Purgatorium RHIZ* – a commons project 2020 - 2023

On polyperspectival perception, 1:10 models of dreams and translation modules in the real-space of the city


Jaime de Angulo, From Coyote Man and Old Doctor Loon

Rhizom is building a city body: as an edifice of ideas, as a place for creating positive traumata, as a sanctuary of heightened awareness, as a shelter … with the idea of self-managed habitats for working and living in an artistic context. United in a rhizomatic building.

In 2020, folding operations will be made on the basis of a model (1:10) in a 3 month long process, ideas will be played through walls, membranes and boundaries, the space of possibilities will be stretched at every nook and cranny. The model will be built at RHIZOM, Annenstraße 52. An intensive knowledge transfer will take place during the project period, illuminating all aspects, perspectives and implications in an open and public discourse. Social, societal, area-political and artistic considerations as well as alternative financing and organizational models such as Bausyndikat (GER), HabiTAT (AUT) etc. are implied.

The aim is a 2 to 3 storey building that serves as a communal housing project, a “boarding house” with private rooms and publicly accessible spaces. A mixed form of use combining permeability and intimacy in one place. How much individual space to retreat and how much communal and public space is necessary?

Based on individual current living, working and housing situations, the project is aimed at older people (~60+) with artistic backgrounds who live alone and at single mothers with children. The 31 year long history of Rhizom serves as a corresponding network that can be connected to and continued.

(…) Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the rhizome is that it always has many entryways (…) From “Rhizome”, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

(…) a construction is rhizomorphic in all its functions: as a dwelling, a storehouse, a shunting yard, a hiding place and a ruin. (…) From “Rhizome”, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari

Who owns the city?

(…) We romp around in the jungle of the city among building tycoons and property sharks, among homebuilders and apartment owners, among housing associations and investment companies. In the fight against displacement, we compete with them for one or another property and play Monopoly on a 1:1 scale. We eagerly work on the growing project network of the Tenement Syndicate. With new projects, more properties are taken off the market and can be secured as commons („Gemeingüter“) in the long term.

> Tenement Syndicate

A person is sensitive, like everyone else is.
(Herbert Achternbusch)

Form rhizomes! Micro-societies in which ethics, culture and politics intertwine and interpenetrate, always summoned to transform themselves.

We assume that we know (almost) nothing. We have easy access to our own madness, which is our tool to build – in imagination and form – an inhabitable reality. We surmise that our madnesses – our deviations from the norm – have something normal about them as we perceive similar things around us, albeit in different ways. We don’t surmise to know where art ends and a mental illness begins (or is attested). But as we are the way we are, and as we are here, we don’t want to withhold our uniqueness and diversity from the city. It deserves us and everyone else just the way we/they are. Imagine it like this: Everything going through individual minds at this moment is visualized simultaneously, is projected as moving images onto a huge cloud that hovers over the city. And it’s not just the images that are in motion but also the cloud and the projector. So nothing that is in the shadows remains hidden … (RHIZOM, Psychograms of a City/Stadtpsychogramme 2020)

Purgatorium RHIZ* – a commons project 2020 – 2023
From polyperspective model to self-managed living/working habitat

A 1:10 model built at Rhizom at Annenstraße 52. A space for knowledge transfer.
Goal: A house with 8 apartments, 5 private rooms, foyer/reception/bar, communal kitchen with cold storage room, breakfast/dining room, communal studio/self-repair workshop, multifunctional space (exhibition and event space etc.), laundry room, office and storage space, bicycle parking, a parking lot for car sharing, a visitor parking lot, an allotment garden or roof terrace.

A building on the edge of the city center with good transport connections and infrastructure

Considerations concerning living space and use:
Total area: approx. 700 m2, 400 m2 surrounding green space
Residential project:
4 apartments for elderly people, each approx. 35 m2
4 apartments of approx. each 55 – 65 m2 for single women with children
“boarding house”/private rooms:
3 single rooms approx. 20 m2, toilet, washbasin with shared shower
2 double rooms approx. 35 m2 with toilet, shower

Scenario: The city of Graz offers a building for sale at a favorable price to the non-profit Ltd/cooperative. The building is acquired via direct loans*, fundraising and a bank loan. In the model presented, it remains inalienable common property in the possession of the Ltd/cooperative/association as shareholders, as mutually controlling bodies.

* True to the motto “better a thousand friends behind you than a bank breathing down your neck”, sympathetic private individuals or groups lend money directly to the building Ltds without making a detour through a bank, and therefore know what the money is being used for. This type of solidarity-based financing is therefore also known as a direct loan. This not only saves capital costs and keeps rent at a bearable level – after all, a bank not only wants to have its costs but also its profit margin paid – but also closes the financing gap, as this directly lent money is accepted by some banks as a substitute for equity. It also enables people outside the syndicate who like the idea to support house projects in solidarity: Many people who can afford it only charge low interest rates or even forgo a return altogether. Repayment is not only made through income from rent, but usually also by accepting new direct loans. This type of debt restructuring can keep repayment costs – and therefore rent – low.

