Opening The Cultivated Wilderness, or, What is Landscape? architecture critic Paul Shepheard reveals that “this book is about seeing things that are too big to see.” He provides three clear frames to orient our recognition: “The Wilderness of the book’s title is the world before humans appeared in it, and the Cultivation is everything we’ve done to it since. Landscape is another name for the strategies that have governed what we’ve done.” Investigating earthworks or land art is a way of mapping the intersection of geomorphology and human construction. Earthworks begin with the shape of the land and extend through the complex social and ecological processes that create landscape. Including the full array of human activity marking the planet, from petroglyphs to roads, dwellings, monuments and traces of those actions, earthworks show us who we are.
Since 2001 Land Arts of the American West has been developing as an transdisciplinary field program expanding the definition of land art and our relationship to landscape. Land Arts is a semester abroad in our own back yard connecting the pedagogic potential of travel with the rigors of field research.
Land Arts of the American West at Texas Tech University seeks to cultivate collective energy within an expanded disciplinary range of examinations from architecture, the built environment, public culture, literature, science, and geography to explorations of contemporary art practices.
• 11 February 2013 • View comments
construction site for non-affirmative practice
The Construction site for non-affirmative practice is a group of young Italian designers that came together in autumn 2011 during our collectivized artist’s residency at Careof , a non profit art space in Milan. Since, the group has developed its own dynamics and together we study and experiment with alternative criteria with which to act in the world and, in particular, the world of design.
The Construction site is asking questions like:
What sort of society do we want to contribute to?
What position are we taking within the capitalist economy and how can we question that position?
How do we want to work and relate to others?
How do we want to live?
What support structures can we construct in order to allow for the development of diverse and sustainable design practices?
For more details on the project we invite you to visit the section dedicated to the Construction site on the website Designing Economic Cultures .
The Construction site also has its own website: pratichenonaffermative.wordpress.com
• 11 February 2013 • View comments
Image: Henk Tukker, 1988: At youth centre De Isselt girls are trained to be metalworkers.
I Can’t Work Like This
Project, 01 May – 23 Jun 2012
Exhibition, Assembly, Workshop, Event
‘I Can’t Work Like This’ is initiated by Casco director Binna Choi and artist Matthijs de Bruijne, developed together with union organiser and member of SEIU Valery Alzaga, art historian Beatrix Birken, philosopher and assistant professor at UvA Johan Hartle, and with the assistance of Casco project coordinator Suzanne Tiemersma and Casco intern Loes Degener.
“What do you mean, you can’t work like this?” The project ‘I Can’t Work Like This’ creates a platform for examining our working conditions in the permanent crisis of the neo-liberal economic regime, and for learning how workers from variant sectors can get effectively organised. We propose to do this through a collaborative and transdisciplinary approach involving art, design, action and theory.
In recent years, a sector of the federation of trade unions in the Netherlands (FNV Bondgenoten) started reconsidering the limits of its old “service unionism model” and opted to experiment with an “organising model” to build up an organisation from below marked by grass-roots action and a high degree of self-organisation by its members. This was a drastic departure from the unions’ previously top-down structure and their function as quasi-insurance for workers with fixed contracts. However, numerous problems regarding labour organisation today – such as the increase of freelance/flexible contract work or the often invisible and poorly remunerated work of undocumented migrant workers – still tend to be beyond the scope of most unions. Hence, there is more to do.
While labour conditions in general have changed, the sphere of art and culture too has undergone paradigmatic shifts. In what official policy now calls “the creative industries”, a focus on the affectivity and creativity goes hand in hand with an effective valorization of the managerial over the artistic. Institutions feed off the commitment of “art workers” who tend to merge their work and life, while maintaining a bureaucratic superstructure that seems to become more dominant in an age of funding cuts and insecurity. This situation suggests the need for re-examination, re-articulation and new constellations: It is time to voice what kind of “work” it is that “art workers” do, how and for whom do we work. And it is time to suggest new forms of organising and becoming collective subjects.
Taking the forms of an exhibition and public events, the project will present different relations between art and labour-related struggles, suggested through documentations of actions, contemporary and historical artworks, designs and other artifacts. The exhibition includes works by artist Charlotte Posenenske, Argentinean art collective Tucumán Arde (Archivo Graciela Carnevale) and British film collectives from the 60s and 70s. It also documents a few exemplary cases where the struggle for better working conditions merge with aesthetic practices, such as in the work of the Carrotworkers’ Collective, Jinsuk Kim & Hope Bus movement, as well as contemporary organising models used in campaigns by Justice for Janitors, workers of Silicon Valley and the Dutch Cleaners Union.
