[NetBehaviour] Fwd: <nettime> Aesthetics of the Commons. Book Launch and Review

Edward Picot julian.lesaux at gmail.com
Sun Mar 7 15:36:41 CET 2021


I just dipped into this at random and started reading Gary Hall's 
'Postdigital Politics'. It was really absorbing!


On 06/03/2021 21:16, marc garrett via NetBehaviour wrote:
> Via nettime :-)
> Dear nettimers,
> please excuse the self-promo, but I'm very proud to announce our new
> book, Aesthetics of the Commons. It aims to reassess the concepts of the
> commons and of aesthetics from the point of view of some of the most
> radical and consequential projects of (post)digital culture, from
> shadow-libraries such as monoskop, aaaaarg.fail, memoryoftheworld and
> 0xdb, to institutions such as Furtherfield, MS Balthazar's Lab, the
> école de recherche graphique (erg) in Brussels, and beyond.
> With contributions by Christoph Brunner, Daphne Dragona, Jeremy Gilbert,
> Olga Goriunova, Gary Hall, Ines Kleesattel, Rahel Puffert, Judith
> Siegmund, Sophie Toupin, Magdalena Tyzlik-Carver.
> The book is available as softcover print and OA digital.
> https://www.diaphanes.net/titel/aesthetics-of-the-commons-6419
> On that occasion, we would like to invite you to join us for the online
> launch of the book, this coming Tuedsay, March 9, 7 PM (CET). All the
> details, including the link to join, you can find here:
> http://creatingcommons.zhdk.ch/aesthetics-of-the-commons-book-lauch-09-03-19cet
> For a sense of what the book is about, beyond the claims of one of the
> editors, below is a very recent review by Agnieszka Wodzińska, Institute
> of Network Cultures.
> all the best. Felix
> Imagining Possible Worlds with “Aesthetics of the Commons”
> By Agnieszka Wodzińska, March 5, 2021 at 6:39 pm.
> https://networkcultures.org/blog/2021/03/05/imagining-possible-worlds-with-aesthetics-of-the-commons/
> Part of a series by the Institute for Contemporary Art Research at the
> Zürich University of the Arts, Aesthetics of the Commons investigates
> the fruitful intersection between the idea of the commons, and the
> aesthetics of practices that relate to the concept. Overall, the
> publication ponders how to enact a shift in academia, arts and
> humanities away from private ownership and individualism towards
> collective sharing and care through tangible actions and approaches.
> Rather than providing a streamline argument and a neat list of aesthetic
> characteristics, Aesthetics of the Commons proposes “a series of
> propositions on how to think about practices that try to respond to some
> of the crises that make up the present moment.”[1] Its strength lies in
> the broad understanding of the commons, as well as the wide spectrum of
> expertise from ten contributors: Olga Goriunova, Jeremy Gilbert, Judith
> Siegmund, Daphne Dragona, Magdalena Tyżlik-Carver, Gary Hall, Ines
> Kleesattel, Sophie Toupin, Rahel Puffert, and Christoph Brunner.
> Together, they offer different lenses through which we observe
> initiatives that demonstrate ways of widening access to resources and
> practices. They all build on ideas of care and collaboration rather than
> privatisation and commodification, operating somewhat outside of the
> capitalist market and, inevitably, entering into conversation with its
> inner logic.
> Each essay is self-sufficient in its own right, so readers and/or
> researchers seeking a specific perspective can engage with just a part
> of the publication and walk away from it with needed resources. However,
> considering them together allows for a deeper understanding of the core
> issue the book addresses: how to recognise and learn a variety of
> approaches that allow for a more accessible and collectively-shared pool
> of not only knowledge, but also other resources and meaningful
> relations. Its structure proves its very point, showing that a variety
> of perspectives is the most effective way to facilitate discourse and
> extract meanings.
> Third in the sequence, Judith Siegmund’s “Which Aesthetics of the
> Commons?,” would have made an excellent opening essay. It considers the
> classical concept of the arts as parallel to the commons, since both are
> often defined and categorised by their “otherness” to politics and the
> economy. Siegmund adds nuance to this understanding, proposing that
> aesthetic independence and freedom do not exactly define the commons.
> She calls on readers to recognise the interdependency between commons,
> social structures, and economic hierarchies, as well as the potential
> the commons possess in shaping future relations:
