[CALL FOR PROPOSALS – English Version


roots§routes is a magazine with an editorial vision announced by its editorial board, which guarantees the quality and coherence of its contents. We consider it crucial to maintain an ongoing receptivity towards any submission of quality, provided it corresponds with the final vision shared among the editors. We therefore not only solicit work from artists and scholars, but also encourage submissions from contributors working in contexts that we do not know directly.

roots§routes announces a Call For Proposals, asking artists and scholars to submit proposals, beginning with the magazine’s theme for the upcoming quarter. Submissions should be sent in the form of an abstract, with a maximum of 350 words, to the following email address: redazione@roots-routes.org, with the subject heading “Article Submission.” Abstracts written in English, Italian, French, Portugues or Spanish are acceptable. In case of interest on the part of the editorial board, an email requesting the full paper will be sent to the author of the abstract. The paper is to be written in the language of the author’s choosing.

The editorial board, upon receiving the full paper, reserves the right to request partial edits, or to reject the piece, in the case that it does not align with the earlier proposal. For those interested in submitting materials, the themes for the upcoming issue of the magazine will be announced on this section of the website.

Year XIII, n°42, May – August 2023 §CURA: care - cure - curate

curated by Marie Moïse, Chiara Organtini and Giulia Grechi

Care.Cure.Curate: a verbal journey to be read in one breath, but also a sound curve that is not purely melodic and that gathers in a short segment a kaleidoscope of possible declinations of the word cure. A word today at risk of depotentiation due to its soft rounding, often reduced to empathic practices in the universe of human micro-relations, mainly assigned to the female sphere, and due to the centrality achieved in the pandemic period that has made it an obligatory and abused anaphora.
Why and how can CARE be rather a profoundly political action that invests and affects, by re-performing them, social, political and economic scenarios? A relational weaving that not only stitches up but also redefines the role of the individual and the collective, of the human and the non-human, of power understood as verb and not noun, in a possible elsewhere permeated by visions and practices of “togetherness”.

To Care: it sinks into the direct and personal engagement of someone* for someone or something and shows it in being concerned, with nuances ranging from the intimate to the collective. To care means mobilising one’s energies to put people, issues, elements often marginalised, silenced or invisible by dominant narratives and policies, at the centre. To Care is an act of vocalising grey areas, a courageous epiphany of the shadows that sometimes results in radical and muscular acts such as mass protests and radical political actions.
In its intrinsically transformative character, to care implies effort, consumption of physical, psychic, mental resources. Care is care work: an ambivalent interpenetration of employment, combustion, dispersion and regeneration of energies. And again, care is direct contact with the darkest elements of life in relation, with the waste, refuse and toxins of the making and remaking of life. Care in this sense is dirty work, ‘dirty care’. In a system that tends towards duality and dichotomy, the intrinsic ambivalences of care find themselves polarised in a social and symbolic hierarchy that puts male and female, whiteness and blackness, capital and labour, before each other.
In this framework, what does it mean then to make space within oneself for caring for others? What is the dividing line between a caring practice that inaugurates unforeseen and reciprocal relationships, and a caring that results in an exercise of power, control, infantilisation, manipulation of the other? What are the effects of care when its matrix is patriarchal and crystallised in the hierarchical and dual relationship of the mother towards the child, with no power of speech over its needs (infante: from the Latin, in-fans, who does not speak)? And instead, what happens to the transformative potential of care when its extension to collective and reciprocal dimensions is hoisted as the banner of the new institutionalised forms of welfare, without renouncing the patriarchal and capitalist premises of care as a gratuitous gesture and sacrifice? How, in other words, can we stem a tendency to co-opt experimental practices oriented towards a new privatisation of welfare in the name of an supposed neo-mutualism?

Dan Perjovisch, Colonne del Fridericianum, Kassel, documenta fifteen, giugno 2022 (foto di G. Grechi)

