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An Atlas of Commoning Curator's Tour - Miller ICA

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An Atlas of Commoning: Spaces of Collective Production
An ifa exhibition in collaboration with ARCH+
29 June – 22 September 2019 at the Miller ICA

Saturday 27 July | 12:00-1:00pm
Saturday 24 August | 12:00-1:00pm
Saturday 21 September | 12:00-1:00pm


The international premier is presented in Pittsburgh in cooperation with the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture and the Miller ICA.

Facebook, Airbnb, and other companies whose business models are based on the commercialization of social relationships, have transformed words like “community,” “sharing,” or “we” into empty concepts that no longer represent solidarity or a progressive social agenda, but rather form the basis for an emerging platform capitalism. This economic development is accompanied by a global political shift fueled by traditional community notions of identity and affiliation, exclusion and discrimination.

Against this background, the exhibition and publication project An Atlas of Commoning aims to recapture and redefine the open and emancipatory space of “we” as a concept. The project focuses on urban commons—here commons are to be understood as a set of practices dealing with the collective production and management of (material and immaterial) resources and spaces in general, rather than with the resources themselves, hence “commoning,” the verb, takes center stage.

Commoning is a process of dealing with differences and conflicts between the individual, the community and society. A process of spatial organization in the relations between production and reproduction, ownership and access to resources. A process that brings together solidarity networks and redefines individual and collective rights. The project questions the prevailing social and political structures and seeks new forms of collective, yet pluralistic, governance.

The starting point of the exhibition is an Atlas, a visual archive with a diverse selection of contemporary and historical case studies­. The Atlas, which is being developed by ARCH+ in collaboration with the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, will consist of 25 projects related to commoning.­ This initial selection is being complemented with new ones, added in collaboration with local partners as the exhibition tours from city to city. As a result, the “Atlas of Commoning” continues to grow as an open knowledge archive, producing an invaluable documentation of local grassroots projects from all over the world.

From the Atlas, the exhibition develops along three axes of investigation, each one illustrating the tension inherent in practices of sharing. The resulting chapters are: Ownership – Access, Production – Reproduction, Right – Solidarity. Artistic works open up further access to the subject. Part of the exhibition is an edition of ARCH+ magazine that delivers a broad insight into important theoretical positions and practical examples.

The Miller ICA and School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University host the international premiere of the ifa exhibition An Atlas of Commoning following its German premiere in Berlin this past year. The Pittsburgh edition of the exhibition includes local practices of commoning and examples of citizen-led urban regeneration. Throughout the summer, a series of workshops, discussions, and tours will provide a platform for the exchange of experiences, knowledge, and skills about gaining agency in collectively producing the environment and communities we live in. In times of cynicism, An Atlas of Commoning shows that there are boundless hopeful alternatives — alternatives that are already in the making all around us.

Later Event: August 26
Fall 2019 Semester Begins