Just because we paid for something, does it mean we own it?

Just because we paid for something, does it mean we own it?

I'm not so sure that I can agree with that definition of ownership with complete conviction. In many ways, I've been thinking more about shared possession than outright ownership; especially in cases where money has exchanged hands.

I first realised the discomfort I was feeling about ownership, when I messaged Ryan Hewett a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to set the stage and explain that we have three of his works on display in our home. My first drafts all included the word "own" (or some kind of derivative thereof) and it just made me cringe, because I didn't feel like I could call myself the owner of his work.

I had a similar experience recently when I was gifted a new artwork. Whilst I have the benefit of the work being on display in my office; I just can't bring myself to think of me being the owner.

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I am humbled to have a new work of art - “Strand” by @arnokruger - on display in my workspace. It is a commission and gift from @jeanne_pienaar to commemorate this phase of my / our lives. Read on for more details. 👇🏻 ⠀ — “Strand” is a work that explores perspectives in flow of thought, as mind is witnessed as the perceiver, the process of perception or object of perception. Inspired by the Kalachakra tantric tradition of sand mandalas or “Wheel(s) of time”, where myth, history and actual historical events become an allegory for the spiritual drama within a person, drawing symbolic or allegorical lessons for inner transformation towards realizing buddha-nature. — I’ve learnt that the best art is invitingly provocative in the way that draws you closer to old or new truths. For me this has always been a subjective, vulnerable and personal experience, having to discover my meaning from a work of art. With that mindset, I’m truly humbled and grateful for what I have received. .@arnokruger created not just a visual work of art, but an experience and meditation, which is not exclusive to me, but of which I am party. What is chilling is that @arnokruger and @jeanne_pienaar combined to create something that would speak to my truth. Something that is open to (my) interpretation, yet structured in enough way to act as an empath as I continue this journey. On top of this, I also received something that was in large much more rewarding. @arnokruger installed the work and also introduced it with a little context. The next couple of hours of pizza, wine and conversation was almost just the first and next steps on this mobius journey. (I’m somewhat convinced that if I wanted to find evidence, I could see footprints on the work.) As I meditate on what this means to me, I did want to celebrate our experiences and the cyclical nature of our journeys, because all of it eventually just comes back to this moment (or the next).

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A thought-provoking, commissioned piece of art, exploring perspective.

Maybe these are outliers, because it is art and I feel some respect or reverence for the artist. For as long as the artwork is not destroyed, there remains at least two parties to the work: myself and the artist.

I feel very differently about the bottle of wine I opened (and finished) last night. I do have respect for the winemaker and the story that shaped the wine, but now that it is finished, it creates a different sensation. If pushed, I probably would not have necessarily spoken about owning the bottle of wine, but I did feel enough ownership thereof to open and drink it.

What I am most wondering about is how co-ownership, collaboration and shared possession relates to many of the things that we would probably label as simple (and singular) ownership.

When I pay for the utility of a product, I become both the beneficiary of that utility, but also an advocate for the success of the product (and the people behind it). That relationship probably does not inherently need to exist for the business to survive, but it is probably infinitely better when the parties involved are in fact, involved.

I guess this is why ownership feels very exclusive and isolated to me as I type this. Like amassing riches in the shadows. Which is very counter-intuitive when we generally agree that sharing is caring and that some of the most meaningful experiences in life are shared amongst people.