The Village as Ecological Entity – Introducing Bees in Topolò

A project proposed by Erika Mayr and Rosario Talevi and carried on by Robida!

“What if the social, economic, and political contradictions spawned in the modern city were to be flipped? What if plants and non-human animals were understood as city dwellers and spatial producers, giving us the opportunity to understand and design living spaces for a wide range of users beyond pure exploitation, speculation, and utilitarianism? Could the complex structure of the city as an inter-species space open up new modes of subjectivation, kinship, and solidarity? Could it produce and promote a concept of politics and subjectivity beyond neoliberal individualism?” – Marion von Osten

Village as Ecological Entity

The project Village as Ecological Entity - Introducing Bees in Topolò is a further reflection on Topolò/Topolove – Village as House, a project initiated by Janja Šušnjar.

Topolò/Topolove – the Village as House envisions the restoration of the village of Topolò – of its abandoned houses, neglected public spaces and ruderal landscape – as if it was a decentralised house where singular buildings are its rooms and the small streets between the houses are the connecting hallways. The project assigns specific communal programmes to different empty houses of the village: a common library with a cinema; a shared kitchen that becomes a restaurant; public baths, communal bathrooms and laundry; a workshop and a collectively maintained garden. Such a way of conceiving a village invites its dwellers to fluidly move from one building to another – from their private bedroom, to the common kitchen or workshop – inhabiting the village as a set of interconnected spaces. This spatial decentralisation of the house is also an extension of the relation of care, which is directed not only to private spaces but also to common buildings and the spaces between them.

Topolò/Topolove – the Village as House is an experiential exercise of collective care-taking of a place, where inhabitants of Topolò are re-imagined as stewards and custodians of the village. But what happens if this care-taking and agency-giving exercise were to be extended to plants and non-human animals? What if the village instead of being understood just as a series of spaces cared for by humans is conceived as an ecological entity that includes human and non-human components?

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