Proposal for a “Paperless Art Alliance Con-Tract”

By The Post Collective

In the last five years, since our collective came into existence in Belgium, we have been invited to participate in numerous events and exchanges with artists, institutions, and communities. In these encounters, we generated disparate questions and addressed issues on participation, inclusion, collectivity, solidarity, integration, place-making, cultural activism & politics, and other aspects of artistic and cultural production.

After harvesting and reflecting on the experience of participating and showing up to these various kinds of environments and contexts, an urgency arose to design a ‘PAACT’ that would offer a set of mutually agreed upon conditions from which we could work – within and beyond – the collective. Our intention is to ensure that we enter a safer space – one that offers clear outlines of expectations and guidelines on how our collective of precarious people might engage with art-making and collaborating with institutions and individuals.

Questions of equality and proper recognition of the collective and its members needed to be addressed within the PAACT. We hope that this document is adoptable and adaptable for other collectives and groups as we present it here as a prototype for formulating agreements along similar lines.

Copy the template of the PAACT from the following pages or download it on:

Paperless Art Alliance Con-tract (PAACT)

between the parties:

WE: the members of the ........................................... collective

YOU: .............................................artist / institution / group or other agreeing party

please check the boxes by the paragraphs applicable to WE (the aforementioned party)

WE ARE A COLLECTIVE. As such, we seek to build and maintain a place for reflection through interdependence and open exchange. We ask you to join us in the spirit of collectivity.

WE ARE NOT TOKENS. If you choose to work with us, you have to be in solidarity with our causes, wanting to be in dialogue with our cultures and aware that you are an accomplice in the circumstances that we live. Please do not ask us to engage in the ways white supremacist, colonial, patriarchal and neo-liberal capitalism is creating and validating work.

WE ARE NON-HIERARCHICAL. Do not separate us or try to find and appoint a leader.

WE ARE POROUS. As we aim to grow, connect and expand into the world on multiple fronts and directions simultaneously.

WE TAKE TIME. We require more time to make decisions and come to agreements than usually allocated by institutions and organisations as it takes much longer to arrive at truly collective, non-hierarchical decisions and solutions. Recognise the efforts we make and the nature of collective work as more time and resource-consuming.

WE ARE ASYLUM SEEKERS and REFUGEES. The state can call us in at any time for an interview, discussion or investigation. These calls cannot be rescheduled; not showing up for these meetings could be a reason for losing your case and being deported. We require understanding and flexibility when such issues may block or prohibit planned meetings or presentations.

WE ARE PAPERLESS. The state has marked us as illegal or under process. It might be that we cannot work with legal contracts the same way you work with artists with full civil or employment rights. We need your help and advice to find the best way to create a fair payment for all of us. In cases of unresolved legal status, an effort needs to be adapted to the specific situation and subjective conditions.

WE USE ALTERNATIVE ECONOMIC SYSTEMS. Solidarity in the collective means taking active responsibility for our interrelationships on a global level. We ask you to join us in imagining and thinking about alternative modes of economy and access to common resources. Our way of working is as important as the outcome. Payment should be calibrated to provide sufficient support for individual members of the collective.

WE SEEK ANOTHER WORLD. We seek to find and use new modes for artistic and social circulation and materialisation. In these, people and the planet are valued over profit and cultural capitalism. This means creating greater equity, inclusiveness and sustainability within our collective, the institutions we work with and in broader society.

WE SEEK TRANSPARENCY. We ask you to be transparent and open when declaring and promoting your ways of working, organising and making culture. This includes admitting blind spots, biases and failures as a part of establishing empathic, collaborative modes of re-imagining the world and the place that art holds in it.

WE ARE TRAUMATISED. Be careful how you speak with us, communicate about us and programme us in events. We do not need to be othered or made to re-live our traumas in front of anybody. Please inform other participating artists of our presence as audience and contributors, so they can take care of their content. We appreciate trigger warnings. We ask you to check your privilege and take a stance of care with use of positive discrimination.

WE EXPERIMENT. Meetings and presentations aspire to be spontaneous, inclusive, and ultimately transformative. Our ways of conducting dialogue are under a constant process of revision, observation and fluidity. We welcome polyphony and cacophony as tools that ensure maximum inclusion for everyone involved. We ask you to be open to such lateral and flexible modes of communication and participation.

WE ARE ARTISTS. While not fixated on what art is, we look at what it can bring about. We take artistic positions by engaging with all our senses for both human and non-human ecologies and futures.

WE ARE PARENTS. Our children’s well-being will always be our number one priority. As migrant parents, we lack the financial resources and network of family and friends to support us – not to mention the racism and degradation we experience in social services. Sometimes it is difficult to show up to events and planned residencies because of unexpected issues and obligations as there is no structure to take care of us beyond ourselves.

WE ARE EXHAUSTED. General precariousness creates extremely fragile mental and physical states. Sometimes we just can’t.

WE NEED TO BE LOVED. In a system that rejects us as human beings and refuses our rights to live and prosper, we need you to create together with us this microcosm where we are accepted, respected and loved. This is the only way to work together and change, little by little, this unfair world, so we can stand side by side as equals in art and in life.

WE HAVE SO MUCH (LOVE) TO GIVE. We do not need charity. We know the immensity of the value we bring to the table. Because we have been excluded from the world of art and nation state, we take nothing for granted. We have the potential to radically rethink society, politics and art making in a world that is constantly unfolding. Sometimes you will feel we speak a different language, but please listen. There is so much love, hope and courage to give. Be open to receive it and partake in it.

Any disputes shall be subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the collective of peers and your own conscience.

Read and agreed on ....... / ........... / .........

Signed by