Dit artikel verscheen in FORUM+ vol. 28 nr. 1, pp. 12-19

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Heeft de gedeelde ruimte politieke slagkracht? Een reflectie over het politiek-esthetische project van Raumlabor

Louis Volont

In this essay, Louis Volont explores the political potency of ‘common space’ through the work of the Berlin-based architecture collective Raumlabor. The ambiguous relationship between artistic practice and political action will be assessed in Raumlabor’s projects of ‘JuniPark’ and ‘Floating University’. Finally, illegality and ambiguity are suggested as levers for the further politicisation of activist artistic practice.

In dit essay verkent Louis Volont de politieke slagkracht van de ‘gemeenschappelijke ruimte’ via het werk van het architectuurcollectief Raumlabor, dat opereert vanuit Berlijn. Volont zoomt in op twee projecten van Raumlabor, ‘JuniPark’ en ‘Floating University’, om zicht te krijgen op de ambigue verhouding tussen artistieke praktijken en politieke acties. Hij reikt tot slot illegaliteit en ambiguïteit aan als hefbomen om de activistische artistieke praktijk verder mee te politiseren.

Raumlabor: Expression of a concept

The concept of ‘the commons’ and its spatial derivative of ‘common space’ currently permeates the vocabulary and practice of architects, activists and artists alike. Whilst the concept’s theorists and practitioners tend to confirm its political effectiveness, this essay critically explores if, when and how the intertwinement between common space and political action might hold true.1 First and foremost, however, the task before us will be to ask: What are ‘the commons’? What is ‘common space’? And how do these notions resonate within the fields of cultural and architectural production?

In its barest form, a commons refers to a resource shared by a group of people. For the resources we need in order to stay alive (food, shelter, energy), we dispose of the classical dyad between ‘the market’ and ‘the state’. A commons, on the other hand, constitutes a good that is shared beyond unbridled competition (market) and governmental regulation (state), a ‘third way’. When we move through the city, we generally encounter spaces exploited by the market (private space) and spaces regulated by governmental bodies (public space). Common space, too, stands as a ‘third way’ beyond this traditional bifurcation of the private and the public. Common space differs from private space because of its collective, non-monetary character; common space differs from public space since the commoners themselves, rather than the executors of governmental directives, set the terms of use. It was Elinor Ostrom, the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in economics in 2009, who put this idea on the academic agenda in her landmark book Governing the Commons (1990). In this work, Ostrom showed how communities worldwide have long relied on collective forms of resource sharing.2

In recent years, a series of post-Marxist scholars has been concerned with applying this Ostromian precedent to questions of urban space. Among them, we find most prominently the work of Stavros Stavrides and his concept of ‘common space’. ‘Common spaces’, Stavrides argued, ‘are those spa­ces produced by people in their effort to establish a common world that houses, supports and expresses the community they participate in'.3 Examples are manifold: in Madrid, the wharf of an empty swimming pool was transformed by artists and activists into a space for cultural production and urban gardening (the Campo de Cebada); in Athens, we find the Navarinou Park, a former parking lot that was transformed by neighbourhood groups into a place for encounter, debate and theatre; in London, activists and architects use the concept to combat gentrification (‘The Public Land Grab’); and in Rotterdam, the organisation City in the Making transforms vacant infrastructure into spaces for short-term living and artistic practice.4 Stavrides deploys a powerful metaphor to characterise common space: ‘the threshold’. The threshold symbolises a ‘porous perimeter’ that separates but also connects. This brings us to a first characteristic of common space: inclusiveness, openness to newcomers. Second, a threshold also symbolises something that is ‘neither this, nor that’, something that is ‘betwixt and between’. This brings us to a second characteristic of common space: a state of perpetual flux, something which is ‘always in the making’.

