Delegate Management or Augmenting The Mind: What Role for Technology in Commoning Practices?

Affiliation: Critical Media Lab, Institute of Experimental Design and Media Cultures

Abstract: This contribution proposes an inquiry into the possible roles of technology in commoning practices of housing cooperatives. The team of the Thinking Toys for Commoning research project (Critical Media Lab, Basel) collaborates with three Swiss co-housing initiatives, probing organizational and communication challenges they face. Next to making computational models (ABM) and looking for patterns in complex community behaviours, we recently organized a panel on commoning and technology, with two guests, Cade Diem and John Evans. Using this discussion is a starting point, we present some directions for thinking decentralization of decision making and knowledge sharing. Communities we work with are organized around principles of sustainability, independence and degrowth. Resources such as living space, water, energy and food are shared, and are ideally produced by the community. Philosophy of degrowth makes the communities unsympathetic towards cutting-edge technical solutions. Nevertheless, there are topics of interest that can be developed in this context.

What could be a way to think integration of technology into the commoning efforts? How could we make technology such that it is common? One direction is to think about existing alternative solutions for online tools and services used by community members, networking infrastructure and communication devices. Another axis brings together reflections on new services and needs that could be addressed by open source technologies, developed for and within the communities. Between the ambition to delegate management to computational systems and to envision technologies that augment communication and knowledge within a community we will review some proposals for technical systems that facilitate these ambitions.

Bio: Selena Savić is an architect and researcher interested in the way information technologies and communication techniques shape and transform cities and societies. She holds a joint PhD from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and IST in Lisbon, with a background in architecture (Faculty of Architecture, University of Belgrade) and media design (Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam). She is currently a postdoc researcher at the Institute for Experimental Design and Media, FHNW Basel, where she works on the project Thinking Toys for Commoning, together with Shintaro Miyazaki, Viktor Bedö, Michaela Büsse and Yann Martins.