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Shusha Niederberger (ed.), Cornelia Sollfrank (ed.), ...: Aesthetics of the Commons

Shusha Niederberger (ed.), Cornelia Sollfrank (ed.), Felix Stalder (ed.)

Aesthetics of the Commons

Softcover, 276 pages

What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a ‘pirate’ library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art can play an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic; that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially.

Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that take up this challenge in different ways. What unites them, however, is that they all have a ‘double character.’ They are art in the sense that they place themselves in relation to (Western) cultural and art systems, developing discursive and aesthetic positions, but, at the same time, they are ‘operational’ in that they create recursive environments and freely available resources whose uses exceed these systems. The first aspect raises questions about the kind of aesthetics that are being embodied, the second creates a relation to the larger concept of the ‘commons.’ In Aesthetics of the Commons, the commons are understood not as a fixed set of principles that need to be adhered to in order to fit a definition, but instead as a ‘thinking tool’—in other words, the book’s interest lies in what can be made visible by applying the framework of the commons as a heuristic device.

  • 7


  • 9–10


  • 11–38


    Cornelia Sollfrank, Felix Stalder

  • 41–61

    Uploading our Libraries: The Subjects of Art and Knowledge Commons

    Olga Goriunova

  • 63–79

    The Commons, the Public, and the Aesthetics of Solidarity

    Jeremy Gilbert

  • 81–97

    Which “Aesthetics of the Commons”?

    Judith Siegmund

  • 101–124

    Commoning the Commons: Revisiting the Role of Art in Times of Crisis

    Daphne Dragona

  • 125–152

    In Search of Common Forms and Curatorial Epistemologies. On the Exhibition “OPEN SCORES: How to Program the Commons”

    Magdalena Tyzlik-Carver

  • 153–177

    Postdigital Politics

    Gary Hall

  • 181–197

    Situated Aesthetics for Relational Critique. On Messy Entanglements from Maintenance Art to Feminist Server Art

    Ines Kleesattel

  • 199–216

    The Commons, Sociotechnical Imaginaries and Resistance

    Sophie Toupin

  • 217–239

    What is “In Common” Here?. Transformed Relationships Between Art and Education on the Path to (Digital) Commons

    Rahel Puffert

  • 241–269

    Concatenated Commons and Operational Aesthetics

    Christoph Brunner

  • 271–275

    Authors and Editors

  • authorship
  • copyright
  • art
  • aesthetics
  • digital culture

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Selected content

Shusha Niederberger

is an artist and educator who has been active in the field of media art, autonomous technological practice, and education since 2000. Since 2014, she is directing the art education department of HeK (House of electronic arts Basel), devising new strategies for technological practice as a cultural/aesthetic practice. She has conceived new institutional formats of critical technological practice (Critical Make Festival, Basel 2015), and explored the gendered aspects of technology in publications, workshops, performative lectures, talks, and a festival she co-curated (Electronnes, Zurich 2017). She is a lecturer for contemporary net cultures at F+F Schule für Kunst und Gestaltung Zurich, and currently is a research associate at the Zurich University of the Arts for the project ‘Creating Commons.’

Cornelia Sollfrank

is an artist, researcher and university lecturer, living in Berlin (Germany). Recurring subjects in her artistic and academic work in and about digital cultures are artistic infrastructures, new forms of (political) self-organization, authorship and intellectual property, techno-feminist practice and theory. As a pioneer of Internet art, Cornelia Sollfrank built up a reputation with two central projects: the generator—a web-based art-producing ‘machine,’ and Female Extension—her famous hack of the first competition for Internet art. Her experiments with the basic principles of aesthetic modernism implied conflicts with its institutional and legal framework and led to her academic research. In her PhD “Performing the Paradoxes of Intellectual Property,” Cornelia investigated the increasingly conflicting relationship between art and copyright. This led to her current research project ‘Creating Commons,’ based at the University of the Arts in Zürich. Her most recent artistic work, the performance À la recherche de l’information perdue, is about gender stereotypes in the digital underground with the example of Wikileaks. The artistic research group #purplenoise, founded in 2018, investigates the potential of social media for political manipulation. Her latest book Die schönen Kriegerinnen. Technofeministische Praxis im 21.Jahrhundert (The beautiful warriors. Technofeminist Praxis in the 21st Century) was published in August 2018 with transversal texts, Vienna, in German, and in October 2019 in English, with minor compositions.
Other texts by Cornelia Sollfrank for DIAPHANES
  • © 2004, Cornelia Sollfrank

    In: Claus Pias (ed.), Zukünfte des Computers

  • Internet

    In: Jens Badura (ed.), Selma Dubach (ed.), Anke Haarmann (ed.), Dieter Mersch (ed.), Anton Rey (ed.), Christoph Schenker (ed.), Germán Toro Pérez (ed.), Künstlerische Forschung. Ein Handbuch

Felix Stalder

is professor of digital culture in the Department Fine Arts at Zurich University of the Arts and principal investigator for the “Creating Commons” research project. He not only works as an academic, but also as a cultural producer, being a moderator of the mailing list and a member of the World Information Institute as well as the Technopolitics Working Group, both in Vienna. Among his recent publications are Digital Solidarity and The Digital Condition.
Other texts by Felix Stalder for DIAPHANES