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Lumen Station Issue #3

reap & sow


REAP & SOW - Lumen Station #3


REAP & SOW content

bibliography

Fallen Fruit

94

77-79

biographies

finger group and Katalin ERDŐDI

95

Social Honey 75-76

Ernest CALLENBACH

Ivan Ladislav GALETA

24, 25, 36, 56, 81, 84, 88

16-21

Collective Plant

Fernando GARCÍA-DORY

80-81

The Shepherd School 32-39

colophon

Gergely HORVÁTH - Róbert NAGY

96

Galeta’s Garden 16-21

Andrea DUDÁS Fajgerné and

Ebenezer HOWARD

Eszter Ágnes Szabó

89-90

Garden Cities of Tomorrow 53-56

ex artists’ collective

Valentina KARGA

Famine Food 22-28

Summer School for Applied Autonomy 62-65

George McKAY

Elke KRASNY

Radical Gardening 51-52

44, 60, 61, 78

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REAP & SOW content

Virág MAJOR

Marjetica POTRč

Introduction 5-10

The Cook, the Farmer, his Wife and their Neighbor 71-72

Miklós MÉCS

Klaus PICHLER

86-87

Middle Class Utopia 57-59

Thomas MORE

Harry SACHS and Franz HÖFNER

Utopia 12-14, 59

Honey Neustadt 73-74

William MORRIS

News from Nowhere 30, 57, 92

Myvillages

Farmers and Ranchers 40-42, 91

Nils NORMAN

Edible Park 66-69

Endre Lehel PAKSI

On Survival 29-31

Claire PENTECOST

83-85

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4


introduction

Utopias, an ever-unreachable ideal world, and the other side of the coin, dystopias, the nightmare of a dark, fearful era, have been present all along known human history. However, it is undeniable that in the last few years, foreseeing a major collapse has become almost commonplace. Let us just think of the most evident manifestation of popular culture, the numerous recent Hollywood movies that perversely chill the audience with all kinds of imaginable dystopias and collapses. Obviously related to the finally widely accepted discourse on a current global economic and environmental crisis, this tendency recalls Walter Benjamin’s famous quote that “self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order”.* Positive utopias are, however, rare. In an age after the end of history, when the horror of realized utopias still haunts us, great imagination, spirit and also caution is needed to project a new utopia. Still, as Stephen Duncombe elaborates in his introduction to Open Utopia, we need to make our peace with utopia and trust that “we are people who know better” and that this knowledge can help making utopia a viable political project by opening it up to criticism and participation. The links between gardening and utopia are also ancient and deep. No wonder that the ideal of returning to the rural land, to nature, to reach self-sufficiency, and the already heavily-loaded and capitalized notion of urban sustainability have also become largely accentuated recently. The garden, since the Garden of Eden, has often been imagined as a symbolic place where mankind lives in harmony with nature and itself, a place where the basic necessities for living can grow. The garden has obviously inspired artist as well, who often contribute with their imaginative power to see new possibilities and engage for a better world to come in place of the capitalist system and the dystopian nightmare of modernity. Interestingly, parallel to how large-scale utopias have become discredited, many artists turned their attention in the past decades from large-scale to small, from aesthetic gesture to participation and criticism. When contrasted with the way land art related to nature, the soil and the garden from the end of the 1960s, the kind of engagement with the land this publication deals with is significantly different. It is literally about digging into the soil with our own hands to plant a postmodern, bottom-up, small-scale utopia, realizable with individual or community * Walter Benjamin, The

opposite side:

opposite side, bottom:

Work of Art in the Age of

ex artists’ collective, From

ex-artists’ collective, slogan

Mechanical Reproduction,

the Famine Food Archive,

in: Illuminations, 1936

2011

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effort by the artist reaching out towards the ideal of the independent and free life of the farmer. At the same time self-reflective enough to “know better” that an utopia is at stake, with inherited illusions and fantasies about such an independent and free life that can only be pointed towards, or even the contradictions between the utopian dream and reality pointed out. Nevertheless, it is an active and positive engagement with immediate and grounded results of growing plants and communities, feeding basic physical, psychological and social necessities, and thus ideas and dreams of a possible better world. Although Reap and Sow puts the gardening impulse into a much larger historical perspective through quotes from well-known utopia books, it has a focus on contemporary art. This makes it inevitable that I start the story at the end of the 1960s, when gardening could find its way into the art world for two reasons. First, this was the time when land art, an ultimate reference for art dealing with nature, appeared, although, as said before, this form of artistic expression is a different kind of engagement than the one we are interested in here. Gianfranco Barruchello, an Italian artist-farmer, who started to develop his agriculture-related oeuvre and his farm at around this time, explicitly confronts the scale that land art chose to work with in his book Agricola Cornelia. The second reason for gardening coming to the fore in the ‘60s can be found in the connection between gardening and crisis, as Elke Krasny elaborates in her introduction to the exhibition catalogue Hands-on Urbanism. The end of the ‘60s, with the oil and consecutive economic and social crises has seen the crash of the last standing dream of the century, the political and economic course of the Western world. As artists by that time were already turning to society as their artistic material, the search for a new utopia to fill in the vacuum left by failed ones very naturally led them to the garden, too, where they dreamed of new social, economical and political ideals, grounded by the soil itself. Since then, the repeating world crises and neoliberal capitalism that is still spreading in spite of these crises, have definitely contributed to keeping the urgency of critique alive, along with the longing for a steady state economy and a way of life that puts its trust in the idea that the earth would simply contain us if we were to give up the present course and tried to find harmony with nature again. The aim is simple, peaceful survival. The idea is radical, the way of execution is peaceful, and the impulse often comes after the straightforward activist/political approaches have tired out.

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introduction

We could start with Beuys and his Diffesa della Natura, an expression of environmental concerns through agricultural acts, a long-term engagement with the land that started in 1973 on his friends’, Baron BubyDurini and his wife Lucrezia De Domizio’s farm in Bolognano. One of the actions of Diffesa della Natura consisted of planting a 15-hectar land in Bolognano with 7000 endangered plant species, a number that was repeated in his famous work, 7000 Oaks at documenta7, this second time shifting focus from the rural land and environmental protection to the proportion of green in the city, politics and city administration. As an initiative from the Eastern-European context, in the Eastern-European context, Reap and Sow rather starts with Ivan Ladislav Galeta, another influential artist from Croatia, who, somewhat later, started to work on creating his own permaculture-based artistic landscapeon his farm. The historical moment is 1995, right at the end of the turbulent years of war in the ex-Yugoslavian countries, 5 years after the fall of the Soviet Union, when, after the initial enthusiasm for the new economic order, the first signs of critique were already appearing in post-Soviet countries as well. The aforementioned peaceful, survival-oriented, inexplicit political radicality also characterizes the Hungarian works mentioned in this publication, engulfed by the feeling of urgency that appeared in intellectual and artistic circles in the last years as a result of the second FIDESZ government’s introduction of a new political and cultural era in Hungary; a nationalistic, undemocratic, centralized model not unlike the one in several other countries of post-Soviet Eastern Europe. The motivations and strategies of artists’ engagement with gardening are various: developing sustainable models and solutions for the future, expressing criticism, calling attention to environmental, social or economic problems related to agriculture, engagement with political, urban and environmental issues, ecological activism, admiration for nature and putting its products on a pedestal, aiming for self-sustainability, independence and freedom, following a spiritual call, following trends, an effort to find an individual or collective path, to save the Earth, curiosity, learning and teaching, researching and experimenting, even gathering experience and money for finally leaving the artistic context or a mixture of these and more. It is rather difficult to give an overall picture or to categorize the agricultural impulse in arts, except maybe that this impulse is deeply connected to utopia, in a grounded sense. Luckily, there is not yet such an all-encompassing phrase as “agricultural art”, and with this publication we would also like to show a

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multitude of approaches. In an effort to still somehow orchestrate this publication, the first section deals with artistic approaches that rather relate to the country idyll and the politics of retreat, while the second section focuses on those who engage with urban space, opening up to approaches that chose to be more activist in nature. Several agricultural and environmental topics come up, such as bees and honey, the soil and composting, monoculture vs. permaculture, fruit trees, sheeps and shepherds, but also related political and philosophical themes. Many artists included in this publication engage with rural idyll through their own experience of moving to the countryside and starting farming, such as Galeta, The Exartists Collective and art historian Paksi Endre Lehel, but other examples could also be quoted here, such as The Land of Rikrit Tiravanija in Thailand, Gainfranco Baruchello’s farm, Adrian Villar Rojas’s Brick Farm, the Kultivator artist farm in Sweden, or the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, a group that, after many years of environmental activism and a 7-month journey in search of alternative ways of living (Paths Through Utopias), have themselves moved from London to Brittany in the French countryside. This direct participation in the utopia project involves facing the illusions about living in the country, as it is not only the promised paradise, where abundance is provided by a generous Earth, but also a place of plenty physical work and economic hardship. Through the “green revolution” and the massive fossil-fuel based monoculture production, the face of the countryside has severely changed, as is shown by Myvillages as well as the work Farmers and Ranchers featured in this publication. Those who stayed in the countryside, work on mechanized farms struggling for some profit, while the majority in the Western world has already moved to cities. In 2014, 54% of the world population was living in cities, a ratio that is expected to grow by an average of 1,5 percent every year. Growing cities have always faced challenges of sustainability throughout history. The wish expressed in the Garden Cities movement at the beginning of the 20th century was for a better quality life in the fresh air, rather than choking on smoke and horse manure in the city. Not much more than 100 years later - time accelerated in the Anthropocene – there already is a feeling of urgency regarding the changes that need to be made for the sustainability of urban space. The discourse on a global environmental crisis highlights the question of whether the disproportionality between country and city, fertile ground and concrete, human and non-human may endanger our future survival.

8


introduction

However, the phrase “sustainability” is exploited by the capitalist system, which offers marketable technological, smart and green city solutions, or even the techno-utopistic project of the vertical farm – in order to find balance with nature in a quite contradictory, ever-growing sustainable city. Valentina Karga experiments with such solutions, but brings them back to the idea of the commons, treating them as a knowledge that should not be marketed but shared, taught and applied on a grassroots scale to reach a higher level of autonomy. Nils Norman also relates to the commons, by thinking of how a public garden could provide a place of expression for communal aspirations and the ideal of permaculture. The question of public space is always crucial when gardening comes to the city, in allotment gardens or Schrebergärten, war gardens and community gardens as well as in the projects of Fallen Fruit working with the idea of public fruit trees or in the practice of Collective Plant exploring the possibilities of collecting edible plants in and around cities. The specialty of these projects is the use of public space as a common ground to feed the city, to self-sustain its inhabitants, to create alternative economies based on the productive force of nature, in collaboration with other species (plants or animals). Today, being political is almost unavoidable when agriculture is at stake. Agricultural products ensure, at the end of the day, our physical survival, therefore their commodification and an unsustainable, fossil fuel-based agricultural system are problems that need to be addressed on the political level, too. George McKay gives plenty of examples in his book Radical Gardening of how radical ideas grew in the garden in different moments and places in history. Artists often join this political struggle for our commons (such as fertile soil or seeds) that are increasingly commodified by Monsanto and similar companies. Claire Pentecost elaborates beautifully on this topic in her notebook Notes from the Underground, a writing conceived as part of the publication series 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts leading up to dOCUMENTA(13). For the show, the artist studied and experimented with composting and vertical gardening, and proposed a new value system based on living soil (soil-erg). Since dOCUMENTA(13), gardening is mainstreamed as an artistic practice. This could be great news for the survival of artists engaging with agriculture, but a danger, too, if we should value the tangible, grounded benefits of such engagement. This brings us back to the term “utopia” and some thoughts about its use and connotations in the artistic context that could lend an

