The Art Institution as a Commonist Training Ground
On Casco’s Attempt to (Prefiguratively) Become an Institution of the Commons
Nøgleord: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.
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