Because the space is used by multiple people, we’d like to point to some of the working values that stayers and day or evening users should be ok with if they intend to use this (subsidised) resource.
These values have been established over the past year through communal discussions with multiple individuals and groups while setting up the space, and although they are many, they do fall into three categories: valuing social strength, experimentation, and being accountable. Verbose? Unfortunately. Well meaning? Definitely. Please read through and if you feel that you can, or do, subscribe to working towards these intersectional feminist tenets, it’d be lovely to see you here!
We value working together in the strength of the social. Everyone brings a wealth of specific knowledge with their personal experience and histories and we’d like to start from this abundance. Emotional, domestic and administrative labour are foundational to most operations, and daily life offers wisdom and questions that this project stands to grow through. We’d like to pay tribute to these forms of activity and note that everyone mucking in and taking part is vital. We understand that acts of mutual support or communality do not always appear as equal, and that social economies are not fixed or necessarily measurable. That said, with attention to our collective indebtedness, it seems we might observe and learn from the subtler actions that go into making things possible. All those little unsung gestures and heartfelt tributes that weave together to make life flow that much easier; opening time and freeing up space so that we all might enjoy it. We’d like to think of this site as a space to rehearse possibilities of togetherness.
The site is considered to be a space for experimentation, and users are not expected to deliver a final exhibition/paper/product as part of their stay here; the Observatory doesn’t intend to capture your research. One of our aims is to facilitate a space for critical thinking through materiality and making. We understand that in order to experiment, there may be a need for reclusive moments, unknowns and unexpected reveals, in a mutually supportive environment, and that experimentation involves processes of failure. It would be great if users could allow that for each other, so that we can all try out different models of being together, and enacting alternatives.
We acknowledge that power is exerted and felt differently, has both direct and indirect effects - materially and otherwise - and is rarely equal in this world or on this site. Recognising this, we have set up a working accountability statement which we will be continually developing (version here) to outline the values of this project; to try to ensure that all voices are heard, and that the people who are currently organising the space keep their ears open. The ambition is for stayers, users and organisers to put in effort towards understanding these power relations and privileges, while considering the impact of these here and beyond the walls of the project. We say this with care and understanding that trying to be accountable is an emotional investment, and we thank you for that.