Portals To an Enchanted Commons

Opened on 3rd July 2020

Click HERE to enter (+ Press F11 to fullscreen)


Because that which has historically been called the commons (those natural and cultural resources accessible to all members of a society) has been systematically severed from its rightful owners, destroyed by capitalist ‘production’ - which is actually violent theft - and/or absorbed into state-advocated (or state-controlled) greenwashing projects, as a World we are left with a paucity of spaces to rest and roam for free. Such commonly owned resting and roaming spaces allow for modes of thinking and making that are not as psychically restricted by the mores of a society preoccupied with commodifying literally everything at any cost1, but are more in alignment with the eddying flow-state of our natural selves.

These common lands, where they remain, are abundant with all dimensions of life; they are refuges for plants, animals, other macro and microorganisms, abandoned elementals and the furious ghosts of discarded ancestors and those murdered by the capitalist death machine. When these lands are severed or destroyed, as they often are, we all eventually incur the wrath of the vengeance of GAIA2. But this is not eco-fascist diatribe. Counter to the arguments of the racist ecologist Garret Hardin, writer of an actual eco-fascist diatribe, “The Tragedy of the Commons”, the answer is NOT to depopulate. (There is enough space for us all, it has just been stolen.) On the contrary, the answer is to REpopulate; to reclaim space for the reoccupation of the land and of the imagination; to encourage displaced humans, animals, plants, microorganisms, elementals, ancestors and the unjustly dead to move back into their rightful homes with gusto. To do that, we need spaces to imagine, rest and roam for free.

The early Internet promised freedom (to assemble, organise, play, speak, share). In some ways these things remain possible, but as a military technology, it is predictable that its architecture has nonetheless developed to privilege the oppressor. Still, there are islands. The work of the activist attorney and founder of Creative Commons, Lawrence Lessig, is one such island. By establishing Creative Commons, an organisation which has released several legally valid copyright licenses that enable free distribution, reproduction and remixing of otherwise copyrighted ‘work’, Lessig enabled the creation of many other islands of free information in the form of creative resource databases such as or, (both utilised extensively in this work), to Open Education Resources (OERs) such as, among many others. Although CC is an acquiescence to the assertions of the lawfulness of property rights (especially intellectual property rights),3 its work does create clearings of refuge amongst the otherwise relentless expansion of the cursed and predator-ridden forest of copyrighted intellectual property. It creates legally protected spaces to rest, imagine and gather resources. And as a resource gathering tool, databases like Wikimedia Commons avoid the self-reinforcing algorithmic curation and resultant narrowing of available information of other image search engines, such as Google. This results in authentic roaming and foraging of the kind possible on truly common land, as opposed to the restricted capacity for movement (with an ever present threat of punishment) through private property.

Wanting to clarify the offering of space via this digital commons to displaced ancestral spirits and elementals, and, being a White European, not wanting to further displace and disrespect the spirits of cultures and landmasses other than my own, I sought representations of European spirits such as Fairies, Perchten, Gnomes, Centaurs, Waldhexen, Krampus, The Green Man and others; and also of Dinosaurs, Wizards and Human Ghosts, all of which are languishing in the shadowed recesses of the collective White Western imagination, infantilised, romanticised or vilified. I’m explaining this because it’s important to understand that this isn’t a satire or a romance; I don’t use these spirits because I think they’re better than those from anywhere else, nor as an ironic take on those who do. There is a long history of alienation from these spirits in White Western Culture. This isn’t a dog whistle. Our own ignored ancestral spirits act upon our shadow selves, our unconscious4. The more they remain unexamined, the more monstrous they become. Ancestral spirits need to be honoured, but how do we wade through the mire of dishonourable acts that make up our recent history?

