In the neoliberal society, work has become another form of alienation, it forces us to execute a labour in order to pay the permanent debt that we incur with the capitalist system and which defines our lives. Opposed to that ̈Indebted man ̈ (Maurizzio Lazzarato, 2007) arises the idea of association and collaboration between social groups as with the horizontally organized cooperatives, where the work as understood by capitalism is transformed into a series of activities that are developed for a common growth.
In this cooperative system the artist could introduce a paternalistic discourse; however, he can also appear as member; another producer that shares his ideas, so they can be used and put into practice by the community, who will eventually obtain a benefit from this collaboration. Consequently, art becomes a tool for social-change as the initiator of collective discourse.
The work of the artist Aimée Zito Lema (1982, Amsterdam) can be perfectly identified within this type of collaboration with communities. She herself is a participant whose work is not the protagonist, but so are the results that through it obtain their members. In this way, Zito Lema transforms her work in the trigger of collective actions; It is for instance the case of her project ̈Zitten is een werkwoord ̈ (Sitting is a verb) that started in 2010 at the IMPA factory, Buenos Aires. This factory had been closed in consequence of the economic crisis and was subsequently recovered by a self-organized group of workers. They also created a university within the factory itself: ̈The university of workers ̈ which offers a different education to those who cannot afford accede to the regulated education, as well as for those others who are seeking pedagogical alternatives. In this project the artist worked with the students, teachers and workers in order to provide the university with the basic furniture that was needed. Together they built numerous copies of the ̈Crate ̈ chair, that Gerrit Rietveld designed without copyright, creating something useful for the community and a parallel form of collective learning. This action will be later replicated at Casco, Office for Art, Design & Theory, where they produced many other ̈Crate ̈ chairs that aimed to encourage the dialog among the participants. These workshops, jointly with other and diverse activities that take place regularly at Casco, are the result of the interest of the institution on generate new pedagogical and academical models, idea that is also shared by Zito Lema, and can be appreciated in the work that she accomplished during her participation as guest artist in ̈Artist at Work ̈, a program that is also held by Casco.
The idea of social struggle and work in common as a political weapon is frequently repeated in the work of the artist. In her research project ̈Rond da jambe ̈, a group of professional and amateur performers recall the movements produced during the protests against the built of the Stopera -a building that would be home of the National Ballet and the Opera in Amsterdam. The citizens stated strong opposition to this construction that was destined for the elites’ enjoyment and whose space they demanded for a social use. In the performance presented at Rijksakademie in November 2015, the participants emerged from within the public and slowly were joining that sort of dance in which, the initially, protest-movements had been transformed and to which spectators felt unavoidably attached.
The work of Aimée Zito Lema depicts not only the idea of community, but also the necessity of learn through the commons. Because, as she accurately quotes in her website: ̈We learn to be together before we learn how to stand apart ̈ (Richard Sennett).
Alba Folgado is a freelance curator and researcher. She graduated in Fine Arts and studied Cultural Management. She has also worked at diverse institutions and international spaces such as Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, West, and W139. Her interests are, among others, the critic culture and its connection with topical social issues and the alternative pedagogical models.