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.
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”
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.