New Book: Animal Spirits: A Bestiary of the Commons

Italian Vogue 2007: Make Love Not War
Italian Vogue 2007: Make Love Not War

After a decade of digital fetishism, the spectres of the financial and energy crisis have also affected new media culture and brought into question the autonomy of networks. Yet activism and the art world still celebrate Creative Commons and the ‘creative cities’ as the new ideals for the Internet generation. Unmasking the animal spirits of the commons, Matteo Pasquinelli identifies the key social conflicts and business models at work behind the rhetoric of Free Culture. The corporate parasite infiltrating file-sharing networks, the hydra of gentrification in ‘creative cities’ such as Berlin and the bicephalous nature of the Internet with its pornographic underworld are three untold dimensions of contemporary ‘politics of the common’. Against the latent puritanism of authors like Baudrillard and Zizek, constantly quoted by both artists and activists, Animal Spirits draws a conceptual ‘book of beasts’. In a world system shaped by a turbulent stock market, Pasquinelli unleashes a politically incorrect grammar for the coming generation of the new commons. Read the Metamute Review

More Privatisation in Greece?

Despite (or because of) the crisis, investors see opportunities in Greece for more privatisation and for Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects.

The Business Monitor International (BMI) considers Greece’s infrastructure sector “one of the most attractive in Europe” and lists state-owned assets as an example: “Parts of state owned railway group, OSE are expected to be on the list, as well as non-controlling stakes in utilities such as: EYDAP, owner and operator of water and wastewater systems in Athens; EYATH, owner and operator of water and wastewater systems in Thessaloniki; and, DEPA, the owner and operator or natural gas infrastructure in Greece. In total, the government is hoping to raise close to EUR1.5bn from this venture.”

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The Concept of Living Well

In April 2010 a Peoples’ Conference on Climate Change was held in Cochabamba, Bolivia. A Final Declaration was adopted on April 22. There were interesting discussions with activists from indigenous movements, for instance on the concept of “living well“. “We suffer the severe effects of climate change, of the energy, food and financial crises. This is not the product of human beings in general, but of the existing inhuman capitalist system, with its unlimited industrial development. It is brought about by minority groups who control world power, concentrating wealth and power on themselves alone. Concentrating capital in only a few hands is no solution for humanity, neither for life itself, because as a consequence many lives are lost in floods, by intervention or by wars, so many lives through hunger, poverty and usually curable diseases.”

The Emergence of Open Design and Open Manufacturing

FabberA digital fabricator (commonly shortened to fabber) is a small, self-contained factory that can make objects described by digital data. Fabbers make three-dimensional, solid objects that can be used as models, as prototypes, or as delivered products. It is very tempting to limit Open Source to the field of immaterial production, but the same method of production that has come to dominate the world of software and content on the internet, is now also deeply influencing the way of thinking about designing and even making things. Read more