Commoning the Art,

The Art of Commoning

Towards a Commoning Society

What is

Commons • Art?

Commons • Art is envisioned as a platform that facilitates and supports the creative and social caretaking of art as a way of generating new commons. Commons • Art aims to offer artworks or art projects with a set of toolkits and support mechanisms for their use and maintenance. By sharing authorship as much as increasing the social and affective value of art, Commons • Art would lead to an art economy that opens up to society at large.

How

it

works

Collective ownership

Collective authorship 
with NFTs

The artist and caretaker’s unique contribution to initiate, use and maintain an artwork is registered on eco-friendly NFTs. We use Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) to recognize each unique contribution made in a specific moment of a project’s lifetime. The more people contribute, the bigger the collection of NFTs a project can hold. This increases the value of a project, whether on a social, affective and/or financial level.

Community maintenance

Community maintenance through DAO

When an artwork or art project grows beyond an individual’s endeavor and becomes the life of a community, we empower their decision-making and funding distributions through Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), a blockchain-based computer program that executes collective decisions without a central figure’s approval.

Care

Toolkit for caretaking

We provide toolkits that are needed for a balanced and considered commoning process. Besides NFTs and DAOs, we offer toolkits to support care and maintenance work.

  • A recipe that deploy an artwork for different everyday and social purposes.
  • An artist license for artists to determine the boundaries of how their projects are maintained and remain related to the process of care and maintenance.
  • A creative accountability form for a project’s sustainable care and maintenance at large.
  • And more to come as we continue to study and understand the needs of communal art practices.

Sustainability

Incentives toward a commoning society

By connecting collective NFTs to alternative monetary instruments such as Carbon credits and Social Impact Bonds, we strive to remove the value barriers between an artwork appreciated by communities and the ones that are recognized by institutions and the market. This way, the value of maintenance is no longer only symbolic, but an active agent in making our society a better place.

Non-profit, circular economy and transparent governance

The platform itself is run by commons-oriented principles and is thus not privately owned. Economy and governance remains transparent and surplus continues to be redistributed to the platform.

Recipes

Toolkit

The potential for the art of commoning and commoning art may open with the idea of an artwork as a recipe. A recipe can be adapted, shared and maintained by its cook or caretaker. Artwork-recipes also reveal how a web of relationships, namely an ecosystem, enables an artwork to exist and live in a community. The recipes are an integral part of the Commons • Art “toolkit for caretaking.” Here are some of the artwork-recipes developed during the initial research phase of the project. More to come!

Animating a forgotten infrastructure

Instigating a collective, locally grounded experience by opening up forgotten, abandoned infrastructure and setting up a structure through which local inhabitants can share their thoughts, while exploring the concept and affect of the individual experience of a private space that is in every aspect the opposite of the safe, clean, light and warm housing spaces the new neighborhood is offering.

Ingredients

A newly built neighborhood, an abandoned piece of infrastructure that can be entered, support from the local authorities, resources (budget or materials) to prepare the site, a nearby community center, existing communities (from housing groups to garden initiatives), a planning tool

THIS RecIPE is for

Instigating a collective, locally grounded experience by opening up forgotten, abandoned infrastructure and setting up a structure through which local inhabitants can share their thoughts, while exploring the concept and affect of the individual experience of a private space that is in every aspect the opposite of the safe, clean, light and warm housing spaces the new neighborhood is offering.

RECIPE SOURCE

This recipe is derived from Black Water and composed by the Contemporary Commoning initiative. Black Water took place in a large, abandoned silo originally built as part of the city’s sewage treatment plant. By carefully adding a few elements such as sand, water and a system to regulate daylight and dripping water RAAAF sought to create a unique opportunity for silence, darkness and contemplation.

Background, situation & credit

Black Water was developed in the context of Contemporary Commoning. Contemporary Commoning is a two year research project investigating the many ways in which ‘commoning’ can contribute to new forms of public space, in the physical as well as the digital realm, and new spaces for public action. This research takes the potential contribution of design and art in these processes of ‘commoning’ as the main point of departure. The research is a collaboration between the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Sandberg Institute, Waag: Technology and Society, University of Amsterdam’s Center for Urban Studies, Casco Art Institute and Studio René Boer. The research project is grounded in Amsterdam’s Zeeburgereiland, an island on the city’s eastern fringes currently being developed, and will result in a toolkit of ‘recipes for the commons’. This project is made possible through the support of NWO, BPD and Nautilus.