My intention with this contribution will be to assess the political potency of common space (in processual form: ‘space-commoning’) through the lens of Raumlabor, a Berlin-based, activist architecture collective. Two points justify Raumlabor as an adequate case for such an endeavour. Raumlabor’s project, firstly and simply, constitutes a spatial expression of the concept of the commons. Positing ‘Bye Bye Utopia’ as its main adage, the collective seeks to replace the utopian architectural narratives of the 20th century (Howard’s Garden City, Le Corbusier’s Ville Radieuse to name just a few) by a ‘doing in the here and now’. In line with the common space’s traits of openness and being ‘always in the making’, Raumlabor is interested in places that are abandoned or in transition, places which the group ‘tests and examines collectively’ in collaboration with local dwellers, artists and activists. As Avermaete has ambitiously construed the intersection of space and commons as a ‘new definition of the architectural project’, Raumlabor continues to pave the way.5 For their project ‘Eichbaumoper’ (2009), the collective transformed a neglected traffic junction into an opera space, art gallery and meeting place. In 2010, it built the ‘Open House’, a vertical village as a generator for an open society in South-Korea. Another example is ‘The Knot’ (2010), a nomadic laboratory for artistic production. The collective can be seen as a successor of the performative, nomadic, playful and anti-capitalist architectural experiments of the 1960s (Superstudio, Haus Rücker-Co, Coop Himmelblau or the Situationists).

Raumlabor, second, constitutes an exemplary case for its rationale to do something more than merely ‘intervening’ in the urban commonwealth. As such, the theoretical possibility of ‘political art’ sees the light of day. Speaking of politics, it is safe to assert that the collective is explicitly inspired by the hitherto highlighted theorists of common space.6 Stavrides, for instance, argued that ‘in the prospect of re-appropriating the city, common spaces are the spatial nodes through which the metropolis once again becomes the site of politics, if by politics we mean an open process through which the dominant forms of living together are questioned and potentially transformed'.7 ‘Raumlaborian’ Christof Mayer, in a similar vein, argues that his collective’s work ‘is political in the sense that [it tries] to create discussion about things (…). We have a kind of awareness about the fact that not everything should be commodified. I think this is again political'.8

Two of Raumlabor’s interventions, ‘JuniPark’ and the ‘Floating University’, will be turned to in order to shed a critical light on the relationship between artistic practice and political potency. In so doing, the dyad of art and politics will run as a central axis throughout the following analysis. First, the argument will be developed that both art and politics bear in themselves the potency to disrupt our sensory experience of the urban commonwealth. By letting us see, hear and feel the city in novel ways, these two realms may suddenly oblige us to rethink our assumptions about the (urban) world around us. Raumlabor, specialised in building common spaces in the places where we expect them the least, both through physical interventionism and social engagement, is therefore particularly pertinent at the crossroads of art and politics. Even though such a disruption may mimic the very nature of political action, it will secondly be argued that neither the form, nor the content of Raumlabor’s arts-based commoning could ever give way to politics proper. Lastly, the latter idea will once more be deconstructed in order to laud Raumlabor’s interventionism as a form of ‘auto-politics’. Namely, Raumlabor’s political potency will finally be found in offering the urbanite a physical stage where resistant ideas can blossom and political liaisons be forged, outside of the institutions of parliamentary democracy.

Art & politics: Aesthetic gesture

Raumlabor presents an interesting set of aesthetic gestures containing a political message. In order to understand such a project, we should look more closely at the dyad of art and politics. In the work of Chantal Mouffe and Jacques Rancière, appropriate levers can be found in order to explore the intersection between the artistic and the political realm. Mouffe argues that ‘artistic practices play a role in the constitution and maintenance of a given symbolic order or in its challenging and this is why they necessarily have a political dimen­sion'.9 Mouffe, however, leaves untouched how art and politics may precisely be intertwined, a void which Rancière’s lexicon will be seen to fulfil. I will be returning to Mouffe in a moment, but for now, let us take a look at a central concept in both Rancière and this reflection: the ‘partition of the sensible’.

