How can a collectively owned place become a common?

Spaces of gathering


Stefan Fuchs, Robin Dingemans, Herman Hjorth Berge, Nera Jelaska, Ahmed Al-Nawas, Andreea Midvighi, Sarah Naira Hachem Herfurth

Reimagining collective ownership as a shared space prompts us to challenge conventional notions of possession. We began discussing how such a place could be conceptualized to become a hub for the exchange of experiences and knowledge among people from different backgrounds and disciplines to challenge the dominant narratives and production of Western modernity (/coloniality).
Engagement with the site’s historical legacy and contemplation of our role within the local community started an ongoing inquiry. How could we weave existing elements into a cohesive work/patchwork that envisions the site’s future? How can a collectively owned place attempting to surpass the idea of “property” go beyond a space of gathering? How can we activate the site through collective encounters, and how do we facilitate such encounters in the first place? What structures are requisite for fostering a self-sustaining space of transformative action, transcending the trappings of conventional property ownership?

In navigating this conceptual terrain, we loopholed between thought and action. What can we actually build on – how do we connect the elements that are already there and envision the site will look like in the future? Engaging with existing structures through an organic, unplanned process, we intuitively repositioned stone blocks from a ruined building around its foundation, creating an improvised outdoor kitchen. In this communal endeavor, dialogue and collective effort seamlessly melded, underscoring the potential for shared creation without predefined blueprints. We used the local resource as an infrastructure of transformation.

This mode of process-oriented contemplation, bridging historical narratives with a forward-looking ethos through minimal intervention, serves as a form of communal communion/action. It embodies a sustainable connection to the land—once a site of resource extraction and human exploitation—forging a path towards coexistence and transformative potential.