The COMMERCIAL PRACTICES research program investigates how artists and designers can materialise and contribute to alternative modes of organisation and production based on strong ecological and cooperative/collaborative values. It seeks to reflect on, experiment and engage with such alternatives while bringing the urgency of the climate crisis and climate justice to art and design education, and remaining critical of technosolutionism, consumer activism, and the language of circularity and sustainability.
What new practical skills and constraints need to be taught and learned to materialise more sustainable art and design practices? How do they connect to material, resources, energy budget, relationship between human and non-human beings and things, infrastructures, labour, working conditions abroad, intellectual property and alternative economic models? What are the theoretical frameworks that can be used to contextualise and define what could be these new practical skills?
What qualities and specificities beside communication, illustration, and in general skills to raise awareness, do artist and designers have that could initiate or contribute to existing collective and collaborative multi-, trans-, and cross-disciplinary environmental projects, products and services? How will this affect the field of art and culture production, the cultural sector, and the creative industries in terms of policy and (re-)framing the role of art and design academies?
How can commercial artistic and design practices concerned with environmentalism be taught and practised critically at a time where greenwashing, co-option, and appropriation of ecological discourses are omnipresent? What forms of literacy and skills are needed to navigate such minefield and differentiate actual paradigm shifts from marketing, at a time where everything presents itself as green, open, inclusive and sustainable?
What are the social, cultural, and economic dynamics that could help redefine and reinvent art and design work under heavy environmental constraints? What sort of new design and making opportunities could raise from working with fewer material resources, computational limits, recycling, re-purposing? How can we design for longetivity, disassembly, and descent? For instance what is the role of aesthetics in investigating societal issue as well as sprouting, informing, and sustaining societal changes?
What does it mean to make a living from art and design practices in these times of transition? What are the perspectives offered and how do we integrate and effectively address the issues of precarity, inclusivity, accessibility, and ethics in the workplace, within the cultural sector, and the creative industries in general? What are the economic and legal entities the most adequate to implement other modes of organisation, management in relation to these issues?
Topics of Interest and Research
- art and design practices in relation to degrowth and collapsology
- system thinking and ecological economics applied to art and design practices
- alternative (micro)economic systems/models in art/design/publishing
- collaboration, cooperation and collective practices within microenterprise and coop
- (post-)free and open source software, hardware, and licensing
- resilient and less extractive computer technology and networked infrastructure
- creative design with extreme material, carbon and energy constraints
- collective care, work and labour ethics in the creative industries
- transition, regenerative, circularity and beyond, gambiarra and repair culture (engagement and critique)
- multi-, trans-, and cross-disciplinary projects beyond the cultural sector and the creative industries