Pascal Gielen: Commonism – Organizing Artistic Life Beyond Creative Industry Policies
Since the financial crisis started at the end of 2007 many governments made budget cuts in the cultural and artistic fields. Inspired by the critical social theory of Herbert Marcuse (1964), these policy decisions are understood within an ideological framework as ‘repressive liberalism’. This is a (cultural) policy that on the one hand proclaims individual freedom, stimulates cultural entrepreneurship and embraces the creative city, but on the other hand, develops a large-scale decentralized control apparatus that strongly restricts individual and artistic freedom. Within this cultural policy creative labour itself can also be ‘instrumentalised’ as a repressive tool. In his lecture Pascal Gielen analyses the relationship between art, politics and the public space in the creative city. He also looks at how activists and creative ‘workers’ respond to this policy by organising themselves in alternative ways, inspired by what Gielen defines as the ideology of the commons. This ideology has its own aesthetics to (re)present ‘reality’, an artistic way to construct a new meta-ideology beyond neoliberalism with its neo-management rhetoric of realism.
Pascal Gielen (1970) is a professor of sociology of culture and politics at the Antwerp Research Institute for the Arts (Antwerp University - Belgium) where he leads the Culture Commons Quest Office (CCQO). Gielen is the editor of the international book series Antennae - Arts in Society (Valiz). In 2016 he became laureate of the Odysseus grant for excellent international scientific research of the Fund for Scientific Research Flanders in Belgium. Gielen has published many books that have been translated into Chinese, English, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Turkish and Ukrainian. His research focuses on creative labour, the common, urban and cultural politics. Gielen works and lives in Antwerp, Belgium.