The partition of the sensible refers to the seemingly natural division of society into demarcated social groups and the places they are connected to. Now, what matters in the par­ti­tion of the sensible is that some social groups (and places) are recognised as accepted interlocutors in questions of urban development (they fall within the partition) whilst others are not (they fall outside of the partition). The partition of the sensible, hence, constitutes an implicit set of rules that governs who and what is visible, hearable, perceptible. It is an accepted logic of which groups and places ‘matter’ in spatial production, and which do not. To put it in the words of Rancière, the partition of the sensible ‘reveals who can have a share in what is common to the community based on what they do and on the time and space in which this activity is performed'.10 In other words, it determines which groups, in some places, are ‘voice’, and which groups, in other places, are ‘noise’.11

Now, for Rancière, art and politics constitute two realms that have the joint ability to ‘disrupt’ the partition of the sensible. Both realms, he argues, relate to aesthetics, understood as having the ability to (re)define what can be presented to sensory perception. Hence, art and politics evolve around ‘aesthesis’: they distinguish the visible from the invisible, the sayable from the unsayable, the audible from the inaudible.12 He argues: ‘art and politics each define a form of dissensus, a dissensual re-configuration of the common experience of the sensible'.13 Raumlabor’s JuniPark and Floating University shall now give credence to such statement.

JuniPark, first, constituted a scaffolded structure bordering Berlin’s now-deserted Tempelhof airfield. Within the structure unfolded a month-long festival of performances, workshops and debates concerning the unaffordability of housing for youngsters. The initiative brought forward a manifesto through which the participants formulated their concerns to the field of Berlin politics. JuniPark’s location has not been an arbitrary one: it was located on a former graveyard of the Protestant Church and directly faced one of Tempelhof’s landing strips, the symbol of Berlin’s current gentrification. JuniPark particularly embodies the aforementioned two traits of common space. First, it entails the collective endeavour of a specific community – those threatened by gentrification in Neukölln – whereby spatial uses are defined by that community itself. Second, JuniPark equally embodies the ‘threshold’ character of common space, something which finds itself in a state of permanent flux. JuniPark became a constantly changing décor for a constantly changing content. The intervention could be perpetually reconfigured to a stage, a forum, a kitchen, and so forth: ‘different projects move in the construction, each creating space and giving the structure different character'.14

The Floating University, second, can be interpreted as a similar strategy. It is a self-built laboratory for collective and experimental learning, knowledge transfer and the formation of transdisciplinary networks in order to challenge ‘the routines and habits of urban practices'.15 This time, the intervention’s political message would not be about unaffordable housing. Rather, its theme was to grapple questions such as: ‘how can cities cope with the risks, strains and chances of global warming, the shortage of resources, superdiversity and hyper-accelerated development? Which tools do we need to live and work well in a resource-efficient manner?’16 The Floating University was built on the other side of the Tempelhof airfield than JuniPark was, namely on its deserted rainwater retention basin. Tactically, Raumlabor was able to build the Floating University on the basin because the only allowed activity on this piece of land, according to Berlin’s zoning plan, is ‘scientific research’. According to Raumlabor, it became the meeting place ‘for students and experts on the culture of the city, with everyone wondering how to synchronize our everyday lives to the rapid changes urbanity is undergoing at the moment'.17 Like JuniPark, the Floating University constituted a self-organised laboratory for debates, performances and installations, to which a series of lectures by critical authors such as Bruno Latour and Jeanne van Heeswijk were added.

With these premises in mind, both JuniPark and the Floating University can be seen as a disruptive reshuffling of Rancière’s ‘partition of the sensible’, that seemingly ‘natural division’ of society into demarcated groups and the places through which they are entitled to express themselves. The reasoning goes as follows. Through various means (a colour in Berlin’s zoning plan, fencing, visual evidences) the soil of JuniPark is marked for social housing by real estate developers while the soil of the Floating University is marked as strictly suitable for scientific research by professional investigators. This is how these parts of the city can be known and seen, heard and experienced. However, Raumlabor’s interventionism inherently disrupts such demarcation through an artistic-political gesture. What if we would connect a series of deliberative hubs to these places, where the deleterious effects of gentrification and capital-led urbanisation are discussed? Raumlabor reshuffles the partition of the sensible and adds to it the subject of ‘those without part’ (in the partition): youngsters threatened by unaffordable housing or urbanites seeking a more sustainable Anthropocene.

For now, one might argue that in Raumlabor’s act of repartitioning, art and politics are not (yet) discernible from each other. Rather than existing as separate entities, Raumlabor’s artistic praxis and corresponding political message share the capacity to repartition what is ‘sensible’. Qua artistic praxis, this involves the suspension of the normal coordinates of sensory experience (a scaffolded, stage-like structure suddenly appearing on a former graveyard, or a wooden, multifunctional knowledge centre momentarily arising on a rainwater basin); qua political message, this involves the ‘making heard’ of youngsters in search of housing and of activists in search of a more equitable urban future. Raumlabor, hence, offers us alternate ways of seeing and speaking, of what is visible and sayable. What was once ‘noise’ now becomes ‘voice’.

