Common Source was a library installation and interactive performance about the commons—the commons of public space, and the information commons. Common Source was presented by PLACE TALKS at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, as part of the Live Practice program series.
Welcome to Common Source!
Here is a library of books to browse and learn about place. Over here is a selection of printed material that you can assemble as a packet and take with you. And over there is a soapbox from which we invite you to read aloud language that speaks to you, either from the library or elsewhere.
The printed and library materials are all about San Francisco and California, and about the sense of place that is one of the resources of this city. They are also about sharing—the sharing of space, of resources, and of information. These are things held in common. They are things that no one owns, exactly, and which are best managed together, by groups of people who come to an agreement on how that should be done.
But this holding-in-common, this is contested ground. The privatization of our commonly-held resources drives profit forward, and these acts of enclosure accompany and rely upon a wide variety of injustices and a dizzying web of oppressions. This process of enclosure and its resulting inequities are framed as necessary to progress and development.
This installation seeks to explore a cultural alternative to this particular narrative of progress.
One alternative is creative space for public sharing, like this one. The management of the commons must be practiced. What does it look like to engage the modest rituals of sharing over the grand ones of profit, construction, production?
It might look like a library, or a public square. It might look like historical narrative as a creative, additive, and fragmented concept—a messy set of papers laid out on a table to be arranged, rearranged, and questioned. It might look like the ritual of reading to each other, in a process that could build alternative histories and alternative futures of the place known (most recently) as San Francisco. Or it might look like something else entirely.
Will you read from the PLACE TALKS soapbox, and share your thoughts?
Thanks for coming to practice with us.
Nicole Lavelle and Charlie Macquarie
Collaborator: Charlie Macquarie Photos by Miles Mattison.
Click here to download a PDF of our reader.