Commons Are not the Sharing Economy. A comment to Ossewaarde & Reijers (2017)

Ossewaarde, Marinus und Wessel Reijers (2017): „The illusion of the digital commons: ‘False consciousness’ in online alternative economies“, Organization 24/5, S. 609–628. (paywalled)

From the abstract:
“Digital commons such as Wikipedia, open-source software, and hospitality exchanges are frequently seen as forms of resistance to capitalist modes of production and consumption, as elements of alternative economies. In this article, however, we argue that the digital commons cannot by themselves constitute genuine forms of resistance for they are vulnerable to what we call ‘the illusion of the digital commons’, which leads to a form of ‘false consciousness’.”

This is both an interesting and annoying article. It’s interesting as it details how „sharing“ can be put into the service of profit-driven centralization. It’s annoying because it uses a small number of cases to make sweeping claims that feel more than a little disingenuous.

Continue reading “Commons Are not the Sharing Economy. A comment to Ossewaarde & Reijers (2017)”

Organizational Aesthetics: Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet by Olga Goriunova

Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet, Olga Goriunova, Routledge, 2012

Departing from an organizational phenomenon, namely online ‘art platforms,’ Olga Goriunova – with the help of a variety of contemporary thinkers – reflects about a number of exemplary projects. In my understanding, her main objective is to discuss the selected projects in the framework of aesthetics (mainly), while, at the same time, trying not to narrow them down to conventional paradigms in order to keep their “aesthetic complexity” alive. Within this endeavour, it is of particular relevance that the platforms themselves as well as the production they are focussing on, are intrinsically related to both the materiality as well the ecology of networked media technology. Both the organizational structure and the techno-cultural objects it brings together would not exist without such technology. Furthermore, the platform and the type of practice that is being organized through it, mutually depend on each other. In this sense, an art platform does not just organize an existing field, but plays an important role in the emergence of the respective practice while remaining itself variable. The concept Goriunova is suggesting for her investigation, she calls “organizational aesthetics.” Continue reading “Organizational Aesthetics: Art Platforms and Cultural Production on the Internet by Olga Goriunova”

The notion of the „commons“

In this research note, I try to clarify what I mean when I use the notion of the „commons“ in the context of this research project. The note is intended to further the research group’s shared understanding of the term. But at this point, it’s my personal point of view.

Usually, commons are regarded as complex, comprehensive institutions. De Angelis & Stavrides (2010), for example, differentiate between commons (resources) commoners (people, community) and commoning (ongoing social practices).

For a dictionary entry, I defined commons simply as “resources managed by a community for joint use. ” (Stalder 2017) Continue reading “The notion of the „commons“”