Category: Istanbul

Who owns the earth?

(Photo: Michael Kamber / The New York Times)

(Israel/Lebanon Border Photo: Michael Kamber / The New York Times)

The struggle to defend the commons takes many forms. In microcosm, it is taking place right now in Turkey’s Taksim Square, where brave men and women are protecting one of the last remnants of the commons of Istanbul from the wrecking ball of commercialization and gentrification and autocratic rule that is destroying this ancient treasure.

The defenders of Taksim Square are at the forefront of a worldwide struggle to preserve the global commons from the ravages of that same wrecking ball – a struggle in which we must all take part, with dedication and resolve, if there is to be any hope for decent human survival in a world that has no borders. It is our common possession, to defend or to destroy.

(This article is adapted from a commencement speech by Noam Chomsky on June 14, 2013, at the American University of Beirut. )


Exhibition in an abandonned Hamman


The videos produced during the “Mapping the commons of Istanbul” workshop were shown from 10/11/2012 – 18/11/2012 at Çukurcuma Hamamı in Beyoglu, Istanbul. The eight videos were displayed in 9 inches screens on the top of the printed open street map of Istanbul metropolitan area.

Intense last day of the workshop!

Last day of Mapping the Commons of Istanbul workshop, we are twenty people finishing eight videos on Taksim Square and the struggle against the commercial center, the water as a commons a the privatization of reservoirs, the forests under threat by real estate developers, the cultural expression in the streets exemplified by an open air Kurdish wedding in Tarlabasi and many more… Come check us out at starting on Saturday.

Paratactic Commons Conference

The decade that followed 9/11 witnessed a radical regression of communal energies, forcing us to live strictly in individual spheres; the fear and control society in the guise of a war on terror, the tendency of nation-states to impose their ideological agendas onto everyone and everything under their control and the conflicts and collaborations of a global consumerist economy that urges the rapid privatization of public goods have all taken a toll on the common values of human societies around the Globe. The commons that we need to regain entail a broad spectrum. They range from ecological unbalances, which result from the privatization of natural resources, to the ‘de facto’ privatization of judicial systems, which has led to the degradation of a justice that is common to all.

Meanwhile, the ever-popularizing digital media, beginning with the Internet itself as a common resource, has been a major source of inspiration in revitalizing the idea of the commons. More specifically, the capacities offered by new media have helped to re-understand that information is a “common” as well as the right to access information.

amber’12 selects as its theme “Paratactic Commons”: Can digital commons be an alternative platform to launch a political thought whose main aim is sharing, transparency, and freedom to access information? What can we learn from free software’s, copyleft movements, peer-2-peer systems, the logic of open source, and creative commons? Could the digital-commons help for the creation of another form of economy and ecology? Could humans share their common resources rather than exploit them? What kind of paratactic artistic strategies could digital commons consist of?
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