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unintended cynical touch to this publication. As Liam Gillick elaborates in his article For a … Functional Utopia? A Review of a Position (in Curating Subjects, edited by Paul O’Neill), the term utopia is too often used as a sort of accusation, with “an ironic focus on the failure of modernism which renders all progressive thinking as Utopian by default”. He brings us the terms “becoming utopia” and “functional utopia” to arm against the cynicism of neoliberal realists who easily label artistic / architectural / social projects “utopic” if they seem impractical to them. In fact, in the present post-utopian condition, there are many utopia-like structures and becoming utopias that may not offer the grand alternative vision to the present world order, but small-scale possibilities of parallel structures, mini utopias, which, given the right circumstances, can be developed into functional utopias. In the case of projects featured in this publication, the analogy with utopia is not intended to contrast them with reality, or worse, to objectify them as utopias sabotaging their own realization. We believe the utopian impulse in thinking should be restored. Even if internationally working and travelling artists will not be the best farmers, they may inspire others to be better farmers of our Earth. Virág Major

Lucas Cranach the Elder, Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, 1530

Joseph Beuys, Manifesto Bolognano, 1983

10


NIELS NORMAN

“The word ‘paradise’ comes down to us from the fourth-century Iranian word ‘pairidaeza’, denoting a surrounding (pairi) wall made of a sticky mass (daeza) like clay or dough – a walled enclosure: the royal parks, military enclaves, menageries and gardens of ancient cities. In early Christianity, the Garden of Eden was considered the ultimate paradise, to be restored on earth in the form of a garden. Paradise was an earthly place, rather than heaven – a state that was within reach as long as all conditions were correct. An early fifteenth century Anabaptist sect, the Adamites, believed paradise could be restored on earth. In order to achieve this, they began to live communally, advocating nudism and free love and the rejection of marriage and property ownership. In the England of the mid 1600s, a group of landless poor, led by the religious reformer and political activist Gerrard Winstanley and calling themselves the True Levellers, also known as the Diggers, occupied St George’s Hill in Surrey. They began to farm it, developing ideas for a collective 11


REAP & SOW

commonwealth while reclaiming what was once common land that had been enclosed by the church and state. In Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s 1915 novel Herland, a society of women live happily in total isolation from the world and from men; they procreate via parthenogenesis and live in a kind of permaculture forest garden paradise. The American writer and historian Lewis Mumford believed that Utopia once existed in the form of the archetypal ancient city – or at least that its after-image does, as a romantic utopian urban ideal that runs through all Utopian literature. Utopian theories “Agriculture is that which is so universally understood among them that no person, either man or woman, is ignorant of it; they are instructed in it from their childhood, partly by what they learn at school, and partly by practice, they being led out often into the fields about the town, where they not only see others at work but are likewise exercised in it themselves. Besides agriculture, which is so common to them all, every man has some peculiar trade to which he applies himself; such as the manufacture of wool or flax, masonry, smith’s work, or carpenter’s work; for there is no sort of trade that is in great esteem among them.” (Thomas More, Utopia, 1516)

12

ex artists’ collective, From the Famine Food Archive, 2011


NIELS NORMAN

and novels from the 1600s to the 1900s are set mostly in urban places in which the garden or farm is central. Many contemporary affinity groups and communities, social movements and alternatives have advocated or do advocate gardening as a central idea for radical social change. In the late 1960s, the anarchist collective ‘the Diggers’ in San Francisco began to develop a vision for the total transformation of social and economic relations, with free food distribution and farming at its heart. Today, the more genteel ‘Transition Towns’ movement – a grassroots network that advocates “They have built, over all the country, farm-

such as dwell in those country farms are never

houses for husbandmen, which are well con-

ignorant of agriculture, and so commit no errors

trived, and furnished with all things necessary

which might otherwise be fatal and bring them

for country labor. Inhabitants are sent, by turns,

under a scarcity of corn. But though there is

from the cities to dwell in them; no country

every year such a shifting of the husbandmen to

family has fewer than forty men and women in

prevent any man being forced against his will

it, besides two slaves. There is a master and a

to follow that hard course of life too long, yet

mistress set over every family, and over thirty

many among them take such pleasure in it that

families there is a magistrate. Every year twenty

they desire leave to continue in it many years.

of this family come back to the town after they

(…) They sow no corn but that which is to be

have stayed two years in the country, and in

their bread; for they drink either wine, cider or

their stead there are another twenty sent from

perry, and often water, sometimes boiled with

the town, that they may learn country work

honey or liquorice, with which they abound; and

from those that have been already one year in

though they know exactly how much corn will

the country, as they must teach those that come

serve every town and all that tract of country

to them the next from the town. By this means

which belongs to it, yet they sow much more

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permaculture as a core principle – is working to build societal resilience in response to peak oil, climate catastrophe and economic instability. In many of these examples, Utopia is used as a tool to critique society and present a possible alternative, which in some cases is enacted.�

and breed more cattle than are necessary for their consumption, and they give that surplus of which they make no use to their neighbors. When they want anything in the country which it does not produce, they fetch that from the town, without carrying anything in exchange for it. And the magistrates of the town take care to see it given them; for they meet generally in the town once a month, upon a festival day. When the time of harvest comes, the magistrates in the country send to those in the towns and let them know how many hands they will need for reaping the harvest; and the number they call for being sent to them, they commonly dispatch it all in one day.�

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(Thomas More, Utopia, 1516)


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Peter Fraser, Dig on for Victory, poster, 1939

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Galeta’s Garden Galeta’s Garden Art in Process End Art inEnd Process

Gergely Horváth - Róbert Nagy Gergely Horváth - Róbert Nagy

Ladislav fine artistwas (1947 - 2014) was born Galeta, Ivan Galeta, LadislavIvan Croatian fine Croatian artist (1947 - 2014) born in Vinkovci. After his completing in Vinkovci. After completing studies inhis thestudies Schoolinofthe Ap-School of ApArts, Zagreb, in 1967., He graduated from the Teachers plied Arts, in plied Zagreb, in in 1967., He graduated from the Teachers College (Department of Fine and Faculty College (Department of Fine Arts) and the Arts) Faculty ofthe Liberal Artsof Liberal Arts (Dept. of (Dept. of Pedagogy) inPedagogy) Zagreb. in Zagreb. He is theoperating leader and operating of the electronic workHe is the leader and teacher of theteacher electronic workshop at College the Teachers College in Zagreb 1971 -1977, and shop at the Teachers in Zagreb between 1971between -1977, and leader of theCenter Multimedia at the University the leader of the Multimedia at the Center University Center, op- Center, opat the of Zagreb between 1977 -1990, which erating at theerating University of University Zagreb between 1977 -1990, which was first to undertake the presentation of national was first to undertake the presentation of national and foreign and foreign film Croatia. He since creates films since 1969, videos experimentalexperimental film in Croatia. Heincreates films 1969, videos 1975.objects, He exhibits objects, photo installations, photo installations since 1975. Hesince exhibits installations, installations presents extended films televison and videos, televison creations, and presentsand extended films and videos, creations, texts, sound natural installations, natural interventions from 1973. From texts, sound installations, interventions from 1973. From onwards,his hework presents hispublic work in togalleries the public in galleries and 1979 onwards,1979 he presents to the and museums, through ordered performances. museums, through ordered performances. He isand the leader founder of the art cinema called Filmoteka He is the founder ofand the leader art cinema called Filmoteka 16 (1991 - 1994). Heassistant is the media assistant of the Academy of Fine 16 (1991 - 1994). He is the media of the Academy of Fine in Zagreb from 1993, and its 1995. docent 1995. He initiates Arts in ZagrebArts from 1993, and its docent from Hefrom initiates the introduction of the Animation at Department at the Academy the introduction of the Animation Department the Academy in the and thedepartment new mediain department in 2004. in the year 2000 andyear the2000 new media 2004. HeGornji lives in KrajZagreb Gornji from near Zagreb from 2000 and does agriculHe lives in Kraj near 2000 and does agriculis calledThe Krajmeaning Gornji. The meaning of kraj in Croatian “This place is “This calledplace Kraj Gornji. of kraj in Croatian tural He starts his End Art project to the depends tural activities. He activities. starts his End Art project when movingwhen to themovinglanguage language depends context. So kraj on its context.onSoitskraj can mean thecan endmean of the end of countryside. Theofmilestones his Endare: ArtEnd project Art countryside. The milestones his End Artofproject Art are: End something alsocountryside. open space,For countryside. For example, krajolik, something and also openand space, example, krajolik, 2000 - 2004, e-mailart 2005 29.means which videos 2000 -videos 2004, e-mailart 2005 - 2006, No Art- 2006, Earth No DayArt 29.Earth Day means is also anSo open So this is a parawhich landscape, is landscape, also an open space. thisspace. is a para02. 2008 - , Deep Art Work in Progress 2010End - 2012, Deep End situation 02. 2008 - , Deep End Art WorkEnd in Progress 2010 - 2012, Deep doxical situation end or an openness doxical in which kraj in canwhich meankraj thecan endmean or anthe openness Art Work in Regress -, Work2013 in Progress 2013 -. Theas forms Art Work in Regress 2012 -, Work 2012 in Progress -. The forms as well. So this I tried useexpressing this pun for expressing well. So I tried to use puntofor that we are inthat the we are in the of his manifestation this life are the inof his manifestation in this part ofinhis lifepart are of thehisfollowing: in-following: and trying arrive at the end of art.” landscape andlandscape trying to arrive at thetoend of art.” terventions madeenvironments, in forsaken environments, gardening and the terventions made in forsaken gardening and the documentation of these activities through documentation of these activities through photos, photophotos, series, photo series, video creations. video creations.

1 T

G le im b d

around 1992around 1992 Kraj Gornji, finding the place Kraj Gornji, finding the place I came here I saw this, it was a jungle. „When I came„When here and I saw this,and it was a jungle. There was thisThere was this littlea peach tree,tree, a very small tree, with six kilograms little peach tree, very small with six kilograms of peach on of peach on it, thistree. littleIt peach It has to be bought, because of this it, this little peach has to tree. be bought, I said, becauseI said, of this peach tree. The wells, house, thisvillage barn means peach tree. The two wells, the two house, thisthe barn means life for village life for the area Slavonia... of Szabadka, scents, the odours.” me; the area ofme; Szabadka, theSlavonia... scents, thethe odours.”

1992-94

1992-94

1993

1993

Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, media assistant media assistant

1995

2 K V F

1995

Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb, associate professor associate professor

1


ivan ladislav galeta

January 1996 January 1996 „In the years I’ve been building a unique artistic landscape „In the last years I’velast been building a unique artistic landscape on the traditionaland agriculture based on thebased principles of principles traditionalofagriculture on my and on my experiences the work of Claude (LifeBéla in Giverny), Béla experiences of the work ofofClaude Monet (Life inMonet Giverny), Hamvas, Masanobu Fukuoka, Ruth Bill Mollison, Ruth Stout. I’m workHamvas, Masanobu Fukuoka, Bill Mollison, Stout. I’m working on the introduction of the of permaculture and ing on the introduction of the principles of principles permaculture and the creation agriculture, of consciouswith agriculture, theCroahelp of the Croathe creation of conscious the helpwith of the tian Permaculture Center since 1995.” tian Permaculture Center since 1995.”

1997-2000 1997-2000 Homemaking Homemaking He hires - thinks - master woodworkers that are He hires - thinks together withtogether - masterwith woodworkers that are value-preserving dismantlement and rebuilding experienced experienced value-preserving dismantlement and rebuilding ofahouses with a wooden for the reconstruction of his of houses with wooden structure, for structure, the reconstruction of his Kraj Gornji house.the Hehouse designs theplans house plans the formaKraj Gornji house. He designs and theand formaof rooms to their functions. The construction tion of roomstion according to according their functions. The construction takes place between 1997 and 2000. Galeta takes place between 1997 and 2000. Galeta doesn’t reallydoesn’t par- really participate in the construction but he is always present ticipate in the construction process, but process, he is always present and the documents the main building stages by photographing and documents main building stages by photographing them and photos in Deep 2010 on them and publishes thepublishes photos inthe 2010 on his Endhis ArtDeep End Art Workblog. in Progress blog. Work in Progress

18 - 23. 09. 1998 18 - 23. 09. 1998 The Prague board The Prague board

Galeta creates board explanatory board on his suggestive Galeta creates explanatory drawings on drawings his suggestive 1980. fixates andof keeps of them as table ectures fromlectures 1980. Hefrom fixates andHekeeps some themsome as table Onefamous of the most famous of these mages. One images. of the most of these pieces is the pieces Pragueis the Prague time his lecture series lasted for several board, a timeboard, imprinta of hisimprint lecture of series that lasted forthat several days during the Permaculture Feng Shui conference days during the Permaculture and Feng Shuiand conference

29 - 31. 08. 2003 29 - 31. 08. 2003 Kunst und Leben Kunst und Leben Video, 6:47 min. Video, 6:47 min. Symposium Village Garden I. Furstenwalde,Furstenwalde, Symposium Global VillageGlobal Garden I.

