Common Wealth for Common People Online Platform

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* Research project: Esse, Νosse, Posse: Common Wealth for Common People



Daphne Dragona:

"The network society is a knowledge and information society. As Castells writes in 1996 it is a form of economy where information does not only control production, but also forms social relationships that can accumulate capital, generate value and fit into the timeless space of flows. The forms of immaterial and affective labour that became dominant in the post-fordist and post-industrial era assigned to knowledge and information a principal and unprecedentedly controversial role. A new creative class was born by a multitude of people with a desire to learn and share but without having the control of the utilization of their capabilities. The values of free knowledge, collective intelligence and common wealth rendered this new class more powerful but not less distressed when confronted with the reality of the global financial crisis. Will the network society, a product of capitalism but also of critical and political thought, collapse along with the tottery economy of our times, or can it offer new alternative and sustainable models? Is it a way out or rather an illusion for the difficulties and the adversities that the contemporary multitude needs to face?

The online platform “Esse, Nosse, Posse : Common Wealth for Common People” refers to the core of the common wealth of today’s multitude. The triad “I am, I know, I can” that, as Hardt and Negri write, constituted the core of the renaissance humanism, seems to also describe in a new way, the era of the networks. What is important is not only the knowledge itself but rather our disposition for it as well as our defining as subjectivities through the process of knowledge. Although the notion of common wealth has been used to describe common goods of the material world such as the earth, the water, the air, in the network era the notion has changed and mainly refers to information, knowledge, code, communication and social relations. Through this scope today’s social web and its content can be considered as an important aspect of the new common wealth defined by the inscarcity of information which is continuously provided by users themselves on one hand and by attempts of appropriation by the market on the other.

How is this new common wealth then formed? What are its mechanisms of development and support and which are the new forms of economy that emerge? What is the importance of new terms frequently mentioned such as the attention economy or the gift economy and of phenomena such as the sweatshops, the crowdsourcing or the merging of free and working time? Can free and open source software and knowledge exchange play a significant role? The new online platform of the National Museum of Contemporary Art aims to answer these questions by focusing on the new values and the new costs deriving in the new digital realm.

In this context, the new platform presents:

– artists’ projects commenting on the new forms of networked economy,

– initiatives and open platforms by independent artists based on free and open software, exchange and collaboration,

– statements and texts by researchers, critics, theorists discussing art, networks and economy.

The projects, initiatives and texts hosted are contributed by artists, programmers, researchers, hackers, theorists, activists, by members of internet’ s new creative class. Often mentioned as cultural workers, these people observe and study the internet culture and take a critical stance towards the features of the networked economy, believing in the value of exchanging knowledge rather than the market value. In the controversial contemporary reality the online platform “Esse, Nosse, Posse: Common Wealth for Common People” is an initiative which focuses on “posse”, on the mode of production and being not only of the creators presented within this context but of all the contributors of today’s common wealth , as well as on the possibilities of re-appropriation of knowledge that may occur only through knowledge itself." (