Ownership in Question

Thursday 11 October 2012, 6.30–8pm

A conversation between Ute Meta Bauer, Marysia Lewandowska and Laurel Ptak, introduced and moderated by Binna Choi, Maria Lind and Emily Pethick as part of Lewandowska and Ptak’s ongoing project Undoing Property.

As work circulates it moves from what we call private into public and back again, over and over. In markets, crossing this threshold is the flashpoint of value: a price is named and the exchange is enabled – you buy it, you own it. The value assigned by markets can obscure or erase other kinds of value. Further, privacy and publicness prescribe narrow uses and relationships for work.

How can we remain in possession of that which we value and know in our work while entering it into exchanges that amplify its value and meanings? ‘Private’ and ‘public’ need to be questioned. This event looks at recent destabilisations and reconfigurations of private and public that promise to undermine the hegemony of market exchanges while opening up the range of ways we can work and live together.

The main concern for Lewandowska and Ptak is the question of how what is privately owned can be publicly shared. How might we describe tensions between creativity, authorship, value, law, and the state at the intersection of ownership and art? How do we contextualise the growing number of artists, artworks, projects, essays, and exhibitions which seek to engage distributive and open models in various ways? What might be the end logic of more radical projects that refuse or reconfigure property relations in terms of the value and funding of art by exploring the concept of the public domain?

Do galleries and museums have a role to play as productive sites for critique or activism with regards to open culture? How have artworks and artists intersected with, taken up, or avoided the ideas of existing discourses around property coming from law, economy, or movements like free software, creative commons, net.art and other spheres that have taken established positions.

The project culminates with Marysia Lewandowska and Laurel Ptak’s publication Undoing Property, published by Sternberg Press, in 2013.

The event launches the project COHAB, a two-year partnership programme between The Showroom, Casco, Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht and Tensta Konsthall, Stockholm.



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