The world needs cooperation. The crisis of the last ten years has been a crisis of trust: debts, loans, and derivatives are means by which capital produces political control in neoliberalism. It has been a crisis of relationships. The Cooperative Society intends to build a new economic environment, a new ecology in which the idea of value is based on a more equitable infrastructure: one founded in cooperation, not competition, on fair, mutual, local, and sustainable production, not global extraction, waste, and exploitation.
The Cooperativist Society is a place of action. It is an open initiative that establishes cooperative economic connections between documenta 14 as a cultural industry event and local alternative or solidarity economy projects in Athens.
The Cooperativist Society invites artists, activists, academics, migrants, workers, and unemployed persons to join its meetings.
Cooperation is a key term to explain how economic and social relations can be fair, equal, and collaborative, transferring ownership back to the collective. The Cooperativist Society provides a platform as well as tools which facilitate these fair economic relationships between documenta 14 artists, visitors, employees, volunteers, and local grassroots initiatives which invest in an economy that goes beyond the “there is no alternative” mantra of neoliberalism.
The Cooperativist Society attempts to fully grasp and exploit its paradoxical or contradictory relationship with documenta, a powerhouse of contemporary art. As a pragmatic place of action, it will use documenta 14 as a lever, as a means to strengthen the fabric of social pluralism.
The initiators of the Cooperativist Society are closely tied to the global movement around the commons and the development of post-capitalist cooperative ecosystems. Some of the shared values are redistribution and economic exchange between equals, open political participation, decentralization of organizational forms, production of commons and the sharing and distribution of open knowledge. The Cooperativist Society plans to facilitate resources and tools based on these values in order to activate cooperative economic connections around documenta 14.
Local artists together with artists connected to documenta 14 and others are invited to join and give shape to an Artists’ Cooperative, establishing fair and mutual aid relations amongst each other as well as with the broader society. This Artists’ Cooperative intends to create an open process of collaboration between artists that will last beyond the end of the exhibition.