Collective Bodies is a digital space for exhibition, discussion, and creation that has been designed to thread the Colombian context with the multiple discussions that arose in documenta fifteen. We emerge as a site for sowing and harvesting around the significance of art as an experimental medium to put into practice theories on decentralized economies and forms of resilience that articulate the rural and the digital spheres through artistic practices.
WE AREFirst consideration — Body
We are found, malleable, and living bodies. We are the crochet movement that gives shape to the shapeless and names the nameless. We weave the real, the virtual, the utopic, the digital. We are a continuous thread of thoughts regarding the communal that oscillates between individualism, the cruel anxiety of ambition and power, and the transactional logic that rules us. As a community, we will implement some digital tools to understand how these thoughts repeat over time, and how we can escape them. We, as collective bodies, are but another answer embued with doubts at odds with the mass and everything that befalls it. We are brought together and torn apart through the flux of events. We are, too, that nomadic life shifting from the biological to the logical, the unspeakable, the semiotic, the economic, the psychosocial. We stand in the cog that stands within encounters. We run from the crowds to harvest away from the cities, as we require the land to start over.
We understand ourselves as bodies, since the union of fragments creates a synchrony that emulates life itself. By understanding this as the principle that shapes a body, we move—consciously or unconsciously—toward new directions, which allows us to rethink the world. “The collective body exists in an eternal state of emergence and transformation. Its disintegration and new resurrection are dependent on current social configurations and our relation to the surrounding world.” In a world that promises nothing more than its own destruction, we are cultural life; we meditate on the role of culture in regard to power relations. Here, we believe that creative, transdisciplinary actions hold the possibility of emancipation from some economic tragedies—quite common lately, everywhere.
Second consideration — Interlokal Territory
As collective bodies, we are the techno-harvester who claims the destruction of borders and seeks to give back the territory to nature, its original owner. We are not nationhoods, but physical and digital loci. We are the new international spirit that invites us to use the tools that bond us together in order to look again at our home, our chagra, our neighborhood. We are not simply something or someone—we are a cumulus of ideas, works, codes, plants, dreams, animals, journeys, unicellular beings, constellations, verses, reverses, inverses, multiverses, memories, and ideas (dis)organized that are shaped into organisms.
This is how many discussions between the Colombian guests and the lumbung members raise from the interconnection of specific lived experiences that conceive our relation to the territory from the perspective of the interlokal, “the interweaving of their [the lumbung members’] local practices as well as their international distribution through the network.”
From this set of core principles, stands out the consideration of the rural element in economic dynamics, and the invitation to move away from the cities to the surrounding areas. Rurality is more than a promise, it is a moment of labor when the following is possible:
“Lo rural como espacio donde lo humano y lo no humano se acercan y viven una vida equilibrada.
Lo rural como un espacio donde se desarrollan enfoques integrados de vida, donde la cultura, lo social, lo económico, lo ecológico son tratados en conjunto, en lugar de enfoques más encajonados en modelos de desarrollo hegemónicos.
Lo rural como un espacio donde se experimentan formas circulares y formas regenerativas de desarrollo en contraste con el pensamiento lineal en el desarrollo clásico que ha demostrado ser demasiado extractivo para la tierra y sus comunidades”.
Third consideration — Speculation
As bodies in constant transformation, we can only adopt a shape through consensus, by building and confronting our experiences with other forms of living, by staging them. This is not discriminatory; it is imperative—imperative understood here as prioritizing radical and experimental thoughts over obsolete models. It involves critically observing this obsolescence and proposing new structures that are functional for the collective bodies that surge from the present. Even though we are only the crops of documenta fifteen, our radical thought rises from the intention of continuity, foregrounded in the values of the lumbung: “humor, generosity, independence, transparency, sufficiency, and regeneration
Consumption is here understood as economically and ecologically sustainable over time. This conception derives from the concept of circular economy, where “everything that we do not give a use for, circles back to us as chaos, pollution, and death”. Speculation is one of the main elements of applying new thought and economic models. We choose to put aside the Keynesian principle of speculation, which focuses on interest rates and profits that rely on external factors and aim at an individual profit. We foreground our thoughts on GudSkul’s Documenta Fifteen Lumbung  JJ Adibrata (24 de septiembre de 2022). Sobre la pieza Especulación Colectiva.
Fourth consideration — The harvest
The harvest is a model conceived by the lumbung to document and interpret, and it is one of documenta fifteen’s experimental elements. Through the harvest, the audience members become more than passive spectators: the exhibition space offers the tools for them to document and share their own interpretations of the works, installations, conferences, and discussions held by lumbung members. The harvest is, in this context, the entry point to a set of inquiries that are surging outside the mainstream circuits of the plastic and visual arts.
“Harvest means the documentation of meetings, which is prepared by harvesters as overviews, texts, sketches, or drawings and enables the traceability of the meeting.
The harvesters listen and reflect. In exaggerated, humorous or poetic form, they document the process from their individual perspective and by means of their own artistic practices.”
