Commons Convergence, an event organized by documenta Institut in collaboration with Casco Art Institute and supported by The Supporting Act Foundation and AFIELD brought together artivist communities, funders, creative institution practitioners, policy-makers and scholars to explore a maintenance model that enables more sustainable socially-engaged art practices.
The event featured a role-playing game The Alchemy of Commons and a public sharing moderated by Mi You and Aiwen Yin. The game has been in R&D since 2022 and its development is led by Aiwen Yin and Yiren Zhao, which allows the participants to probe at different aspects of making commons through a collectivity. The game takes the form of a “playable script” based on extensive research on the Dinghaiqiao Mutual-aid Society (DMaS) —a community of art, culture and social workers in Dinghaiqiao, a working-class neighborhood in Shanghai, which was active from 2018 to 2021. The scripts follow the personal journeys of DMAS members and its milestones, and the players are asked to project their own stories, ideas and actions into them. At the same time, the game operates around an ontological diagram of the community, which uncovers the underlying structural challenges inherent in the complex inter-relationship between individual and collective practices, including the entanglements of space, labor, relationship, economy, and the mission of the community.