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Students engage with activists of the Assemblea Sociale per la Casa (ASC) in Casette neighborhood of Giudecca.

ASC is an association of Venice residents who squat empty buildings and make them usable for people who need a place to live, thus helping to address the need for affordable housing in Venice. The residents themselves manage and care for these buildings, which have been neglected by the state for decades. The local authorities turn a blind eye to the squats, and for good reason: there are more than 600 empty buildings in Venice and the city does not have the money to maintain them. At a time of neoliberal social and economic reality, ASC demonstrates a spirit of generosity and the inspiring resistance of residents who, rather than fighting the government, are constructing a new social agreement based on mutual participation. ASC reframes the issue of what to do with empty buildings by presenting an alternative to such current practices as selling properties to the wealthy, who rarely live in them, or turning unused apartments into Airbnb tourist accommodations. ASC’s reused buildings show that it is possible to realize the commons even in a paradigm that foregrounds public and private property.

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Photo above: Visit of the housing provided by Assemblea Sociale per la Casa (ASC) in Casette neighborhood of Giudecca.


Title: Venice – Participation Matters with ASC
One day exchange of knowledge with activists of the Assemblea Sociale per la Casa (ASC) in the context of the Futurity Island workshops at the Swamp Summer School, the Lithuanian representation at the Venice Architecture Biennial 2018.
Dates: June 26 – 30, 2018
Location: Venice, Italy
Students: Barbara Niklas, Juli Paetzold (Konzeptdesign HFBK Hamburg), Rachel Priest (Film Department HFBK), Mana Stahl, Kastania Waldmüller, and Yan Yan.
The Class of the Design for the Living World in collaboration with: the ASC activists and students of the Swamp Summer School.
Supported by: Lithuanian Pavillion at the Venice Architecture Biennial 2018.
Participating universities: MIT School of Architecture and Planning, Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp, University of Antwerp, Università Iuav di Venezia, Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti – NABA Milan, The Art Institute at the Academy of Art and Design FHNW Basel, Institute of Aesthetic Practice and Theory IAeP, Academy of Art and Design FHNW Basel, University of Iceland, Vytautas Magnus University Kaunas, a.pass – advanced performance and scenography studies Brussels, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Contour Biennale 9 Mechelen, Design for the Living World Class at HFBK The University of Fine Arts Hamburg, Städelschule Architecture Class – Staatliche Hochschule für Bildende Künste Frankfurt.


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Participation Matters with ASC is part of Futurity Island at the Swamp Summer School, the Lithuanian representation at the Venice Architecture Biennial 2018. The Swamp Summer School is a platform for exchanging knowledge between students of several universities. The aim is to shift the discussion on public space toward discourse on the environment by exploring the imaginary of a swamp – a living organism in which borders defined by social, political, and cultural factors are porous and permeable.

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