Fifth consideration — The exhibition as a medium, not an ends
Art exhibitions are constricted in time and space; their dimensions are shaped by the audience that nurtures them. Without a spectator and a community that legitimizes art’s discourse, its thoughts are trapped within a stillborn circuit that shuts off any possibility of reachability, discussion, transformation, or interpretation. Some people are experts; others are more sensible than the average; some count with critical voices that shift the discussion toward until-then unexplored directions. For the lumbung, the one-hundred-day exhibition of documenta fifteen was merely one of the items to develop as part of this collective entanglement. As collective bodies, we support and promote that idea. Hence, this harvest is also a space of perpetual transformation that is made possible thanks to the Grant for Curatorial Exchanges by the Instituto Distrital de las Artes (Bogotá), and the unconditional support of Más Arte Más Acción, ruangrupa, and other lumbung members that have allowed us to adhere to their discussions as to tend bridges that promote the fertilization of sterile discussions—so plentiful in today’s artistic and cultural field, and in the world.
Sixth consideration — To harvest again
After the harvest, it is now the time to prep the soil once more, organize codes, gather materials, speak with fellow lumbung neighbors, and find places to foster dialogues that today take place on the internet, but actually happen in concrete places that are difficult to access. Today, we sow in a decentralized manner, after the laborious centralization of knowledge (both theoretical and practical) that implied the one-hundred-day exhibition. From that reflection, new ideas sprout, and we must crop, fertilize, and spread them. In this body, we can sow, too. We could say, then, that it is more of a feminine than a masculine body, since we are nothing more than vessels for new ideas that can, potentially, be transformed into new elements that can gain strength through lumbung.
To sow again is to believe again, to create again, no matter what. It is to keep trying, each time more and more organized.
Seventh consideration — Where is art?
The community reacts to stories and experiences by bringing together individual actions that, as grains of rice, materialize the promise of reconstructing and restoring the wounds of a territory that claims other forms of resilience. The transformative power of art—where the sensorial prevails, and the experiences that define it are simultaneously identified and put into question— can be added to this collective labor. Art’s aesthetic value stops being a priority, and our attention is directed toward its impact on the community that exercises it. By opening the way to infinite possibilities that structure alternative collective lines of action, arises one of the most transcendental questions for the curators and artists of documenta fifteen: where is art?
At Errata n. 7 magazine (2012), educator Javier Gil explains that artistic collaborative practices drift between the aesthetic and the sensorial, and are grounded in personal and collective forms of relationality. These relationships connect us to the inhabited space, which triggers sensations rooted in collective memory, beliefs, and rituals. They are bound to the specific social contexts of such space, and are described by Gil as forms of activism framed in ethic-aesthetic paradigms. Said mechanisms become creative actions that manifest in order to recover the meaning of a community’s experiences and traditions.
Lumbung’s social approach to artistic actions will be rendered evident in documenta fifteen, from June 18 to September 25, in Kassel. This exhibition will not only include conventional narrative styles such as video, performance, sculpture, murals, painting, photography, drawing, vector and generative art, amongst others; but will also include encounters, summits, archival reconstruction, and laboratories as a product of lumbung members’ work in recent years. Remarkably, instead of following the institutional parameters of past artistic directions, this edition’s guest curators, ruangrupa, responded to the documenta with a counter-invitation: that documenta would become part of the ecosystem through a collaboration inspired and modeled on the lumbung (Indonesian word for community rice barn). Lumbung is a form of organizations for joint governance that highlights the importance of sharing resources such as time, customs, money, knowledge, and prospective critiques that strengthen networked ecosystems based on sustainability.
This new model is initially based on 14 organisations from New Zealand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Palestine, Mali, Kenya, Hungary, Denmark, Spain, England, Cuba, and Colombia under the name of lumbung members, who connect from their local contexts, forming one of the most innovative pillars of the event: the lumbung inter-lokal. These fields of action are understood as spaces for experimentation based on local anchors that allow their members to explore alternative economic models and make social denunciations of local problematics. Its members are interested in speaking to their communities: the budget that the documenta fifteen granted these organizations will be allocated partly to the exhibition making, but mostly it will support their work with their own communities in their territories.
"It has been a challenge to teach documenta to think horizontally. For the artists and members of the lumbung, we design budgets that are agreed upon in meetings where everyone votes on what should be the destination of those resources, keeping in mind the needs of each community," says Farid Rakun, a member of ruangrupa.
Many of the collectives approach the question where is art? as a journey through dialogue and exchange, whose reach outruns the materiality of the theoretical and practical legacy that the art field will inherit. Art’s worth, for most of them, lies in its ability to become a life project that can transform those apocalyptic—and apparently inevitable—pasts and futures.
For 5 years, this sum of efforts has brought together initiatives that encourage the creation of alternative economic models and the recovery of traditions in vulnerable populations that still need to legitimise their concerns in an international context in order to safeguard their local agency. Lumbung responds to the art that puts collective imagination into practice, to the experience and journey of lumbung organizations and collectives that focus on inviting audiences from all over the world to work together, despite distance and cultural differences, to fulfill this common goal through collaborative work.  Fragmento tomado de ¿Dónde está el arte? David Felipe Suárez y Sandra Fernández