neil cummings


20 Apr 2018


I wrote a short text for Distributed, about the possibility of re-imagining the world in common. Distributed is edited by David Blamey and Brad Haylock for OPENeditions and was launched with a symposium at the Royal College of Art.

A short extract



Is sunlight distributed? No. Is air? No. Water? No. Freedom? No. Language? No. Is creativity distributed? No. Of course, these vital common resources can be, but for a resource to be distributed it needs a vector. Technically, a vector is any value given magnitude and direction. Vectors distribute. Vectors turn common resources into values, give them magnitude and direction.

Vectors can be owned, and through their ownership they convert values into potential revenue streams. So, I pay a company that claims ownership of a vector that distributes energy from the sun as electricity to my home.

It goes something like this. The energy stored in coal that fuels the power station was formed aeons ago through photosynthesis in early plants. Or the oil and natural gas the power stations burn is produced from dead, decomposed and compressed sea creatures who ate phyloplankton. Phyloplankton flourished by converting energy from the sun through photosynthesis.

This stored sunlight, stockpiled for millions of years as carbon, is turned into electricity via a dense hybrid network - of plants, animals, mines, oil and gas fields, ships, pipelines, furnaces, turbines, cables, knowledge, skills, people, finance, forms of organisation, and software and distributed. I flick a switch and a little sun illuminates my room. [...]


OPENeditions  ISBN 978-0-949004-09-3
Eds. David Blamey & Brad Haylock
215 x 157 x 20mm
252 pages



I read an extract of the text, at the book launch and Symposium:

20th April 2108 10am - 5pm

DISTRIBUTED / COMMON MARKET Symposium and Small Producers’ Fair at the Royal College of Art, London

DISTRIBUTED, a publishing symposium about the act of distribution across the spectrum of cultural production. COMMON MARKET, a small producers’ fair celebrating the free movement of ideas by trading conceptual goods and services.









The text is related to themes in Open Cinema, mudlark and Sunlight




51.5011, -0.1793

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
United Kingdom

Submitted by neil on 26 April, 2018 - 12:43