Summer School @ Transart Institute, Berlin

Summer Workshops on Art & Disruptive Business
Transart Institute, Master of Fine Arts program in new media (MFA Creative Practice)
July 31- August 4, Transart Institute, Tanzfabrik, Berlin / Presentation open to the public: August 2, 17.30-19.30. Teachers: Geoff Cox & Tatiana Bazzichelli


As the distinction between production and consumption appears to have collapsed, every interaction in the info-sphere seems to have become a business opportunity. The creative intersections between business and art become a crucial territory for political actions, social innovation, but also unexpected consequences and a deep level of irony and modification of prevailing business logic. There are many examples of artists making interventions into the art market and alternatives to commodity exchange — but we aim to discuss some of the recent strategies that have emerged from a deep understanding of the network economy.

Examples derive from software development and net cultures, such as peer production, free culture initiatives, gift economies, extreme sharing networks or open source business models. More specifically, we would cite the significance of radical sharing communities on the net to disrupt the business ecosystem, and offer alternatives, even if this comes in compromised form in the case of the social web. And yet, clearly value is produced from the social web too; it becomes more a question of what kind of business model is preferred and how returns, or rather benefits, are distributed.
We maintain there is nothing wrong with doing business as such.

To introduce concepts and examples that relate to an understanding of contemporary arts practice; to develop strategies to support a critical framework for research and future development of creative production; to reflect upon some of the economic conditions that frame creative practice.

The seminar is introduced against a backdrop of the financial crisis, the withdrawal of public subsidy for the arts, and the peculiar relationship of art to the economy. It begins by exploring some of the key contradictions: that on the one hand, there are alternative or disruptive business models that derive from the art scene, often as critical or activist interventions, but on the other how these practices can be easily co-opted by proprietary business logic.

Tom Watson, ed. derive reader #1 – Artists interventions into the market economy, 2009,, pp. 16
Felix Stalder, ‘The Stuff of Culture’ (extract), in Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks, Revolver, 2005, pp. 12-42.

Carey Young (; Gregory Shollette (; The Yes Men (

At a first glance it may seem evident that business enterprises of social networking built their corporate image by re-appropriating the language and the values of the first phase of networked art and hacker culture. However, the free software community is not alien to the progressive corporate takeover of the hacker counterculture. The question is whether the cooptation theory of the counterculture might be the right explanation to understand the present development, or better, implosion, of the networking and hacker culture. Is it possible to imagine alternative artistic and activist routes to intervene creatively within (and not merely against) business models?

Fred Turner, “Burning Man at Google: A Cultural Infrastructure for New Media Production.” New Media & Society, Vol.11, No.1-2 (April, 2009), pp. 145-66,
Tatiana Bazzichelli, “If You Can’t Hack ’em, Absorb ’em or the Endless Dance of the Corporate Revolution”, essay in Concept Store nr. 3, journal, 2010, Arnolfini, Bristol, 2010,
Antonio Caronia, Tatiana Bazzichelli, Loretta Borrelli (2009) “Anna Adamolo: Practical Critique of Ideology”, trans. Valeira Grillo, in _digicult_, mag41, feb 2009,

Luther Blissett (; Neoism (; Anna Adamolo (; Les Liens Invisibles’ Seppukoo (; Web 2.0 Suicide Machine (

Are there ways of doing business that challenge definitions of social wealth: a distinction between revenue and benefit sharing that the commons is founded upon (on the one hand, extracting monetary value from social processes and on the other imagining more sustainable alternatives to capitalist economy that have collective benefit). A peer to peer system in this way might be considered ‘postcapitalist’ in the production of a social relation based on sharing and the common good.

Geoff Cox, “antisocial notworking”,
Michel Bauwens, “The Social Web and its Social Contracts: Some Notes on Social Antagonism in Netarchical Capitalism”, 2008,
Discussion, from “The Currency of the Commons: The Price and Value of Free Culture”, transmediale festival 2011,

Paolo Cirio, P@P Credit Card, (See “Infoshop” for a list of other resources,; Flattr / Creative Fundraising and Microfunding Initiatives, Peter Sunde (

The business idea of ‘disruption-innovation’ represents a creative act that shifts the way a particular logic operates and thus presents newfound opportunities. Does this mean that well-meaning critical strategies of artists and activists are self-defeating? How do we develop disruptive business models that do not simply become new models for business that simply follows capitalist logic?