1997

1997

1998

1998


REAP & SOW

29. 0 Noa

Gale Symp pora He s artis add with

“We piece

2000 - 2005 2000 - 2005 End End Art videos (I. II. III.Art IV.)videos (I. II. III. IV.)

He captures his everyday in the formtoo. of moving image, too. Hishecamera video8, holds it in his left hand mo He captures his everyday gardening activitiesgardening in the formactivities of moving image, His camera is video8, holds itisin his lefthe hand mostly. He doesn’t use apictures tripod, his are a series free gestures. He and observes, captures and reports. He operates in the 200 cam He doesn’t use a tripod, his moving aremoving a seriespictures of free gestures. Heof observes, captures reports. He operates in the cameras focus andofshapes the space of the picture with right hisgarlic, body. tears He pulls out garlic, tearspotatoes. tomatoes,He gathers He focus and shapes the space the picture with the right side of histhe body. Heside pullsofout tomatoes, gathers also potatoes.End picks apples, them, sortsand andputs selects them and puts apple juice for the winter. picks apples, washes them, sortswashes and selects them away apple juice foraway the winter. takesata the lot of my energy at the moment, to document everything I do,that (...) but I achieve, I nothis, longer do this, I will Gale say, „It takes a lot of my „It energy moment, to document everything I do, (...) but if I achieve, I noiflonger havethat to do I willhave say, to that found iIhave found myself,iIhave I will be free.”myself, I will be free.” natu natu Galeta Ivan Ladislav:Galeta Ivan Ladislav: Humour and Humus Humour and Humus 23.2006 05. 2005 - 06. 11. 2006 23. 05. 2005 - 06. 11. e-mailart e-mailart Galetaaltogether sent 48 e-mails altogether from his garden between Galeta sent 48 e-mails from his garden between 2005-2006. His adressees areart members of the art scene, col2005-2006. His adressees are members of the scene, colleges, friends. The e-mails are leges, friends. The e-mails are documentations ofdocumentations his garden ac- of his garden activities. In his descriptions, tivities. In his descriptions, Galeta indicates theGaleta exact indicates locations,the exact locations, periods of time, usageactivities. and sizesThe of these activities. The periods of time, material usage andmaterial sizes of these goal of theise-mailart project to intitiate us into the long progoal of the e-mailart project to intitiate us intoisthe long proof gardening activities. cesses of gardeningcesses activities.

1 SKY 1 SKY The basis of sky isThe basis of sky is 2 SERENITY 2 SERENITY Theisbasis of serenity is The basis of serenity 3 HUMOUR 3 HUMOUR Theisbasis of humour is The basis of humour 4 VITALITY 4 VITALITY The The basis of vitality is basis of vitality is 5 HEALTH 5 HEALTH The The basis of health is basis of health is 6 HUMUS 6 HUMUS The The basis of humus is basis of humus is 7 EARTH 7 EARTH The basis of earthThe is basis of earth is 1 SKY 1 SKY

16. 0 Deep

Gale deep The b seve in Pr phot era p mini

23. 0

Kraj The Mus

17. 1

e-ma Up &6./2003. underground art dossier 6./ Up & underground art dossier

Gale exhib day,

21. 12. 2007 21. 12. 2007 e-mail message e-mail message

„I’m finished withart theactivities. piles of formal art activities. From now „I’m finished with the piles of formal From now on I willhave onlyfun ‘ar(t)ise’ have fun in the lanscape.” will only ‘ar(t)ise’ and in theand lanscape.”

1999

1999

2000

2000

Academy Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb,of Fine Arts, Zagreb, Animation Department established Animation Department established

2004

2004

2005

20

Academy Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb,of Fine Arts, Zagreb, New Media Department established New Media Department established (later the head of it) (later Galeta became the Galeta head ofbecame it)


ivan ladislav galeta

29. 02. 2008 02. 2008 art Earth Day Noart Earth Day

NoartatEarth Day project at the International eta describes hisGaleta Noartdescribes Earth Dayhis project the International Symposium (CEU,Sustainability Budapest) titled: Sustainability and Contemposium (CEU, Budapest) titled: and Contemporary Art: Exit or Activism? ary Art: Exit or Activism? He suggestsofthe of the day of suggests the proclamation theproclamation day of non-attendance in non-attendance in It should start february and we should stic activities. Itartistic shouldactivities. start on 29 february andon we29should add another daywe every year, when we don’t encumber nature, another day every year, when don’t encumber nature, theofcreation of works of art. h the creation ofwith works art.

“We don’t recycle, we produce. wants to create masterdon’t recycle, we produce. Everybody wants toEverybody create masterforcan thelead future and can leadproblem.” to a big ecological problem.” es for the future pieces and this to a bigthis ecological

ostly. meras 2008. 08. e also End d Art No. 1. / End ArtArt No.No. 2. 1. / End Art No. 2.

that Galeta buys two pieces of back land to eta buys two seperate pieces of seperate land to give them to give them back to He in doesn’t intervene in the ecologic ure. He doesn’t nature. intervene the ecologic processes; he lets processes; he lets nature to do its work. ure to do its work.

16. 02. 2010. 02. 2010. Deep End Art Work in Progress p End Art Work in Progress

and project sorts his End Arton project eta collects andGaleta sorts collects his End Art artworks his artworks on his deepuploads End Artnew, blogfresh and uploads p End Art blog and data. new, fresh data. Theonly bloghis contains not only his biography and catalog, but also blog contains not biography and catalog, but also seven more about the work Štala Stabilizacija, the Work en more sites about the worksites Štala Art Stabilizacija, theArt Work Progress the archive of captures february 2010. He captures rogress I–V. andinthe archiveI–V. of and february 2010. He moving image of his gardening tos and movingphotos imageand of his gardening activities. His cam- activities. His camera points the ground. He shoots points at the ground. He at shoots macro pictures, somacro as to pictures, so as to minimize the experience seperation from nature. imize the experience of seperation from of nature.

23. 09. - 17. 11. 2011 09. - 17. 11. 2011

Krajolik nulte točke jolik nulte točke The point. landscapes of zero point. Retrospective exhibition, landscapes of zero Retrospective exhibition, MuseumArt, of Contemporary Art, Zagreb. seum of Contemporary Zagreb.

17. 11. 2011 11. 2011 ail message e-mail message /2003.

Galeta wrote thelast following on retrospective the last day of his retrospective eta wrote the following on the day of his “I finally finish40 making after 40 years - on thursbition: “I finallyexhibition: finish making art - after years -art on- thursday,2011!” the 17 november 2011!” the 17 november

w on I

005

d

End Art

2006

2006 2007

2008 2007

2008 2009

Academy Academy of Fine Arts, Zagreb,of Fine Arts, Zagreb, full time professor full time professor

2010 2009

2011 2010

End Art

2011


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10. 06. 2012. 10. 06. 2012. Deep End Art WorkDeep in Regress End Art Work in Regress „Ladies and Gentlemen, „Ladies visitors and Gentlemen, of this webpage. visitors I wish of this to inform webpage. I wish to inform you from this moment youon from (10this June moment 2012) „Recycling” on (10 Junecleaning 2012) „Recycling” is cleaning is starting. This meansstarting. that no more This means content that will nobemore uploaded content here will be uploaded here and cleansing will gradually and cleansing unwind willfrom gradually the last unwind of these from im-the last of these images at bottom of the ages page at bottom to the nothing!” of the page to the nothing!” http://www.ozafin.alu.hr/end_art/ http://www.ozafin.alu.hr/end_art/ Galeta erases data Galeta from the erases site data day by from day.the Hesite cleans day itbyand day. He cleans it and sorts it, similarly tosorts the way it, similarly he treatstohimself. the wayAccording he treats himself. to his According to his personal narrative, personal his intention narrative, is the his total intention elimination is theoftotal the elimination of the blog; spectacularly,blog; through spectacularly, this artisticthrough action. this He erases artisticone action. He erases one picture from the blog’s picture sub-units from the every blog’s day.sub-units He usually every doesday. thisHe usually does this in the morning, after in waking the morning, up, before after starting waking up, his gardening before starting his gardening activities. Before heactivities. erases some Before content he erases he always some content puts onehe always puts one picture from the bottom picture offrom the series the bottom to the top. of the Heseries says goodto the top. He says goodbye to it. bye to it. „I will be free. I think,„II will willbe befree. free.IIwill think, release I will myself be free.from I willarelease certainmyself from a certain load. I’m trying to setload. myself I’mfree. trying It isn’t to set easy myself to free free. ourselves It isn’t easy fromto free ourselves from ourselves. ourselves. You know what is interesting? You know what Whenispeople interesting? realized, When thatpeople I’m go-realized, that I’m going to erase everything, ing to theerase blogeverything, suddenly got theablog lot ofsuddenly views. They got a lot of views. They started to give importance startedto tothe givequestions: importance why, toand the questions: why that exwhy, and why that ex2012 2012 act day? I’ve been looking act day? forI’ve this. been Thislooking is a little forprovocation, this. This is abut little provocation, but No. 1. Deep End Art Deep End Art No. 1. not so original. Somenot kind so of original. concept. Some Theykind are of already concept. saying Theythat are already saying that video, 20:00 min. video, 20:00 min. I’m conceptual, so this I’misconceptual, a concept, too.” so this is a concept, too.”

„So e and caref Galeta recycles, re-edits Galeta the recycles, recordings re-edits of the End recordings Art films of the End Art fi secti (2000 - 2005). The scenes (2000 follow - 2005).each The other sceneslike follow a jazzeach improvisaother like a jazz improv aggr tion. This movie, like tion. all the Thisothers, movie,demands like all thetoothers, watched demands more to watched m w than one time. It’s full than of mysteries, one time. It’s it wants full ofthe mysteries, watcheritto wants solvethe watcher So to so s these clues. We canthese find the clues. portraits We canoffind Claude the portraits Monet, Masaof Claude Monet,the Ma nobu Fukuoka, Bill nobu Mollison, Fukuoka, Béla Hamvas, Bill Mollison, KarelBéla Capek, Hamvas, HenryKarel Capek,erati He on th David Thoreau, Maurice David Maeterlinck Thoreau, Maurice appearing Maeterlinck for moments, appearing for mome overlaying the pictures overlaying of the garden the pictures as coded of the messages. garden as coded messages.

The Deep End Art No. The1 Deep project End wins Artthe No.grand 1 project prize wins at the theWilgrand prize at the W lach K3 National Film lach Festival. K3 National Film Festival.