To Cure: in this trajectory, through recognising and giving space to the ‘other’, the act of curing can be extended to the collective body as an act of regeneration (and not production) of the ‘damaged’ present, a generative political action that heals and mends. That is, it offers new symmetries and geographies that with fair and necessary balances renegotiate the concept of margin and whisper new possibilities of being together, offer new possible mediations. A verb capable of imagining and inventing other scenarios, an ‘elsewhere’ to inhabit and an ‘otherwise’ through which to inhabit it.
To cure as an action following trauma – the wound – and as a search for the relationship with this, to cure as healing, repairing, questions the collective as much as the individual dimension. What happens to the relationship with other people, what happens to the relationship with one’s own self, if the wound remains open and there is no prospect of healing it? On whom does the serum drip when the ulcer of neglect becomes chronic?
When trauma concerns identities and memories, both individual and collective, caught in the tangled web of removals, invisibilisations, mystifications, missed representations, placing oneself in the perspective of care implies first and foremost a politics of recognition. Kader Attia in the documentary Reflecting Memory (2016) reflects on the healing mechanisms of memory traumas, and their material and violent, embodied effects, just as in the case of the pain of the phantom limb. The phantom limb needs to return to existence, albeit only through its evocation through a mirror, in order to calm the physical pain due to the lack of recognition of the absence at the level of the body schema. A similar mechanism also acts at the level of the mutilated memory of a community, because it is not possible to place the trauma in the past, as a memory of something that happened. Trauma never stops happening, it continues to express itself in the present time, with its opaque and stuttering language. This is why the process of healing can only be a form of ‘endless repair’, a process that cannot have an univocal and definitive conclusion (erasing the wound or making it visible), but which in its occurrence, signals first and foremost the urgency of repair, as an imaginative and re-appropriative question.
It is a matter of going beyond the European or Western cultural conception of care and repair, what the artist calls ‘the myth of the perfect’, whereby any fracture or wound implies the need for a return to the previous state of integrity, essentially denying or removing or silencing the trauma. A form of healing in which the very process of repair must remain invisible as much as possible, producing no stratification or sign or evidence. On the contrary, the more visible the repair, the more the repaired object (the body) is considered defective, and the process itself an error.
This conception of care acts as a merely illusory re-appropriation, towards an idea of original purity that does not pertain to the human. What the artist calls ‘extra-Occidental repairs’, in which the repair itself is made visible and indeed deliberately exposed, are processes aimed at the creation of new forms, new aesthetics, and therefore new realities. Micro acts of everyday resistance, transformative actions and aesthetics, aimed at the regeneration and reappropriation of what has been dispossessed and wounded by the violence of trauma and its removal/repetition. Only in this way can wounds be transformed into “entangled relations of becoming”[1]. The suture, in the visibility of its processuality, literally incorporates the memorable and the unspeakable, and in this sense is a ‘therapeutic’ resource, not in a conciliatory way, but as energy directed towards the future.

“Across both nature and culture, any system of life is based on endless repairs.”[2]

To Curate: refers to the possible role of artistic practices in this action of speculating a scenario and another world. It refers to the possibility of artistic practices to act and make “caring worlds” experiential with tangible albeit ephemeral and transitory experiences, which infiltrate normalised visions and concepts, making them more and more friable, opening up new imaginaries of desires and possibilities of new worlds and nourishing our agentivity towards their realisation.
Increasingly, there are experiments in co-creation and collective curatorship not of ‘artworks’ but of ‘art working’, not of performances but of performative experiences to be inhabited together, generating content through their activation. These experimentations on the one hand question the centralised concept of author and authorship, and on the other dematerialise the art object as product (controllable and subsumed into the neo-liberal production logic) by offering a radical action of decentralisation of the focus from ‘something to see’ (usable and consumable) to ‘a moment in which to immerse oneself’. A substantial and profound aesthetic shift that undermines role hierarchies and introduces that much-evoked ‘otherwise’, in which the redefinition of power mechanisms, decision-making logics and the co-habitation of worlds according to principles of sharing and circularity profiles an answer to the widespread demand for research into how to return to being together (and not just staying together). 

The action of the Ruangrupa collective, whose practice embodies the concept of lumbung also thematised in their documenta, is an emblem of the need to rethink cultural institutions themselves within a broader panorama of paradigmatic and cultural transformation. Passing through the documenta curated by the collective in 2022 is an inciting wonderment that leaves post-traumatic effects, returning to the old world of certain cultural proposals, which appear stuttering due to the senility and awkwardness with which they grapple with a foreign language they have not mastered. 

This ‘elsewhere’ and ‘otherwise’, in which care is the lymphatic system and vital infrastructure, is the organic and imperfect world of the commons, veined not by the harmony of marble but by the rough hum of collectivity, between cacophonous differences and prismatic richness, between convergences and conflicts in which the binary logic of exclusion is supplanted by a subjunctive Esperanto in which the particle and/and disrupts linearity, accompanying us, with languid liquidity, into the circular vortex of complexity.

In an open dialectic between theories and practices, care in its relational substance and collective transformative potential is intended to be the merit and method of this call. Space is given to the plural taking of words, to showcasing the ‘we’ who take care of each other, to processualities of care that are generative of new aesthetics or possible worlds, and to the unforeseen relations of promiscuous care in the changing geography of relationships that this creative journey will trace. We assume a politics of positioning in order to invent a continuous reversal of the asymmetries of power that will polarise on the path. Power of speech, a sense of legitimacy, paid time for creative work: let us activate circular forms of support, redistribution of resources, escape from the illusion of individual merit and the profound loneliness that comes with it. May this very process, the construction of this issue of roots§routes, be a profound and collective act of care.

[1] Karen Barad, On Touching – The Inhuman That Therefore I Am, in Power of Material – Politics of Materiality, edited by Kerstin Stakemeier and Susanne Witzgall, Diaphanes, Zurich, 2018.
[2] Kader Attia, in LINK

Gudskul, Studi Kolektif, Temujalar 2022, Fridericianum, Kassel, documenta fifteen, giugno 2022 (foto di G. Grechi)
Gudskul, Studi Kolektif, Temujalar 2022, Fridericianum, Kassel, documenta fifteen, giugno 2022 (foto di G. Grechi)


abstract submission deadline
by 15 March 2023


publication 15 May 2023
article by 27 April 2023


publication 15 July 2023
article by 25 June 2023





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