17 January~Casco presents the the first of its We Are the Time Machines (WTM) forums: Commoning Economy~ with Katherine Gibson, Martijn Jeroen van der Linden, Philippe Van Parijs, and (Un)usual Business

07.01.16 | tag: Utrecht


As feminists/commonists Maria Mies and Silvia Federici remind us, there’s no commons without economy, and no commons without community, “hence, reinventing the commons is linked to the reinvention of the communal and a commons-based economy.” With the first of our We Are the Time Machines (WTM) forums, we would like to invite those who want to build confidence in making a new paradigm for economy and society, of and based on the commons as inseparable from mutually invested art and aesthetic practices!

“The economy is something we do, and not just something that does things to us.”
—JK Gibson-Graham

There is a strong urgency to practice alternative models for economic organization beyond mere critique. These models are not based on expropriation, exploitation, and the fantasy of boundless accumulation, but are aimed at a more equal or egalitarian distribution of resources and well-being in common. And in a world seemingly dominated by exploitative economic structures, those structures that instead work toward a commoning of resources still (or already) exist in the form of what economic geographer Katherine Gibson has called “community economies.” Under the pen name JK Gibson-Graham (a collaboration between Gibson and the late Julie Graham), she has published widely on community economies, most notably in the books The End of Capitalism (As We Know It) (1996) and A Postcapitalist Politics (2006). Can community economies move from the margins where they find themselves today, and insert themselves as the general principle to replace capitalist economy? Gibson will bring us into contact with concrete community economy case studies and speak to their expanding potential.

Utrecht-based research collective (Un)usual Business, which was founded as a collaboration between Casco and Kritische Studenten Utrecht (KSU) in 2013, takes Gibson-Graham’s ideas as a starting point and a reference for the research they conduct on the political potential of existing community economies in Utrecht. Not only will they present the work they have been doing, including their journal Utrecht Meent Het and How To Get Together series, but they will also assess their own organizational structure and modus operandi as a possible model that goes against the grain of hegemonic economic logic.

Subsequently, philosopher and political economist Philippe Van Parijs will discuss and propagate the idea of a universal basic income, of which he has been a passionate proponent for decades, since publishing his book Real Freedom for All: What (if Anything) Can Justify Capitalism? (1995). While the universal nature of this concept is seemingly at odds with the localized nature of community economies, Van Parijs will make a strong case for its concrete feasibility. His contribution has a profound resonance with Utrecht at the moment as its city council has started experimenting with the implementation of basic income.

Finally, the floor will be given to you, the participants, in this study event, in an open group discussion moderated by economic researcher and Casco board member Martijn Jeroen van der Linden.

Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory

Lange Nieuwstraat 7,
3512 PA Utrecht,
The Netherlands