The second segment of the Public Programme, Accountable Networks, expands Manifesta 12 research into regimes of global flows dominating today’s societies, looking at how structures of power adapt, or resist, to this essential condition of fluidity. What is left of the traditional power structure of nation states when the ambitions, plans, speeds and targets on the world stage are manoeuvred by abstract forces, transnational private interests, algorithmic intelligence, ungovernable environmental processes and ever-increasing inequalities? How can civic society reinvent democratic governance and access levels of global political power? Is there a possible point of convergence between the 20th Century’s social project and the acceleration of technology and the neoliberal economy of the 21st?
Following up on the work developed by the main exhibition, Accountable Networks offers new ways for independent publics to sense, track and access the flows in which politics are embodied today. Through interventions by filmmakers, researchers, visual artists and thinkers, Manifesta 12 aims at making invisible networks tangible, rendering the abstract sensorial, hence accessible and debatable. The public programme acts here as one more table of confrontation, a place to expand ongoing research on the possibility of the political in times dominated by mutability and intangible power systems.
In this case also, Palermo is central in the very identification of these attempts. The Sicilian city– a node embedded in transnational movements, a city subject to decades of criminal exploitation and political neglect – offers us the chance to investigate what space is left for collective, individual, and non-human intervention in today’s regime of global flows.