The spirit The spirit of the beehive 2011of the beehive 2011

2012

2012

Retires

Retires


ivan ladislav galeta

26. 06. - 11. 08. 2013 26. 06. - 11. 08. 2013 Work in ProRegress Work in ProRegress Galeta participates Galeta in the 48th participates exhibition in the of the 48thZagrebian exhibitionSaof the Zagrebian Salon called Identity, held lon called by theIdentity, Croatianheld Association by the Croatian of VisualAssociation Artof Visual Artists at the Meštrović ists Pavilion at the Ring Meštrović Gallery, Pavilion Zagreb, Ring 26.Gallery, 06. - 07.Zagreb, 26. 06. - 07. 20. 2013. 20. 2013. The basis of the work Theisbasis his polaroid, of the work consisting is his polaroid, of four pieces consisting of four pieces called Disappearingcalled multi-self Disappearing portrait, that multi-self he installed portrait, onthat the he installed on the gallery wall. He made gallery this wall. polaroid He made in thethis Georges polaroid Pompidou in the Georges Pompidou center in Paris, in 1980. center Theinchemically Paris, in 1980. unstable The chemically picture started unstable picture started to disintegrate withtothe disintegrate passing ofwith time. the According passing of to time. Galeta, According to Galeta, the price of the picture the price growsofinthe inverse picture ratio grows withinitsinverse disappearratio with its disappearing value; meaninging thatvalue; this picture meaning hasthat costthis a Euro picture more haseach cost a Euro more each day since he createdday it. Next since to hethe created image it.on Next thetowall, the he image writes on the wall, he writes the number of the days the number that have of passed the dayssince thatits have creation passed and since its creation and also the picture’s current also the price. picture’s current price. Galeta gets the grand Galeta prizegets at the the48th grand Zagrebian prize at the Salon 48th and Zagrebian this Salon and this work happens to bework his last. happens to be his last. He documented theHeprocess documented with photos the process that hewith published photoson that he published on his Facebook profilehis entitled Facebook Workprofile in ProRegress. entitled Work in ProRegress.

every area, every„So part every of nature area, every is a whole, part ofitnature is unrepeatable is a whole, it is unrepeatable irreplaceable, soand youirreplaceable, have to approach so you it in have a special to approach way, very it in a special way, very fully, so that youcarefully, don’t disturb so that something you don’t that disturb is part something of another that is part of another films ion. So you can’tsection. just shape So you a situation can’t just in shape a way that a situation generates in a way that generates visaression in that particular aggression section, in thatthis particular is particularly section, important. this is particularly important. more when So when you you are communicating work, when you with are communicating nature, with with nature, with olve you work, when soil, be soil, no aggression there should there, be no there aggression has to bethere, coop-there has to be coopasa-there shouldthe ion. Cooperationeration. is very important, Cooperation because is veryyou important, don’t just because work you don’t just work enry his piece of land,on you’re this piece also nursing of land,it.” you’re also nursing it.” ents,

Wil-

The source of the italic texts The is:source of the italic texts is: Gergely Horváth - Róbert Nagy Gergely Horváth - Róbert Nagy Galeta’s Garden, documentary, Galeta’s 44Garden, min., 2013. documentary, 44 min., 2013.

2013

2013


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ex-artists' collective

We prefer to work on projects dealing with such topics or techniques that can teach us things that are useful beyond art practice as well. While doing art we can prepare ourselves to become self-sustainable organic gardeners. Therefore we focus mainly on folk science. We imagine collecting pieces of folk wisdom the way 19th-century composers and writers collected and recycled other elements of folk culture. However, we don’t pretend to be scientific the way as professional anthropologists do. We rather - like folks - collect information from books, internet, workshops and discussions with other people. Then we do practical experiments based on the theoretical learning, and if they fit, we apply them regularly and even make developments. When we exhibit the results of our artistic research, opposite page bottom:

opposite page top: ex-artists’

2011-2013 (installation

tion The Need for Practice,

ex-artists’ collective, slogan

collective, Famine Food,

view). Exhibited in the

tranzit.sk, 2014

mixed media installation,

framework of the exhibi-

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often everything accumulates in a complex installation. The collected materials (texts, images), the documents of our experiments and practical use (photos, videos, objects) and mainly poetic pictures based on our personal experiments (drawings, paintings, montages) are all presented together. It is not our aim to give lexical knowledge for the spectators but rather to inspire them. To make our ideas and topic more open and accessible, we use aesthetic instruments as well. Folk science is the knowledge of existential questions: how to produce food, how to build a shelter, but “This would mean sacrifice of present consumption, but it would ensure future survival – which became an almost religious objective, perhaps akin to earlier doctrines of “salvation”. People were to be happy not to the extent they dominated their fellow creatures on the earth, but to the extent they lived in balance with them. This philosophical change may have seemed innocent on the surface. Its grave implications were soon to be spelled out, however. Ecotopian economists, who included some of the most highly regarded in the American nation, were well aware that the standard of living could only be sustained and increased by relentless pressure on work hours and worker productivity. Workers might call this “speed-up”, yet without

24


EX ARTISTS’ COLLECTIVE

also how to create and move a community together - among many other things. The Famine Food project is about nutrition from the aspect of a crisis situation. There are many examples in the history of famines when people in war or poverty were surviving by eating special, sometimes quite extreme things as foods like bread from wood dust for instance. But it could be even more interesting to know about the edible plants that we can freely collect in nature. We also have to learn about those local plants that are out of fashion but are healthy and easy to produce in local climate a slow but steady rise in labor output, capital

(Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975)

could not be attracted or even held; financial collapse would quickly ensue. The deadly novelty introduced into this accepted train of thought by a few Ecotopian militants was to spread the point of view that economic disaster was not identical with survival disaster for persons – and that, in particular, a financial panic could be turned to the advantage if the new nation could be organized to devote its real resources of energy, knowledge, skills, and materials to the basic necessities of survival. If that were done, even a catastrophic decline in the GNP (which was, in their opinion, largely composed of wasteful activity anyway) might

opposite side:

prove politically useful.”

ex artists’ collective, From

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the Agriculture Project, 2011


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and soil. There are many plants we cannot just buy in the supermarket because of cultural reasons (bad connotation of war or poverty) or because they are simply just not economic to deal with on an industrial scale (sunchoke is a good example for both). Therefore, the project is not only about surviving in crisis, and becoming more autonomous, but also about the importance of diversity. The show we created out of this project happened in a shop window gallery, therefore it worked like a street display for propaganda. Later, we exhibited it in the

26


EX ARTISTS’ COLLECTIVE

form of a wooden bulletin board. Finally we designed a pavilion for gatherers which useful in utilising and storing the picked goods in a remote area. Its roof is shaped in a way that makes it possible to dry fruits in the sun and medicinal plants in the shade. We built a life-size model of it that can be used as a visual aid structure holding all pieces of the project.

ex artists’ collective, From the Famine Food Archive, opposite side:

2013 (installation view).

ex-artists’ collective,

Exhibited in the framework

Famine Food, mixed

of the exhibition The Need

media installation, 2011-

for Practice, tranzit.sk, 2014

27

2011


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opposite side: ex artists’ collective, From the Agriculture Project, 2011

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ex-artists’ collective, slogan


Endre Lehel Paksi

The worlds are in recession, but not necessarily all of them everywhere: what if the worlds of independence and cultural wellbeing and autonomy survive elsewhere, and not at the expense of other parts of the globe, or at least not so visibly? My partner and I have been together since 2004, and emigration has been among our plans ever since. By the time we surveyed most of the happy world – developed democracies – everyone had become neatly nationalist, now they all fear for themselves and they are the ones who want to survive. In 2012, me and my friend, both from the Great Plain, took our Transdanubian companions to see the wrath of the Great Plain, the big Nothin’. We took a detour from the main road to see the Farm Museum of Kopáncs. On our way there, we saw sheep grazing on the ruins of the neighbouring farm. The tiles and beams had obviously been taken and recycled; all there was left was the wall of mud bricks, made from locally extracted clay mixed with hay – materials abundantly at hand. As soon as the roof is gone, these materials are brought back from whence they came, producing zero waste and man­ hours. We saw another such instance of material restoration this autumn on the vine hill of Csikvánd: the merry decline of collapsed cellars. As we reached our goal, the grass was knee-­high and we had to struggle our way through to the house: no one had visited here in a long while. The gate opened towards the south, the house in the middle of the estate to the north, with the porch also looking southward. Horse stalls and pigsty to the left, henhouse and barn to the right, with a duck pond in front. It was so good that there was not a soul there, nor a car wreck, or a tractor wreck, or a concrete garage with corrugated slate roofing, a broken plastic barrel, a leaking gasoline container, a half­-dissolved plastic cornbag, dangling cables, as seen in most scarcely inhabited or abandoned farms. Giving myself to the magic of this idyllic scenery that cried for being reproduced on a milk carton or a computer desktop background, I unstoppably began loathing the life we pursue ourselves into with our sophisticated burodemocratic culture and extremely specialised expertise that we develop to perfection in order to be able to pay for everything else and survive. Why not emigrate here instead? The decision didn’t take long. We fled to a Hungarian village where there

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is a prospect of drinking water supply – the whole of Budapest is actually drinking water from virtually the same backyard wells – and even the farmland is neat. The soil is clay, so not the rocky or sandy annoyance as in the Kiskunság or Balaton regions, or in Croatia, goodness, all that toil to have some farmland. The plot has been inhabited for about half a millennium, so perhaps there will be no inconvenient wind, inland waters, in other words, wisps and demons. The garden is densely overgrown with nettle, the house a mousefest, and the old man’s morning cup still on the table since he passed. The entire scenario is as inviting as the farm: “why don’t you live here? Here’s good, I accept you as my master.” We made a go of it, and people thought we were lunatics. We’ve been here for two years now, learning how to master the land so as to spend less on food and shopping. I collect mushrooms, we kill and pluck live poultry we buy in the village. Meanwhile, the peasants have all but disappeared. Those who toil the lands, or rather, who produce crops, are called entrepreneurs by the locals. The descendants of peasants buy cheap goods and have nothing to do with self­-support. Neighbouring old men and women are happy to see us in the garden: their children have no time for this, and I presume they even hate it. Rightly so. “Even if you use pesticides, it takes so many work hours, not to mention using a tractor and a lawnmower, that is, sparing your physical strength, it will never be worthwhile to produce for yourself! For,

“But, what was more interesting to us, he had

tion of which I could not understand. He told

detailed record of the period of the change to

us also that the townspeople who came into the

the present state of things, and told us a great

country used to pick up the agricultural arts by

deal about it, and especially of that exodus of

carefully watching the way in which the ma-

the people from the town to the country, and

chines worked, gathering an idea of handicraft

the gradual recovery by the town-bred people

from machinery; because at that time almost

on one side, and the country-bred people on the

everything in and about the fields was done by

other, of those arts of life which they had each

elaborate machines used quite unintelligently by

lost; which loss, as he told us, had at one time

the labourers. On the other hand, the old men

gone so far that not only was it impossible to

amongst the labourers managed to teach the

find a carpenter or a smith in a village or small

younger ones gradually a little artizanship, such

country town, but that people in such places

as the use of the saw and the plane, the work of

had even forgotten how to bake bread, and that

the smithy, and so forth;…”

at Wallingford, for instance, the bread came down with the newspapers by an early train from London, worked in some way, the explana-

30

(William Morris, News from Nowhere, 1890)


Endre Lehel Paksi

see, the flour costs only this much here and the ham is on sale! Like hell I won’t fuck around with the chicken shit and plough the cornfield, I’d rather pay for it!” In the meantime, everyone we tell our story to wants to switch lives with us, for they have also seen the milk carton. And hate what they are living in. And they merely come to visit us and chat, not to pluck carrots. But the System, constantly flirting with collapse, is just not going to give in so easily as in zombie movies – I’m typing on a computer right now and emailing it.

ex artists’ collective, From the Famine Food Archive, 2011

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32

both sides:

Micro Kingdom of Utopia

images form the book

by Fernando GarcĂ­a Dory,

A Shepherds School as a

2010


THE Shepherd SCHOOL

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page 36: image form the book

image form the book

A Shepherds School as a

A Shepherds School as a

Micro Kingdom of Utopia

Micro Kingdom of Utopia

by Fernando García Dory,

by Fernando García Dory,

2010

2010

34


Fernando Garcテュa Dory

In 2004 I approached the northern Spanish mountain range and found the remains of a once alive and strong culture, whose patterns still made it significantly different from the peasant communities in the valleys, the one of the shepherds. People of the villages that surround the mountains ascend every year from June, when the snows have moved away uncovering the pastures, until November, when they will be covered again. The flock, in which lambs and kids are born in March or April, starts a short trashumance up to the mountains. The grass in the valleys will then be left free to grow and harvested as hay in August, as forage for winter. Each shepherd has a hut in the mountains, a basic living unit. It is also where the cheese is prepared from the milk of the mothers from the three species: cows, sheep and goats. The average number of heads in a flock ranges from approximately 100 to 200. They are the best individuals, of selected breeds, adapted to that specific environment and to the daily grazing route they follow automatically around the shepherd hut. The huts are located in best pasture spots, where glaciers moulded a hollow after hundreds of thousands of years, with trees, water, animal shelters and stone fences. These are called majada, a word coming from maculト》a, macナュla, meaning neat or fence. The majada is the production unit in the mountain pastures. There were different shepherds living in one majada. Decades ago, they were all very populated, with families, men, women and children. There were around 1000 people living in the mountains every summer. The pastures are common and ruled by ancient agreements, organising every aspect of that common management. There is a system of representation and process for decision-making. Evidence of the first domesticated animals and shepherding activity dates from 6000 years ago. The highly protein-rich pastures of those limestone mountains made available a certain stock of milk that was transformed into cheese. The complex process for making this cheese, which can easily take 4 months, includes the mixture of the three kind of milks, the moulding in certain sizes (around 5 to 8 kg per cheese), smoking in the huts, with certain wood, and storage in natural caves for maturation. This cheese is still made today, by a shrinking number of shepherds who spend the season in the majadas, of which there are up to 8 nowadays. The cheese is therefore highly valued in local markets, where all the production is sold almost before reaching them, at prices that go from 29 to 45 Euros/kg.

