On setting up Bio-art


“No please, don’t refer to us as environmental artists”, Caretto-Spagna said in one of the many exchanges we had in the past 6 weeks.
You worked with them in a mentorship program in Cambiano, Italy, getting ready a major new work for a curated group show for the Strozzina, Firenze, Green Platform.
When you were installing, then, you managed to go and take a couple of stills of the sort of stuff we get measured against all the time, as artist of the “western side”.
Tim Ingold has got interesting things to say about “Western culture”, that despite is the sort of label most anthropologists (he’s one) would shy away from, for the purpose of explaining the complex argument he’s bringing forward in books like The perception of environment, has to be used in all of its implications.

Ingold writes:

Every time I find myself using them (“western” and “modern” n.d.r) I bite my lip with frustration, and wish I could avoid it. The objections to the concepts are well known: that in most anthropological accounts they serve as a largely implicit foil against which to contrast a ‘native point of view’; that much of the philosophical ammunition for the critique of so-called western or modern thought comes straight out of the Western tradition itself; that once we get to know people well – even the inhabitants of nominally Western countries – not one of them turns out to be a full-blooded Westerner, or even to be a particularly modern in their approach to life; and that the Western tradition of thought, closely examined, is as richly various, multivocal, historically changeable and contest-driven as any other.

human microbiome

About info

Diego Bonetto is a multimedia artist living and practicing in Sydney, Australia, and is a key member of artists' collectives SquatSpace and the BigFAGPress. -The SquatSpace collective has been producing ground-breaking events and projects since 2000. The group has been curated in a number of shows both in Australia and overseas. The current initiatives, the Redfern-Waterloo Tour of beauty (www.squatspace.com/redfern) tackle issues of social representation and the politics of space generated by gentrification. -The BigFagPress (BFP) is a publishing facility housed in Wooloomooloo, Sydney. The BFP is a salvaged 4-tonnes Off-set proof press. The press allows for the creation of countless artworks by keen printmakers and self-started publishers. www.bigfagpress.org Diego has also been working with WeedyConnection, an environmental art campaign. The project involves an online resource (www.weedyconnection.com), short documentary films, cooking shows, blogs, installations, prints, facebook interventions and various site-specific installations in the form of self-guided tours. WeedyConnection tackle the anthropocentric view of what environment should look like. Based on research and data provided by disciplines as far apart as biology, anthropology, paloenthology, social ecology and ethno botany it formulates ethical questions about cultural representation in times of environmental urgency.
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One Response to On setting up Bio-art

  1. Lucas says:

    interesting. so “western-centric” is not really a deprecating term then? if western really means inclusive and multivocal, then to be “western” is ok?

    presumably then, the desire to distance oneself from western-centric thoughts and attitudes is then the most western thing one can do!

    some big philosophical tangles you’re leaping into, diego. phew!

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