THE BROOKLYN COMMUNE begins on March 24, 2013

“What if we look at economics as a collective creative design problem?”
Amy Whitaker (in her introduction as moderator of a panel discussion on “Art, Money, & Politics” curated and produced by Andrew Horwitz. Recorded by ArtOnAir.org on April 11, 2012 at the Broad Street Ballroom of Léman Manhattan Preparatory School in the Wall Street area as part of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Access Restricted series. Listen to it here. The participants in this panel discussion were: Jan Cohen-Cruz, Randy Martin, Morgan Jenness , Rachel Chavkin and moderator Amy Whitaker.

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The past few years have been intense here at Culturebot. We’ve put a lot of ideas out into the world and started a lot of conversations. We’ve also been working hard to bring the conversations from the internet into the real world. We’ve been talking about labor, economics and class in the arts regularly since at least October 2004. Then back in July 2012 there was a bit of a sh*t-storm related to this status post on FB which I serendipitously wrote at the same time Jeremy published his essay “Thoughts On Why We Must Talk About Art and Class“. Long story short, Lucien Zayan from The Invisible Dog reached out to us and what started out as an idea for a panel discussion turned into a year-long project led by me and Risa Shoup, associate director of Invisible Dog, with a growing group of helpers and advisors. It is called The Brooklyn Commune and kicks off on March 24th. Here is the event page on FB.

The Brooklyn Commune is a public, artist-driven, collaborative design project investigating the economics of cultural production in the United States. We will examine common assumptions about capital, class, labor and value and how these affect aesthetics as part of a process of reimagining the way performance is framed, created, valued and distributed in the 21st century. To date, investigations of this kind have been funder or institution driven. Now it is time for the people outside the institutions to develop a platform and a vision for the future. It begins March 24, 2013 from 2PM-6PM at The Invisible Dog in Brooklyn, event details forthcoming.

Even before the financial meltdown of 2008, the public has been clamoring for transparency and accountability in our financial system. Despite the havoc that has been wreaked on our country and its citizens, little change has been made. The arts ecology, especially the performing arts, is a related subset of the economy as a whole. The gift economy undergirding the non-profit system is deeply intertwined with the market-driven economy; it is equally complex, opaque and resistant to change. In order for us to see change, we have to work together.

Organized by the website Culturebot.org in collaboration with The Invisible Dog Art Center, The Brooklyn Commune will consist of four public research sessions leading to a weekend-long congress at The Invisible Dog in October 2013. The public research sessions will serve as an iterative process of knowledge sharing, skill sharing and dialogue. Through expert presentations on key ideas and skill shares by colleagues we will build the shared vocabulary necessary for discussing these challenging issues.

The results of the four public research sessions will inform the content and structure of The October Congress. The October Congress will be used to generate a written document synthesizing our findings and ideas into a collaboratively created new vision for the performing arts economy. We propose to interrogate and reframe how the performing arts are valued and, just as importantly, how we value the people who create, produce, present, and write about them. This document will be published in January 2014.

The Brooklyn Commune will convene on the following schedule:

Sunday March 24, 2PM-6PM – First Public Research Session
Sunday May 12, 2PM-6PM- Second Public Research Session
Sunday July 14, 2PM-6PM – Third Public Research Session
Sunday September 22, 2PM-6PM – Fourth Public Research Session
October 2013 Congress (Exact dates TBC)

All events will be held at the Invisible Dog Arts Center, 51 Bergen St. in Brooklyn.

Here are four ways you can be a part of THE BROOKLYN COMMUNE

PARTICIPATE: Attend any/all of the Public Research Sessions and the October Congress. Come prepared to listen, speak, engage and contribute, to share ideas and experiences that will help us, collectively, to map a new way forward. Here is the event page on FB.

PUBLICIZE: Refer organizers to other interested parties; invite people to attend Public Research Sessions or October Congress; write about your experience as a Brooklyn Commune participant. Tweet, blog, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, etc.

ORGANIZE: Have some experience with administration? We’re a small group of individuals organizing this on our own time with no funding or support. If you’re able to commit to attending planning meetings and help with outreach, administration, and coordination of any/all events, send us an email explaining why you want to be a part of The Brooklyn Commune Steering Committee and what you’re able to help out with.

DONATE: This is a volunteer effort but that doesn’t mean there aren’t costs associated with it. We need support for documentation and dissemination of the events and information (technical equipment and/or services), web design and development, costs for supplies for the convenings and the October Congress. Donations of services or money are most welcome. For donating services, email editorsATculturebotDOTorg and tell us what you are able to do, for financial support you can make a tax deductible donation via Fractured Atlas here.

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