Aesthetic work and the dynamics of Commons

Practice based research/ Fiona Woods

FREE*SPACE was long-term project in Limerick city, 2016 - 2019. It was developed as an infrastructure of cooperation, working through dialogues, actions and events organised in collaboration with others, to experiment with ways of enacting the common. Things that make human society viable, meaningful - solidarity, caring and generosity - are distorted by forces of economisation and enclosure. It is vital to find new poetic and political forms of world-making. 

The Commons is coalescing as a site of material and conceptual struggle, involving a ‘simultaneity . . . of knowledge-making and world-making‘(Zhan, 2010), a way to reconfigure ‘the “we” and the world that is amongst us’ as the Catalan philosopher Marina Garcés asserts (2008). ‘The acts of mutual support, conflict negotiation, communication and experimentation that are needed to create systems to manage shared resources’ (Bollier, 2016); this is how David Bollier describes commoning, the practice of making commons.

FREE*SPACE committed to exploring the practice of commoning as an embodied, performative production of instruments of intelligibility, which remakes the practitioner at the same time that it makes a different kind of world. FREE*SPACE generated many collaborative events, including The Laboratory of Common Interest during the 12 day centenary of the Limerick Soviet in April 2019, a collaborative event-space that operated on the basis of mutualism and common interest with others.

FREE*SPACE was formed within the research for a practice-based PhD research carried out by Fiona Woods. ​This website traces the development of the work from 2015 - 2020.

Fiona Woods works with aesthetics and critical spatial practice, often in a co-productive capacity with others. She employs social, public and institutional circuits to explore ideas of what we have 'in common'. Her practice crosses critical inquiry and artistic intervention, and she participates in several international research projects. She is a PhD researcher and Fiosraigh Scholar at the Graduate College of Arts and Media Research Centre, at the Dublin Technological University. 

References:

David Bollier, 2016, Commoning as a Transformative Social Paradigm, on TheNextSystem.org

Marina Garcés, 2008,What Are We Capable Of? From Consciousness to Embodiment in Critical Thought Today, in Transversal, European Institute of Progressive Policy, eipcp.net

Zhan, M. interviewed by Matthew Wolf-Meyer, 2010, in Somatosphere; Science, medicine and anthropology, Somatosphere.net 

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