The Art Institution as a Commonist Training Ground

On Casco’s Attempt to (Prefiguratively) Become an Institution of the Commons


  • Kathrine Bolt Rasmussen Astrid Noacks Atelier


commoning, creative resistance, experimental art institution, neoliberal capitalism, prefiguration


In this article the current attempt to (prefiguratively) transform the Utrecht-based exhibition space Casco into an institution of the commons is introduced and discussed. Focusing on this shift where commoning is conceptualized as both a working method and as a long-term horizon, the article analyses Casco’s aim to put into practice a commonist aesthetic as an art institution. The article identifies how Casco uses the current (economic, social and climatic) crisis to perform a commonist alternative to neoliberal capitalism. The article discusses different readings of related institutional projects. Some critics find such projects to be arty recuperations of potentially subversive strategies of resistance; others argue that the horizontal strategies of commoning risk being assimilated too easily by neoliberal capitalism, which uses them to re-launch itself, with the result that the commons end up forming the basis of new capitalist growth. Although the creatively playful experiments at Casco in many ways are characterised by paradoxical and contrasting tactics of resistance, the article argues that they constitute an important suggestion on how art can be used to point out alternative ways of inhabiting the world in a present situation characterized by ideological breakdown and crises.


Kathrine Bolt Rasmussen, Astrid Noacks Atelier

Kathrine Bolt Rasmussen has a Magister Degree in art history from Aarhus University and a PhD from the Department for the Study of Culture from the University of Southern Denmark. Her PhD, Keep turning and learning and turning’. Selv-institutionalisering, kuratorisk reformisme og commonistisk organisering, was a collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde. Bolt Rasmussen is director and curator at Astrid Noack’s Atelier in Copenhagen and has previously worked as curator at Overgaden—Institute of Contemporary Art in Copenhagen, where she curated a number of exhibition projects dealing with current sociopolitical questions and debates.


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