Intervening a legal system for use of unused spaces

Collectively creating legal instruments drafted for and by communities and stakeholders for the use of unused spaces

Ingredients

Lawyers or people with legal knowledge and/or experience of squatting, other co-writers from different backgrounds, writing tools, meeting facility

THIS RecIPE is for

Collectively creating legal instruments drafted for and by communities and stakeholders for the use of unused spaces

RECIPE SOURCE

This recipe is derived from The Convention on the Use of Space and composed by the Commons • Art team. The Convention on the Use of Space held public meetings to write a functioning, legally-binding convention on the use-value of housing with a focus on squatting, while problematising the manner in which law functions in relation to citizenship, democracy and precarity. In collective drafting assemblies a group of participants - including lawyers, activists, academics, squatters, researchers, and cultural workers - gather to work towards developing a piece of movement perspective legislation. Each of the five meetings focused on a different aspect of the law and produced different amendments. The topics discussed included: the legal form, de-criminalizing the subject, the right of use, modes of re-imagining and property as theft. The Convention on the Use of Space is a legal instrument drafted in response to the housing crisis: the lack of affordable homes, absence of provisions for those without legal rights to stay, rising rents, and the criminalisation of squatting. Its public drafting assemblies allowed for a discussion on the current status of housing in the context of The Netherlands, and for the concrete development of a legal tool towards making housing more equitable. Unlike other spaces where legislation is made, it actively invites those people to the table who are otherwise excluded, including: students, squatters, sans-papiers and precarious workers.

Background, situation & credit

The development of the The Convention on the Use of Space took place in the context of the exhibition White Paper at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons in 2015. This exhibition was commissioned in collaboration with Beirut. Research for developing White Paper was supported by the European Cultural Foundation and the Kamel Lazaar Foundation. Production support was granted by the European Cultural Foundation Idea Camp, Young Arab Theatre Foundation, De.MO./Movin Up 2014, Italian MInistry of Culture and Tourism, Association for the Circuit of Young Italian Artists, and the Arab Fund for Arts and Culture.

Making a common resource pool of surplus material

Redistributing private, surplus material into a shared, regenerated resource that is not contingent on financial ability.

Ingredients

Surplus resource, a gathering and collection space, custodians. Optional: membership cards.

THIS RecIPE is for

Redistributing private, surplus material into a shared, regenerated resource that is not contingent on financial ability.

RECIPE SOURCE

This recipe is derived from The Library of Unread Books and composed by the Commons • Art team. The Library of Unread Books asks questions about ownership and the relationship between wealth and knowledge. It brings to light once-hidden-away titles to emphasize shared knowledge, and functions as a common resource pool of knowledge that is not contingent on financial means. It also brings together a network of worldwide, lifetime members of this library.

Background, situation & credit

The Library of Unread Books was developed in September 2016 by artist Heman Chong and producer and librarian Renee Staal in the context of a residency at NTU Center for Contemporary Art in Singapore, where it remained until May 2017. The Library then travelled to the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design in Manila (August-November 2017) and landed at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons in November 2017. It has also been presented at Jameel Arts Centre in Dubai (November 2019-January 2020).

A small scale lottery system

Redistributing of (financial) resources through a collective lottery system organized for and by organizations and their members and communities.

Ingredients

A bingo cage, lottery tickets, a fish bowl, lottery host, The Parasite Lottery album and flags, prize money, and Parasite Lottery prize cheques.

THIS RecIPE is for

Redistributing of (financial) resources through a collective lottery system organized for and by organizations and their members and communities.

RECIPE SOURCE

This recipe is derived from Parasite Lottery and composed by the Commons • Art team. Parasite Lottery is intended as a tool for any community and collective looking for ways to redistribute (financial) resources. Following this system small organisations get funds from bigger institutions, while the big institutions get money for deviation. It turns to new strategies to face a lack of funding needed in the arts and elsewhere.

Background, situation & credit

Parasite Lottery is initiated by artist and cultural activist Wok the Rock & Casco Art Institute. Drawing events took place in the Netherlands at Platform BK, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, Das Spectrum, and Casco Art Institute. The project responded to the austerity measures following the financial crisis in The Netherlands resulting in public funding cuts whilst cultural funds from lottery ticket sales remained stable. The Parasite Lottery Album was made by Wok the Rock in collaboration with Berlin-based artist Frau.

Roadmap

2022
Project Launch and Interest Open call
2023
Kick-off Community Practice Workshop
2024 first half
Launch the Commons • Art DAO and Seed Funding
2024 second half
Launch Commons • Art Whitepaper and Toolbox (beta)
2025
Launch Commons • Art Platform

Open calls:

Artists/Art Initiatives,

Funders,

Art Institutions.

Call for Artists & Art Initiatives

Would you like for your artwork or project to be part of Commons • Art and open it up for potential use and maintenance by communities and individuals? By contributing your work/project to Commons • Art, you invite others into sustainability processes beyond preservation of its initial state. As Commons • Art develops, we stay in touch with you about next steps for activating your work to the commoning process. 

Contact us

Call for Funders, Investors & Sponsors

If you are interested in supporting the development of Commons • Art with financial and/or other resources, please contact us here. All resources received are redistributed to the platform and ensures the digital structure needed to facilitate the process of maintenance and commoning of artworks and projects. 

Contact us

Call for Art Institutions

We invite like-minded arts organizations, institutions and initiatives to support artworks and projects as they are maintained and used by communities. Art institutions can support artworks and projects in this process by offering their resources (financial and non-financial). If you are interested in supporting us in this way, please contact us here. 

Contact us

Study

Process

Until the launch (2025) of the platform,  Commons • Art will share the reseach and work in process through different communal or public occasions.