SourcesThe imaginary, or social imaginary is the set of values, institutions, laws, and symbols common to a particular social group and the corresponding society. According to Cornelius Castoriadis, a distinction must be made between the instituted imaginary - a society’s given structures, ideations and norms, as ‘materialized’ in institutions and works-, and the instituting imaginary - the collective and individual creativity which structures, institutes, and materializes meaning, and may also radically question its pre-existing forms. In today’s societies of control, critical instituting imaginaries are expressed through the narratives generated by social practices that challenge biopolitical regimes of domination, seeking alternative forms of life and collective action. Imagination and creation must be understood, in our view, as political faculties of memory, ideation and subjectivity contributing to autonomous, emancipatory cultural action beyond the boundaries between disciplines and the pre-existing hierarchies and protocols structuring institutions.
Genealogies of practice
- Classe de Lutte ("Fighting class" / "Lucha de clase"). (Besançon-France) Groupe Medvedkin, 1969
In the late 1960s, a group of filmmakers led by Chris Marker, Jean-Luc Godard and Bruno Muel filmed the occupation of factories by militant workers in Sochaux and Besançon, France. Marker and Maret's A bientot, j'espere was shown to the workers at Rhodiaceta, who expressed reservations about the limitations of the filmmakers' perspective. Marker's response to these criticisms was that the logical step forward was for the workers to begin making their own films. That was the start of the Medvedkin Group (named after Soviet filmmaker Alexandr Medvekin), a collective of film technicians and Rhodiaceta workers that would take up this call to advance from "a militant film on the workers' condition to a militant workers' film." The documentaries they made between 1967 and 1974 constitute landmarks in the history of activist and collaborative approaches to film.
- Numax Presenta. (España / Spain) Joaquín Jordá, 1979
A documentary on the experience of worker management at the Numax factory in Barcelona (Spain), which the owners had tried to shut down in the late 1970s. Jordá’s film attempts to articulate two levels of cinematic discourse: on one level the film documents the workers’ assemblies; on another level, there is a hypothetical reconstruction of the company owners’ point of view on the exploitation of the working class, modelled on the aesthetics of tableaux vivants and bourgeois representation. Boycotted by other companies in the sector, determined not to tolerate any competition by intruders, the experience of the worker-managed Numax factory eventually proved unsustainable, and the film manages to capture some of the pessimism of a working class organization confronted with the iron rules of capitalism.