Voorbij het puin van de creatieve stad

Een tekst van Matteo Pasquinelli: “Beyond the ruins of the creative city. Berlin’s factory of culture and the sabotage of rent” (pdf). Geen hapklare brok, maar meer dan de moeite waard om er even de tanden in te zetten.

The literature which promotes the ‘creative cities’ (such as the work of Richard Florida) or denounces their hidden neoliberal agenda and social costs is extensive. This text approaches the ideological construct of the ‘creative city’ (and similar models) from a different angle in order to attempt a reverse engineering of its economic mechanism. Usually both liberal partisans or radical critics of ‘creative economy’ employ a symmetrical paradigm, where the material and the immaterial domains are defended in their autonomy and hegemony against each other. Therefore, the metropolis is respectively described along the urban fabric or the symbolic capital, the good old material economy or the supposedly virtuous economy of ‘creativity’.

On the opposite, this text tries to underline the conflicts, frictions and value asymmetries that occur along the material and immaterial domains; the material accumulation of value triggered by cultural production; the autonomy of the social factory of culture against the skyline of the ‘creative’ cities. Hopefully in this way the invisible motor of the cultural city can be grasped, possibly re-engineered and effectively inverted.

Conceptually, three notions are introduced here. First, the concept of the factory of culture, that is the social production of culture versus the established Creative Industries and the institutional policies of the ‘creative cities’. Second, the profound asymmetries of cultural commons and the accumulation of value between the two layers of symbolic production and material economy (as it happens for instance with gentrification: such conflictive concretions of value can be considered as the very ‘ruins of the Creative City’). Finally, the notion of creative sabotage of creative rent is suggested as a political response to gentrification and exploitation of cultural capital (such a sabotage of value is ‘creative’ as it builds over the financial and real estate ‘ruins‘ and is constitutive of the common).

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