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“Vagaries of the Commons” at Artspace, New Haven, CT

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EXCESS NYC at Artspace in New Haven, CT

EXCESS NYC at Artspace in New Haven, CT

“Vagaries of the Commons,” curated by Sarah Fritchey, will be on view July 25 through September 13. Brooke and I are participating in a group show revolving around the concept of the “commons” in today’s increasingly privatized public spaces. The curated artists are cultural producers that interact with the gray zones of private vs public to investigate various social issues.

Our food collection and compost bike for the ongoing project EXCESS NYC is on exhibit and on Saturday, September 13th, we will be collecting food and having a picnic as part of that day’s closing events.

Here’s the full description or go to the Artspace site that also includes links to the artists.

Artists and contributors include: Brad Armstrong, Ricardo Miranda and Brooke Singer; Lani Asuncion and Gary Aronsen; Mengyu Chen; The Elm City Dance Collective; Jason Friedes; Focus Lessness (Michael Romano and Milton Laüfer), Occupy New Haven; Phil Lique; Project Storefronts; Scott Shuldt; and Under 91 Project.

The concept of “the commons” predates the feudal era in early Germanic and Roman settlements, where communal land ownership prevailed. Originally, the concept referred to the public’s interest and right to access essential natural resources that are held in common and not owned privately, including land, water, animals and fish. Gradually, as royalty and then a central government gained power, the notion of communal land ownership disappeared and the concept of “the commons” evolved.

In 2014, this concept is increasingly complex. Legislation pertaining to the regulation and privatization of common space responds to changes in government, the economy, the sciences and our natural surroundings. Also, the concept of the commons extends far into the charted and uncharted vacuums of the digital realm.

This exhibition presents a group of artists, based in and around greater New Haven, who make works that operate within the penumbras and cracks of the legal systems that oversee its “commons”. These grey zones are the flexible and the often vague environments from which the show’s title takes its inspiration

The show identifies four specific sectors and human rights questions addressed by artists practicing in and around New Haven. These include: the material commons (who has the right to order the build and name structures, homes, cities, maps?), the knowledge commons (who has access higher education, public libraries, the internet?), the aesthetic commons (who has the right to define and control image production?) and the affective commons (how are emotions policed and kept public/private?). The essential question that each work asks is: who has the right to have a voice?

The exhibition is organized to mindfully accompany Laureline Kruse’s Mobile Museum Student Apprenticeship Program project, which will share an exhibition space with the show.