Theorizing and Documenting Collectivity
My next book project concerns social experiments in radical democracy, examples of what Jean-Luc Nancy calls “being-in-common.” Drawing from my own experience as a member of the artists’ collective, 16Beaver group, I have been developing the concept of vulnerable accumulation in an effort to describe the economic and affective registers of the processes and activity involved in forms of collectivity. In dialogue with recent theories of the common/s, vulnerability, and debt, this concept provides a framework with which to assess structural aspects of artist and activist groups that are aimed at social transformation. I have already published two essays based on these ideas. The next step in my project will be ethnographic. I plan to interview a number of groups about their collective practices and projects in an effort to develop a series of in-depth case studies. The filmed documentation of my research process will be a central part of the next phase of the project. Over the next year, I plan to apply for a NEH Media Makers Development Grant in order to be able to collaborate on the building of a database architecture into which I will be able to upload the materials I collect (and into which other groups will be able to contribute their own materials). My hope is that the online database will operate as a testing ground for my concept as well as a resource for practitioners, scholars, and students.