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Just back from two weeks in the New Forest, UK and haven't yet dared to download my email.
Every UK-based art worker I know at the moment is exhausted and crazed by the stresses of politics and questions of survival. Public funding, to support infrastructure, services and culture that is for the public, is being phased out in favour of a corporatization of culture supported by consumption-fuelled-growth and patronage by the rich; in a way that separates power from responsibility and constrains imagination.
Alternative values, imaginative practices and processes might find a way to thrive as a network of Temporary Autonomous Zones give rise to a more diversely created, owned and shared culture. In the meantime many people struggle to stay-afloat.
Two weeks holiday in a rented cottage on the border of acres of sun-bathed common land - (dangerously dry) heathland and forest inhabited by horses, ponies, donkeys, birds, insects, deer and very few people- have revived us.
Inspired by student-led drawing classes at Writtle School of Design (where I teach) I bought myself some chalk pastels and made landscape drawings. I also played with a camera.
I have been preoccupied over the last couple of years with questions about our relationship with the natural environment as explored by transdisciplinary artists, hackers, designers, philosophers, scientists (social and material), feminists - about structures and infrastructures for individual and collective imagination, responsibility and agency.
I hadn't thought much about landscape.
These are some notes from my diary:-
"Drawing on the common and playing with the camera I incorporated the process of drawing (which it turns out is a conversation between eye, hand, playfulness, imagination, ego, memories, theories and stories of other scenes, natural and created (drawn, painted, photographed), along with the material stuff of the landscape itself), extending drawing into action, arrangement, evocation and performance. The drawings and videos I have made will become raw material for something else. Though I need to 'finish' some things - to say "I was here" - they will soon change again and take up another position in an array of things and ideas...
...nature, animal, woman, raw material / culture, tool, man, product - Donna Haraway's binary categories [discussed in her essay on a marxist feminist definition of sex/gender*] are helpful as markers of the values of a pre-network age, before everything flowed in all and any direction at once (which is what makes knowledge power- information that allows one to navigate the resources becomes worth as much if not more than the resources themselves)."