Art in architecture – art in the building: habitable art spaces that touch on all aspects of living and staying as guests and are intended to include comprehensive artistic interventions in a wide variety of media.

Ideas for rooms:
the „walsche kammerle“*_small guest room
chambre ardente_a glowing small room**
Montalbán(o)_both kitchen and dining room as well as place of poetry
Die letzte Lockerung***/The Last Slackening_a sublime area to try to „lie down“ on (to be dead for a moment)
Shakin ground_the music bar as a central antidepressant and acoustic source of healing
Cracks & others_a cabinet of joints, cracks and angles (giving space to the vita activa***** – the understanding of the three basic activities of working, being productive and act
Lab de cosas (hacking life)_the repair room for the imponderabilities of life
Philip K. Dick’s Room_teletransportation room (what can we know?)
Ideas_a post-installation at the entryways and exits of ideas****
Mansard of the Serenity of Errors and Knowledge_ a small dark room, a closet of thinking and rummaging
Fenstergucker*in/Window Gawker_a window installation to watch the television of public space outside
Shining_a corridor of unused opportunities and physical exercise
Osmotic niches_a storage labyrinth (preservations, sugaring and suras)
The Aflaj_a little garden of cadastral numbers and shifts

Give & take

• A model and impulse for other community housing initiatives in the city
• A building owned by the city of Graz becomes common property
• Self-managed living and working space for 20 people
• An unusual guest house
• A social and cultural interface in the district and from city to country
• A handbook of collected knowledge for public use

“By transferring value ownership to a legal entity and the rights of use to the house community, the value ownership is split off and dissolved. The legal form of habiTAT is intended to ensure that value ownership can no longer be detached from this structure and thus remains withdrawn from the real estate market in the long term. Therefore, the aim is to communalize real estate and its use and maintenance while at the same time excluding speculation and personal enrichment.”
Quote from habiTAT Dachverband Österreich

“The ownership of our house lies with Willy-Fred Ltd. The two shareholders are Hausverein Willy*Fred with 51% and the umbrella organization habiTAT with 49%. The residents are organized in the house association and decide autonomously on all matters relating to house management and daily life together. As the second shareholder, habiTAT has the right to veto the sale of the building and ensures that no profits are taken and the property is not speculated on.”
Quote from Willy*Fred, Linz

* …a spare room
** Gwenaëlle Aubry
*** Walter Serner
**** Inspired by Ernst Caramelle’s store sign, 1988
***** Hannah Arendt

Connection 1: Art and 31 years of RHIZOM’s collective practice
Transdisciplinary entanglements and collaborations between art, culture, politics and society
see RHIZOM History

Connection 2: Self-managed housing projects/ organizational structures/ financing models
Mietshäuser Syndikat Germany > https://www.syndikat.org/de/perspektiven/
HabiTAT Dachverband Österreich and Willy*Fred housing project in Linz
> https://habitat.servus.at/willy-fred/
SCHLOR, Vienna, project in the making in Vienna, Simmering > https://schlor.org/
Die WoGen*, Vienna > https://diewogen.at/die-wogen/

Connection 3: Recycling/building ecology
Baukarusell-Social Urban Mining**, Vienna
Ecological joinery Puhr, cooperative, Gleisdorf
Cooperation since 2000

Connection 4: Solidarity-based agriculture, food supply, urban-rural connection
Wieserhoisl solidarity farm collective/Solawi, Deutschlandsberg
In 2015, RHIZOM was the distribution point for vegetables from the Wieserhoisl collective, a solidarity-based farming cooperative in Graz. The cooperation is to be continued on various levels as an urban-rural connection.
earthworks_ Pairidaeza, Eggersdorf near Graz
For several years, Monika Kummer-Pretterhofer and Manfred Kummer have been trying to perceive, knead and cultivate an agricultural plot (also decultivating parts of it) in the municipality of Eggersdorf near Graz. New impulses for interpretation, use and artistic intervention are constantly emerging; cooperation since 2015

“The rhizome itself can take on a wide variety of forms, from branching and spreading out in all directions on the surface to condensing into tubers and nodules.
In the rhizome there is the best and the worst: the potato, the quackgrass, the weed.”
(Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guattari)

(…) Staying in art also means leaving it. But leaving art does not simply mean: doing something else. It means going out and yet staying in (…). Going beyond the terrain of art by using the means of art. (based loosely on G. Deleuze)

The individual does not become an indivudual as a result of its resistance to the community or the collective, but its ability to contribute an energy to it that directly structures the entirety and gives it permanence.
(Michel Onfray: Deciphering the Snow.)


Jaime de Angulo, From Coyote Man and Old Doctor Loon

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