On the crossroads of the commons and art
It is with great joy that I share here my first collaboration with The Commons Network and Taak in the Netherlands. Common-In gathers artists, performers, and thinkers of all origins around public projects and conversations that question our relationships to each other and the planet within a – sometimes, somewhere – forgotten framework: The Commons.
It’s about our well-being, about me and the other, about the value of the soil our feet walk on, the value of work, time and space. It’s about how we relate to families and beyond families, how we can care for each other, our resources, our cultural heritage, our environment, in dynamics that call for a broader consciousness of us as a complex, sometimes contradictory but nevertheless whole idea of us.
In order to illustrate some of the ideas the artists proposed, I thought primarily about the human gestures each seemed to carry. The illustrations would have to accompany the reading of the projects before the events took place, so I thought it would be nice to keep them light, airy and minimalist. Drawing attention to the hands, the links between things. Each project is an invitation to a movement, a question, a shift. To transform, ourselves and the social, the other and the land.
Speaking visually about the Commons led me to the idea of topography, because commoning is a territory, physical and mental, a space to share. And if we could figure thoughts as mountains, how do we map ideas, how do we show an elevated thought ? How do we map multi layered soil of complex contradictions and frictions within Society ?
Then Jens Kimmel drew a set of floating stones on a table, circulating, and at the same time I drew the almost same shapes on a series of lines.
So we had to agree this was the way to go.
On each “stone” a name and a project, in the center the core idea and underneath it all, the principles that move us, the transformative flows.
Please look into the projects on the website, to discover what each artist have to say. Here is a presentation of my participation as a designer and illustrator accompanying the projects.
Thank you, Theo Tegelaers, Sophie Bloemen, Thomas De Groot, Jens Kimmel and Michel Uijen, the great team behind this project.