Seeking adversity

Thus far, Raumlabor’s JuniPark and Floating University brought to light the entangled realms of art and politics as a repartitioning of the sensible. As Rancière argued himself: ‘art and politics are attached to one another as forms of dissensus, operations of reconfiguration of the shared experience of the sensible’.18 On this point, Rancière’s thought is frustratingly ambivalent as well. One might rightfully ask: are art and politics the same, or are they different? As both constitute a so-called ‘aesthetic gesture’, where lies their point of divergence? While some of the best of Rancière’s interpreters continue to struggle with such questions, for now suffice it to say that Rancière’s thought is based on the following contradiction: in relation to the partition of the sensible, art and politics are indeed consubstantial; yet, Rancière continually reminds his readers that art can almost never really have an effective political potency of its own. It will now be shown how Raumlabor’s project equally corroborates this latter statement – the very divergence between art and politics – through both the form and content of its work.

Encountered at JuniPark and at the Floating University, is this: ‘form in function of content’. Looking at these interventions’ formal properties, one discovers how they are indeed catered towards the creation of content. The Floating University entails interconnected, wooden sections designed for debate and deliberation, a library and a small bookshop. The form of JuniPark, too, is designed as a physical substrate to create content through discussion. Its formal properties – stage, tribunes – allow a series of deliberations to take place, concerning topics such as Neukölln’s unaffordable housing, gentrification, Berlin’s rapid urban development, participatory art, and so forth. As Stavrides would say, ‘there are disputes over the meaning, the value, and the form of the common’.19

However, my contention will be that a mere deliberation over societal content – which I will call ‘deliberative agonistics’ – doesn’t necessarily render these artworks inherently political. Mouffe and Rancière agree on this point. For Mouffe, a proper political agonistics implies the constant combat of one way of symbolising human social relations against another: ‘it is a struggle between opposing hegemonic projects which can never be reconciled rationally'.20 But this kind of Mouffean agonistics, this constant combat of political projects, is something entirely different than debating internally, hence, than debating only within the walls of JuniPark and the Floating University (again: ‘deliberative agonistics’). One might argue in this regard that Raumlabor’s deliberative hubs bring together a series of discussants that are already on the same side. For Rancière, too, ‘real politics’ always implies an ‘other’ (‘heteron’), namely an adversarial party, the presence of which is used to direct one’s newly created aesthesis against. To bring it to a point: When the figure of the adversary – a municipality, real-estate developers – remains absent from an artwork’s content, political potency does so too. At a former juncture, a Raumlabor member was seen to argue that the collective’s work ‘is political in the sense that [it tries] to create discussion about things'. To this, one might thus object that the mere creation of discussion does not necessarily imply a politically potent artistic practice. At this point, art and politics commence indeed to diverge.

But I would want to go a step further in order to make the vanishing of politics proper all the more tangible. When the art of space-commoning resorts to deliberative agonistics, this might constitute a welcome tendency for municipal governments seeking to instrumentalise artistic practices in their own interest. De Angelis speaks in this regard of a ‘commons fix’, the process whereby commoning becomes recuperated in order to ‘cure’ urban ills (such as decay), facilitate policy goals (such as regeneration) or enhance market mechanisms (such as tourism).21 Municipal governments and market players alike might benefit from hosting on their soil groups of artists seeking to fix the problems (gentrification, unaffordable housing) that they themselves (governments, real estate developers) have created. As such, a work of art that initially was to embody a political intention may suddenly capsize into what Rancière labels as the very opposite of politics: the ‘police order’. ‘Police’, in Rancière, does not strictly refer to the state apparatus that roams our streets in order to repress deviance. Police – as in ‘policy’ – rather refers to the process of actively reproducing a particular partition of the sensible. It is the act of governing, disciplining, of making sure that social groups remain functionally connected to their respective ‘parcels’ within the partition of the sensible. In this vein, we should remind ourselves that the Floating University is one of many projects (along with various DIY urban gardens on the tarmac) that since 2008 ‘re-aestheticise’ (understood here as beautification) the deserted Tempelhof airfield. JuniPark, notwithstanding its socially responsible impetus, also keeps value and people ‘in place’, namely on a strip of land the Protestant Church is currently redeveloping into (mainly social) housing. As such, we come to see how politically intentional art may, as Rancière would say, be ‘reincorporated’ or ‘fade away’ within the register of police, as such having its political potency annihilated altogether.22

