Artistic experiments in communal living and working

Artistic experiments in communal living and working such as these are important sites for artist-initiated activities outside of art world structures, serving as interventions into and critical mirrors of society at large. Thauberger’s residency evoking the Paris Commune of 1871 was a performance in ways of working together and acting out alternative ways of being in the existing world. Though initiated out of a need for accessible exhibition and production spaces, Arbour Lake Sghool, The Straw and Whitehouse have similarly challenged an world norms through their collective ways of living and working. Most notably, these spaces have brought attention to the vacuum around established art institutions that is no longer being addressed by artist run centres. By creating their own opportunities for collective exhibition and production, resident artists and their collaborators are establishing compelling models that offer a meaningful arena for artistic activity and experimentation outside of well-known structures. The holistic commune experience provided by Don Blanche provides a similar yet more extensive model of change. While at once challenging art world structures, this residency’s collectivism and sustainable relationship with its surrounding landscape and neighbours presents an important alternative to the way people live day-to-day. By establishing spaces for collective living and working, all of these projects have entertained possibilities for a better life, and have shown that there is potential for challenging our all-too-familiar ways of being and creating alternative forms of social organization。

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