Beyond Cultures of Ownership: Emerging Strategies for Interdependence

Beyond Cultures of Ownership: Emerging Strategies for Interdependence


This day-long gathering in Somerset House that we’re attending with our strategic partner the BMW Foundation, is about to exploring and strategizing the ways that  art and culture can play an active part in reconfiguring the concept of ownership.


How can art and culture help reshape our understanding of ownership? Serpentine Arts Technologies in collaboration with RadicalxChange, Dark Matter Labs and Somerset House Studios invited artists, activists, researchers, technologists and policymakers who are active and interested in connecting the dots between cultural production, political economies and systems change. If ‘ownership’ is one of the underlying power dynamics of our times that can either create or block possibilities for rebalancing our relationship with technology, the planet, and one another, what new alliances and experiments are necessary to shift beyond it? By creating a space for sharing across different contexts, the day will be dedicated to collectively sketching out new imaginaries and practices for more pluralistic and relational protocols for interdependence.


Beyond Cultures of Ownership will run in (un)conference style, which allows for emergent agenda-setting and deep exchanges between participants. Improbable – a theatre company that specialises in using a process called Open Space Technology (OST) – have been invited to facilitate this conversation. OST is a simple way for groups of people to think, work and take action together around a shared concern. There is no set agenda and we can decide what to discuss.


The day will begin and end with contributions that draw from multiple areas of contemporary thinking and practice, and which are meant to inspire participant-led Open Space sessions. Presentations will be shared by artists, policy and technology researchers, activists and social innovators: Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley, Adrienne Buller, Hilary Cottam, Holly Herndon & Mat Dryhurst, Indi Johar, Divya Siddarth, and Sam Sivapragasam. Their provocations will provide a set of common references to explore the role of the arts alongside the legal, political, cultural, and ethical assumptions that underpin ownership.


We hope that all participants, including our team, will walk away feeling part of a new community creatively re-imagining the legal, cultural, and ethical assumptions that underpin ownership. Follow-up opportunities announced during the event will facilitate continuous engagement and collaborations to help these ideas evolve and operationalise.


The event is supported by Arts Council England, Berggruen Institute, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Omidyar Network and Rockefeller Foundation.