Amy Balkin

This is the Public Domain
November 30, 2005 to February 24, 2006

Amy Balkin's art practice combines cross-disciplinary research and social critique with a search for unrealized possibilities outside current formal systems. Her ongoing project This Is the Public Domain is an effort to create a permanent international commons from 2.5 acres of land she has purchased near Tehachapi, California, via legal transfer of ownership to the global public.

Balkin finds historical precedents in the Commons of pre-17th century England and the LATWIDN (Land, Access To Which Is Denied No-one) experiment at Lou Gottlieb's Morning Star Ranch in Sonoma, California, in the 1970s. More recent parallels can be seen in the free/open source software movement and the copyleft and Libre Commons Res Communes licenses for intellectual property.

For the Wattis Institute Bulletin Board, Balkin has produced a series of posters in the tradition of 19th-century broadsides. With their combination of proclamation and information, these posters both promote the Open Land philosophy and present some of the problems and questions encountered in the search for a working real-world framework.

Amy Balkin received her MFA in new genres from Stanford University in 2003. She lives and works in San Francisco. Her recent projects include Invisible-5, a collaborative environmental justice audio tour of the I-5 corridor between the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, This Is the Public Domain (, and Public Smog (

The Bulletin Board has been supported by a generous grant from Art For Art's Sake, New York.