You spent the day with Lucas yesterday, general catch up on all sort of things, as we are entangled in all sorts of artistic ventures together, like the BigFagPress, SquatSpace and more current and gone projects.
We’re going to add another one in the collaborative list, with the -just started- Tending project.
This is going to be real fun, and very topical for us both.
Lucas started negotiations last year about a gardening project on the grounds of the Sydney College of the Arts, part of the University of Sydney.
The idea is to set up a garden as a starting point for collaborations, discussions and general social assessment around topics of sustainability, self-sufficiency and community.
Our first joint visit somewhat marks the start of the project, with a rough estimate of the grounds, the resources available, possibilities and possible trajectories.
We made a few sketches, met already some willing participant and started the blog.
Coming away you thought a lot about something coming out of a discussion a while back with Andrea Caretto, a fellow artist from Italy, with whom you spent 6 weeks last year in a mentorship, as part of the just finished Lempriere scholarship. We were talking about a particular project which has been in theirs pipeline (Andrea works mostly in collaboration with long-time partner Raffaella Spagna) for a long time. Back then you were thinking of proposing a, somewhat, similar intervention to the Fondazione Baruchello, following an invite from the institution. The idea was roughly revolving around the concept of leaving a patch of land alone, tightened-up in its current status by the power of ‘artistic intent’, to let nature do its course, fill it with pioneer species (weeds) and seclude it from human intervention.
Now this is nothing new as, as far back as the mid nightie’s, artist like herman de vries (purposely lower case) did organised installations in the like of Skulptur Projekte Munster: Sanctuarium.
What we were discussing with Andrea is the artistic content, his take being: what’s the difference between the work of a regeneration volunteer and the work of an artist who would like to fence-off a portion of land to keep humans out?
At the time Caretto-Spagna were rather busy in another interesting project of theirs: invited by the Zerotremilacento cultural association and thanks to funding by the Frosinone Council, they facilitated a series of workshops as a springboard to get the ancestral practice of urban vegetable patches rolling again.
Now, artistic content.
This is going to be somewhat an interesting aspect of much of what is going to happen in the Tending garden, as much as is an interesting point of departure to use to reason on a couple of other projects now growing, literally, in preparation for an upcoming exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art here in Sydney: In The Balance: art for a changing world.
One is the work of the collaborative venture of Meg, Patrick and Zephyr, all together as TheArtistAsFamily.
They are planting a food forest in a garden outside St Michael’s church in Surry Hills, suburb of Sydney.
The artistic content you guess will have to be found in their writings, in their blog, but then again, what’s the difference between TheArtistAsFamily and a keen gardener and blogger anywhere else?
What’s ‘Art‘ about that?
Another project involves you taking people out in 5 different locations of the greater Sydney to point at the weeds.
What’s the difference between that and the work of some keen urban forager, or, on the other side, a keen environmental nazi who would rather have a bare patch than a pioneer plant growing.
You think that it doesn’t really matter.
It doesn’t matter if the project does not fall under any recognizable criteria of aesthetic values. You think that the communicative aspect of the proposal might be just enough to make it stand alone as an important cultural offering.
Yet, there is gonna be plenty of questions like that as soon as you unleash the Facebook campaign you have been brewing from a while..lol
what’s Art in that?
Lets wait n see.
Lets let some curatorial genius entangle and interweave a number of artistic cross-referencing, as in the meantime you need to seed, water, and foster.