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2022 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

13. “Matters of Care” in Spaces of Commoning: Designing In, Against and Beyond Capitalism

Author: Katharina Moebus

Published in: Design Commons

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

This chapter explores the potentials and possibilities which a commons perspective offers to design practices by drawing on various threads of feminist and Marxist scholarship on commoning, care, and new materialism. As a basis for discussion, the first part of this chapter outlines an expanded definition of design as a transformative and research-based practice, which has emerged over the past years in response to ongoing ecological, economic, and societal upheavals. The second part examines the relationship between designing and commoning as an activity of care and creation of common space, followed by an engagement with, amongst others, María Puig de la Bellacasa’s notion of “matters of care” (Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2017) as a speculative ethics to nourish new narratives which help reconfigure our relationships to the planet and all of its companions. These theoretical frameworks are then reflected through a “situated” practice research, the neighborhood project Common(s)Lab in Berlin-Neukölln, and three of its ongoing formats – a series of do-it-together (DIT) furniture building workshops, a seasonal gift market, and regular reading groups – in order to investigate the emancipatory potential of such spaces of commons as an “infrastructure for agency” (Petrescu. Being in Relation and Re-inventing the Commons. In Feminist Futures of Spatial Practice: Materialisms, Activisms, Dialogues, Pedagogies, Projections, ed. Meike Schalk, Thérèse Kristiansson and Ramia Mazé, 101–9. Baunach: AADR Art Architecture Design Research, 2017; Moebus and Harrison. Caring For the Common and Caring In Common: Towards an Expanded Architecture/Design Practice. 8th Biannual Nordic Design Research Society (Nordes) Conference, 2–4 June 2019, Aalto University, Helsinki, 2019). The chapter concludes with a critical reflection on design’s own political economy to emancipate itself from coercions set by the market – and liberate its potentials for transformative commoning practices – using J.K. Gibson-Graham’s diverse economies framework.
Footnotes
1
The Club of Rome commissioned a report on the limits of our world system and the constraints it puts on human numbers and activity from researchers at MIT. The report, called The Limits to Growth, published in 1972, became the first significant study to model the consequences of economic growth (Wikipedia contributors 2020).
 
3
One of them was part of the Neukölln Nachhaltigkeitsfest in September 2018 on Alfred-Scholz-Platz, organized by and in collaboration with the non-profit organization genug e.V.; the other was part of the Nette Ecke programme, financed by the Quartiersmanagement Flughafenstraße and commissioned by the art collective Artistania e.V. and took place in April 2019.
 
4
Similarly, Enzo Mari used nails as the connection method for his open-source furniture to make it as accessible as possible, requiring only a hammer and nails rather than high-end equipment. We experimented once with glue connections, which proved difficult because this method would require a large amount of additional equipment such as clamps, so we stuck to the screw connections.
 
5
More info on his work can be found here: https://​www.​janvanesch.​com/​About
 
6
Student debt in the US currently makes up over $1.6 trillion, collectively held by 44 million Americans (Hess 2020).
 
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Metadata
Title
“Matters of Care” in Spaces of Commoning: Designing In, Against and Beyond Capitalism
Author
Katharina Moebus
Copyright Year
2022
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95057-6_13