NA! Fund academy dOCUMENTA(13)
In 2012 I was invited to participate in Nature addicts fund academy in Kassel in cooperation with dOCUMENTA(13). Fifteen artists invited to share experiences, present their works, and start up a network with artists working more or less with an environmental perspective. First getting the invitation I didn't understand where they could see an environmental engagement in my artistic work, but after reading their small statement of what they liked about me it became clearer.
It made sense to me and also had to do with my reading of Zizek and also his environmental perspective. What I do can apparently be read as a critique of the mass production generation and of a global culture becoming even more homogenous."
Some of the participants seemed to me as being idealistic with a romanticized view of nature aiming for and believing in some kind of beautiful harmony with nature. But as I, a bit provoked understood it, a 'beautiful' and correct 'nature', quoting what Zizek refers to as "earths natural balance"
The participants of NA! Fund academy, 2012, visiting Pierre Huyghes "Untitled" in dOCUMENTA(13)
There is a movement in art today starting with, I believe, in Michael Hardts and Antonio Negris book The Empire where the road against a better world can start with building small communities where you you strive for and try to achieve a balance with nature, righteousness, democracy, decentralization and an alternate economy etc. Small eco-systems that eventually can spread to larger systems, whole countries and thereby in the prolonging can make a better world.
It's a good idea but the examples I've seen, such as Grizedale arts in England as presented by Adam Sutherland in IASPIS, Stockholm last year, also seems to me to suffer from this idealism striving for the beautiful parts of living and not taking into consideration the backsides, the uglinesses, sicknesses and the repressed perverted drives we may carry around.
On Seeds and and Multispecies: Disowning life, a two day conference during dOCUMENTA(13)
Again I wonder where the person with the ADHD-diagnose fits in this perfect society. I'm afraid he/she will turn the tables around, speak louder than the others, only drink that special beverage from that horrible multinational company, hit things so they break, maybe even being violent because he/she cannot control his/her feelings as we others do etc.
In reply you may say that in a perfectly balanced commune/society there will no such backsides or at least much fewer of them. But I don't think so, I believe such communities risk to strengthen the super egos of ourselves rather than the opposite. And with strong super ego comes a larger alienation, psychologial problems, repressed feelings etc.
There are also other problems I can see within these communes and that is that they tend to be elitistic, demand a a large amount of engagement and work from the individuals and for me above all, they rise borders, they exclude. No such commune can possibly welcome everyone and who chooses who will be welcome, who wont be and on what grounds.
Borders are for me one of the scariest things in the world of today since they are becoming stronger and stronger all the time. Just look att the the US post nine eleven and their department of homeland security, the EU strengthening their economic barriers against the rest of the world. We are more and more separating ourselves in national alliances, countries, communities and groupings which makes a perfect grow ground for xenophobia, racism etc. A tendency quite apparent with nationalist parties growing stronger in Sweden and all over the world.
The idea of these communities is good though and maybe someone can make one that is truly welcoming, fully democratic and in harmony with nature but I think it's hard. I think just as Zizek that change must come from above.
Zizek talking about these communities in Södra teatern, Stockholm, june 2013. Recorded by me.
The week in Kassel meeting the other participants of the academy, seeing dOCUMENTA(13) and meeting with Chus Martinez, one of the main organizers who attended one of our discussions, was a major inspirational input for me which gave me several entrances into my own work. In my feedback to the academy it was important for me to make a point of an awareness of the not so beautiful parts of nature, to be wary of a too sentimental and romanticized image of the nature we are fighting to preserve. Nature is not only order it is also chaos and we have to work from the point we are standing in at the moment. Find a way for nature and modern society to function in a constructive and preserving symbiosis. Not try to force nature back against some kind of historic ideal origin of species.
Read my written feedback to the academy here.
See an interview with myself recorded during the academy here.