Upon receiving funding from the Indiana Arts Commission in the form of an Individual Advancement Program grant, I began a photo essay project, CommonPlace, in the summer of 2018.
An exploration of what it means to share space. Ranging from the more familiar model of back to the land communes to the less commonly understood collective spaces: squats, punk houses, collective urban garden projects, and various forms of cohousing- inside the city and outside of it.
Rather than create a series of photo essays predicated upon showcasing the particular personalities of each place, this project aims to show common threads amongst the spaces. CommonPlace is organized as a fixed set of questions:
1. Describe your project (land, location, number of people, how long you’ve spent there, etc)
2. How does collectivity function? What do you hold in common? For example, what is “shared” and what is “personal”?
3. How do you make decisions? What types of decisions are collective?
4. Who/what are some of your inspirations for this project/lifestyle? Why did you choose this?
5. What are some of the ways the project has succeeded/failed? How has that impacted other parts of your life? If the project failed, why did it?
6. How does your project interact/present itself to the ‘outside’ world?
7. What are some of the plans for the future? Do you have 1, 5, 50 year goals?
8. What led you, personally, to this project? What was your first encounter with communal living?
9. Why do you emphasize the commons? What are the reasons you value holding things in common?
10. How is this project different than you anticipated?
11. How do you resolve conflicts/what kinds of conflicts tend to recur?
12. What is something you wish you had known when you first started out?
13. What are some skills you’ve honed through this process?
14. How do you find private space/time?
15. What advice do you have for other commons?
The project is currently ongoing, with a book being released in the fall of 2019, which will have images from the spaces, along with interview transcriptions. Check back later for more updated information.