Felix Stalder and Cornelia Sollfrank

Creating Commons – and creating commons-based exhibition formats

Friday, 20 April 2018, 4pm
ZHdK, Room 6.K04

Creating Commons is a three-year research project funded by the Swiss National Fund (SNF) to explore the cultural relevance of artistic commons projects. Starting point for the transdisciplinary research are specific projects that provide access to resources, often by building technical infrastructures or by organising settings for informal knowledge transfer, thus caring for specific cultural goods and making sure theses goods remain widely accessible. The notion of the commons provides the theoretical framework for investigating how new forms of organisation can constitute evolving realities that point beyond the growing commercialization of culture and its damaging effects.

The research explores interstitial practices which open the space between art and commons. They are challenging established notions of contemporary aesthetic practice as well as of contemporary commons, requiring the development of a new theoretical and aesthetic framework for this emerging field. The framing questions for the research are: – how can new forms of organization and collaboration bring forth different kinds of cultural works and social relations? – how are new property relations articulated? – how can artistic practices contribute to the further developement of the commons as inclusive, diverse and democratic forms of organization? – what role can art and an expanded understanding of aesthetics play in the advancement of the commons as a political project?

In their presentation, two of the researchers working in the project give an introduction to the topic of their research, define a number of relevant concepts, explain their research methodolgy and present some of the related art projects. One of the main interests in working with the participants of the curatorial studies programme lies in discussing possible and adequate ways of showing artistic commons projects within an exhibition context.

Felix Stalder is a professor for Digital Culture at the Zurich University of the Arts, a senior researcher at the World Information Institute in Vienna and a moderator of <nettime>. His work focuses on the intersection of cultural, political and technological dynamics, in particular on new modes of commons-based production, control society, copyright and transformation of subjectivity. Among his recent publications are “Digital Solidarity” (PML & Mute 2014) and “Kultur der Digitalität” (Suhrkamp 2016, trans. “The Digital Condition” Polity
Press, 2018). →

Cornelia Sollfrank (PhD) is an artist, researcher and university lecturer who is based in Berlin. Recurring subjects in her artistic work in and about digital media and network culture are new forms of (political) organization, authorship and intellectual property, gender and techno-feminism. She was co-founder of the collectives women-and-technology, -Innen and the Old Boys Network and currently does research at Zürich University of the Arts in the field of art&commons. More info at: