‘Agency’ is a film documenting a simulation which took place in April 2014 at Maxxi Museum in Rome. Inspired by a citizenship class exercise originally developed in the UK, 35 volunteer students from Manara High School in Rome were involved in thinking through relationships of power in contemporary Italy. The students were divided into 5 categories: journalists, politicians, workers, activists and bankers. The journalists were responsible for an hourly report on the advancement of the ‘society’ while the objective of the game was to climb to power. The simulation was interrupted by planned moments of abstraction form the game where ‘power points’ were assigned by the groups to the category that seemed to be in the lead. These were also moments of debate both about the social conditions which were being created through the choices the different categories were making, and about the meaning and workings of power.
Thomas Swerts obtained his PhD in Sociology at the University of Chicago in the summer of 2014. He previously worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Sociological Research (CESO) of the University of Leuven. Since 2015, he is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre on Inequalities, Poverty, Social Exclusion and the City (OASeS) of the University of Antwerp. He is currently working on a book project, tentatively titled 'Citizen X: Undocumented immigrants as activists' (under contract at University of Chicago Press) based on four years of ethnographic research on undocumented activism in Chicago and Brussels. As a member of the DieGem research team, he is also investigating innovative practices of solidarity in diversity in Flanders.
Location Kunsthal Extra City - Antwerpen-Berchem, Eikelstraat 25-31, 2600 Antwerpen