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N8 ,

February 23, 2012

From the Fishbowl of Sanjiv Dugal and Brower Hatcher...

We’re part of a collaboration experimenting in new social forms of thinking that help us conceive revolutionary practices in our times. We’re students, workers, artists, groups of the unemployed and other social and cultural forces in Providence, Rhode Island, experimenting together in new forms of social organization that operate in horizontal, nonhierarchical networks. We’re a kind of inter-disciplinary laboratory for testing the effects of new ideas, strategies, and organizations.

We’re generating and sustaining social forms and structures of value independent of capitalist relations of production. Our theorizing is articulated only through its creative implementation in the practical field.

Our primary focus is to present a contemporary ‘Providence, Rhode Island’ mode of thinking that emerges as part of a collective practice. Our conversations (archived formally in multi-media) have a real creative immediacy, giving the impression of being composed in stolen moments late at night, interpreting one day’s creative struggles and planning for the next.

We believe self-valorization is a principal concept that is the building block for constructing a new form of sociality, a new society.

Thank you.

Key Terms: conceive; forms of social organization; structures of value; emerge; conversation; self-valorization

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What The Fishbowl Does: Create Designs

The Fishbowl helps create new ways of organizing ourselves into sustainable social groups. The Fishbowl’s goal is to create abstract organizational designs (ways of relating to each other and to things) that are experientially felt and that have use-value among ‘participating-observers.’ The Fishbowl attempts to experience, growth, movement and development.

The purpose of the Fishbowl is to reveal design strategies for enhancing the dimensionality and density of the information that one is portraying and, indeed, that one is living.

The design of things is always based on implicit images and metaphors that persuade us to see, understand, and manage situations in a particular way. To envision information and create a design for ourselves is to work at the intersection of image and text. We wish to experience, for ourselves, ‘how’ we design things through the medium of different images, metaphors and text.

The ability to understand and facilitate processes of self-organization is an important logic of the Fishbowl.

The Story of the Fishbowl

How do we relate to each other and, how do we transform our social reality are both questions that confront us like never before. Creating sustainable communities is a much-used phrase. Nonetheless, the burning question we’re grappling with is: how do we, together and apart, survive unstable and fragmented social conditions? How do we survive the feeling that our lives are cast adrift?

The fishbowl’s creates two things simultaneously: the design itself and the story behind it.

  1. This story consists of all the choices we make during our process in the Fishbowl. It is the justification of the design, and explains why the design is constructed in just the way it is. ‘Constructing the story’ is a vital and integral part of any design work.

  2. During the Fishbowl’s life-time, our design emerges as a ‘tightly knit web’ of decisions which are not independent from one another.

Self-valorization and Organizational Design

Our ‘labor’ in the Fishbowl consists of the following activities: constructing a social reality, levels of engagement and organizational design. In other words, constructing, engaging and designing text and images. The Fishbowl’s worth is determined by both its process and its final design. Authenticity (as in real or true) and Transparency (as in visible, evident) are the cornerstones of our labor.

In the Fishbowl we demonstrate the following:

(a) Constructing new ideas (thoughts or suggestions as to a possible course of action).

(b) Producing subjectivities (things that are dependent on your minds or on your perceptions for their existence).

(c) Expanding our range of experience (i.e., the range of events and occurrences that leave an impression on the mind).

Communicating (exchanging information), collaborating (working jointly to create something) and cooperating (working towards the same end) are three determining factors in the self-valorization of our organizational design.



To provide reliable and ethical income, we organize as a worker-cooperative, in which each member is directly involved.


Many areas of Providence do not have proper access to fresh produce on a regular basis. We plan to bring fresh vegetables on the road directly to places where they are needed.


Our Cafe is open for Breakfast & Lunch serving fresh and healthy food.


The Fertile Underground consists of a variety of skilled tradesfolk, from landscapers to carpenters, muralists to yoga experts, snow-plows to make-up artists.


In Our Communal Garden everyone who shares the work, shares the harvest. No individual squares, but rather a cohesive small farm. From "under-utilized" lots to urban homesteads.


The Fertile Underground are adapting the CSA model to work in a new way, something we call Community Supported Grocery.
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