A0022 – OurGoods, How OurGoods Works


OurGoods, a network and bartering platform founded in 2009 by Jen Abrams, Louise Ma, Carl Tashian, Rich Watts, and Caroline Woolard, encourages the production of independent projects by helping cultural producers match their “needs” with others’ “haves.” Members’ “needs,” which range from “paint of any color and quality” to “Swahili/English speakers,” are as varied as their goals: sanding a small bookshelf or mounting a public performance. OurGoods proposes that everyone is a potential producer; a “have” can be the willingness to stay up all night or to hand out flyers. Trades are tracked using accountability tools. Members rate and describe their experiences bartering with other members, and narratives accumulate to produce track records. A contract made using OurGoods is binding because it initiates a social bond—a desire to meet expectations or a reluctance to fall short—rather than a legal one. In-person workshops complement the online platform; attendees learn methods for engaging in equitable transactions. This pamphlet was distributed at the OurGoods project space at Living as Form, the 2011 Creative Time Summit and exhibition, where the group hosted classes and advising sessions. Landfill Quarterly Issue 2 contains The OurGoods Living as Form budget, which discloses the costs and benefits of the group’s participation in the exhibition.