Common Courtesy

Common Courtesy: Agency and Enclosure on the Commons
Pasaż Pokoyhoff (conference room, III floor), as part of Alternative Now, WRO 2011 Media Art Biennale, with presentations by Magda Tyzlik-Carver, Phil Ellis, and Andrew Prior.

12 May 2011 → 12 May 2011
WRO 2011 Media Art Biennale, Wroclaw, Poland

From political and cultural theory to activism and curatorial and art practices, the rise of digital communications has increasingly pushed the notion of ‘the commons’ - an open, democratic, self-reproducing resource of information, processes, relations, media; though in the digital era they are underpinned by the social, physical and economic ecologies of the internet. One definition of the term ‘courtesy’ is an item supplied free, to those who have already paid for another service. In this sense, the Common Courtesy explores the dialectics of agency and enclosure, highlighting the opportunities afforded by the commons, whilst keeping the constraints of enclosure and encapsulation in mind.

This event is dedicated to consideration of the commons through the particular understanding that it is through the activity of commoning (the ongoing social process through which the commons is renewed) that the commons are framed. Departing from participatory practices that form many art and media projects underpinned by social technologies, this symposium critically investigates emerging practices whose ambition is to move beyond participation and explore agency and engagement as key factors that shape forms of co-production of commons.

Andrew Prior: Quicktime Web Jockey – Trailblazing the Archive
Magda Tyzlik-Carver: Practice in common, the right to fork and how to curate without (en)closure
Phil Ellis: Open Triggers

Through the presentation of practice and projects by PhD students associated within KURATOR/Art & Social Technology research group (University of Plymouth, UK) and in discussions, we aim to critically consider the following questions:

  • Are network practices and discourses a sufficient or appropriate response to the enclosures of media saturated culture?
  • What might alternatives look like?
  • How might concepts of noise, waste and detritus be used to understand the commons differently?
  • Do the commons offer a realistic alternative to proprietary modes?
  • What is a role of curator in a commons based practice?
  • Should we talk about a commons or the common?
  • Can Open Triggers form a key tactic in the reproduction of the commons by promoting agency over consumption?