We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning

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We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning ,

Project 15 Nov 2015-13 Mar 2016

Exhibition and Study Program concluding Composing the Commons, research trajectory for Casco’s 2013–2015 program. Also in celebration of Casco’s 25th anniversary! 

Together with Ask Annabel, David Bennewith with Bram van den Berg, Cooperativa Cráter Invertido, Ruth Buchanan, Doorbraak, Rosie Eveleigh, Katherine Gibson, Roel Griffioen, Abel Heijkamp, Adelita Husni-Bey, Indonesian Migrant Workers Union Netherlands, Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik (Jesko Fezer and Andreas Müller with Peter Behrbohm), Annette Krauss, Mattin, OPEN! Platform for Art, Culture & the Public Domain, Revolutionary Feminism Reading Group, Rigo 23 with Zapatista artists, Tadasu Takamine, Terra Critica, Graeme Thomson and Silvia Maglioni, (Un)usual Business, and Aimée Zito Lema.

How can artworks and other activities taking place through art institutions be shared as knowledge—embodied and practical—for the commons? How should art and art institutions act if they intend to practice the commons, rather than only reflect on it? More specifically, how can an exhibition, the most prominent form of public sharing by art organizations, work toward building—and sustaining—the commons? 

We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning responds to these questions by what we call “tooling”: an active form of composing tools for, about, and of the commons. It experiments with ways to develop and present commoning tools by reworking, recreating, and reenacting artworks alongside research projects and other encounters. This experimentation includes making time—especially “reproductive” time for things like study and conversation—which we consider a fundamental condition for commoning. As such, the exhibition runs for an extended period of five months and includes rooms that accommodate open processes of such time-making hinging on the embrace of different life rhythms in common. It thereby marks the culmination of Composing the Commons, the research trajectory for Casco’s program since 2013, and articulates Casco’s position after its first 25 years.

We embark on the tooling process with a selection of artworks, research, and other past moments from Casco, focusing on the last three years. For this undertaking, a Study Group is formed, consisting of members of the Casco team and its communities, with other collectives and individuals invited to contribute. While the exhibition opens with a modest number of tools developed by these parties, it further cultivates the “we” with more Study Group members and various communities throughout the exhibition period—so more tools to come! 

We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning also implies the actual transformation of how Casco as an organization works. Inspired by Site of Unlearning (Art Organization) Casco’s ongoing engagement with Annette Krauss, the exhibition intends to shift the notion and function of the office, along with rethinking the exhibition space. Production and management tend to make up the brunt of any office’s activity, including Casco’s. Through the exhibition, Casco works toward the abolition of this type of office. Instead, we create a space that cuts across both office and exhibition where the activity of collective study, reproductive labor, and co-management are encouraged. While it addresses the public, audiences, and visitors, just as any exhibition or art institutional program does, the focus here is on the possibilities of these plural publics becoming “we.”

It’s also for this reason that Casco invited Cooperativa Cráter Invertido to work together on tooling and presenting tools from their past activities. It is important to note that the context, structure, and modus operandi of Cráter and Casco differ greatly: Casco, established in 1990, has an institutional structure and grew out of a nation-state defined by wealth and a (dwindling) welfare system; Cráter is an artist-initiated collective begun in 2013 with cooperative principles and resisting the state apparatus of Mexico. In mirroring each other, we are informed by our differences as much as our commonalities, joining forces to rethink and rearticulate—while tooling—our activities as common resources.

Common resources as non-proprietary and those co-managed by communities form a basis for the commons. We Are the Time Machines puts forward a horizon that takes up this principle of society—a way of doing, relating, and sharing—that works against the idea of privatization, competition, oppression, and alienation; it is a cultural, aesthetic, and ethical principle that points to a politics that interferes with the existing boundaries of public and private. That is, we recognize the commons and commoning as crucial in a time when the domination of one (a citizen, non-citizens, or other beings, goods, and nature) by another (public institutions, corporate systems, or ourselves) seems to persist, as seen for example in both the Netherlands and Mexico. We Are the Time Machines is a way to articulate the commons—instead of simply accepting given concepts—while growing the commons as a discourse and practice.


15 Nov 2015-13 Mar 2016

Special Dates

14 Nov 2015

15:00: Opening to public
15:00: A Score for Sharing Negativity


We Are The Time Machines BLOG: www.wearethetimemachines.org

Supported by

Casco’s program is made possible with financial support from the City Council of Utrecht, the Mondriaan Fund, DOEN Foundation, and the European Union's Culture Programme. We Are the Time Machines: Time and Tools for Commoning is also supported by the K.F.Hein Fund.