The White Western severance from land and spirit - initially as a result of Church violence, then of Colonial violence (the two are interconnected) - constitutes a trauma. As unprocessed trauma lurking in the individual subconscious leads to psychological suffering, so this unprocessed collective trauma in the collective subconscious (and bodies) of White Culture leads firstly to these unexamined and alienated spirits, and then to a cultural suffering. And just as the suffering and traumatised individual can blame, harm, and drain those around them, so does White Culture upon the lands and peoples of the World5. But it is of no use to be morbidly obsessed with these shades, no use to turn to them for vicarious pleasure. The format of these works doesn’t allow for a Street View-style navigation and voyeuristic all-angled observation of their frozen inhabitants; what it does is hold space for you both to dwell together. These disrespected spirits must be invited to play, encouraged to ease off their gnarled armour and come into a more vulnerable visibility. They must not be glamorized or feared as devils, but accepted and respected as part of the World. This is an important part of the path to decolonisation and healing, of the kind so many are currently asking for. These small works do not achieve this alone, but act as spells. Whether we intend it or not, all of what we call Art acts as a spell, rippling outward, and I wield this function intentionally here, for good.

1. [On the subject of commodification, isn’t it strange that, once upon a time, the whole electromagnetic spectrum was part of the commons. Not since Radio, Wifi, 5g, etc. How long will it be until somebody owns the exclusive rights to transmission in the visible EM frequencies of BLUE or RED?. ]
2. [And we must remain aware that those who feel this wrath most acutely and most unfairly are often the very populations of displaced indigenous people and other people of colour whose common lands were violently stolen. This is the poison of Darwinian science and fascist evolutionary determinism.]
3. [ It may be legal, but is it lawful to claim the exclusive rights to anything? CC does not challenge the fundamental assertions of copyrighting; namely that property is a just concept.]
4. [The displaced and disrespected spirits of ancestors of colonised lands act in the same way. Not upon their cultural custodians but upon us, the colonisers.]
5. [Hence colonialism and fascism; and it is no coincidence that fascists have an obsession with Pagan spirits.]

This exhibition is supported by Arts Council England.

Additional coding from Joe @ Offgrid

This work has been assembled using Creative Commons Licensed or Attribution Licensed material (attributions listed below). Any other imagery, audio recordings and musical compositions are original content by the artist themself.


allthingssound - "Distant Gulls.wav" [License:] (Changes were made)

Cllari - OWI_Cow Moo [License:] (Changes were made)

inchadney - at the edge of the forest.WAV [License:] (Changes were made)

klankbeeld - cathedral Gen-Noise 01 160409_18.wav [License:] (Changes were made)

klankbeeld - Mixed forest autumn 8am NL Haanwijk 141012_0428.flac [License:] (Changes were made)

ptrflr - Dog_Barking [License:] (Changes were made)

sunboy - "Grass Steps" [License:] (Changes were made)

YleArkisto - Metsä, pisarat putoilevat, syksy / Forest in the autumn after the rain, drops falling on the ground, hum, some distant birds [License:] (Changes were made)

access.denied - File:W-Skers (W-Skers) Wroclaw dwarf 04.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Anaconda74 - File:Meteorite Benthullen cropped.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Andrew Mercer - Grey-headed_Flying_Fox_(IMG0528).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Berlinologe - File:Museumswohnung Berlin-Haselhorst, Burscheider Weg 21.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

BFlores (WMF) - File:Wikimania2019 vine icon.svg [License:] (Changes were made)

Brianboru100 - File:Custard Factory Dragon.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

Brocken Inaglory - File:360 degrees fogbow.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Bruno Jehle - File:Bolders on Mahendra Hills, India.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Carl Waluconis - File:Duck Drawing on Concrete Floor.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Crux - File:Perchten2.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Dan Pelleg - File:Light shining1-b.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Daniel Maland - File:Arcadian Planet Beta.png [License:] (Changes were made)

David Anstiss - File:Fairy Ring in Filborough Marshes - - 1088998.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

DerMische - File:Nebel Schienen Panorama.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

DerMische - Rombergpark_Herbst_Panorama_04.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Diego Delso - File:Panorámica esférica de San Andrés, Calatayud, España, 2014-12-29, DD 01-176 HDR PAN.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

Dorieo - File:Ave sobrevolando la Albufera de Valencia 09.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

DURMERSHEIM - Fastnacht_in_Durmersheim_-_panoramio.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Elelicht - File:Catal Hüyük EL.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

Eli Christman - 2015_Krampusnacht_Walk_(23442676972).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Eucalyp edited by Bruce the Deus - Eucalyp-Deus WikiFairy (black).png [License:] (Changes were made)