The foregoing analysis feeds into Rancière’s thesis that neither the form, nor the content, of a work of art could autonomously instigate the proliferation of politics proper. If art does not foster politics proper for Rancière, this is so because of the absence of a ‘causal’ relationship between works of art and the political subjectivation that might follow. Yet, a critique towards both Rancière and my own analysis is needed. One might rightfully argue that the here-proposed annihilation of politics (at JuniPark and the Floating University) is a rather nihilistic and overly pessimistic one. When politics comes to depend directly on the form and content of an artwork, no work can ever be directly and properly political. Imagine that a friend or colleague, at work or during dinner, enthusiastically speaks about a work of art that s/he deems politically potent; in such a case, Rancière’s vocabulary constitutes the perfect weapon to say that ‘no art can ever be political’, and consequently, to ruin the atmosphere and to end in silence. Rockhill calls this the ‘Talisman complex’: the presupposition that an artwork should be an autonomous object with its own, agentic inner force.23 Therefore, one should be willing to admit that, when seeking ‘the political’ in art, there is more at stake than just the form and content of the work itself. Upon its existence as a physical essence, there is also its further ‘social politicity’, namely, the social life that the work of art will lead from its inception onwards.

On this point, Mouffe and Rancière part ways. Whilst Rancière limits the emergence of politics to a rare, almost impossible ‘effect’ of an artwork’s form and content, Mouffe maintains that artworks can be part of a broader movement (‘chain of equivalence’) which eventually may issue a powerful political potency. Taking this into account, new possibilities for the politicisation of art emerge. A final assessment of Raumlabor’s JuniPark and Floating University shall therefore be this: rather than a-political spatialisations of the commons, I’d argue, Juni­Park and the Floating University nevertheless constitute urban loci that have a political potency of their own. Steered by what I would call an ‘auto-politics’, Raumlabor offers the urbanite a physical stage where resistant ideas can blossom, where liaisons between groups can grow (youngsters, artists, scholars) and a more equitable urban future can be explored (as various action groups were invited to test their work on the retention basin). In their own, autonomous way, these common spaces allow for new ways of seeing, hearing, and thinking to be continually developed. Retaining, hence, the link between art and politics, I finally want to speculate on two levers that might strengthen their entanglement: illegality and ambiguity.

Illegality & ambiguity

Illegality, first, may enhance the political potency of commoning art for the following reason: illegality entails the very clash of different approaches to the partition of the sensible. In other words: illegality entails the meeting or collision between two ‘perceptions’ with regard to which groups are entitled to speak up during questions of urban development, through which places, how, and why – which eventually boils down to a meeting between the realms of ‘politics’ and ‘police’. In that sense, the act of illegality is a truly dis-sensual one. The illegal urban artist mobilises a series of sensible evidences – mostly through sight and physical adaptation – in order to make the partitioning of the sensible complete. One architecture collective, often active in the realm of illegal space-commoning, is the Spanish group Recetas Urbanas.24 For a large part of its interventions, Recetas Urbanas works in illegality by exploiting voids and loopholes within Spanish and European building regulations. Citizens and citizen initiatives can call upon Recetas Urbanas in order to collectively build meditation houses, children’s playgrounds, benches, places for sociality and encounter, clandestine phone lines, artistic interventions, and so forth. Recetas Urbanas’s common spaces commence in the minds of the commoners, artists and activists gravitating around the collective, rather than in the corridors of a municipal government’s department of culture. What can be seen in Figure 3 is an ateneu by Recetas Urbanas, a place for discussion and sociality for a group of squatters. The intervention was raised overnight without funding and permission, on the central square of San Boi, a town in the periphery of Barcelona.

