In March 2020 the world went into an unprecedented lockdown. COVID-19 had us facing the terrifying challenge of losing touch with the joys of community, productivity and the natural world. The resulting and continuing dramatic developments have exposed the fragility of a lifestyle resulting from decades of neoliberal policies prioritising profit over people. The evident obsolescence of public services, the mismanagements of migration and, last but perhaps most urgent, the failure in addressing the climate crisis in a coordinated manner, have demonstrated the need to revolutionise the ways in which we manage and envision our communal space.
35 Meridians of Radical Rituals is an attempt to imagine how architecture can reinvent itself to support this venture. It is an itinerant survey along the 45°N parallel that aspires to elevate an arbitrary line into a symbolic space, a path that crosses climates, geographies and borders marked by socio-economic and geo-political struggles, where movements of people, knowledge and goods formed the hybrid place we call Europe. The 45°N parallel separates the “south” we come from and the “north” where we currently live and work, shifting notions of centre and periphery and speculating on a different understanding of borders as threshold spaces, where the friction of diversity and its generative power can invent new modes of coexistence.
Along this line, we are in search of individual and collective practices that create a new understanding of the commons, where glimpses of radical innovation point to possible alternative futures. Actions that intend to produce effects rather than objects and mainly survive through maintenance and care. In fact, everyday responses to the unprecedented crisis of our times, show the power of community in inventing new modes of thinking and making.