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The reasons for the decrease of shepherds are various and complex. We can say that, in general, new ways of living have made the younger generations choose other professions. An important hallmark in this region was in 1916, when the area was adopted as a National Park, one of the first ones in the country after Yellowstone, an initiative of the Marquis of Villaviciosa and King Alfonso XIII of Spain. A new regulatory body, in the form of a conservationist authority, was put in place, displacing traditional local forms of management with new laws, affecting hunting, wood gathering, fishing, grazing, hut repair, access and fire use, etc. In the ‘80s, the wolves moved in. As there are more than 2500 wolves in Spain, it is not considered an endangered species. In the last 20 years, wolf attacks have killed around 30% of the flocks in the mountains, with no control over their territorial scope or population. Recently, they have been shown in the National Park advertisement as a region attraction. There are more than 2 million tourists coming every year to this area. This is increasingly driving the whole local economy into service providers (“tourism of adventure”; kayaking, quad biking and paintballing, with massive infrastructures, huge parking lots or bus stations). The agricultural activity now represents an earning for an average of 60% of the local population, but it is decreasing. This decrease is not only due to economic factors, but also legal and administrative regulations (for example laws that make it more difficult to accomplish the sanitary require-

“Has Ecotopians livestock or agricultural pro-

a few areas, and only for milking herds.”

duction suffered because of the conversion of so much land and forest? Apparently not, vegetables, grains and meat are reasonably cheap, and beef cattle are common features of the landscape, though they are never concentrated in a forced-feeding fattening lots. Thus an almost dead occupation, that of a cowboy, has come back. And cattle ranches in the Sierra foothills have reverted to the old summer practice of driving their stock up to the high valleys where the pasture on wet mountain meadow grass. Grasslands research is said to be leading to the sowing of more native strains, which are better adapted to the climate and resist the incursion of thistles. Pasture irrigation is practices only in

36

(Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975)


Fernando GarcĂ­a Dory

ments), new needs of leisure and mobility, security and cultural perception of the activity. Still, being a shepherd is often regarded as being backward and ignorant. At the same time, there is a growing concern about the very important role that mobile pastoralism has regarding high value ecosystems, landscape and biodiversity conservation, and rural development. The recognition of other values regarding quality of life is making more and more people look to the rural, farming, and ultimately, mountain shepherding, as an appealing and promising possible activity. This interest is growing especially amongst younger generations from different environments, and to some degree, by local youth from the region. The Shepherds School project came as an idea to try to solve both needs: the need of veteran shepherds to not be alone in the mountains, and of young interested people on learning to become one. In 2005 I undertook research on how a shepherds school could be. I visited initiatives in France and different regions of the country that had once tried something similar. The research involved interviews, the design of a course, contacting experts and shepherds, and staying with one for a summer period. The first course started in 2007 with three pupils and three shepherd teachers. Since then, there has been a yearly Course of Initiation to Mountain Pastoralism. There is an open call for applications in February for interested people to apply, an average of 15 to 20 per year. Then there is a weekend of interviews and tests and the shepherds select the pupils for the course. They will automatically be granted ¢600 per month, and the course is free of charge. In May, they start the theory part, for the whole month, with subjects such as Mountain Ecology, European Farming Policies, Cheese making, Veterinary Science, Zootechnics and Animal Physiology, or Shepherds Culture. In June, they go up to the mountains to stay with their shepherd-teachers for 4 months, living everyday life and learning the practice. The project also rebuilds mountain huts (3), cheesemaking ateliers (4) and milking rooms (2), as common property open to newcomers. Once a pupil finishes the course, and is interested in starting his or her own flock and farm, they will get advise and support in every aspect. In the last 4 years, more than 20 youngsters have been trained as shepherds. In addition to this, courses for active shepherds, up to 120 people, have been organised according to their needs. One pupil has stayed.

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38

both sides:

Micro Kingdom of Utopia

images form the book

by Fernando GarcĂ­a Dory,

A Shepherds School as a

2010


Fernando GarcĂ­a Dory

39


REAP & SOW

“In one of the statements, the farmer Ulrich Lücke even brought the profession of farmers and artists uncannily close to one another by saying: “If I only see my profession as a job to quickly make money with as little work as possible, then I have a wrong work. I consider this profession to be a calling.” To understand one’s profession as a vocation resonates with a mythical understanding of being an artist. Both farmers and artists are indeed entrepreneurs, for whom life and work might intersect on many levels. Both deal with the idea of freedom and self-expression is understood as part of their work description, when in fact, neither of them is really free of social and economic constraints.”*

Myvillages (2003 - 2015) is an international artist initiative founded by Kathrin Böhm (Ger/UK), Wapke Feenstra (NL) and Antje Schiffers (D) myvillages.org

40


Myvillages

Agriculture has become increasingly industrialized in the Western world. The life on an idyllic farm is either a memory of the past, or a new business model, in which families manage to re-invent and adapt their farm to the globalized world. This might be one of the reasons why artists are increasingly interested in issues and images of farming. They have the possibility to invent projects that don’t always have to follow one, mostly economic, order but can examine and highlight various perspectives of farming, land use, and sustainability on a localized level for a global society. It is also fair to say that most of the art projects also offer social interaction in real life, having a communal, political and artistic agenda.* * excerpt from the book Im-

Feenstra, Antje Schiffers

ages of Farming by Wapke

[eds], 2011

opposite side, image:

Young people from the

edge. They are working

photos, documentary and

Wapke Feenstra (with M12

plains of Colorado USA and

with machines and large

exhibitions with them, living

Studio Byers USA and

Fryslân (The Netherlands)

animals, and think about

in a changing landscape and

Myvillages), Farmers &

meet and exchange knowl-

setting up economically

heading for a future.

viable businesses. We made

www.farmersandranchers.nl

Ranchers, 2012-2014

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REAP & SOW

http://www.ichbingernebauer.eu

42

* I Iike being a farmer and

visions of life, farming and

I would like to stay one is

politics. The project archive

an ongoing project started

already comprises 30 films

in 2000 by Antje Schiffers

from the Netherlands and

and continued with Thomas

England, Spain and the

Sprenger and in the context

Wales, Romania, Macedo-

of Myvillages.

nia, Austria, Switzerland

We offer barter trades to

and Germany.

farmers in Europe: Antje

Images: Painting and

makes an oil painting of

bartering in Andalusia and

their farm in exchange for

Extremadura (Spain 2014).

a video in which they, the

In 2016, also farmers in

farmers, present and film

China will be challenged to

their daily work and their

barter with us.


THE ARTIST AS FARMER

* Transcript of Talk (excerpts)

“Conversations | Artistic Practice | The Artist as Farmer� at Art | Basel, 16th of June, 2013, Moderator HansUlricht Obrist

Gianfranco Baruchello (b. 1924, Italy), artist, lives and works in Via di Santa Cornelia, Italy: I decided not exactly the same but something similar: to have a different adventure, longing for the possibility of finding a place not far from my city, which is Rome, and in this place start an adventure not only with the idea of cultivating things and eating the products, but to find the way to match what was supposedly my way to cultivate with my brain confronted with the instrument that agricultural activity could be. The moment you think about the exchange value of agricultural products you find yourself confronted with the problem of seeing what use and exchange value artistic products have. This is maybe the first idea where I have to match the reality with the utopia, since the leftist movements were really more connected with the utopia than with political practice. And so I decided against a salary, against the work salary and so then this illusion was finished. We started the adventure by cultivating the garden and soon after it became also a zootechnic activity, so I finally had forty-two milk cows and I started with poetry and then I would supply milk to the central of milk production in Rome. So this is sort of a mix of reality and fantasy, imagination in a very complex way. In order to have new ideas one must start from the confusion. So I was very capable of making a basic confusion to start my adventure. Adrian Villar Rojas (b. 1980, Argentina), artist, lives and works in Rosario, Argentina:

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The other thing I totally love is that, even though we are talking about it here, or I’m talking about it here, I’m just doing it because of the fun of doing it. To regain this energy of just doing things because you enjoy doing things. There are no curators invited there, there are no openings, it’s just working there and communicating with the farmers. And actually there is no art public in a way, the way the brick farmers connect to the work, is just, ..., I mean, they are interested in the techniques, they are interested in the way we work, they don’t have any, I mean, I don’t think they have any aesthetical comments to say or they don’t want to and they are not asked to. So, what we do is exchange information as if we were two communities. I do this and you do that, how do you do it, how did you get here? And I think that was kind of refreshing, it was kind of a place to..., also in a way a soul cleaner. It’s just about enjoying really what we do. It maybe sounds naïve but I totally believe in the purpose of doing it that way. So, I think, quick and painless. Zheng Guogu (b. 1970, China), artist, based in Yangjiang in the Guangdong province of China: For me, to go to the countryside is like to go back to the origins. Look at this pumpkin here, it comes from a little seed, it grows into a pumpkin and then it goes back into the earth, so it’s this cycle and this origin that fascinated me. This perfection of this pumpkin for instance.

“The idyll of the garden is deceptive. The garden

But if an ideology can grow in a garden, so can

is a territory interwoven with social struggles

its antidote. The emancipatory practices, self-

and political movements. The garden is a seis-

empowerment, and multi-ethnic understanding

mograph for crisis. “The very articulation of the

that Jane Addams speaks of in 1912, and

plan to plant Nazi ideology in the garden is a

Christa Müller in 2012, arise through the agency

powerful illustration of the total nature of the

of gardening. In this sense, the re-claiming of

ambition of the Nazi project, yes, but it also

gardening in Germany and Austria is historically

shows the extent to which the Nazis thought that

complex, with an intrinsic deeper meaning,

the controlled (cultivated) land of the garden

with the roots of radical anti-racism being trans-

itself could not just embellish but actually

planted into the garden.”

contribute to and strengthen their movement. If ideology is planted in the garden that is because

(Elke Krasny, The Right to Green: Hands-On

it is assumed that ideology can grow in the

Urbanism 1850-2012, 2014)

garden.” [...]

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THE ARTIST AS FARMER

Fritz Haeg (b. 1969, US), artist, based in a geodesic dome in Los Angeles, California: Pleasure is that maybe were we’re removed from the contemporary society and I think my pleasure that I’m following with this kind of work which I think I’m hearing from other people is a kind of boredom with dead, inert objects that need to hold monetary value for the market and a desire to be outside and a desire to be a part of something that’s changing and growing and welcoming change and growth and not fighting it, as an artist. I think it has come out of this experience growing first as an artist and then having museums and galleries be the focus of all my inspiration and then discovering farms and gardens as culture also on a high level. A place where I equally become emotional the same way I will in front of a beautiful piece of art in a gallery, let’s say.

