The COMMON PROJECT foundation

For Hannah Ahrendt a public space is created when individuals come together in a particular way around an issue or object of common concern, something perhaps best understood as a ‘common project’. Such a project acts as what she called an ‘in-between’ or, from the Latin, ‘inter-est’ that both ‘relates and separates men at the same time’, each participant contributing her own unique interpretations of it. Out of these multiple interpretations , the space itself is constituted as a space, as each member ‘appears’ in a distinctive ‘location’ with respect to their shared concern. Although in other contexts an individual might disclose something about herself by speaking, only in public can individuals achieve a coherent position by relating their own opinions to those expressed by others in that space. In such a space, individuals act, not as a unit, but in Ahrendt's words, ‘in concert,’ each making a unique contribution to their collective effort. And because each participant is neither autonomous nor simply a cog in a collective machine, immense creative ‘power’ for unpredictable change is generated.

From: Hannah Ahrendt and Education. Edited by Mordechai Gordon. 2001 Westview Press.

The aim of the COMMON PROJECT foundation is to initiate and support transnational and cross-cultural projects in which young artists, designers, filmmakers, architects, composers, arts managers, and intellectuals meet in order to create new ‘public spaces’ where a significant exchange of ideas on art AND life can take place through ‘artistic research’, practical co-operation, and theoretical reflection. This exchange may result in collective presentations, publications, and exhibitions. For participants in the COMMON PROJECTS, mobility is a pre-requisite for true co-operation and exchange.

Individual ‘space’ will tend to become ‘extended’ as a result of a stay in the temporary public space of a COMMON PROJECT.

The COMMON PROJECT foundation recognizes itself in John Donne’s striking verse NO MAN IS AN ISLAND ENTIRE OF ITSELF, even though splendid isolation is still the practice most artists tend towards, either voluntarily or involuntarily. Especially for those artists from oriental as well as occidental societies who are at most allowed to question the status of power in a harmless manner, only to be, more often than not, eventually manipulated into a powerless position, it is vital that we create our own PUBLIC spaces for change.

The COMMON PROJECT foundation expects that co-operation across boundaries and the exchange of knowledge and ideas among artists can produce ‘unpredictable change’ in the long term and therefore aims to actively stimulate open and unprejudiced transnational co-operation between those marked individuals that artists are. The international masters courses to which artists often turn with a clear wish to access new networks can play an important role in the functioning of the COMMON PROJECT foundation.