Commonplaces and the center for getting ugly
Over the course of 5 years, Commonplaces and the Center for Getting Ugly hosted a changing set of collaborative efforts and experiments. While parodying the institutional rhetoric and ideology of corporate collectivism (which is based on privatizing cooperative energies), the desire was to provide some kind of temporary or provisional space to a shifting set of practices and configurations, without territorializing a specific "identity" that can then become (self)speculative.
A provisional mission statement of the Center for Getting Ugly reads:
"The Center for Getting Ugly is an open infrastructure dedicated to practices of collective dissent. The Center operates on the premise that, given sufficient practice, we can develop collective revolutionary social organs. What would it mean to develop new organs, new functions? We think that it requires a kind of plasticity in terms of available repertoire of social capacities, and that there needs to be the possibility of modification through experience."
Concretely, we learned to collectivize specific resources: a physical space (a private studio converted into communal workspace); a set of materials and primary resources (an shared archive of books, pamphlets, interviews and ephemera from artist collectives around the world); a body of research (the cross-contamination of several different ongoing experimental pedagogies). It required building practical skills for detourning individual privilege towards communal projects, for working above and below the boundaries of the academy and the art market, and for cultivating -- in as many ways possible -- collective mischief outside of the limits of the "event".
Included here is some information on activities that became formalized as "projects", exploring the social form of the exhibition, archive, workshop and publication.