Facebook, Airbnb and other companies, whose business models are based on the commercialization of social relationships, have transformed words like “community,” “sharing” or “us” into empty concepts that no longer represent solidarity or a progressive social agenda, but rather form the basis for an emerging platform capitalism. This economic development is accompanied by a global political shift fueled by traditional community notions of identity and affiliation, exclusion and discrimination.
Against this background, the exhibition and publication project An Atlas of Commoning aims to recapture and redefine the open and emancipatory space of “us” as a concept. The project focuses on urban commons—here commons are to be understood as a set of practices dealing with the production and management of (material and immaterial) collective resources and spaces in general, rather than with the resources themselves, hence “commoning”, the verb, takes center stage.
The starting point of the exhibition is an “atlas”, a visual archive with a diverse selection of contemporary and historical case studies. The Atlas, which is being developed by ARCH+ in collaboration with the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University, will consist of 25 projects related to commoning. This initial selection will be complemented with new ones, to be added in collaboration with local partners as the exhibition tours from city to city. As a result, the Atlas of Commoning continues to grow as an open knowledge archive, producing an invaluable documentation of local grassroots projects from all over the world.
The graphic design was provided by Heimann + Schwantes, who chose to work withChapeau, a rounded sans by Milieu Grotesque. The M was slightly modified: with a stronger slope for the outer stems, the letter can be repeated to form endless zigzag patterns.