Peter Mörtenböck: The Capital of the Many

Talk in German from 2015

From informal Markets to open-source Creativity

The global impact of the financial crisis has obviously resulted in a structural overhaul, and essential changes in the design, production and distribution of artefacts are the consequence. The growing pressure on economically viable creativity is contrasted by emergent forms in the development, communication and realization of ideas.

Together, these new components have had interesting effects: While bottom-up initiatives were deemed subcultural phenomena in the art and culture sector only a few years ago, now they are being praised as a model of the future. This includes crowdfunding projects, open-source developments, collective research structures or start-ups in the creative industries. The fight against informality has turned into an orchestrated promotion of transgressive initiatives. Structural change has thus not only allowed many people to exit the well-oiled cycles of capitalism, but it has also reincorporated those people into the competitive arena of emerging investment markets through the increasing value of the capital called ‘free’ creativity.

This lecture focuses on the role of ‘taking initiative’ as the new civic paragon: How it emerged, the way it is controlled and what part artistic creativity plays in these developments? Who benefits from products made in open processes? What future effects will crowdfunding and similar control mechanisms have on our material world? And to what extent can artistic-scientific practices create their own set of standards in this global economy?

Peter Mörtenböck is professor of art theory & theory of architecture in Vienna and London. He is renowned for his groundbreaking work in the field of visual culture in the German-speaking world. His texts on the transformation of cities and urban culture have been translated into several languages.