What is its-gratis.com?

A critical view at Oskar Lindströms project “its-gratis.com” from the perspective of someone who studies markets. by Oskar Korkman 28.5.2015

“its-gratis.com is a innovative solution to the problem of the economics of art, but in particular turns it into a subject. in the sense that it’s not just a different way to make money with art, but also questions what value art has today, what the consequences of sharing, open source etc are for fine art…” Oskar Lindström (read the rest of the project presentation under “Why gratis?”)

What is really its-gratis.com about? Oskar Lindström says that it will solve the problem of the economics of art?

To be honest, not sure if its-gratis.com solve the problems of the economics of arts. Maybe in his own work of art he can use this to create new art, and maybe in that way get new grants. Solving his own financial situation perhaps? More importantly, it-gratis is an opportunity for everyone to be buyers of arts, and also participate in the process of creating new art. In that sense it is an innovation for how exchange things outside the remit of what we usually define as economics.

Is its-gratis.com something more than that? The store is a place for exchanging real objects, photos that are printed on paper. This is radical, when photos today are digital and float around, pass us by, and more often lack any sort of more stable value or place in our lives. There are photos that have a stable value in our lives as real objects hanging on our walls, in our wallets, but relatively speaking these are fewer and maybe they risk of dying out. Who knows? We can, at the same time, see that people value materials more, something to hold on to, concrete and ever-present. Its-gratis is providing a way for us to stop the eternal digital stream, pick a photo and place it in our life. That is new for us, today.

What is then its-gratis.com in the end? its-gratis.com is foremost an experiment of exchange on the internet, not a market or economics in the traditional sense, but something different, reaching backwards and into the future. A market that is based on the idea of circulation and creation of new materials. It is also an experiment to see what open source really can mean when exchanging physical objects.

Or, maybe the most interesting thing is that, after all, one does not really have a clue what it is or what will happen. I have never visited a store like this before.

Market strategist & explorer
Oskar Korkman