An Architektur: The term “commons” occurs in a variety of historical contexts. First of all, the term came up in relation to land enclosures during pre- or early capitalism in England; second, in relation to the Italian autonomia movement of the 1960s; and third, today, in the context of file-sharing networks, but also increasingly in the alter-globalization movement. Could you tell us more about your interest in the commons?
quote by Wolfgang Suetzl.
In addition to Felix’ research note on a misleading critique of the digital commons, I would like to add my interview here with media theoretician and philosopher Wolfgang Suetzl. In the context of a larger research project on the notion of “Excess” as elaborated by Georges Bataille, we talk about how excess and sharing are related and why none of this has anything to do with the sharing economy.
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.
There is an argument to be made that the projects we are looking at here, those that generate commons-like resources, could fall under the category of “participatory art”. I think that argument would be mistaken. The reasons why this would be a mistake really point to the core of what makes these projects so interesting.
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”