“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.
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.