Pier Vittorio Aureli asked everyone to rewrite their studio brief in order to tackle certain areas of interest. My partner, Wanli Mo and I are interested in the following… 

In a world where work has become a totalizing sphere, the condition is especially self-evident in immaterial production. Contemporary creative workers are available for working twenty-four hours, seven days a week. However, contrary to their long working schedules is their “willingness” to accept any form of exploitation. In terms of housing, while creative workers are favored by capitalism as agents of gentrification, they usually find themselves unable to afford living and working in the gentrified areas.

With the emergence of immaterial production into a hegemonic position which used to be held by the industry, revisiting the concept of the common has never become so relevant as today. As Michael Hardt suggests, with the rise of immaterial production, there will be an inevitable tendency toward the shared over the exclusive, as the logic of scarcity does not hold in the domain of immaterial production. If the house is a place where life in the form of labor potential is harnessed and political subjectivity is constructed, then can a new form of housing bring out the latent potential toward the common?

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Tech hangouts welcome at Ace Hotel. Image by Douglas Lyle Thompson

Among creative workers, we are particularly interested in providing living and working space for artists – painters, sculptures, musicians and etc. As different modes of art productions require different spaces and certain degrees of isolation, it provides the possibility for a series of subtle and transitional interventions that each is operated on at a small-scale. Instead of appropriating large industrial space as what happened in the past twenty years to gentrify the declined industrial areas, we’re interested in recycling the “ruins” of suburban city. While in New York City it is no longer possible for artists to find an affordable living and working space due to the over-gentrification, its twin city – Newark – becomes the perfect testing ground for the new approach. The fragmented urban condition of Newark is not only able to provide a series of spaces for artists to live and work, but also allows these scattered spaces to become points of differentiation and influence in the sea of homogeneous suburban houses.