Commons are resources created or maintained by a community for their joint use value. Commons are characterized by modes of ownership beyond the private/state dichotomy and by collective ways of dealing with the respective resources. The concept refers to common goods, but a special emphasis is put on the social relations and negotiations necessary to produce and protect them. The goods within a commons are not subject to the conditions of market exchange; they are shared goods and as such an expression of a state of being-with. Digital media products offer an especially rich field of investigation in this respect due to their propensity for abundance.
The exhibition commons lab at Studio XX is an experimental setting created by German artist Cornelia Sollfrank. The gallery of Studio XX hosts an open and usable structure that makes various formats for a collective research process available. The idea of the commons provides the central speculative tool for the investigation of the present as well as for the creation of future scenarios.
The framing questions for the research are, how new forms of organization and collaboration can bring forth a new kind of cultural works and social relations, how feminist principles can contribute to foster the transformative aspects of the commons and help to realize the vision of an inclusive, diverse and democratic form of organization, and what role art and an expanded understanding of aesthetics can play in the advancement of the commons as a political project.
The methods used for producing and sharing knowledge include interviews, conversations, lectures, dialogues, screenings and workshops. The statements of the four internationally working curators Magda Tyzlik-Carver, Ela Kagel, Ruth Catlow and Daphne Dragona on commons and curating will be presented as video interviews and contribute to the alignment of local and translocal initiatives. All activities aim at involving Montreal-based artists and experts.
The exhibition is part of Sollfrank’s research on the production of a ‘vocabulary of forms’ for transformative, social encounters as a response to political pathologies.