Speaking from the hole in the ground:
What has kept you optimistic since we last spoke?
What’s been entertaining you?
What have you been worrying about?
what gives you energy?
We turn up differently and start the conversation from a new angle.
Like Cyclamen seeds we’ve been growing in dark and cold places.
We’ve found entertainment in films and TV that tell stories in layers or revisits a narrative from multiple pathways.
How can a collective practice survive such chaos and unpredictability? How do you sustain a practice when a personal life is so challenging?
Collectivity must be resilient…it must be based on the flexibility and adaptability that comes with lived reality…
What does the messiness and chaos bring? We’re feeling disorganised when we so want to organise.
The energy we share with each other when organising with groups…
Finding friends to take action with…
Swallowing the urge to be in control…
Considering you own expectations…
Realigning ideas of economy. Not money and wealth but the value of exchange or sharing.
“Growthmania is the fatal disease of civilisation, it must be replaced by campaigns that make equity and well-being society’s goals – not consuming more junk”
Ehrlich, The Population Bomb
What is socially engaged practice in relation to Growthmania? Is it a habit to always want to pioneer a new idea, a new technique, a new work…does making art always have to be about making something new?
How can we give gratitude to what is already occurring?
We give gratitude to the writers whose words have nourished us recently. Jaquetta Hawkes, Nan Shepard, Robyn Kimmerer, Annie Dillard.
Where to put the fury that I feel right now? The struggle of supporting children through online learning…feels like an impossible position to hold…
How in an age of no social gatherings, can we reduce the administrative work of solidarity or activism? How can we support members of the collective within the pandemic? Is there still space to research and make together?
We are a ‘dis-organisation’ – how to organise in a time of disorganisation? What is a collective art practice in a time of panic?
How to make space for dropping out and dropping in?
Considering the Undercommons:
A lot of the questions from people on Facebook were, ‘how do you enter into the undercommons?’: well, you know, the ‘undercommons’ is a box, and if you open it you can enter into our world. A couple of people seem to be reticent about the term ‘study,’ but is there a way to be in the undercommons that isn’t intellectual? Is there a way of being intellectual that isn’t social? When I think about the way we use the term ‘study,’ I think we are committed to the idea that study is what you do with other people. It’s talking and walking around with other people, working, dancing, suffering, some irreducible convergence of all three, held under the name of speculative practice. The notion of a rehearsal – being in a kind of workshop, playing in a band, in a jam session, or old men sitting on a porch, or people working together in a factory – there are these various modes of activity. The point of calling it ‘study’ is to mark that the incessant and irreversible intellectuality of these activities is already present. These activities aren’t ennobled by the fact that we now say, “oh, if you did these things in a certain way, you could be said to be have been studying.” To do these things is to be involved in a kind of common intellectual practice. What’s important is to recognize that that has been the case – because that recognition allows you to access a whole, varied, alternative history of thought.
The undercommons is a place of exclusion…or of ‘dropping out’…or of the kind of stuff that happens on the margins…
life is boring right now
need adrenaline of creative risk
what artistic practice am i practicing?
energy – wasting energy?
Letting go of the shame that comes with ‘not knowing enough’. Not having a practice that repeats the same processes over and over. Social art is more about life, chaotic.
And the lifecycle of a project, not viewing projects with regrets or denigrating them with focusing on the negative parts.
Storytelling as activism. Thinking about landscape and traditional storytelling, how to translate this to the city?
Where is this leading us?
Nan Shepherd – The Living Mountain
Annie Dillard – Teaching a Stone to Talk
Mission Economy – Mariana Mazzucato
Joan Didion in Suppose a Sentence
Moten and Harney – The Undercommons