they are part. The thesis is supported by analysing the functioning of creativity-dialogue-research-civic engagement as counterweights to the corresponding and opposite psychic and social dynamics. Invoking the metaphor of the virus and the pandemic, the text proposes the good infection of demopraxy through these four abilities as an antidote to the failure in the fulfilment of the democratic promise. And it invites everybody to participate in a research laboratory of artistic practice, cultural studies, political science and active intervention with the actual experimentation of devices for social design based on participatory practices of civic engagement.
Cittadellarte’s director reflects on circularity, explaining how this concept is not ideal, inasmuch as it can preclude and lead to a ‘closure’, Naldini therefore illustrates three terms facilitating the development of a circular paradigm: interlocality, horizontal scalability and tricircularity. This last key word, which he is proposing, recalls a network of locality by expressing a vision addressed to building connections between ecologies and economies. “The paradigm of tricircularity,” – he claims, – “implies the concept of circularity, but it intends and extends it in a horizontal and polycentric, or rather acentric, perspective”.