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Economy of Contribution

At the invitation of Scott Lash and Götz Bachmann (cultural studies, Goldsmiths), philosopher Bernard Stiegler (Centre Pompidou) and Robert Zimmer (computer science, Goldsmiths), a diverse group gathered at Goldsmiths to consider the idea of economies of contribution.

The workshop included perspectives from media, art, design, software and theory. In their introduction, the organizers outlined the emergence of a shift from consumer capitalism to an economy of contribution.

"An economy of contribution may be emerging. An economy enabled by new communications technologies. The social relations embedded in such technologies incorporate more than the exchange of goods for money. Prominent in such an economy are gift-giving exchanges: reciprocal obligations which can create positive 'externalities'; such as the integration of amateurs and professionals into new forms of co-production and exchange. An economy of contribution is often consolidated into communities, networks and non-monetary valuation systems."

The idea was to bring together people with an interest in cultural production, understood as art, design, film, software and broadcast media, whether done by professionals or amateurs - if those terms still have any purchase.

During the workshop, presentations of research and practice included work by media artist Graham Harwood (MediaShed), Bronac Ferran (who organized the CODE conference in 2001) and Matt Fuller whose presentation emphasizes the importance of the commons.

There were presentations from Tate, and from Centre Pompidou, especially the technologies of annotation they are developing such as Lignes de Temps.

I screened Museum Futures: Distributed as a model of a possible Institution of Contribution, but also mentioned Enthusiasm and the Enthusiasts archive.

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