[artinfo] Assembly for Commoning Art Institutions

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Fri Oct 4 16:19:16 CEST 2019

"Our House is on Fire"
Assembly for Commoning Art Institutions
October 25-26, 2019

Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons
Lange Nieuwstraat 7
3512 PA Utrecht
The Netherlands

What practical measures will art and art institutions take to care 
for our planetary commons with the power of imagination?

A global climate strike has kicked off. Yet the urgent assertion that 
"our house is on fire" is complicated. It comes with a sense of not 
knowing how to affect structural change. Behind the language of 
"crisis," "urgency," and emergency" are corporations who see an 
opportunity for new markets, pushing for technological innovation as 
an all encompassing solution. Let's be clear about it: the climate 
crisis is part of the same logic that feminists and anti-colonial 
scholars have long since understood as "CPC"-colonialism, patriarchy, 
capitalism-a system thriving on the exploitation of labor, precarity 
of life, and inequality. Indigenous communities and farmers around 
the world, whose lands have been stolen and destroyed, have struggled 
with this crisis for centuries. Faced with this situation, the 
burning question is how can we act as individuals or collectively, as 
artists and art institutions? This question is especially relevant to 
those of us who come from the industrialized nations that contribute 
most to the crisis, while the disaster is felt most acutely by the 
poorest and most vulnerable communities.

The second Assembly for commoning art institutions seeks to establish 
concrete ways for art and art institutions to act and respond to 
climate change, and aligns itself with the climate justice movement. 
We propose to work together to deal with this struggle systematically 
by incorporating it into the daily operations of artists and art 
institutions. We will formulate a collective proposal for local and 
national governmental policy with a focus on cultural institutions. 
Let us use our imaginations to draft and issue a climate justice code 
or guidelines for arts organizations. We will also consider other 
codes already implemented in the Netherlands such as the Fair 
Practice Code, the Cultural Diversity Code, and the Cultural 
Governance Code, which are all closely interconnected.

Over two days we will hear from practitioners from diverse 
backgrounds (activists, artists, lobbyists, and more) whose words 
will inform the climate justice code, a code that all Assembly 
participants will then shape in live editing sessions, break-out 
groups, and as a plenary. Like last year's edition, the Assembly will 
close with a collective pot experiment made up of financial and 
non-financial contributions. For the latter form of contribution, 
Assembly contributors and participants are asked to bring artworks, 
objects, literature, poems, or anything else to inform the code.

The popular myth of "the tragedy of the commons" is based on a 
misunderstanding and can rather be understood in terms of "the 
tragedy of unmanaged commons" or even "the tragedy of free markets." 
This tragedy as we see it applies to the mismanagement or 
non-management of what we call the planetary commons. The commons, 
defined simply as shared resources managed by a self-organizing 
community, are conditioned by the ethics of caring and sharing 
sustainability. By assembling art and art institutions, we as the 
contributors and participants are exercising a much needed practice 
for the planetary commons.

The second annual Assembly for commoning art institutions at Casco 
Art Institute is an invitation to all of you who share the question 
to pool resources-art, love, knowledge, money, time-and come together 
to co-create what we could do from our office, galleries, and (post-) 

Seats are limited so we encourage you to RSVP by Friday, October 11 
<mailto:assembly at casco.art?subject=RSVP%20Our%20House%20is%20on%20Fire>assembly at casco.art. 
Please use the subject line RSVP Our House is on Fire.

Our House is on Fire builds on the 2018 inaugural Assembly edition, 
in the Room, which focused on methods of unlearning, especially for 
the redistribution of power. Read more about it, about the collective 
pot, and our thus far collected common resources, 

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