Fritz Haeg, Edible Estates garden #12, Wekerle estate,

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Budapest, Hungary, 2012


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As an artist what strategies do you see or try to realize to bring them closer?*

* Questions raised by the editors of Reap & Sow to the artists Tamás Kaszás, Fernando García Dory and Valentina Karga

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the artist as farmer

Tamás Kaszás (b. 1976, Hungary) lives and works in Horány, Hungary: “Although, by now we are much more interested in the creation and maintenance of a partially self-sustaining permaculture farm (which is at once a space for living) than building an institutional artist career, we yet can’t make this change, lacking the land and the necessary money to launch it. Therefore, we have chosen to look at our institutional art practice as an enterprise, into which have already invested a vast amount of time and money, which, as naive as it may sound, we now can accept to start to bring enough revenue (through honorary fees, presentations, grants, awards) to establish the basis for our farmer’s lifestyle. At the same time, we are trying to develop our art practice in such a way that it supports our future life, and not just financially. We attain theoretical and practical knowledge that can be used outside the realm of art. We chose to work on projects that are accompanied by research about sustainable, collecting-farming strategies in one way or another. Then again, through the planning and the production of the works, we go through useful and practical experience (e.g.: the production of paint from collected wild plants). All the learned techniques, from sawing, through welding, to woodworking and carpentry, may come handy in our art as well as in farming. If occasionally an exhibition budget contains a production fee, we try to spend it with foresight on instruments or materials that we can at least use the leftovers from for our daily lives. Once we buy land, we will have to gradually shift the focus of our energies to farming. This way, our art may become a hobby for the winter (when there is less labor with the land). Through the planning and the building of our life space and our permaculture system, we will live and enjoy our creative passion as much as in a white cube situation, with more freedom and less compromises.” Fernando García Dory (b. 1978, Spain) artist, lives and works between Madrid, Mallorca and the northern Spanish mountains :

At this moment I consider my role, on the one hand, as a kind of cultural agitator facing broader social context or the art realm itself and on the other, as a facillitator or catalyzer of functioning processes at local level with the specific social group of the shepherd movements and farming leaders. For the latter, I dispose time and energy and creativity to create structures that could support shepherds’ ways of being, in direct collaboration. The Federation

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of Shepherds I have promoted since 2008 is now functioning independently. I am supporting the creation of a European Shepherds’ Network and a next world gathering of nomadic pastoralists, hopefully in Sapmi, in the Norwegian side, by the end of the year, that aims to rebuild a horizontal and participatory process within WAMIP, the World Alliance of Mobile Indigenous Peoples. I don´t necessarily consider the continued engagement as work in itself, In this case it was the original first gathering that gave birth to the organisation in 2007. I still run Shepherd Schools courses annually, but had to delegate more to a person coordinating in the field, as I can´t be there so often due to my work within the art context all around. Once I mentioned at a shepherds’ council meeting that I didn’t feel so useful I felt not being so useful to the cause as I was travelling around often and not being able to share their daily way of living. I remember one shepherd told me: “ we need you there, connecting, making bridges with other power spheres, and benefitting us through that influence”. This is the sphere of presentation I could say, and the other one I mentioned, would be of representation. Developing some works in the artistic contexts inevitably means playing to play a symbolic game of cultural elaboration. References, insertions, or pointing at the broader cultural resonance of what the pastoral can be nowadays, are for me a very conflicting, nonresolved combination of promises, curses, projections of all kind. I ultimately think is for me a meme, an idol, in the ancient sense of the word, of a certain mode of cultural production. One that seems, in terms of economy of attentions, affects, paces and spaces, incompatible with the hypermobile, self-referential, spectacle-driven figure of the international artist. I am starting currently to define a working and living environment where those qualities can be cultivated, or better, raised, and with a certain dose, not left within their limits but projected elsewhere. It is the combination of both, the global and the local, that has all the potential. Valentina Karga (b. 1986, Greece) artist and architect based in Berlin, Germany: I would open up this topic to the broader ongoing discussion about autonomy and the Commons. What does it mean to be autonomous today when our connection with the world through global networks is more evident than ever? It is now clear that we are moving from an industrial economy to an immaterial economy, where we do not consume products anymore but ideas. I relation to agriculture, we used to speak of the Commons meaning common land, whose resources (grass, soil, water) were available for common

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the artist as farmer ex-artists’ collective, Farming on a Golf Field, drawing, 2011

use. We lost contact with the conception of the commons a long time ago, since everything was divided in public and private property. However, today this concept is revived in the immaterial sphere. In his book Animal Spirits, Matteo Pasquinelli defines the new Commons as collaboration, knowledge and communication. For me, it is not the literal adaptation of a farmer’s lifestyle by an artist, individual or collective that I am aiming for. In all my projects I see the possibility of getting the tangible experience of self-sufficient living as training, as simulation for the transgression of such ideas on different levels. Just like a farmer symbolizes self-sufficiency on a material level (e.g. edible resources and energy), the contemporary artist could develop some sort of ideological self-sufficiency in the immaterial realm of economy in which s/he operates, through the practice of the new Commons.

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Jr James Archive, Aerial Photo of Letchworth Garden

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City, 1937


George McKay

The Garden City movement of the first decade of the twentieth century was one of a number of social improvement models based around the design of the urban environment which led in due course to the practice of town planning, by government and local authority alike. But for us it has a special place for two reasons. Firstly, in its early years the movement espoused a politics what appealed to idealists, socialists, utopianists, enthousiastic to mark a new century with a new society. It drew on revolutionary and reformist ideas of the time in order to critique the existing world and to envision the future one, of cooperation and small-scale community. Secondly, it has a green heart: the garden city positioned the garden itself, and its related public spaces like parks and local farms, as a key transformative engine in this socio-horticultural experience” “The Garden City would be what we recognise as a Fair Trade community, with ethical consumption: “there text: George McKay, Radical

http://georgemckay.org/

Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden, 2011

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will be a splendid opportunity for the public conscience to express itself in this regard, and no shopkeeper will, I hope, venture to sell “sweated goods”, he advised. The tentativeness of Howard’s written language, (“so it may be”, “will, I hope”) may suggest a lack of clarity and even confidence, particularly in the key area of exactly how the new city would engender radical social change. [...] “Yet people did respond to its utopian call. The Garden City movement did include cooperative housing facilities, like communal kitchens and halls, new forms of children’s education, inclusive spaces for people with disabilities, and was renowed for attracting avowedly political residents, like feminists and suffragettes, socialists, anarchists, simple lifers, vegetarians, anti-vivisectionists, and the entire panoply of highly interesting and extremely intelligent people who usually went under the generic soubriquet of ‘cranks’ – the kinds of people attacked for “fanaticism and crankiness” which would have caused them to take up freak science, freak religions and freak philanthropy” as one (female) critic would express it in the 1920s.

opposite page:

* text: Ebenezer Howard,

image: Ebeneze Howard,

Garden Cities of To-Mor-

The Three Magnets No.1.,

row, 1902

from the book Garden Cities of To-Morrow, 1902

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the Garden City

There are in reality not only, as is so constantly assumed, two alternatives— town life and country life—but a third alternative, in which all the advantages of the most energetic and active town life, with all the beauty and delight of the country, may be secured in perfect combination; and the certainty of being able to live this life will be the magnet which will produce the effect

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for which we are all striving —the spontaneous movement of the people from our crowded cities to the bosom of our kindly mother earth, at once the source of life, of happiness, of wealth, and of power. The town and the country may, therefore, be regarded as two magnets, each striving to draw the people to itself—a rivalry which a new form of life, partaking of the nature of both, comes to take part in. This may be illustrated by a diagram of “The Three Magnets,” in which the chief advantages of the Town and of the Country are set forth with their corresponding drawbacks, while the advantages of the Town-Country are seen to be free from the disadvantages of either. [...] But neither the Town magnet nor the Country magnet represents the full plan and purpose of nature. Human society and the beauty of nature are meant to be enjoyed together. The two magnets must be made one. As man and woman by their varied gifts and faculties supplement each other, so should town and country. The town is the symbol of society—of mutual help and friendly cooperation, of fatherhood, motherhood, brotherhood, sisterhood, of wide relations between man and mar—of broad, expanding sympathie science, art, culture, religion. And the country! The country is the symbol of God’s love and care for man. All that we are and all that we have comes from it. Our bodies are formed of it; to it they return. We are fed by it, clothed by it, and by it are we warmed and sheltered. On its bosom we rest. Its beauty is the inspiration of art, of music, of poetry. Its farces propel all the wheels of industry. It is the source of all health, all wealth, all knowledge. But its fidnees of joy and wisdom has not revealed itself to man. Nor can it ever, so long as this unholy, unnatural separation of society and nature endures. Town and country must be married, and out of this joyous union will spring a new hope, a new life, a new civilization. [...] The smoke is kept well within bounds in Garden City; for all machinery is driven by electric energy, with the result that the cost of electricity for lighting and other purposes is greatly reduced. The refuse of the town is utilised on the agricultural portions of the estate, which are held by various individuals in large farms, small holdings, allotments, cow pastures, etc.; the natural competition of these various methods of agriculture, tested by the willingness of occupiers to offer the highest rent to the municipality, tending to bring about the best system of husbandry, or, what is more probable, the best systems adapted for various purposes. Thus it is easily conceivable that it may prove advantageous to grow wheat in very large fields, involving

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Garden Cities of Tomorrow

united action either a capitalist fanner, or by a body of co-operators; while the cultivation of vegetables, fruits, and flowers, which requires closer and more personal care, and more of the artistic and inventive faculty, may possibly be best dealt with by individuals, or by small groups of individuals having a common belief in the efficacy and value of certain dressings, methods of culture, or artificial and natural surroundings. [...] For this purpose, let us deal first with the agricultural estate, leaving the town estate to be dealt with separately. (…) Or, consider vegetables and fruits. Farmers, except near towns, do not often grow them now. Why ? Chiefly because of the difficulty and uncertainty of a market, and the high charges for freights and commission. To quote the words of Dr. Farquharson, M.P., when they “ try to dispose of these things they find themselves struggling so hopelessly in a spider’s web of rings, and middlemen, and speculators, that they are more than half-inclined to give up the attempt in despair, and fall back on those things that stand up straight and square to their prices in the open market.” A curious calculation may be interesting with regard to milk. Assuming each person in the town consumed only onethird of a pint a day, then 30,000 would consume 1,250 gallons a day, and might thus save, taking railway charges at a penny per gallon, upwards of £1,900 per annum in railway rates upon the one item of milk, a saving which must be multiplied by a large figure in order to realise the general saving to be effected by placing consumer and producer in such close association. In other words, the combination of town and country is not only healthful, but economic—a point which every step taken will serve to make yet more clear. But the rents which the agricultural tenants of Garden City would be willing to pay would increase for another reason. The waste products of the town could, and this without heavy charges for railway transport or other expensive agencies, be readily brought back to the soil, thus increasing its fertility. The question of sewage disposal is naturally a difficult one to deal with, but its inherent difficulty is often much increased by artificial and imperfect conditions already in existence. [...] And now let us notice what this fortunately-placed community obtains for this insignificant sum. It obtains for Is. Id. per head per annum, first, ample sites for homes, these averaging, as we have seen, 20 feet by 130 feet, and accommodating, on an average, 5,5 persons to each lot. It obtains ample space for roads, some of which are of truly magnificent proportions, so wide and spacious that sunlight and air may freely circulate, and in which trees,

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shrubs, and grass give to the town a semi-rural appearance. It also obtains ample sites for town-hall, public library, museum and picture-gallery, theatre, concert-hall, hospital, schools, churches, swimming baths, public markets, etc. It also secures a central park of 145 acres, and a magnificent avenue 420 feet wide, extending in a circle of over three miles, unbroken save by spacious boulevards and by schools and churches, which, one may be sure, will not be the less beautiful because so little money has been expended on their sites. It secures also all the land required for a railway 4,5 miles long, encompassing the town; 82 acres for warehouses, factories, markets, and a splendid site for a crystal palace devoted to shopping, and serving also as a winter garden.

