The exhibition Pirate Care, which aims to introduce an international network of activists and researchers who oppose the criminalisation of solidarity and are developing joint systems of care for people, will be held on Thursday, 8 October at 8 pm at Exportdrvo (Grobnička riva bb, Rijeka), as part of the Dopolavoro flagship.

A part of the Dopolavoro flagship, the exhibition Pirate Care is an introduction to the increasingly present forms of activism which fuse “care” and “piracy” and attempt to tackle one of the greatest challenges of our time, the “care crisis”, in new and interesting ways. The exhibition considers the assumption that we live in a time in which care, as a political and collective capacity of societies for meeting the needs of the people and their environment, is often contested and even criminalised.

The readiness to openly violate the law and legal regimes, whenever they interfere with solidarity, and to politicise this disobedience in order to challenge the status quo is vital for pirate care practices. This disobedience and the politicisation of this practice make up pirate care.

The exhibition was devised at the Pirate Care Syllabus. The syllabus is a corpus of educational materials in the making, which are being written together with pirate care activists and artists in order to activate learning from their practices. It is stored on Sandpoints, an online publishing platform developed by Marcell Mars, which enables collaborative writing and revising of the syllabus, as well as the maintenance of the catalogues of textual materials which are guided by the syllabus. The first draft of the syllabus was written in November of 2019, when a dozen activists and artists were in residence, organised by Drugo More (The Other Sea) as part of the Rijeka 2020 programme, and was unveiled on 8 October at the opening of the exhibition “…of Bread, Wine, Cars, Security and Peace” at Kunsthalle in Vienna.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak in Europe in March, Pirate Care was one of the few Rijeka 2020 activities that was not halted. Work on the syllabus transformed into a collective documentation of a wave of organised mutual assistance, solidarity and care in the local communities in order to alleviate the health, social and economic repercussions of the pandemic under the title “Flatten the curve, increase care”. The expanded network of participants in Pirate Care collected and composed notes, advice and practical instructions for practices that had spontaneously emerged out of organised activities in Croatia, Italy, Britain and elsewhere. This timely response reverberated strongly among the general and scientific public around the world, with interviews, mentions and features in publications and events, such as ArtforumWired, Art Monthly, The Care Manifesto, MoneyLab #8, Venice Climate Camp, Institute of Network Cultures and many others.

By showcasing a selection of topics and examples from the Pirate Care Syllabus, the exhibition invites learning from disobedient practices that oppose the criminalisation of migration and solidarity, provide assistance to women without access to abortion care, jointly organise care work in areas with a lack of nursery schools, fight the housing debt crisis, provide psychosocial support to sensitive communities and politicise the feminist approach to health through biological and technological hacking, as well as digital piracy.

Valeria Graziano is a cultural theorist and practitioner currently holding a Research Fellowship at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University. Her research focuses on techniques, technologies and tools that foster the refusal of work and the possibilities of politicised pleasure. Her approach is informed by autonomist Marxism, institutional analysis, materialist transfeminism and critical organization theory. She has lectured internationally and contributed to programmes at the universities of Roma Tre, Aalto and Goldsmiths. As a practitioner, she has developed projects for the Impulse Festival, Intermediae, Manifesta 7 and Van Abbemuseum, among others.

Marcell Mars is a Research Fellow at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University. He is one of the founders of the Multimedia Institute/MAMA in Zagreb. His Ruling Class Studies research project, started at the Jan van Eyck Academy in 2011, examines digital innovation, adaptation, and intelligence processes at corporations such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and eBay. He is a doctoral student at the Digital Cultures Research Lab at Leuphana University, writing a thesis on Foreshadowed Libraries. Together with Tomislav Medak, he founded Memory of the World/Public Library, for which he develops and maintains software infrastructure.

Tomislav Medak is a doctoral student at the Centre for Postdigital Cultures at Coventry University. He is a member of the theory and publishing team of the Multimedia Institute/MAMA in Zagreb, as well as an amateur librarian for the Memory of the World/Public Library project. His research focuses on technologies, capitalist development, and post-capitalist transition, particularly on economies of intellectual property and the unevenness of technoscience. He has authored two short volumes: The Hard Matter of Abstraction – A Guidebook to Domination by Abstraction and Shit Tech for A Shitty World. Together with Marcell Mars, he co-edited the Public Library and the pamphlet Guerrilla Open Access.