It should, however, be remarked that illegal artistic expressions of the commons continue to be coupled to an intrinsic risk, a risk touched upon before: the possibility of ‘fading away’ within the register of ‘police’. Take, for instance, the example of the Italian scene of socio-cultural centres proliferating in the 1970s.25 Many of these arts-based common spaces started their existence in illegality (for example through squatting). Yet, after periods through which these centres had acquired enough legitimacy in the eyes of the municipality, they would be accepted, legalised, funded and regulated within municipal politics. Recetas Urbanas calls this ‘induced legality’: the process whereby urban-artistic interventions commence in illegality but afterwards become gradually legitimised.

Nevertheless, to state that the legalisation of formerly illegal common spaces would necessarily steer them into ‘police waters’ would be too simplistic a statement. The process of induced legality does not necessarily mean that the possibility of politics is extinguished. From the moment of legalisation onwards (as happened with the ateneu as well), the act of politics can continue in other ways. Italian socio-cultural centres continue to play an important part in the development of artistic ideas and practices: they are what Mouffe calls ‘agonistic spaces’ where new ways of sensing the social may emerge without needing to reach an end point. As such, common space ‘becomes the battleground where different hegemonic projects are confronted, without any possibility of final reconciliation'.26 An example of this might be found in the city of Naples’ ‘Department of the Commons’, a municipal body that organises a continuous debate among the municipal party system, local institutions and civil society (the self-organised cultural centre Ex Asilo Filangieri among them). The rationale is to safeguard common goods, ranging from water to culture, from privatisation. At this juncture, the aforementioned ‘social politicity’ of arts-based commoning becomes all the more tangible.

Ambiguity, second, constitutes a final tactic for the politicisation of artistic praxis. Rancière argued that the subject of a properly political action would proceed under the guise of a ‘misnomer’: a sort of impossible ‘nomination’ that, up until the moment of the action itself, has been unknown or unnamed within the perceptual coordinates of ‘police’. Hence, to act in ambiguity means that the act one expresses or the name one uses has not (yet) been assigned a definite ‘part’ within the partition of the sensible. In this context, Rancière gives the example of the nineteenth-century French revolutionary leader Louis Auguste Blanqui.27 The latter presented himself in a court hearing as a representative of ‘the proletariat’, a category which at the time was unknown, ‘unheard of’ within the institutional echelons of the French state apparatus. More recently, Gielen has pointed to a similar idea, the field of ‘ambiguity politics’, a realm where new and ambivalent names, concepts, actors, actions and expressions are being thought of through the cross-pollination between surprising associations: artists, politicians, activists, citizens.28

Overall, to the question ‘is common space politically potent’, I would therefore present the following answer. On the one hand, Rancière’s narrow conceptualisation of art and politics as a re-partitioning of the sensible allows one to state that space-commoning can only become political at certain times. Suffering from the Talisman complex, one could contend that space-commoning’s political potency may only be found in its ad-hoc, disruptive effect. Perpetual dis-sensus – hence, a perpetual repartitioning of what we think we know about the world – seems impossible. People engaged in psychedelic experiences will confirm this, as would those engaged in the process of ‘induced legality’: at a given moment, dis-sensus will become con-sensus again, the ambiguous will become unequivocal, politics will become reinscribed in the working of ‘police’.

On the other hand, Rancière’s narrow definition should not oblige us to discard the political thrust of common space right away. Arts-based common spaces as seen at JuniPark and at the Floating University constitute physical substrates from where a broader definition of politics may be developed. Whilst suspending the sensible seems to be a disruptive gesture, its traces tend to persist and recur. Within a larger ensemble of already existing political institutions (understood in the broad sense here, ranging from an activist deliberation room in a back alley of a metropolis to a Parliament) Raumlabor elaborates independent, autonomous and self-­programmed stages (quite literally) from where political actions and ideas can continually blossom. As such, contra Rancière, art and politics become commensurate again. Both are mobilised in the name of aesthesis, namely, to develop new ways of seeing, hearing, thinking, new inputs for the urbanite’s register of sensory perception. It is only so, I hypothesise, how commoning as merely ‘a sharing of resources’ may be bent into commonism as a counter-hegemonic, hence politically potent, project.29

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Louis Volont

Louis Volont is a researcher in sociology, based at the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO, University of Antwerp). His main interests lie in the themes of activist architecture, urban commons and the thought of Lefebvre, Rancière and Hardt & Negri. As from 2021, he will be conducting research at MIT’s Center for Art, Culture & Technology (Boston).