What will be the fate of the existing cities as

“I have heard that it was so,” said I “but what

these new minicities come into existence? (…).

followed?”

The land will be returned to grassland, forest,

“The change,” said Hammond, “which in these

orchards, or gardens – often, it appears, groups

matters took place very early in our epoch, was

from the city own plots of land outside in the

most strangely rapid. People flocked into the

country, where they probably have a small shack

country villages, and, so to say, flung themselves

and perhaps grow vegetables, or just go for a

upon the freed land like a wild beast upon his

change of scene.

prey; and in a very little time the villages of England were more populous than they had

(Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975)

been since the fourteenth century, and were still growing fast. Of course, this invasion of the country was awkward to deal with, and would have created much misery, if the folk had still been under the bondage of class monopoly. But as it was, things soon righted themselves. People found out what they were fit for, and gave up

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allotment garden

attempting to push themselves into occupations

were fortresses for the feudal army, markets for

in which they must needs fail. The town invaded

the folk, gathering places for the craftsmen. It

the country; but the invaders, like the warlike

then became a country of huge and foul work-

invaders of early days, yielded to the influence of

shops and fouler gambling-dens, surrounded

their surroundings, and became country people;

by an ill-kept, poverty-stricken farm, pillaged

and in their turn, as they became more numer-

by the masters of the workshops. It is now a

ous than the townsmen, influenced them also;

garden, where nothing is wasted and nothing is

so that the difference between town and country

spoilt, with the necessary dwellings, sheds, and

grew less and less; and it was indeed this world

workshops scattered up and down the country,

of the country vivified by the thought and brisk-

all trim and neat and pretty.”

ness of town-bred folk which has produced that happy and leisurely but eager life of which you

(William Morris, News from Nowhere, 1890)

have had a first taste. (…) “This is how we stand. England was once a country of clearings amongst the woods and

image:

wastes, with a few towns interspersed, which

Klaus Pichler, Middle Class

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Utopia # 14, 2012


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Klaus Pichler:

called ‘Schrebergärten’.

vegetables and fruits. Over

located in the boundaries of

Middle Class Utopia

These tiny gardens were

the time, the use of these

the city. It’s a special kind

invented in the late 19th

gardens changed and now

of people who live there –

This series of photos focuses

century, mainly to provide

they are mainly used for

mostly older people, but also

on Austrian allotment gar-

space for the working class

recreational purposes.

younger families who com-

dens in and around Vienna,

people to grow their own

26.000 of these gardens

bine the advantage of urban

exist in Vienna, not only

life with the escapism of the

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allotment garden farden colonies. Due to the

and hedgetrimmers. This

opposite page, image:

strict rules of these colonies,

dichotomy leads to a slightly

Klaus Pichler, Middle Class

concerning both the look of

grotesque appearance of the

Utopia # 19, 2012

the gardens as well as the

gardens, looking lie outdoor

behaviour of the occupants,

living rooms.

a special mood surrounds the gardens. The artificial idyll of the garden gets foiled by feelings of paranoia, fear and sometimes loneliness that surround the people who live there. Nature is declared friend and foe at the same time. On the one hand, the occupants enjoy the beauty and peace of nature – on the other hand, the natural growth of the plants is seen as enemy

image:

and needs to be fought

Klaus Pichler, Middle Class

with scissors, lawnmovers

Utopia # 1, 2012

“The streets are twenty feet broad; there lie

their gardens so well is not only kept up by the

gardens behind all their houses. These are large,

pleasure they find in it, but also by an emulation

but enclosed with buildings, that on all hands

between the inhabitants of the several streets,

face the streets, so that every house has both a

who vie with each other. And there is, indeed,

door to the street and a back door to the garden.

nothing belonging to the whole town that is both

Their doors have all two leaves, which, as they

more useful and more pleasant. So that he who

are easily opened, so they shut of their own ac-

founded the town seems to have taken care of

cord; and, there being no property among them,

nothing more than of their gardens.”

every man may freely enter into any house whatsoever. At every ten years’ end they shift their houses by lots. They cultivate their gardens with great care, so that they have both vines, fruits, herbs, and flowers in them; and all is so well ordered and so finely kept that I never saw gardens anywhere that were both so fruitful and so beautiful as theirs. And this humor of ordering

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(Thomas More, Utopia, 1516)


REAP & SOW Schrebergarten And Allotment – From Collec-

* (Elke Krasny, The

tive To Individual*

Right to Green: Hands-On Urbanism

The involvement of the urban middle class in

1850-2012, 2014)

the Schreber associations started with a square. Soon, a spatial reference for the allotmentgardener community was added to this original configuration of the square, in the form of the surrounding plots used for fruit and vegetable cultivation. This parcel configuration would ultimately go on to gain increasing political and cultural weight throughout the development of the allotment movement. The Schreberplatz – Schreber Square – has disappeared from collective memory, but the plots themselves continue to define allotment-garden communities to this day. (…) However, the allotment movement is not founded upon the plot, but upon the space as a whole. The relationship of the individual and the collective can be seen as a dynamically interrelated constellation of plot and shared place. The Schreber place concept evolved into allotment gardens.

above: Donald Loggins, Liz Christy, Bowery –Houston Community Garden, 1974

Valentina Karga, 30 Days in the Garden, performance,

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2012


community gardens

The revolutionary upheaval of 1968 and the first oil crisis in 1973 were followed by a financial, economic, housing and real estate crisis that created an environment in which it took a lot of imagination and activism to envision flowering gardens and neighborly interaction in place of rubbish-strewn vacant lots tagged for property speculation. “By 1977, there were more than 25,000 vacant lots in New York. Littered with trash and rats, these open sores became magnets for drugs, prostitution, and chop shops for stripping down stolen cars. [...] Fed up with government inaction, in 1973 an impassioned artist named Liz Christy and a band of like-minded activists called the Green Guerillas began taking over abandoned lots on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. (Elke Krasny, The Right to Green: Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012, 2014)

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Diagram of Infrastructure

Valentina Karga, Diagram of Infrastructure from Summer School for Applied

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Autonomy, 2013


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Valentina Karga, 15 Days on Mars, performance, 2013

ex artists’ collective, Untitled (reclaime the field), drawing, 2010

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valentina karga

During my fellowship at the Graduate School UdK (Berlin University of the Arts) I started a blog, Berlin Farm Lab (http://berlinfarmlab.tumblr.com), as a way to organize my research around strategies of self-sufficiency and sustainability with a particular interest on implementation through open-source DIY designs. On the way, I became more interested on how such ideas take a material form and how such practices relate to society and economy. What are the links of the current socioeconomic transformations in regards to sustainability, the ever-growing makers’ subculture, practices of urban Commons in relation to the economics of immaterial production and knowledge economy? In 2013, in the framework of an interdisciplinary seminar I offered at the UdK, we created the ‘Summer School for Applied Autonomy’ in Berlin, a research initiative interested in capturing the complexity of the technical know-how but also the social, political and affective aspects involved in autonomous living. Its functioning is largely self-sufficient, tending towards environmental sustainability, and it is based on feedback loop circuits where its different outputs (from garbage to words) become inputs that re-feed the social and material body of the garden. The school opens every summer for people who want to engage for a stay of minimum one week and to learn by doing. In 2014 together with Robert Eckstein and more people we founded ‘Ideenfarm’, an organization for urban gardening, social practice, environmental education in the eastern part of Berlin, dedicated in creating Common space in urban environments through collaborative activities.

Valentina Karga, Exchange economy from Summer School for Applied Autonomy, 2013, Berlin

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Nils Norman, Rocket Oven in Edible Park, Den Haag, 2010

Nils Norman, Pavilion in Edible Park, Den Haag, 2010

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NILS NORMAN

It is through the lens of Utopia that the Edible Park’s ideas are focused. Its aims are to investigate and publish the possibilities of a ground-up, Utopia inspired, sustainable urban planning process. The Edible Park explores what an alternative, or counter, public space might look like, and asks if it is possible to collectively develop a public space that bucks the dominant trend towards the privatisation of everything – a space that is Nils Norman, Amphitheater

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in Edible Park, Den Haag, 2010


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not surveilled or designed to control consumers. It offers another way of looking at the production of social space, our parks and shared urban spaces. In 2008, I was approached by Stroom to propose a project for the Binckhorst area in The Hague for their one-year Foodprint project. The Binckhorst is a post-industrial area near the city centre that was being re-conceptualised as a new creative hub. An imaginative master plan had been drawn up by the Dutch architecture group OMA: a utopian (dystopian?) city concept as amusement park/leisure space crammed with a beach, an outpost of a museum of contemporary art, a Formula One race track and multiple gherkinshaped skyscrapers. Later that year, the US housing bubble burst and the ongoing worldwide financial crisis ensued. The proposed regeneration of the Binckhorst was cancelled or possibly mothballed. With this as my starting point, I began to wonder what a counter ‘master plan’ might look like. A ‘no- master plan’ from below, a plan without a plan, something that might begin as a conversation developing into activities at a couple of locations and hopefully growing over time into an interconnected, citywide, community driven, biodynamic system. Looking around for appropriate bio-systems, permaculture fitted this idea perfectly. This concept would hopefully be developed in tandem with a self-critical discussion around the nature of public and community-type art projects in a time of forced austerity and economic crisis. I initiated the project by working closely with Peter de Rooden at Stroom in order to make contact with a local permaculture group. Luckily, in The Hague there was a very good one, and after some discussion of the idea with one of its founding members Menno Swaak, from what was then Gezonde Gronden, now Permacultuur Centrum Den Haag – the search for a location began. To our surprise, we ended up with two potential sites: one in the educational and city farm area of the Zuiderpark, a large municipal park in the south of the city laid out between 1923 and 1936; and the other a fallow, meadow area nearby, at the entrance to a large and well established allotment garden. From there, we began to formulate two different types of gardens that were specific to their sites in terms of character and function. The park plot was thought of as a demonstration or model garden a central location from which a variety of permaculture ideas could be generated. As

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edible park

the site was in the educational area of the park, it would take on the active role of educating the public on permaculture ideas and methods. The other, less formal, site at the allotment garden was devised as a permaculture answer to the allotment: a community garden where produce would be gardened collectively rather than in staked-out, individual plots. As a result of our ongoing discussions, it was decided that the more publically visible park site should include a central structure to hold meetings and workshops, host school groups and store tools and equipment. Working together with the Dutch architect Michel Post, we designed a pavilion based on a building pioneered by Tony Wrench and Jane Faith in Wales. Details of their timber-framed roundhouse built from cob, straw bales and recycled double-glazed windows can be found in their book Building a Low Impact Roundhouse. Taking this design as a template, we brought in references to modernism and the city in order to avoid the clichÊ of hobbit-like eco-architecture giving it a more urban feel with its materials and details. The modernist reference was the German architect Bruno Taut, who worked closely with the landscape architect Leberecht Migge in Germany in the 1920s. Migge was influenced by the Russian anarchist Peter Kropotkin, developing early models for communal grassroots socialism in the garden design and landscaping for Germany’s large, low-lying social housing projects, or Siedlungen.

Photographer unknown,

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From the Fortepan Archive, Hungary, 1918


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István Szathmáry, From the

ex-artists’ collective,

Fortepan Archive Hungary,

Nettle pickers, drawing,

1934

2011

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Marjetica Potrc

Marjetica Potrč, reflections on her own project The Cook, the Farmer, his Wife and their Neighbor, published in Hands-on Urbanism 1850-2012. The Right to Green, 2014

Speaking generally, art mediates our relationship with the world. In more specific terms, as for example in the on-site project The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbor (2009), it can mediate the relationship between the residents of a neighborhood and the city they live in. In that project, a community garden became a relational object used by residents as a tool for changing their culture of living. By reaching out to the community in a shared endeavor, the artist and art become engaged in social processes that aspire to transform society from below. Along the way, the artist loses the aura of individual authorship and art loses its objectiveness. The notion of art as mediation is disturbing to some in the contemporary art realm. They are uncomfortable with two things in particular. The first concerns the role of artists in today’s society: Should artists be social workers? Or, even worse, activists? The second is about the nature of art: Can something as utilitarian as a community garden or a dry toilet really be “art”? Is it not better to think of them as social projects, infrastructure, or just gardening? But this is exactly the point. Contemporary society, in search of new knowledge – perhaps for the simple reason that today’s complex challenges demand complex, outside-the-box solutions – needs the kind of collaborative approach that is nurtured in the sharing of knowledge across disciplines. Creative people have the ability to do this, whether they are artists, architects, social workers, or horticulturalists. And what is more, outside the art world, no one really cares very much about the definition of contemporary art. The controversy is more about the degree to which art and artists should get directly involved in society. While the art audience has become accustomed to institutional critiques, community-based projects feel too up-close and messy.

