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Judith Siegmund: Which “Aesthetics of the Commons”?
Which “Aesthetics of the Commons”?
(p. 81 – 97)

Judith Siegmund

Which “Aesthetics of the Commons”?

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  • art
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  • digital culture
  • aesthetics
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Judith Siegmund

is Professor of Contemporary Aesthetics at the State University of Music and Performing Arts, Stuttgart. There she is, together with others, creating the “Campus Gegenwart.” She comes from the fields of philosophy and the visual arts and was Assistant Professor for Theory of Design/ Aesthetic Theory and Gender Theory at the Berlin University of the Arts from 2011 to 2018, where she instigated the research project “Autonomy and Functionalization.” Among her books are Die Evidenz der Kunst (2007), Zweck und Zweckfreiheit. Zum Funktionswandel der Künste im 21. Jahrhundert (2019). She is co-editor of the series Ästhetiken X.O—Zeitgenössiche Konturen ästhetischen Denkens.
Other texts by Judith Siegmund for DIAPHANES
  • Formieren/Arrangieren

    In: Jens Badura (ed.), Selma Dubach (ed.), Anke Haarmann (ed.), Dieter Mersch (ed.), Anton Rey (ed.), Christoph Schenker (ed.), Germán Toro Pérez (ed.), Künstlerische Forschung. Ein Handbuch

Shusha Niederberger (ed.), Cornelia Sollfrank (ed.), ...: Aesthetics of the Commons

What do a feminist server, an art space located in a public park in North London, a ‘pirate’ library of high cultural value yet dubious legal status, and an art school that emphasizes collectivity have in common? They all demonstrate that art can play an important role in imagining and producing a real quite different from what is currently hegemonic; that art has the possibility to not only envision or proclaim ideas in theory, but also to realize them materially.

Aesthetics of the Commons examines a series of artistic and cultural projects—drawn from what can loosely be called the (post)digital—that take up this challenge in different ways. What unites them, however, is that they all have a ‘double character.’ They are art in the sense that they place themselves in relation to (Western) cultural and art systems, developing discursive and aesthetic positions, but, at the same time, they are ‘operational’ in that they create recursive environments and freely available resources whose uses exceed these systems. The first aspect raises questions about the kind of aesthetics that are being embodied, the second creates a relation to the larger concept of the ‘commons.’ In Aesthetics of the Commons, the commons are understood not as a fixed set of principles that need to be adhered to in order to fit a definition, but instead as a ‘thinking tool’—in other words, the book’s interest lies in what can be made visible by applying the framework of the commons as a heuristic device.