on ‘getting my support wherever I find it’

foodforest

On Wednesday a very positive article on the Sydney Morning Herald was written about the food forest project of The Artist As Family.
It made you ponder, and resolved to stitch together a bunch of instances you encountered in the past few years, as you think the relationship of those various sporadic moments of communication are very much linked.
Lets start with the latest. Meg Ulman, Patrick Jones and his 10 years old son Zephyr, present their artistic interventions as a unit, The Artist As Family. You are not going to delve in the merits of such social statement (reconsidering the role of the ‘artist as hero’, presenting a new socially-aware dynamic of engagement, repositioning the role of the artist as a social being, not as a uber-being which hovers over society producing cultural statements, etc) to rather focus on how their latest collaboration has being portrayed in this particular article.
As part of the a current exhibition -In The Balance- the family unit proposed and delivered a permanent installation on the grounds of Anglican’s St. Michael’s church: a garden.
Using permaculture principles as an over-arching design, and with the help of various volunteers from the church, the neighborhood and the art-crowd, a food forest was created, a cornucopia of all sort of edibles which will augment the resident free soup initiative and make a valuable and unmistakable statement about food production in modern society.
The article about the project took then an extremely important -in your opinion- swing, investing the food forest with a christian reading.
What you find interesting is the fact that hardly ever contemporary art (made-up mostly of post-religion individuals) entangle itself on those topics, and even more seldom churches acknowledge contemporary art as forum for exchange.
The reasons for this to happen needs to be sought in several points, you think.
1. statements like “If there’s a positive spin-off to global warming, we call it social warming – that is, grassroots movements becoming active” by Patrick
2. eagerness of Reverend Francis Chalwell to be bold, and creatively engage with new audiences
3. the politics and rhetoric underlying the intervention are NOT politics or rhetoric, but widely shared universal concerns
4. enough with self celebration, entrenched points of views on how to do something about the environmental disaster we facing, enough political side taking, lets just act, now, all willing individuals, beyond factionalism. (ps. you wouldn’t care less if labor or coalition win the elections, they are both irrelevant)

so, back one step.
You were lucky enough to see Carlo Petrini speaking twice during recent travels. Carlo is understood as the galvaniser of the SlowFood movement, which by now is also Terramadre, an international network of slow producers, expressively against the shifting of goods and monocultures as a model for guaranteeing food for the growing world population. Anyway, what is of interest here is the fact that you went to hear him and his fellow travelers in this world campaign, with serious doubt about the hypocrisy of the apparatus which is Slowfood now, kind of like the organic labeling mafia, who dictates what can be branded as such and what not.
But then you saw Petrini and he had something very interesting to say: the issues are beyond politics or childish factionalism, what we talk about here is universal concerns. He has no qualms on whether he can get support from the left or right side of politics, as they both concern themselves with the safeguard of their offspring. On one forum he was sided by the then Mayor of Rome, a self-proclaimed extremist fascist.

More.
a few years back you were collecting interviews of a number of Redfern residents, as part of the ongoing project Redfern-Waterloo Tour Of Beauty by the SquatSpace collective. We were interviewing some incredible individuals, one of which is Jenny Monroe, a long going indigenous rights activist and greatly respected member of the community.
On our question, ‘so, Jenny, what do you think about us, we are privileged white kids, university degree and de-facto bourgeois, and we feel somewhat unease when we go to the Block (Redfern’s indigenous Australian hub n.d.r) and we talk about social issues fully aware that we are part of the problem, we represent the problem’.. she replied that just because we were doing something about it, we were not representing the problem anymore, but rather the solution, and further ” I have no qualms in taking my support wherever i find it”

One more.
Thanks to a fantastic common friend of yours and Lucas Ihlein, Heather Formaini, on Wednesday you met the Senator elected Ms Lee Rhiannon at the MCA and gave a tour of the exhibition. Ms Rhiannon is a Green, from that party that started out of Tasmanian dissent to become what the world understand as the political voice for environmental change.
You will make a post one day about the actual weight a political entity should have especially when is de-facto native, as much as permaculture and keyline systems, but at this stage you just need to profess one important fact: it doesn’t matter, the issues are universal, let’s harness support and energy wherever is offered.

Transition movements have something to say about that, but lets just post this for now.

Lee share some stories

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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6 Responses to on ‘getting my support wherever I find it’

  1. patrick says:

    glorious ranting deigo!

    i think we now share a love of three distinct common things: weeds, ranting and lowercase politics.

    oh, and baruchello, that’s four and counting…

    we had an small earthquake here last night, and apparently in NZ too.

    xxp

  2. info says:

    lol, thanks for the support Pat! ;)
    we sure to find more common ground

  3. marga says:

    ok d, as ever i enjoy reading your posts, what you are up to…generally am on board… however, re the first part of the post…am really not sure about the labelling/saddling of gardening with art terms…”installation”- for the creation of a garden in a church – really?…then my parents (and half the population) must indeed be prolific artists…maybe am being crass and simplistic but surely growing food has to be one of the most logical, essential, elemental and beautiful things a human being can do, isn’t that enough? does it really require further justification? do we really have to label it in terms other than what it is?
    …my turn to be grumpy…
    keep on keeping on
    mvp x

  4. patrick says:

    marga, i co-designed the garden you refer to.

    the Latin word ‘cultura’, means to cultivate the soil, it is the origin of the English word culture. therefore you could say that gardening is one of the oldest artforms known to modern europeans; an artform of genetic modification, design and poetics.

    every child draws, almost every adult takes photos, many write… so, we’re all artists and poets, just some inspire more than others.

    perhaps this is a good definition of art – those who inspire intensely??

    you should also check out the garden of ian hamilton-finlay in scotland, planted works globally of the 1970s- to the present day, and conceptual art generally and perhaps some of these things might cheer you up.

  5. marga says:

    …hmmm the definition of art…i get your point about the origins of the word culture but sorry am not convinced, neither do i believe that everyone who photographs, writes etc is an artist or a poet..I know Beuys said everyone – each person – is an artist, but i prefer the response from Kippenberger that “every artist is a person”. I just think when something is good, meaningful, poetic…whatever it should live or die by its own merits…maybe we can just leave it at that…i sound a bit aggressive! i don’t mean to be and i speak from the point of view of an artist…struggling with definition, with the art world…and who believes everything does not need to be art…

    incidentally i know little sparta well and you are right, it would cheer me up but i prefer derek jarman’s valiant effort at dungeness if we are talking gardens…!

  6. info says:

    people!
    brilliant!
    i haven’t had so many comment on my rants from a while, and somewhat i got used to talk to myself (even if lots of people read this blog, not many actually interact with it)
    but lets not move away from the discussion here.
    i can offer my contribution by saying that i referred to the Food Forest project as an artwork because that’s how it was born.
    The crew doing it presented it within an art context, themselves are artists, they referred to their contribution to the exhibition as an artistic contribution, and believe it or not, these days that’s enough aspects to successfully label anything, even a vegetable patch, as ‘art installation’.
    but you know that yourself too Marga.
    At the same time the way things grow in a vegetable patch can be called ‘design principles’ by a designer, the sound of a flower opening ‘music’ by a contemporary composer and the way grass sprout ‘poetry’ by a writer.
    I think all of this is important for one reason at least, they all see beauty beyond triviality in nature.
    Sounds archaic doesn’t it?
    how can a contemporary artist still speak of beauty within nature as the fulcrum of his/her own practice?
    and yet, bigger ethical resolutions spark off such statements, the one that maybe would help us revisiting many dogmas we now hold as ‘truisms’.
    i myself love the Gilles Clement garden at Parc Andre’ Citroen

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