The Summer School for Applied Autonomy is a research initiative interested in capturing the complexity of the technical know-how but also the social, political and affective aspects involved in autonomous living. Its functioning is largely self-sufficient, tending towards environmental sustainability, and it is based on feedback loop circuits where its different outputs (from garbage to words) become inputs that re-feed the social and material body of the garden. Exploration of thematic fields such as self-sufficiency, open source knowledge, collaboration, self-reflection, urban development and exchange and gift economy is at the very base of the curriculum. The school welcomes everyone, but it can only support two residents per rotation, who must engage for a stay of one or two weeks. After the end of each rotation, the two groups overlap for one day, so that the first group transfers their knowledge to the next one. The days are structured via tasks and lessons, while each person is free to work on personal research.

The project was born in an artistic-academic context and completed the circle by becoming a learning site in its own right, infrastructure and aesthetics; a school promoting alternative pedagogies, deschooling, learning-through-experience and self-reflection. By shaping a new attitude towards the commons and collaboration, moving away from subjectivity and individualism, and by supporting decentralized, local production of goods and energy, we might be able to change institutions that fail to represent our contemporary society and culture and habits that harm the environment.

Valentina Karga, born in Chalkidiki, Greece, is an artist with a background in architecture, based in Berlin. After she got her degree in architecture from the University of Thessaly, she has been a fellow at the Graduate school, University of the Arts Berlin (UdK). Often through collaborative actions, her work addresses issues such as autonomy, education, sustainability, communication, the DIY and the commons. Valentina’s projects encourage engagement and participation, some times ending up imagining alternatives for societal structures, such as economy and pedagogic institutions. Among her projects is the “Summer school for Applied Autonomy” in Berlin, a research initiative interested in capturing the technical know-how but also the social, political and affective aspects involved in autonomous living. She is also a founding member of Collective Disaster. She has shown her work at the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, the Athens Biennial and in a major exhibition curated by Whitechapel Gallery.


Valentina Karga (Design and construction in collaboration with the following UdK students: Antonia Märzhäuser, Mascha Fehse, Julia Boström, Robert Eckstein, Veronika Hoffmann, Lilli Unger, Petja Ivanova, Friederike Müller, Ivy Lee, Mischa Vogel)