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.