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

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sun Apr 19 18:25:42 CEST 2009


Hi Catherine,

Good to hear from you, and much thanks for your involvement in the 
discussion.

Firstly, I must apologise for the rather long response. I could only 
answer some of your questions mainly because the email would of gone for 
ages, so hopefully this is enough...

 >it seems as though this project is negatively motivated,
 >minimalist through purification, not simplicity: stop, avoid,
 >less,"careering."

I can appreciate how it may be considered as 'negatively motivated'. 
Although, I do not feel this is due to the project itself and that is 
more to do with the fact that it is a controversy, in contrast to the 
weight of how things are in the world. It communicates in a way that 
touches a raw nerve for all of us and thus brings to the fore how we are 
engaged in relation to climate change regarding our own contexts, as 
people and artists.

It can work as a polemic but also a sharing of, being interested in 
knowing what others think and how they are dealing with it in their 
terms. Not just that, it has opened up a dialogue around climate change 
on the list and elsewhere on the Internet. Much of the debate on here, 
has been really interesting and on the whole productive and I have 
learnt a lot from reading various accounts regarding other people's 
real-life perspectives and ideas on the subject. It has been a genuine 
experience to know what others feel, in fact for me invaluable. I cannot 
vouch for others of course...

Your mention of 'We won't fly for art' being 'minimalist through 
purification', seems to say that we are asking everyone to be pure via 
minimal and restrictive means. My view on this is that it cuts through 
many diversions which could act as distractions from the focus and the 
meaning behind the work - in fact, it is against binary mannerisms, 
which are highly prevalent everywhere such as, male and female, black 
and white, good and evil, right and wrong, perfect and imperfect etc. We 
all know that life possesses many shadows which are not easily definable 
via generalized and simplistic hegemonic perceptions. This project is a 
question which aims in challenging such infra-structurally based 
behaviours, making things a little more dynamic by choosing certain 
elements of our social constructs in the art world which we rely on. 
Which does not mean it should not be there, but is asking OK - how can 
we move on from here?

But, if we are thinking about absolutes - climate change is a pretty 
serious problem that effects everyone on the planet in a fundamental 
way. This is an undeniable realism. So, perhaps your suggestion of our 
stance relating to purification is touching on something, which is more 
closer to the issue at hand. For when we are involved in discussing or 
thinking about a subject that feels elemental, profound and overwhelming.

 >I feel that we've just gotten to the point where outside the major
 >cities more than one sort of lettuce is available and more than one
 >ethnicity is represented, where, rather than short wave radio and
 >inter-library loan and mail and phone, we can actually see and
 >communicate more, with more people. Which is why, now,
 >counter-cultural types are turning back toward "the local".

I of course value the availability, access for people to communicate 
with others using technology. Although, in respect of people choosing to 
become more local, food-wise. There are many reasons for this, which 
includes the decision by those small groups who wish to take control of 
local produce rather than large multi-nationals killing small businesses 
and imposing soulless homogeneous, shopping environments in our 
villages, towns and cities. Many of my friends grow their own food, some 
are even self efficient in consuming 90% of their foods. Atty, a 
programmer friend is one such individual (http://www.myplot.org/) - my 
mum at the back of her council estate (I believe these are called 
projects in the USA) is another.

I remember reading a book on Avant Gardening which I found most 
impressive. There is also this web site 
(http://www.avant-gardening.com/) promoting these localized adventures 
"A garden is more than just a means of providing food, it is a model of 
what is possible in a community. Everyone could have a some kind of a 
garden and grow healthy, nutritious organic food - thereby promoting a 
more sustainable way of living, encouraging a local economy via a 
farmers market creating an arena to discuss gardening experiences, sell 
their extra produce, and share the bounty. Since most of the nation's 
food is produced by less than 2% of the population, everyone could be 
part of the solution."

Also, there are some who are still using planes to get around but at the 
same time exploiting these networks to reach areas in the world to 
support local producers in coffee and other produce. "Feral Trade 
(http://www.feraltrade.org/statement) uses couriers from certain 
destinations around the world who would be travelling on these journeys 
anyway. This involves them bringing produce to cities and areas (as part 
of their luggage) and dropping them off at someone’s flat or space as 
storage, culminating as part of a larger node orientated, social 
network. This project offers the space for those connected to the 
project, whether they be the makers, couriers, holders, sellers or 
buyers of the produce to experience a more knowing relationship that 
reflects upon a more contextual and relational understanding of what it 
means to connect to others, during the process of sharing the 
responsibility and activity of distribution. In contrast to Metzger’s 
‘Reduce Art Flights’, which rightfully asks people to reduce air 
flights, Feral Trade asks us to make better use of these flights beyond 
selfish means. Not only that, it opens up possibilities for a slower 
form of distribution, less reliant on speed and more about human scale 
nodal connections. At this point then, air flights need not be a 
necessary form of transport and in many cases it isn’t, it could of 
course be anything according to the conscience of whoever decides to 
collaborate." 
http://www.artsblog.it/post/2803/intervistando-la-crisi-con-marc-garrett-part-2

 >not everyone is suited to fighting the good fight against
 >fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism in small towns by day and
 >making wild and free art alone in a barn / basement server room of
 >one's own by night; not everyone wants to join an art colony or
 >commune or live on a college campus; not every practice thrives on
 >solitude; not every practice thrives on jetting around "networking"
 >with "important people"

Fair enough...

But, thankfully there are those who are able to collaborate to make 
changes together - in support for those who due their unfortunate 
situations or circumstances do not have the choice or privilege to do so 
themselves.

 >live on a college campus

For the record, I have never been to college, due to various unfortunate 
social situations encountered in my early years, linked to family stuff. 
I have a strong belief that we can educate ourselves pretty well, if 
interested, or feel inclined to, we can find ways around things if we 
really try, find resources around us. Which in my town when I was a kid, 
were pretty remote back then. Especially if one was dealing with the 
social services in the 1970's which was depressing in the extreme...

I think that you have hit on something here, it really is about choice - 
it could be as simple as that :-)

wishing you well.

marc



In way, its like asking

I would say that it is born out of positive intentions and perhaps as a 
goal is unrealistic.

Hi, I don't have a "high-flying" art career. I have a pretty big
carbon footprint, though.

But it seems as though this project is negatively motivated,
minimalist through purification, not simplicity: stop, avoid,
less,"careering."

I feel that we've just gotten to the point where outside the major
cities more than one sort of lettuce is available and more than one
ethnicity is represented, where, rather than short wave radio and
inter-library loan and mail and phone, we can actually see and
communicate more, with more people. Which is why, now,
counter-cultural types are turning back toward "the local".

"relate differently to their own local cultures and to connect more
imaginatively to other cultures"

not everyone is suited to fighting the good fight against
fundamentalism and anti-intellectualism in small towns by day and
making wild and free art alone in a barn / basement server room of
one's own by night; not everyone wants to join an art colony or
commune or live on a college campus; not every practice thrives on
solitude; not every practice thrives on jetting around "networking"
with "important people"

-- All best, Catherine Daly c.a.b.daly at gmail.com 
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