Throughout history, traditions of mutual support have enabled communities to live together in the face of adversities and crises. People have come together through a process built on social relationships, reciprocity, and communal solidarity. Bayanihan, dugnad, talkoot, mutirão, gotong-royong, tequio are different names for such traditions around the world. These traditions predate the market economy and offer different perspectives on “How Will We Live Together?” and how we can discuss, reflect and act on this question collectively.

When mutual support is required, people come together for collective work to achieve a common goal. It is a process that builds social relationships, reciprocity and community cohesion. However, these traditions are fading away in modern day society where the currency of wealth is measured by money rather than relationships built in a community. Thus, re-evaluating and reviving mutual support traditions provides an alternative way to consider the values, resources, and knowledge that shape our built environment.

“Structures of Mutual Support” is conceived as a critical exploration and implementation of the structures of mutual support as a method of architectural praxis that actively engages issues of resilience, climate change, and power structures. It is a framework for an alternative method of “building” that challenges the current mode of architectural production.

The architects Sudarshan V. Khadka Jr & Alexander Eriksson Furunes engaged with a Gawad Kalinga community based in Angat, Bulacan, and formed Framework Collaborative, where they collectively designed and built a structure that was, at the start of the  process, undefined. Through a series of workshops done on site, according to a fixed schedule, they created the space to negotiate and discover what needed to be built according to the values and knowledge that are meaningful to the community. The outcome was a building that doubles as a library and conflict resolution space.

The question of “How Will We Live Together?” is also a question of how we build together. Mutual support traditions are alternative ways by which we have lived together and they can also provide insight into how we can build together again. Reflections in the exhibition include contributions by Leika Aruga, Greg Bankoff, Nicole Curato, Pablo Helguera, Marisa Jahn, Maaretta Jaukkuri, Sho Konishi, Portia Ladrido, Håkon Lorentzen, Rafi Segal, Hans Skotte & Jeremy Till.

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