Artists as the New Pro­duc­ers of the Com­mon (?)


Session Title:

  • From New Media to Old Utopias: ‘Red’ Art in Late Capitalism?

Presentation Title:

  • Artists as the New Pro­duc­ers of the Com­mon (?)




  • Panel: From New Media to Old Utopias: ‘Red’ Art in Late Capitalism?

    “The tran­si­tion is al­ready in process: con­tem­po­rary cap­i­tal­ist pro­duc­tion by ad­dress­ing its own needs is open­ing up the pos­si­bil­ity of and cre­at­ing the basis for a so­cial and eco­nomic order grounded in the com­mon.”  _Michael Hardt & An­to­nio  Negri (Com­mon Wealth, 2009)

    Hardt and Negri in their lat­est book Com­mon Wealth dis­cuss the im­por­tance of the re­cur­rent no­tion of the com­mons high­light­ing its role  es­pe­cially in the era of post­fordism and late cap­i­tal­ism. Knowl­edge, in­for­ma­tion, af­fec­tion, codes, so­cial re­la­tions, the “new ar­ti­fi­cial com­mons”, as they frame them, are not in­her­ited but rather pro­duced and shared by the posse of the con­tem­po­rary mul­ti­tude. Pro­duced in the con­tem­po­rary metropoleis as well as in the net­worked spaces we have come to in­habit, the new com­mon wealth seems to be dy­namic and vul­ner­a­ble at the same time, pre­sent­ing an oxy­moron which is known from the past: Isnt this com­mon wealth based on the sur­plus of knowl­edge and gen­eral in­tel­lect the very ob­ject of ex­ploita­tion today?

    In this con­text, in the net­worked era and es­pe­cially in the last decade, a great num­ber of artists, thinkers, pro­gram­mers  and cul­tural work­ers have started de­vel­op­ing their work and re­seach on the basis of the com­mons. The new emerg­ing com­mons’ cul­ture pro­poses not only plat­forms and ini­tia­tives that em­brace col­lab­o­ra­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and shar­ing, or crit­i­cal re­flec­tions on the very fea­tures of the net­worked world, but first and fore­most a dif­fer­ent  mode of  think­ing, work­ing and being. While it is still to be shown if we are look­ing back to an old utopia or rather to a fea­si­ble al­ter­na­tive, a num­ber of ques­tions arise: How does the role and the iden­tity of the artist change within this con­di­tion? What hap­pens when the  so called au­di­ence is re­placed by in­di­vid­u­al­i­ties that be­come in­volved in processes and prac­tices that may no longer need to be de­fined as art? Do in­sti­tu­tions still have a role to play?  The pro­posed paper and talk will aim to an­swer these ques­tions through a pre­sen­ta­tion of two pro­jects com­mis­sioned and hosted by the Na­tional Mu­seum of Con­tem­po­rary Art, Athens in 2010: the on­line plat­form of Esse, Nosse, Posse : Com­mon Wealth for Com­mon Peo­ple and the pro­ject Map­ping the Com­mons, Athens by the span­ish col­lec­tive

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