Sunday, January 17, 2010


Commoning: How Things Hold Together And How The Way In Which We're Currently Going About Things As A Society Is Not How Things Hold Together

—a practical discussion about common interest, the economy, and the social production of artwork, with Rob Halpern, Thom Donovan and Robert Kocik

January 24th 2010 - 2pm to 5pm

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council
125 Maiden Lane, 9th Floor
New York, NY 10038
(bring a photo ID)


RSVP required - space very limited: call 718 450 1356 or

Rob Halpern will talk on “The Promise of Use-Value: Art at the Limits of Social Practice," or "Recovering Use from Exchange: New Enclosures / New Commons,” with special reference to the work of artist Amy Balkin (This is the Public Domain and Public Smog).

Rob Halpern is the author of several books of poetry, including Rumored Place (Krupskaya 2004) and Disaster Suites (Palm Press 2009). With Taylor Brady he also co-authored the book length poem Snow Sensitive Skin (Atticus / Finch 2007). Currently, he’s co-editing the poems of the late Frances Jaffer together with Kathleen Fraser, and translating the early essays of Georges Perec, the second of which, “Commitment or the Crisis of Language,” recently appeared in the Review of Contemporary Fiction together with an essay of his own on Perec. An active participant in the Nonsite Collective, Rob lives and works in San Francisco.

Thom Donovan will bring up art and poetry in relation to resistance to expropriation and the building and promotion of commoning. He will offer practical proposals about how commons can be upkept, promoted, and created. Some matters to be discussed: the use of art contexts for sociopolitical strategy, teaching towards a commons, commons and personal conduct, and commons and affect. Some artists and poets to be discussed: Fred Moten, Cory Arcangel, Anna Halprin, Nonsite Collective, "Maintenance Art”.

Robert Kocik will describe the economy as an enclosed commons. (An enclosure is a system in which we are not living as equitably, as committed to common good, as would allow our greater happiness). He will present a brief history of the commons, and introduce an impartial (neither capitalist nor socialist) economic commons based on reciprocal ‘due’ and re-portioning of our collective wealth.

Robert Kocik is a poet, essayist, architect and social planner living in Booklyn. Works currently underway include: The Prosodic Body (a new field of research based on prosody), The Phoneme Choir, The Prosody Building (if realized, this would be the only building in the United States designed and built exclusively for poets and poetry), and the planning of a public exhibition covering the history of the Commons.

This will be an open discussion of indeterminate length with the speakers speaking alternately and together with plenty of space for participation by all. Food and drink will be on hand. This event opens the 6—month Lower Manhattan Cultural Council residency granted to Daria Fain and Robert Kock for the purpose of further developing their work on The Commons and the Prosody Building. The Prosodic Body is an area of research begun by choreographer, Daria Fain and architect/poet, Robert Kocik. This research explores language as a vibratory medium that interrelates art, health, and social change.

This event is possible through SWING SPACE, a space grant program of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council

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