Grounds for the Political Aesthetics of Cultural Commons in the Post-Medium Condition: The Open Source Cultural Object

  • Boris ÄŒučković


Based on the open animated movie Elephants Dream and the Free Universal Construction Kit project, I delineate and critically examine open source cultural production as a specific practice of the contemporary post-medium condition (Krauss, Manovich). I explore how the open source model of the commons is translated into aesthetic strategies when the open source concept is applied to cultural production. Furthermore, I suggest a model for the cultural object in the post-medium condition, grounded in the way in which this practice affirms its source material. Through this model, I propose categories for the articulation of specificity in practices of the post-medium condition. These categories are further analyzed amid the tensions of commodity market. The discussion proceeds to relate open source cultural practice to issues relevant to the tradition of materialist aesthetics. In particular, the open source artwork is read against the grain of modernist political aesthetics, critically comparing the new media condition of open source production with the political imperative of accessing the mode of production (Benjamin). In conclusion, I outline the politico-aesthetic function ascribed by this practice to digital cultural commons.