Upscaling, Training, Commoning

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (artistic)


When on September 15, 2008 the financial conglomerate Lehman Brothers files for bankruptcy – and with that ‘officially’ sparks off the international financial crisis – few would have anticipated the invasive effect this crisis would come to have on the professional and personal lives of many across the world. Today, this implosion remains a mere ‘blip’ in the universe of events that ensued.

On closer observation, this financial turmoil started out as a ‘mortgage crisis’, largely fuelled by unsustainable or speculative investments in real-estate in cities across the world. In the run-up to the boom-and-bust of 2008, some – among them architects, urban designers, artists, activists, but also economists and others – started preparing for what they understood as (the necessity) of a different world to come, beyond the broken neo-liberal dogma. Today, fragments of such a different reality are unfolding in front of us. Modest, but for real.

STEALTH.unlimited (the practice of Ana Džokić and Marc Neelen) is one of the protagonists of this field, acting between architecture, art and activism. With “Upscaling, Training, Commoning” in 2011 they set out to investigate a possible role and the capacities for such a spatial practice, at this point in time, transforming their own practice in the process. Following a decade of research addressing urgent cultural and urban issues (resulting in publications, exhibitions, spatial interventions), from this point the emerging questions, doubts or limitations concerning such a practice became a lead to direct long-term engagements.

The consequent practice-based research is subject to volatile political and economic situations, to the conflicting interests of the local communities engaged with(in). Hence, three positions for the research have emerged: that of the practice assuming new responsibilities, of the economies of engagement and disengagement, and that of the urban commons.

The title “Upscaling, Training, Commoning” relates to the awareness that relevant activities and approaches need to be nurtured, and that the imperfect contexts in which they take place can be regarded as ‘training grounds’ by which to arrive at practices of commoning. Thus, upscaling, training, commoning also describes a trajectory (to be) taken.

The artistic research (PhD) “Upscaling, Training, Commoning” concludes with a set of six books, and includes comments on the trajectories since 2008 of: the writer Dougald Hine, the economist Martijn Jeroen van der Linden, architects Ana Méndez de Andés and Iva Marčetić. The concluding book, set down by the writer Paul Currion, features a future fiction narrative in which collective action might enable citizens to navigate through difficult times to create a new political economy.


  • Ana Džokić
External organisations
  • Royal Institute of Art
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Visual Arts

Artistic work

  • Artefact
  • Text


  • STEALTH.unlimited, Ana Džokić, Marc Neelen, Dougald Hine, Martijn Jeroen van der Linden, Ana Méndez de Andés, Iva Marčetić, Paul Currion, art, architecture, urbanism, spatial practice, artistic research, space, fiction, imagination, future, commons, community, economy, political economy, legitimacy, housing
Original languageEnglish
Print ISBNs978-91-7753-273-6
Electronic ISBNs978-91-7753-274-3
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 29
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2017-05-29 Time: 13:00 Place: “Muralen”, Kungl. Konsthögskolan/Royal Institute of Art, Flaggmansvägen 1, 111 49 Stockholm.
 External reviewer(s) Name: Gibson , Katherine Title: Professor Affiliation: Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australien ---

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