Louis.Volont@uantwerpen.be

Noten

  1. Theorists writing about this concept are, for example, Massimo De Angelis and Stavros Stavrides. Architects working with the concept can be found in Raumlabor (Berlin), the Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (Paris), StudioBASAR (Bucharest), and Public Works (London).
  2. Ostrom, Elinor. Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. Cambridge University Press, 1990.
  3. Stavrides, Stavros. “Common space as threshold space: urban commoning in struggles to re-appropriate public space.” Footprint, vol. 16, 2015, p. 10.
  4. See also the Casco Art Institute’s thematic line of ‘Working for the Commons’: ‘an institution-in-practice for producing, studying, and situating art to work for the commons’. Available at casco.art
  5. Avermaete, Tom. “The architecture of the commons.” In Tom Avermaete, Kirsten Hannema, Hans van der Heijden & Edwin Oostmeijer (eds.), Architecture in the Netherlands 2015/2016, NAi, 2016, pp. 36- 43.
  6. See for instance the various references to common space theory in Raumlabor’s publication Explorations in Urban Practice. Raumlabor, 2017.
  7. Stavrides, p. 11.
  8. Quote distilled from an interview with Christof Mayer about Raumlabor’s common space- inspired interventions, conducted in Berlin on 4 June 2018.
  9. Mouffe, Chantal. “Artistic activism and agonistic spaces.” Art & Research, vol. 1, 2007, p. 4.
  10. Rancière, Jacques. The Politics of Aesthetics: The Distribution of the Sensible. Continuum, 2004, p. 8.
  11. One might think of the disdain with which the field of institutional politics looked at the riots that were unfolding in the peripheries of Paris (2005) and London (2011). These places were ‘noise’ rather than ‘voice’ in urban governance.
  12. Rockhill, Gabriel. “Rancière’s productive contradictions: from the politics of aesthetics to the social politicity of artistic practice.” Symposium: Canadian Journal of Continental Philosophy, vol. 15, 2011, p. 28.
  13. Rancière, Jacques. Dissensus: on Politics & Aesthetics. Bloomsbury, 2015, p. 140.
  14. Retrieved from raumlabor.net/junipark
  15. Retrieved from raumlabor.net/floating-university-berlin-an-offshore-campus-for-cities-in-transformation
  16. Ibid.
  17. Ibid.
  18. Rancière, Jacques. The Emancipated Spectator. Verso, 2009, p. 70.
  19. Stavrides, Stavros. “Toward an architecture of commoning.” ASAP/Journal, vol. 1, no. 1, 2016, p. 79.
  20. Mouffe, p. 3.
  21. De Angelis, Massimo. “Does capital need a commons fix?” Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization, vol. 13, no. 3, 2013, pp. 603-15.
  22. Rancière, Jacques. “Introducing disagreement.” Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, vol. 9, no. 3, 2004, p. 7.
  23. Rockhill, p. 39.
  24. For one of Recetas Urbanas’s legal interventions, see Otte, Hanka. “De steile helling van Montaña Verde: participatiekunst gewrongen tussen de openbare en civiele ruimte.” Forum+ voor Onderzoek en Kunsten | for Research and Arts, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 14-21.
  25. Examples are: Leoncavallo (Milan), Ex Asilo Filangieri (Naples) or Atlantide, Làbas and XM24 (Bologna, now all evicted).
  26. Mouffe, p. 3.
  27. Rancière, Jacques. “Politics, identification, and subjectivization.” The Identity in Question, vol. 61, 1992, pp. 58-64.
  28. This can be read in the article “Laten we proberen onze fundamentele ambiguïteit te aanvaarden. Over de kwestie ‘identiteitspolitiek’.” Available at dewitteraaf.be/artikel/detail/nl/4777
  29. Notion derived from the eponymous reader by N. Dockx & P. Gielen. Commonism: A New Aesthetic of the Real. Valiz, 2018.