The Belli Research Institute for Critical Thots is a platform for thotties and babblers writing, and imagining other possibilities during wartime. Belli, Latin for 'in the war', alludes to the totality of civil war, from which no existing conditions are exempt. The critical thots at BRI explore difference, contradiction and fissure in political frameworks as fruitful sites for learning and experimentation.
We are a small group of critical thotees recently brought together by a mutual desire for the abolition of the status quo, agreeing that is against humanity and life. We have backgrounds in formal art education and experimental performance, neurofeminist thought, analyses of contemporary capitalism, ancient Greek history, histories of local, social and epistemological infrastructure, anti-racist theory, the history of fascism and anti-fascist resistance, philosophy and the history of philosophy, queer theory, graphic design, and bookmaking craft. We see now as a critical moment for imagining alternatives to the everyday suppression of what could be truly community-engaged living. The community we are told of is suspiciously void of those considered undesirable i.e. black youth, homeless people, people with mental illnesses, drug addicts, and others pushed daily to the very marigins of existence in city life. We see confronting the paradoxical operation of community as it currently exists as crucial in building force against the revived conservative movement of the moment. We see opposition to this necessarily being shaped from strategically removing its insidious proliferation in our daily lives and the way we move around the city.
Our proposition for rethinking public spaces is to build an “Oppositional Commune”, intentionally open for difference to exist chaotically. We would hope with this grant to experiment with whatever ways work to bring about this Oppositional Commune. We imagine a forceful critique as manifesting in defiance of the status quo and in creating opportunities to play with other possibilities. We see this call – “to rethink public space/ utilize neglected space” – as a wonderful opportunity to build something potentially disruptive to the architecture of the city that keeps people suffering, and suffering away from one another. We propose an experiment in public space that could take on social dimensions beyond any flat, aesthetic representation or pleasant escape. If we are doing this right, we will find that we and others engaging with our project will be confronting opposition in the Twin Cities head-on.
In light of the nature of the project we would like to undertake, and our being a group coming from diverse professional, non-professional and anti-professional backgrounds, we are intentionally leaving out 'credentials' for this application.