> “[…] It is productive and sustaining in any case to interpret commons as
> economically organised projects – indeed, as economies of their own –
> that are able to comment on (if not correct) the leading principles and
> convictions of today’s (commercially-driven) economy.”[2]
> “Which Aesthetics of the Commons?” provides an insightful overview of
> the complex relations between (the creation and upkeep of) commons and
> contemporary power structures that govern based on a largely different
> set of priorities. Placing it at the start of the book would have
> provided a stronger base for readers who are relatively new to this mode
> of thinking. It certainly gave me much-needed context, which helped me
> engage with the remainder of the texts.
> Aesthetics of the Commons provides an in-depth look at initiatives that
> demonstrate how the arts, academia and socially-engaged practices can
> blend to produce much-needed perspectives of futurity and hope. It
> features topics ranging from the politics of open-source digital
> libraries (Olga Goriunova’s text) to offline communal agricultural
> spaces that seek to preserve and activate cultural heritage (Daphne
> Dragona’s text). Throughout, authors refer to each other’s research and
> build on it in their own considerations, which constructs a network of
> mutual interest and, in a way, care. Again, the content of the
> publication confirms its ethos – to consider context, recognise
> difference, and construct strong bonds through these acknowledgements.
> After reading Aesthetics of the Commons, I felt compelled to reconsider
> my relationship to ideas of care and solidarity. Even though they are
> practices that many people (like myself) identify with and valorise, we
> rarely act on them outside of the realm of what seems feasible and
> low-effort. Gary Hall and Daphne Dragona both identify the commons as a
> potentially transformative response to the escalating political,
> environmental, and social crises. We are under immense stress as we
> observe the world turning in a threatening direction. We are anxious
> about our financial situations under an unsupportive system that values
> wealth above all else. We look for community but struggle to find it due
> to online distractions, echo-chambers, paywalls, or offline limitations
> that keep meaningful projects from flourishing.
> This publication shows that utopian world-building can take place, in
> archives and libraries built with consideration and care, and amongst
> communities in networks that share much in common, or share very little
> yet still choose to support one another, envisioning a better future. I
> am now compelled to consider how these networks of solidarity may look,
> and whether I came across them recently. Knowing more about how they
> manifest, I feel informed to join an effort to help them strengthen and
> persevere, pushing against commodification and privatisation. What is
> your object of care? What happens when you apply the idea of the commons
> to it? Aesthetics of the Commons offers a glimpse into how to mediate
> the relations between your object of care and its complex, changing
> surroundings, through practices that are open, radical, and hopeful.
> References
> [1]Felix Stalder, Cornelia Sollfrank, Shusha Niederberger, eds.,
> Aesthetics of the Commons, (Zürich: Diaphanes) p. 32
> [2]Judith Siegmund, “Which Aesthetics of the Commons?” in Aesthetics of
> the Commons, p. 96
> -- 
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> Wishing you well
> Marc
> -------------------------------------------------------
> Dr Marc Garrett
> Co-founder & Artistic director of Furtherfield & DECAL Decentralised 
> Arts Lab
> Furtherfield disrupts & democratises art and technology through 
> exhibitions, labs & debate, for deep exploration, open tools & free 
> thinking. http://www.furtherfield.org
> DECAL Decentralised Arts Lab is an arts, blockchain & web 3.0 
> technologies research hub for fairer, more dynamic & connected 
> cultural ecologies & economies now. http://decal.is/
> Recent publications:
> State Machines: Reflections & Actions at the Edge of Digital 
> Citizenship, Finance, & Art. Edited by Yiannis Colakides, Marc 
> Garrett, Inte Gloerich. Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam 2019 
> http://bit.do/eQgg3
> Artists Re:thinking the Blockchain. Eds, Ruth Catlow, Marc Garrett, 
> Nathan Jones, & Sam Skinner. Liverpool Press - http://bit.ly/2x8XlMK
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