Common Places

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The Dutch cahier Open, from the publishers NAi, describes itself simply as a publication about art and the public domain. The conciseness of the description defies the enormity of the political, economic, technological, and legal threads of the public domain discussion. In this format, adopted within the last year, Open represents a laudable effort to creatively address the question of 'public space' in the context of intensifying pressures of control and stadardization. Each issue works off of a chosen theme and balances the theoretical discussion with documentation of web-based art projects, installations and other assorted images. The most recent issue, Open 7: (No)Memory, is a reflection on the condition of collective memory in contemporary culture as it relates to and is transmitted by new methods of digital archiving, the creation of alternative sites of compiling and storing information and the implications of ownership in the context of theses new and old formats. For example, media theorist Geert Lovink's interview with Tjebbe van Tijen regarding his Ars Memoria System, provides an account of an individual labor to gather and organize information within idiosyncratic methods and a vigorous effort to reclaim material and information for public use. Unique in its stated focus, Open provides a new resource for those inventively trying to rearticulate the commons in the digital world. - David Senior