Where will this artistic research lead? By discussing the relation between art workers and unions, between artistic practice and labour-related struggles, ‘I Can’t Work Like This’ hopes to stimulate new alliances between aesthetics and politics. In the end, its question is simple: Why don’t we find a common ground and get aligned with other workers in taking action for better working conditions?
• 15 May 2012 • View comments
ESBA Nantes Métropole, HEAD-Genève and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam are launching Fieldwork: Marfa, an international researcher-in-residence program for emerging artists, critics and/or researchers located in Marfa, Texas, USA.
Fieldwork: Marfa is the joint project of three major European schools, ESBA Nantes Métropole, HEAD-Genève and Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. This international researcher-in-residence program is dedicated to the practice of art in public space, critical approaches to landscape and artistic projects based on field investigation methods. Located in Marfa, Texas, USA, this outstanding platform is intended for emerging artists, critics and/or researchers. Residents are selected on the basis of the singularity of specific projects they present.
Fieldwork: Marfa caters to emerging artists, critics and/or researchers whose projects require immersion into the specific environment of Marfa and Texas territory, necessitating movement through geography as well as time and space for the purposes of specific research work. The program comes with a research grant, enabling the applicants to produce theoretical and/or practical work using their own methodologies, with support from a number of professional partners, specialized stakeholders and educational institutions.
Fieldwork: Marfa is an inter-school research group that provides a framework for the incursions and endeavors of researchers-in-residence. The work itself fuels various joint projects, in the form of an ongoing annual program based on the participants’ residency schedules:
A series of workshops and symposia alternating between the three schools, including working sessions;
A schedule of exhibitions and meetings based on the research projects, held on home ground, in Marfa;
An editorial program with an annual publication showcasing the contributions or reports from various researchers, students or occasional guests.
The program relies on a collaborative network of like-minded international art schools and universities, research structures, art institutions and cultural events (Chinati Foundation, Ballroom Marfa, Center for Land Use Interpretation, Los Angeles and more to come).
Outside residency periods, Fieldwork: Marfa welcomes a platform of off-site workshops driven by each of the three schools: “Accident de parcours” (changing course) Master’s research program (ESBA – Nantes), “ALPes – Art, Lieu, Paysage, espace sonore” (Art, Landscape, Place, sound space) postgraduate program (HEAD-Genève) and “Research Group Art and Public Space” (Gerrit Rietveld Academie – Amsterdam).
• 19 March 2012 • View comments
artist in residence
The Reverse Ark was a project developed by Futurefarmers as artists in Residence at Pasadena City College. Futurefarmers spent 4 days in residence in the gallery working with students to create the Reverse Ark.
An inventory of limited resources inhabit the gallery– in preparation for the flood. These recycled materials were used during a four day residency to build “the Reverse Ark”. The gallery became a living laboratory for learning, inquiry and improvisation including mini-workshops, lectures, video screenings and frameworks for reflection. Invited guests included an environmental scientist, Los Angeles Mayors Office, Department of Water, a priest, and a computer scientist.
• Recycled Plastic waterbottles ..Amount: Enough to hold the
..collective body water of
..Amy, Michael and Stijn.
• 25 wooden-shipping pallates
..Amount: Enough to float the
..collective weight of
..Amy, Michael and Stijn.
• Recycled Cardboard
..Amount: Combined height of
..Amy, Michael and Stijn.
• Newspapers 40 days and 40
..nights of San Francisco
. Times/New York Times
• Projection Screen
..(10’ x 12’ made from..
..lamenated newspapers and
.. white guache)
• Buckminster Fuller Quote
..(Pencil on Wall)
Water (40 gallons = the combined amount of water in the bodies of the three Futurefarmers collaborators. This is based on the
average percentage of the human body that is composed of water.
“Should we also flood the sistine chapel so tourists can get nearer the ceiling?”
-Excerpt from a full-page newspaper advertisement paid for by the Sierra Club in 1966 to provoke the public to fight the US Bureau of
Reclamation’s proposal of building a series of small dams in the basin of the Grand Canyon.
