* summary & further reading

Adam Curtis, Century of the Self


A new way of storytelling creates a new way of being, a new ontology, a new way of belonging, of being together that maybe has the power to overcome the stories of “havingness” and greed. Maybe it’s a verb, rather than a thing.  Is multispecies awareness possible in connection to our biotope we all inhabit together. And what’s the storyteller and the artist’s role in all this?

How can we think beyond the “eroded present” of a failed neo-liberalism that a corporate culture has given us? How can we imagine that something different is around the corner when we are only defined as ‘homo economicus’, merely drilled into the role of consumer? The history of the commons is very much the history of enclosure, not only of our shared resources and valuables, but also the enclosure of our storytelling and our very political imagination of how we share this world.

What would those stories of belonging be? In a worldview that Garrett Hardin calls ‘the tragedy of the commons,’ individuals compete with one another to appropriate shared resources, thus beggaring one another to exhaust a scarce biotope. Economist Elinor Oström completely dismantled this market stereotype. She documented that for ‘thousands of years people have self-organised to manage shared resources, and users often devise long-term, sustainable practices and dialogue tools for governing these resources’. We could rather call it the ‘comedy of the commons and the tragedy of the market.’

Most of our communal spaces have turned into advertising billboards. How come that our public places have so intimately been enclosed? Our identity and collective memory, including the politics of media commons, are framed and defined by corporate advertising slogans. The urban imagination often merely mirrors the slogans of a corporatocracy. The antidote here is the emergence of alternatives, such as transition towns, community gardens, urban commons, electronic “free culture,” from open-source software and Creative Commons licenses to remixes, Web 3.0 and the reclaiming of urban spaces.



Peter Lamborn Wilson / Hakim Bay, T.A.Z.: The Temporary Autonomous Zone, Ontological Anarchy, Poetic Terrorism (1991)

Richard Sennett, Together: The Rituals, Pleasures & Politics of Cooperation (2012)

Richard Sennett The Fall of Public Man (1977)

David Bollier, Viral Spiral: How the Commoners Built a Digital Republic of Their Own (2009)

David Boillier’s blog:
— part 3: Property, Commons and Gift Economy

part 4: The History of the Commons and Enclosure

part 5: The Dynamics of Modern Enclosure / Governing the Commons

part 7: The Deeper Magic of the Commons; A Beautiful Resistance by Gods & Radical Press

Juan Friere, From the Analog Commons to the New Hybrid Public Spaces (2008)

David Harvey: Rebel Cities (2012)

Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation (1957)

Mark Fisher, Capitalist Realism: Are there no Alternatives? (2009)

 Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities (2004)

Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri, Commonwealth (2009) + Multitude (2004)

Peter Linebaugh, The Magna Carta Manifesto: Liberties and Commons for all  (2009)

Elinor Ostrom, Governing the Commons (1990) versus Garrett Hardin, The Tragedy of the CommonsScience, May 1, 1968; pp.682-68.

Tony Judt, Ill Fares The Land (2011)

Ivan Illich, Silence is a Commons 

Stefano Harney and Fred Moten: The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning &
Black Study
(2013) [ see chapter 2: The University and the Undercommons ]

Snider, J.D., “The Cartoon Guide to Federal Spectrum Policy,” (2004),

 James CunoWho Owns Antiquity? Museums and the Battle Over Our Ancient Heritage (2008)

 Joseph SaxPlaying Darts with a Rembrandt: Public and Private Rights in Cultural Treasures (2006)

The TV Dinner, (2011)


Lewis Hyde, The Gift: Imagination and the Erotic Life of Property (1983)

Carol Rose, Property and Persuasion: Essays on the History, Theory and Rhetoric of Ownership. (1994)

C.B. MacPherson ed., Property: Mainstream and Critical Positions (1999)

Jeremey Rifkin, The Zero Marginal Cost Society: The Internet of Things, the Collaborative Commons, and the Eclipse of Capitalism (2014)