[NetBehaviour] We won't fly for art : Take the Pledge

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Apr 15 13:20:19 CEST 2009

Hi Pall,

 > Being stuck on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic makes
 > this one a bit tough for me too.

Yes, of course - things probably need to be measured out in a conscious 
way, it is a matter of balance rather than an absolute.

Some of the furtherfield crew disagreed with us, and suggested that we 
did not make it a furtherfield project, and we respectfully honoured 
this request; and decided to make it a project set up by Ruth and myself 
instead, which is fair enough.

In response to this, we have received many questions. Which are all 
relevant, highlighting how difficult such a request is.

In an interview with Art is Open Source, discussing about the economic 
crisis, climate change and neoliberalism. I said " I was impressed by 
Gustav Metzger’s recent project ‘Reduce Art Flights’. A campaign 
challenging the art world to stop contributing to global warming by 
reducing their air flights all over the world, “following a reaction to 
Art Basel in 2006. RAF / Reduce Art Flights which deliberately resonates 
with both the Royal Air force and Red Army Faction acronyms comprises of 
a series of leaflets distributed at significant art events and 
exhibitions in an attempt to awaken the art world into considering 
alternative travel options.”[15] Reduce Art Flights (RAF) is a simple 
project asking us head-on to change and be more effective in our 
everyday lives in respect of our use of air flights. Questioning the 
systematic behaviour of the art world and its reliance on travelling to 
conferences and art fairs. “Two decades of procrastination ensure that 
only emergency measures now have a chance of preventing a climate disaster."

So, perhaps it is more about 'reducing' art flights - not ever going on 
an 'art' flight.

Ruth and I have both made personal sacrifices 'our decision', no one 
else's to not go on flights for six months and see how we approach 
different ways in travelling, instead of choosing the easy option of 
flying. As you know, we are pretty busy and so it will be ard for us, 
but we wish to see what happens.

Like Gustav Metzger, we feel that each practice has its own set of 
circumstances. By sharing this 'personal' challenge in an art context, 
with the (media) art world and others - a realisation hits you, how 
varied everyone else's perspectives and concerns really are, around this 
complicated issue. Which I think is great, because the discuourse itself 
can teach myself and Ruth, and anyone else who is interested, what it 
means for others and how it relates relationally, especially in respect 
of social relationships with the real world, and how it all connects 
locally, personally and internationally when using infrastures to 
support our art activities.

The other thing is, already we know that many have been reliant on 
flight to further their, ahem - careers. One of the main problems I see 
here is that, there are some who thrive by travelling the world to 
conferences and having exhibitions everywhere, whilst there are those 
who rarely travel in contrast to this. Perhaps, such a process of 
re-evalution will allow the smaller groups or individuals to be seen as 
equal in the future, if things change, doubt it ;-)


Pall Thayer wrote:
 > Being stuck on an island in the middle of the North Atlantic makes
 > this one a bit tough for me too. I will however promise never to sail
 > for art as I've never found the ocean's sense of balance particularly
 > appealing.
 > best r.
 > Pall Thayer
 > On Tue, Apr 14, 2009 at 11:01 PM, Michael Szpakowski 
<szpako at yahoo.com> wrote:
 >> Hi Ruth
 >> pretty much my every breath is dedicated to trying to blag an art 
related trip outside Europe so I don't think I can do this one, or at 
least not until I've pulled that off. However I am happy to promise 
*never, ever* to drive anywhere in pursuit of my art...
 >> warmest wishes
 >> michael
 >> --- On Sun, 4/12/09, Ruth Catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org> wrote:
 >> From: Ruth Catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org>
 >> Subject: Re: [NetBehaviour] We won't fly for art : Take the Pledge
 >> To: "NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity" 
<netbehaviour at netbehaviour.org>
 >> Date: Sunday, April 12, 2009, 6:07 PM
 >> Thanks Karen and Dimos for joining us so quickly and for setting 
longer pledge deadlines; )
 >> For those who'd like to join us but have tickets already booked for 
art-flights before 26th April, check out the comments:-
 >> - Karen's pledge has a 10th May as its deadline 
 >> - Dimos Dimitriou has 15th May 
 >> Cheers
 >> Ruth
 >> -----Original Message-----
 >> From: Ruth Catlow <ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org>
 >> Reply-To: ruth.catlow at furtherfield.org, NetBehaviour for networked 
distributed creativity <netbehaviour at netbehaviour.org>
 >> To: NetBehaviour for networked distributed creativity 
<netbehaviour at netbehaviour.org>
 >> Subject: [NetBehaviour] We won't fly for art : Take the Pledge
 >> Date: Sun, 12 Apr 2009 14:16:35 +0100
 >> We won't fly for art for six months
 >> but only if 6 others will do the same AND replicate this pledge by 
26th April 2009
 >> http://www.pledgebank.com/wewontflyforart
 >> - Marc and Ruth
 >> We will not take an aeroplane for the sake of art. For the next 6 
months we will find other ways to visit and participate in exhibitions, 
fairs, conferences, meetings, residencies. We will not fly for 
inspiration, nor to appreciate, buy or sell art.
 >> But only if 6 others will do the same AND replicate this pledge.
 >> This pledge is designed for exponential growth so if you persuade 
another 6 people to do the same, within a year you could be one of 
millions of people changing the way the artworld works. So sign up, 
create a replica pledge and share your own experiences, observations and 
arguments towards reducing art flights. Post a link to it in the comment 
box so others can find their way to it.
 >> This is a public art experiment in the de-escalation of 
carbon-fuelled, high altitude, high-velocity, global art careering. For 
six months we choose to cover less physical distance, move more slowly 
between destinations, to look futureward with more attention to the view 
from the ground and the network, for ways to connect with others around 
the world.
 >> Who can sign up to this pledge? Any individual involved in the arts: 
artist (in the broadest sense), curator, art administrator, art 
appreciator, gallerist, art critic, art historian, art academic, art 
technician, art security, art transporter etc. Whether you currently fly 
for art 50 times a year or never, your engagement will change things by 
making your position in the artworld visible and by offering an 
alternative perspective. If you work with others you may need to 
completely revise your schedules and budgets and lobby for the right not 
to fly.
 >> This is to light the blue touch paper of Gustave Metzger's Reduce 
Art Flights campaign using the generative and viral capabilities of 
social networks. We want to know more about the impact of air-flight on 
the artworld (and beyond). We intuit that abstaining from air flight 
will motivate and enable people (with more time, money, energy and 
attention) to relate differently to their own local cultures and to 
connect more imaginatively to other cultures.
 >> Inspirations and Observations
 >> Artwork- 'Reduce Art Flights' by Gustave Metzger, reviewed here 
 >> Sustainable Development- Social science on the environmental impact 
of economic growth
 >> 'Why Politicians Dare Not Limit Economic Growth' by Tim Jackson 
 >> Investigative Journalism - What can we do to stop climate change?
 >> Heat (2006) by George Monbiot, summarised and reviewed here 
 >> Monbiot's Guardian blog http://tinyurl.com/dcew6o
 >> Plane Stupid Campaign- 'bringing the aviation industry down to earth'
 >> http://www.planestupid.com/
 >> More Art and Ecology Links- http://delicious.com/ruthc/ecology+art
 >> DIWOlogue- http://diwologue.net/blog/?p=38
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