Exobio - File:Capture vidéo d'un visage extraterrestre.png [License:] (Changes were made)

Fæ - File:A magical seal of Solomon, 19th C Wellcome L0037456.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Fæ - File:A magical seal of Solomon, 19th C Wellcome L0037444.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Fanny Schertzer - File:Ball's Pyramid North.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Friedrich Haag - Hamburg_Am_Elbtunnel_014_2020_01_23.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Geof Sheppard - 2009_at_St_Keyne_Wishing_Well_Halt_-_noticeboard.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

HajjiBaba - File:Transylvanian Double-niche rug, Brașov County, Transylvania, Romania.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Hanay - File:Beit She'arim – Hell's cave 2017 (2).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Hallsw - Solang ztelan stelan.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Horst A. Kandutsch - File:Moderner Krampus Kärnten3.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

Ionutzmovie - File:Cat on concrete floor.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

James St. John - File:Hydrophane opal (precious opal).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:Hardemer Beseridder (09.02.2014 - 2).JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:Gundelfinger Dorfhexen (27.02.2017) - 2.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:Freiburg - Teufel.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - Finsterbach_Hexen_Schramberg_(09.02.2020_-_2).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - Finsterbach_Hexen_Schramberg_(09.02.2020_-_3).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - Finsterbach_Hexen_Schramberg_(09.02.2020_-_1).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:Elztäler Felsehexe Waldkirch (09.02.2014 - 2).JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:D'Higeler Welsch-Häxe (27.02.2017) - 2.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:Buebacher Sauhexen (09.02.2020 - 3).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

James Steakley - File:Ankele-Hexen Schweighausen (09.02.2020).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Johnbod - File:Room 51, British MuseumDSCF6620.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Katsch1969 - File:Perchtenlauf Gh Pröllhofer (30951409670).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Lamiot - File:Dead rat(poisonned)and naturally mummifiedFungus.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

le Korrigan - File:Korrigan.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Lestat - File:WPKiW - Rzeźba 07.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

Lofor - “Erlkoenig_Jena_01.jpg” [License:] (Changes were made)

Mariordo (Mario Roberto Durán Ortiz) - File:Museo_de_Jade_Diquis_Stone_Spheres_CRI_01_2020_4319.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Mattes - Monster_in_Braunau_4.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

MCDinosaurhunter - File:Oviraptorid Clean.png [License:] (Changes were made)

MCDinosaurhunter - File:Dromaeosaurus Clean.png [License:] (Changes were made)

MCDinosaurhunter - File:Pachycephalosaurus Clean.png [License:] (Changes were made)

Mike Reyher - File:Bacchus head in Italy.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

MOs810 - Pecka_Castle_(3).jpg] [License:] (Changes were made)

Nick Pounder - [License:] (Changes were made)

Panographer de - File:Ales Stenar 360-Panorama.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Petar Milošević - File:Манастир Моштаница-капела за паљење свећа (Moštanica Monastery, chapel for lighting candles).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Pierre Andre Leclercq - Quesnoy-sur-Deûle_-_le_grand_Perne_(25).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Ralf Roletschek - File:Troll-Oslo-RalfR2.png [License:,_version_1.2] (Changes were made)

Ricardalovesmonuments - File:Stadtmuseum Kitzbühel Perchten.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Rosser1954 - Green_Man,_Knaresborough,_North_Yorkshire.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Ross M Karchner - File:Mess with a ball of yarn.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Sebastian Nizan - Blackbird-flat.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

SimerlAltaussee - File:Bärigl.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Teepetersen - File:Harm None.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

TheJaySpearing - File:Bryn Celli Ddu on the Summer Solstice.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Tiia Monto - File:Citrus fruit mold.png [License:] (Changes were made)

Wald1siedel - File:Goldegg, Perchtenlauf 08.JPG [License:] (Changes were made)

Wolfgang Stauber - File:Gotland-Källunge kyrka Hauptportal 17.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

Xaver X. Dreißig - File:Eva Backofen - Die Ziege (2007, Sandstein und Platte).jpg [License:] (Changes were made)

あおもりくま - File:Tashiro Ranch Aomori Prf Japan R0010020 xmp e.jpg [License:] (Changes were made)