Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Working early in Basel, set deep into the retreat of an old factory, forming ideas around community development and radio, the ideal of open broadcast. Inherent within the word community, within its etymology, are notions of togetherness (communitas) and publicly offered duties, gifts or tributes (munus).

◸ One approach to community: togetherness is instilled by a common intent towards making these transactions happen. Or, to reverse it, these transactions happen with an intent towards togetherness.

◸ Another approach. Togetherness is created through a belief in these munerations, perhaps their benefit. Or, conversely, togetherness creates the belief, creates the benefit.

◸ One more. Togetherness needs gifts. The other way – gifts are useless without togetherness (the seed of market value and economy).

◸ Finally. Togetherness reduces the risk of the publicly offered gift. From a different angle, perhaps gifts reduce the risk of togetherness.

Demonstrating passive or active roles for togetherness is a crude exercise in opposition, but from it involves important distinctions. Firstly, community, is not just about a collection of people, but also about an exchange, a transaction, a public service. Secondly, it is important not to assume that toegtherness is a byproduct of the gift – it is useful to think of the reverse, to think that gift-giving is hollow without a collection of people to instil worth, context & value. Thirdly, the key notion is that it is of course in flux, it is a constant movement between the two poles, two poles which are not in fact opposites but rather a circle, the serpent eating its own tail, Jörmungandr or Οὐροβόρος. Cycles, alchemy and energy, then - these are positioned, as the radio blares and the coffee spills over, at the heart of community.

No comments: