[-empyre-] The Commons

Tracey M Benson bytetime at gmail.com
Tue Jun 21 11:07:32 EST 2011

Hi Linda,

Thanks for your insightful views considering the role of the biennial.

Your three key themes of 'Recovery and Regeneration', 'From Emergency to
Emergence', and 'The Commons' all have serious implications for artistic and
cultural development in a world that needs a sustainable integration of
issues related to arts, environment and humanity.  Cultural tourism may have
economic benefits on a local level and on an organisational level but at
what cost? I have certainly not felt all that comfortable attending
festivals interstate and overseas because of my carbon footprint and I think
this is a crucial issue to consider as part of designing the
biennial/festival model.

The example of  the Prospect Biennial in New Orleans, is inspiring example
for cultural regeneration and I think the dialogue between artists and
community needs to flow not just through the spectacle of the 'biennial' but
in a way that can inspire and invigorate culture on a day-to-day level.

Also agree about how the typical hieracrchical strucutre of the curated
structure of festivals does not allow for much innovation and 'risk', which
is why I prefer the 'unconference' model used by fo.am and THATcamp as it is
more inclusive and representative as well as a great way of brainstorming


On Sat, Jun 18, 2011 at 6:06 AM, linda carroli <lcarroli at optusnet.com.au>wrote:

> Final text. All texts available online starting from here:
> http://placing.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/discussion-biennials-plus-and-minus/
> The Commons
> Taking cues from the examples and critics cited here, the idea of the
> commons has emerged as a networked space of creative and generative
> possibility and risk. To recover is to reclaim. In shaping the commons, Jay
> Walljasper states that we "recognise some forms of wealth belong to all of
> us, and that these community resources must be actively protected and
> managed for the good of all. The commons are the things that we inherit and
> create jointly, and that will (hopefully) last for generations to come. The
> commons consists of gifts of nature such as air, oceans and wildlife as
> well
> as shared social creations such as libraries, public spaces, scientific
> research and creative works." http://www.onthecommons.org However, there's
> never just one commons - the commons itself is multiple and complex, in
> process and becoming. Artists actively keep the commons alive in the face
> of
> all kinds of opposition, censorship and antagonism.
> So what kind of art and art event is integral to this becoming or
> emergence?
> Several essays in Empires, Ruins + Networks: The Transcultural Agenda in
> Art, edited by Scott McQuire and Nikos Papastergiadis, also explore the
> possibility of a new network of global cultural dialogue and the
> construction of a global common. What I see happening in post-disaster work
> of the three examples cited earlier is a sense of the 'becoming commons'
> emerging from ruins and loss in a situation of what Ross Gibson might
> describe as 'changefulness'. It's what I am inclined to think of as
> practice
> based, as 'changescaping' (work in progress at
> http://placing.wordpress.com/changescaping).
> How do we reconcile the sometimes exclusive and exclusionary cultural
> practices with this call for 'the commons' and emergence? Whose
> responsibility is it to do the bridging (politics, art or, as
> Papastergiadis
> proposes, the "politics of art"), generating those relationships or draw
> those connections? What should we risk? The very idea - the possibility,
> the
> assumption - of the Biennial itself. Ultimately, there's a question of
> governance and stewardship. As Brenson says, "we have to talk about art in
> ways in which everyone has something to lose". If critical art, as McQuire
> and Papastergiadis write, "increasingly take an active role in constituting
> new social relationships" - or as Richard Rorty proposes, "speaks
> differently" - curators have a pivotal role to play in cultivation and
> caring (curare), politics and poetics. We all have a role to play in the
> poiesis of the commons.
> Thanks so much ... look forward to your comments.
> Cheers
> Linda
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Dr Tracey Meziane Benson (aka bytetime)
Adjunct Postdoctoral Fellow || The Australian National University || School
of Music
Visiting Scholar || The Australian University || School of Cultural Inquiry
You can find *bytetime *on twitter, delicious, scribd, flickr, linkedin,
identica, slideshare and facebook.

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