Lars Nittve: Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm
A SWEDISH COURT will soon decide whether local authorities, sports clubs, and companies were justified in charging skiers a fee this past winter for skiing in the tracks these institutions had laid through the countryside. This issue is not just a legal one. It also cuts deep into the passionately held, age-old right of public access, or allemansratten, "everyman's right," a right that everyone living in Sweden takes for granted. The right of public access is the same for everyone and entitles people to roam freely in the countryside, regardless of private property or zoning. The right of public access itself is not regulated in detail, but it is guaranteed in the Swedish constitution. It strikes me that this is an excellent and concrete example of what Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri call commonwealth--a kind of "third place," neither public nor private but having dimensions of both. Those who want skiers' fees will probably lose the battle against this medieval custom, which has survived the advent of property rights well into the twenty-first century. But the issue, arising as it has today, obviously holds implications for other areas, too.
The road from the ski track to the art museum is shorter than one might think. Museums of modern art could, in fact, be defined as attempts to establish various forms of intermediary "third spaces." These institutions offer different kinds of freedoms, yet they are always more or less conscious of a context that is actually entirely closed. I could make another sporting comparison here: Like Alain Robert, the …
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Publication information: Article title: Lars Nittve: Director, Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Contributors: Not available. Magazine title: Artforum International. Volume: 48. Issue: 10 Publication date: Summer 2010. Page number: 320+. © 1999 Artforum International Magazine, Inc. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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