Francesca Bria, “A crisis of finance: financialisation as a crisis of accumulation of new capitalism” (on Marazzi’s The Violence of Financial Capitalism), ephemera, volume 9(4), pp. 388-395,
Dymtri Kleiner, The Telekommunist Manifesto, Network Notebooks 03, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2010, pp. 8-25,

Telekommunisten, especially thimble, Dmytri Kleiner (; Kickstarter (

We will ask participants to write and present a business plan that addresses creative and conceptual aspects of the seminar.


Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer, “The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception”, in Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1944,
Chris Anderson “Free. How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit By Giving Something For Nothing”, Hyperion, New York, 2009
Michel Bauwens, ‘Peer production, peer governance, peer property’,
Tatiana Bazzichelli “When Art Goes Disruptive: The A/Moral Dis/Order of Recursive Publics”, Public Interfaces Conference, Aarhus University, January 2011,
Yockai Benkler, Wealth of Networks,
Rishab Aiyer Ghosh, ed., Code: Collaborative Ownership and the Digital Economy, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press, 2005
Stewart Home, “Click This? MySpace + the Pornography of Corporately Controlled Virtual Life”, Diffusion generator, 2009. No profit publication.
Christopher M. Kelty, Two Bits: The Cultural Significance of Free Software, Duke University Press, 2008, pp. 1-26 & 27-64,
Craig J. Saper, Networked Art, University of Minnesota Press, 2001.
Dymtri Kleiner, The Telekommunist Manifesto, Network Notebooks 03, Institute of Network Cultures, Amsterdam, 2010
Dmytri Kleiner & Brian Wyrick, ‘Info-Enclosure 2.0’, _Web 2.0: Man’s Best Friendster?_, _Mute_ vol. 2 #4, January 2007,
Jaron Lanier, “You are Not a Gadget”, Knopf, New York, 2010
Lawrence Lessig, Free Culture: How Big Media Uses Technology and the Law to Lock Down Culture and Control Creativity,
Christian Marazzi, Language and Capital: From the New Economy to the War Economy, Semiotexte 2008
Christian Marazzi, The Violence of Financial Capitalism    The Violence of Financial Capitalism, Semiotexte 2010
Marx/Engels, The Communist Manifesto, 1948,
Karl Marx, Capital Volume One, Part I: Commodities and Money, Chapter One: Commodities,
Marcel Mauss (1970) _The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies_, London: Cohen & West
Mute, “Living in a bubble: credit, debt & crisis”, MetaMute, Vol. 2 #6,
Eric S. Raymond, ‘The Cathedral and the Bazaar’ (originally published March 1998), in First Monday, Special issue on Open Source, 2005,
Felix Stalder, Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks, Revolver, 2005
Julian Stallabrass, Internet Art: The Online Clash of Culture and Commerce, Tate 2003
Julian Stallabrass, Art Incorporated: The Story of Contemporary Art, Oxford University Press, 2005
Don Tapscott & Anthony D. Williams, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, Portfolio 2006
Fred Turner, “Where the Counterculture Met the New Economy. The WELL and the Origins of Virtual Community”, Technology and Culture, Volume 46, Number 3, July 2005, pp. 485-512,
Chin-Tao Wu, Privatising Culture: Corporate Art Intervention Since the 1980s, Verso 2003


Tatiana Bazzichelli (IT/DK) is PhD Scholar at Aarhus University. She is board member of the Digital Aesthetics Research Center in Aarhus and was visiting scholar at Stanford University (2009). She has been active in the Italian hacker community since the end of the 1990s and is the founder of the AHA: Activism-Hacking-Artivism project (, which won the honorary mention for digital communities at Ars Electronica (2007). She wrote the book: Networking. La rete come arte /The Net as Artwork (Costa & Nolan, 2006,

Geoff Cox (UK/DK) is currently a Researcher in Digital Aesthetics as part of the Digital Urban Living Research Center, Aarhus University (DK). He is also an occasional artist, and Associate Curator of Online Projects, Arnolfini, Bristol (UK), adjunct faculty, Transart Institute, Berlin/New York (DE/US), Associate Professor (Reader), University of Plymouth (UK). He is an editor for the DATA Browser book series (published by Autonomedia, New York), and co-edited ‘Economising Culture’ (2004), ‘Engineering Culture’ (2005) and ‘Creating Insecurity’ (2009).

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