Affective Common-Place: The Case of NDSM Ship Wharf, Amsterdam

    Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a conference


    The commons is a concept travelling among disciplines in the humanities, while still not well elaborated in architecture. The commoning process is affective, relational, spatial, material and temporal. The transversal character of the commons goes beyond dichotomies of nature-culture, subject-object, individual-collective, public-private, human-non-human, and therefore, considering it exclusively a human centrality means missing the affecting effect of the material world in which these processes are embedded. The concept of common-place introduced here aims for the broadening of the perception of commoning as merely a social practice. Linking commoning with the notion
    of placeness, which relates to the particularity and specificity of the material condition where the process is situated, takes in consideration the role and agency that the material world plays in the process of becoming-in-common. Recognizing the transversality of the commons requires a transposition of the centrality of the human in the process and an deeper inquiry on the intra-action among humans and non-humans.
    This paper analyses the process of transformation of NDSM ship-wharf in Amsterdam into a particular place for work and entertainment. This case study epitomizes a commoning example of an ongoing process of becoming, where an amalgam of humans (activists, artists, architects, makers), matter (site, building, objects, materials) and discourses, mutually constitute entangled agencies through intra-actions in the process of making a common-place. These gained affective capacities and agencies that emerge through being, doing, and making enable commonality to be more than just a sum of parts. From the analysis emerges that the architecture of the ship-wharf played a determinant
    role in the process. Its material condition did not predetermine a passive
    role, on the contrary, the agency of its architecture was and still is crucial in the
    commoning process.
    Period9 Aug 2018
    Held atMillersville University’s Ware Center, United States


    • making space
    • affective common-place
    • NDSM Amsterdam
    • commoning