_”…If you are in a shipwreck and all the boats are gone, a piano top buoyant enough to keep you afloat that comes along makes a fortuitous life preserver. But this is not to say that the best way to design a life preserver is in the form of a piano top. I think that we are clinging to a great many piano tops in accepting yesterday’s fortuitous contrivings as constituting the only means for solving a given problem…”
-R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth
• 12 December 2011 • 12 notes • View comments
Tercerunquinto, Public Sculpture Project in the Urban Periphery of Monterrey, 2003
Art Lies, Issue 56
Artistic collectives are rare in Mexico, especially ones that address the relationship between art and public space. Tercerunquinto is one such group that has successfully engaged collective practice as a means of critically dealing with the role of the built environment, utopianism and its limitations. The Monterrey-based group, comprised of Julio Castro Carreón, Gabriel Cázares Salas and Rolando Flores Tovar, has been working collaboratively since 1996. Tercerunquinto has exhibited widely in Mexico, the United States and Europe, including the Gallery at REDCAT (Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater) and most recently at the New Langton Arts residency program in San Francisco.
The collective is primarily interested in, among other things, the collapse between public and private space and the ways in which art can articulate a political and social discourse within these parameters. Beuysian notions of social sculpture provide fundamental underpinnings to the group’s working philosophy, just as performative and relational histories have affected contemporary artistic practice on a global scale. Architecture and its attendant theories and practices provide a strong framework for much of the group’s work, whether it resides within—or in spite of—the white cube. Public Sculpture Project in the Urban Periphery of Monterrey (2003), for example, consisted of the group pouring a forty-square-meter cement foundation for a community of illegal settlements on the outskirts of Monterrey, providing them with a foundational base for various neighborhood functions, including the distribution of food, blankets, medicine and various religious and political meetings.
In other projects, Tercerunquinto has manipulated or altered the walls, gates and staircases of existing structures as a means of both changing and heightening the use-values of such elements. In a project realized in a group exhibition at the Mexican Cultural Institute during Art Basel Miami Beach in 2002, for example, the group tore a hole in the wall that separated the exhibition space from the immigration office of the Consul General of Mexico, thereby collapsing and contaminating the sacrosanct nature of each respective space. In all of their projects, an awareness of social dynamics emerges as the real essence of the work. Moreover, the burden of the monument and its devalued currency in contemporary Mexican culture is an important cornerstone in the collective’s work. In the following series of questions, I wanted to address the social dynamics that led to the group’s formation and the implications of working collectively versus an individual voice.
GV: Why did you decide to work as a collective?
T1Q: For us, it was the manner in which we began to produce art. Almost as soon as we entered the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, we collaborated in an artist collective called “Caxa,” formed by some professors and students that focused on public space. Since then, we’ve had particular individual interests but no formalized production. Therefore, collective production was the manner in which we engaged in art. Politically, it wasn’t the result of a manifesto or some other type of foundational pamphlet.
When we first formed our own group as students, it was made up of a variable number of members depending on each particular project. We could be ten, nine, seven or five depending on the video, mural, installation or performance we made. It was a spontaneous way of working as a group. When there were just three of us left in 1998, although we were still students, we assumed a more formalized project because we realized that we had a lot in common.
GV: What are the implications in doing so—in working as a unit? Is it socially based or does it indicate the death of the author?
T1Q: For us, the discussion—the dialogue and the interchange of ideas—represents the primary material for the production of art. We cannot say that we have a political/socialist interest, nor can we say that our particular way of working postulates the “death of the author.” We are not necessarily in conflict with artistic tradition.
GV: Are there any historical precedents that inspired you to work as a group?
T1Q: Honestly, there is no historic movement that has inspired us as a group. At times context determined, in large part, the need to work as a group. Being that Monterrey is such a difficult context in which to work and at times hostile to certain forms of contemporary art, collective practice is, in some ways, a strategy for survival. The joining of forces guaranteed that we could exist as artists. It should be noted that Marcela Quiroga and Georgina Arizpe of the duo “Marcela and Gina” share a similar history.
Now we have more conscious ideas about collaboration through our knowledge of other collectives, historically speaking and in the contemporary arts. We are now capable of recognizing in others the similarities and differences in work dynamics and aesthetic interests.
GV: You have realized projects in public spaces that are very interesting within the context of contemporary art. What was the impetus to move outside the white cube?
T1Q: We are constantly moving inside and outside of the white cube.On the one hand, we have a series of projects that questions and works around the notion of public sculpture as a “coronation” of urban development: public sculpture with monumental characteristics that dignifies supreme values or heroic deeds. On the other hand, we produce work for institutional spaces as well. Also, we have become increasingly interested in the moment that documentation of the art we produce in public spaces becomes inserted into institutional spaces. We believe this is another state of the work that seeks correspondence, perhaps in order to explore the relationship between artwork, document and space and time.
GV: Do you ever present work as individuals or always as Tercerunquinto?
T1Q: We generally work in tandem. What little work we do produce as individuals functions as personal exercises, which are later returned to the collective.
• 7 December 2011 • 3 notes • View comments