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[...] Another consideration: Can we simply dismiss these communities as “utopias”? Recently, in a discussion with a friend, I was reminded that, during the twentieth century, ideologies created an interest in the future and therefore in utopian societies. Now that these ideologies have fallen, it becomes natural to focus on the present day. Community-building is not a utopian project; it is a much-needed laboratory of human coexistence. [...] The focus on the local, the small, and the independent comes into play most strongly when that which is missing – the lost promises of modernism, the hopeful equalizer – becomes important, such as with the decline of the social state and the decentralization of the state in the European Union. It is at this point that we seek to understand the potential of small-scale territories (the local) and social architecture (people). What does sustainable living mean after the disintegration of twentieth-century modernism? What do selfsustainability and living “off the grid” mean? How much can the individual contribute to the world? The construction of the world from below, from the bottom up, must be viewed as a viable, important paradigm, one that makes an essential contribution to our knowledge. After all, this is what we already live with. The world needs community-based projects, so it can learn from them and be inspired by their creativity.

this and the oposite page, image: Harry Sachs and Franz Höfner, Bee Colony of

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Honey Neustadt, 2006


SOCIAL HONEY

text: Harry Sachs and Franz Höfner, text on Honey Neustadt project published in Piccolo Mondo monography, 2006

One million honeybees (Apis mellifera) find a home in the bee colony Honey Neustadt. Every morning the bees swarm throughout Berlin to its parks and to plants on private balconies, before returning in the evening to prefabricated Styrofoam housing. By the end of summer, they will have produced more than 250 kilograms of honey. The colony is maintained by a local beekeeper. Packaged and labelled as Berliner Blüte (Berlin Blossom), the honey finds its way into Berlin’s households and also onto the art market. Honey Neustadt is modelled on prefabricated housing developments constructed for workers in ‹dormitory towns›. One such district, Halle-Neustadt, was constructed from the mid-1960s onwards as a satellite town for the East German city of Halle. In fulfilment of their ultra-functionalised working existences, its residents commuted daily to and from work in chemical plants located in the nearby towns of Buna and Leuna. In Honey Neustadt, the work of its residents – honey production – also involves a chemical process. The architectural layout of both communities share further parallels: the bee dwellings consist of industrially prefabricated bee frames that are stacked one on top of the other and outfitted, floor-by-

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floor, with standardised honeycomb panels. This approach reflects the old urban planning philosophy of creating a sense of community by imposing high densities. The floral pictograms on the buildings did not have merely a decorative function. They also served to visually orient the residents within the housing blocks and acted as identifiers for their home environment. In Honey Neustadt, the geometric forms that adorn the beehives help the bees recognise their own dwellings. In similar fashion, a coat of arms designed for Honey Neustadt is cut into the ground at the project site. It is visible to observers both near and far – including the satellites that feed Google Earth. This beehive-city is designed as a miniature memorial for the residents of the dormitory towns and could, for example, be built on the areas of greenery that result when these dormitory towns become shrinking cities and are partially torn down, as is often the fate of these developments today.

Harry Sachs and Franz

oposite page, image:

HĂśfner, Bee Colony of

Finger Group, Social Honey

Honey Neustadt, 2006

– Budapest, 2014

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SOCIAL HONEY

New Museum for Bees & Mixed Bee Group / finger group & Katalin Erdődi Budapest, Hungary http://kozossegimez.tumblr. com; www.fingerweb.org Curator: Katalin Erdődi, Project coordinator: Viola Kallós; With the kind support of Schering Foundation, MitOst e.V., ERSTE Foundation, Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen

In 2013, Budapest’s first urban bee yard was founded as the result of a collaboration between the German finger group and independent curator, Katalin Erdődi, on the back terrace of the Kunsthalle, a leading art institution in Hungary, which has been the protagonist of cultural policy controversies in the past years. Titled Social Honey, the project was conceived at the inter-

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section of social engagement, education and art, and took the two pillars of the Frankfurt-based artists’ activities - the Mixed Bee Group and the New Museum of Bees - as its starting point. Responding to the challenges of a radically polarised Hungarian society, where poverty, unemployment and homelessness have substantially increased recently due to the economic crisis, the Mixed Bee Group brought together an unusually diverse, temporary community of participants eager to learn the skills of beekeeping and collectively tend the bee yard. Launched via an open call for participation, the group resembled a micro-model of society, including forty people from different age groups, social backgrounds and living conditions. People - who otherwise have very little (if any) contact with one another in their everyday lives - met weekly to collaborate and exchange, in dialogue with the artists and various experts of the Hungarian beekeeping field. Coordinated by a local beekeeper, the group produced 65 kilos of ‘urban honey’ from July till mid-August, which was tested in a local laboratory and sold on donation-basis to the visitors of the New Museum for Bees. A conceptual museum open to both humans and bees, the New Museum for Bees regards artistic production as a space of resonance for socially formative processes. Its Budapest branch hosted three exhibitions, dealing with the Hungarian political situation, as well as overarching global problems, such as sustainability and food shortage. “Do bees do a better democracy than we do?” offered insight into the inner workings of honeybee democracy, advocating collective decision-making and swarm intelligence, summing up what we could learn from bees in ‘swarm smarts’. “Should we eat them?” focused on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2013 study, highlighting the role of edible insects (incl. bee puppets) as food for humans and feed for animal consumption and arguing for a paradigm shift in our traditional diets and food production. Visitors were invited to cast their vote in a transparent ballot box. The Mixed Bee Group was also introduced in the exhibition as an alternative working model, fostering solidarity and mutual understanding and empowering people in precarious living conditions with new skills and perspectives. The museum itself proposed a new economic model for cultural institutions, as on the long term its operation and programme can be financed by the honey production of the hives that host the museum: an interesting scenario in the Hungarian context where the autonomy and independence of art institutions (e.g. Kunsthalle) is at stake.

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collective collecting

Fallen Fruit is a collaborative art project that uses fruit as a common denominator to reframe the familiar and transform the way we see the world. Fallen Fruit’s practice began in Los Angeles in 2004 with the mapping of “public fruit” – fruit that grows on or over public property. It now encompasses diverse site-specific, serialized artworks that often embrace public participation. From Public Fruit Jams to curatorial projects, from photographic portraits to proposals for new urban green space; Fallen Fruit’s projects invite people to experience their city as a fruitful, generous place, to collectively re-imagine the functions of public participation and urban space, to ponder forms of located citizenship, and to explore the meaning of community and neighborhood through creating and sharing new and abundant resources. Fallen Fruit was originally conceived by David Burns, Matias Viegener and Austin Young. Since 2013, David and Austin have continued the collaborative work. Fallen Fruit began in 2004 in response to a Journal of Aesthetics & Protest call for generative solutions to socio-political issues. In part a response to the aforementioned context of disconnect, in part an effort to couple urban waste and urban need, and in part the result of a desire “to be in a fantastical California resembling the Garden of Eden”, the first Fallen Fruit project mapped all of the fruit available to pick from the public rights-of-way in Silver Lake, home to all three collaborators. Shortly thereafter the group began making self-described propaganda materials about “public fruit”, hosting ever-popular jam-making sessions, distributing trees for planting, and conducting nocturnal public fruit tours. Commenting on the tours in a 2006 Cabinet article, Matias Viegener notes: “pedestrians are often reluctant to pick food within their grasp because they perceive it to be private property.” By identifying the Garden of Eden as an inspiration for their work, Fallen Fruit puts a collective finger on Western mythology’s most visionary image of peaceful abundance. They also indicate a potent driver for both the context of disconnect and the prevalent culture of private ownership: the Recovery Narrative. Named by historian and philosopher Carolyn Merchant to describe “the overarching story of modern history,” the Recovery Narrative is a

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tale of redemption in which humanity, having Fallen from Grace after eating the Forbidden Fruit, strives to Master Nature and thereby regain Eden. In “Reinventing Eden: The Fate of Nature in Western Culture,” Carolyn Merchant describes how early 20th century adverts for Californian produce “featured fruits, such as those found in the Garden of Eden, waiting invitingly to be plucked by anyone strolling past.” Unlike in the biblical Eden though, where one presumes fruit was to be had for the taking, California’s bounty cannot be simply “plucked”. As Merchant explains, the overarching theme of the Recovery Narrative is the transition from “natural” to “civilized.” “Wild lands and wild people are to be subdued.” Human labor will “redeem the souls of men and women,” and cultivation will redeem the wilderness. Agriculture and commerce must replace hunting and gathering. In other words, food that is merely gathered is not yet “civilized.” It needs to be subdued, even purified, by labor and individual ownership. I am reminded of an image from Disney’s “Snow White” -- the poisoned apple, proffered in a gnarled, sharp-nailed hand. The fruit looks red and enticing, but the watching audience knows that it is deadly. As David Burns told me: “the West was won by agriculture and mythology.” We are still in their thrall. Like Snow White’s lethal apple, fruit for which one has not labored - either through direct cultivation or by earning the money

“Urban development from below is part of the

building up a living archive of stories document-

history of the modernization and transformation

ing the practices and action strategies of agency,

of the city. From cities pressured by industry,

self-organization, self-action, self-help, and self-

to cities ravaged by war, and on to cities belea-

empowerment used to change space, people’s

guered by neoliberal developers, gardening is an

relationships to space, and people’s relation-

expression of hands-on urban development. It

ships to each other.”

is a seismograph of crisis management, resilience, and robustness. The history of hands-on

(Elke Krasny, The Right to Green: Hands-On

urban development is not about creating a

Urbanism 1850-2012, 2014)

descriptively reconstructed representation of the respective crises from modernization shock, industrialization, capital-driven land speculation, uncontrolled growth, mass unemployment, rural migration, war, international migration, and mega-events, such as the Olympics, to neoliberal development pressure. Rather, it is about

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collective collecting

for purchase - has absorbed a cauldron of poisons. The “First Public Fruit Park In California” has already demonstrated that civic art can be a process of planning that creates an exception to civic policy. Its long-term success will facilitate the planting of other orchards in L.A.’s public spaces, and possibly in the many other cities where a wave of urban agriculture is drumming on the rocks of public policy. Might it also contribute to a change in State law? A lawyer friend tells me that the idea of making public fruit trees an exception to the Attractive Nuisance doctrine is “challenging” but certainly “not ludicrous.” The Del Aire Fruit Park is more than just a policy-oriented “camel’s nose” though, welcome and significant as that is. Instead, and in addition, by planting an orchard in public space and inviting us all to tend and gather what is growing, the Fruit Park proposes that Edenic abundance already exists; no plastic-wrapped redemption required. Refusing the overarching trajectory of modern history? De-poisoning fruit that is apparently owned by no one because it is owned by us all? Offering the experience of a non-commodified relationship to the natural world? Now that’s what I call radical.

Fallen Fruit, Fallen Fruit

ex artists’ collective, From

Map of McArthur Park,

the Famine Food Archive,

2014

2011

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Collective Plant, Picking Conifer, 2014, (photo by Zsófia Szonja Illés)

Collective Plant, Collect-

(photo by Zsófia Szonja

above: Zsófia Szemző: In Oil

the Collective Plant Spring

ing Experiment in the XI.

Illés)

and Vinegar, drawing 2013,

Fanzine

District of Budapest, 2013,

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oil infusion illustration from


collective collecting

Collective Plant was initiated by Zsófia Szonja Illés in the autumn of 2013, as a month-long project for an urbanistic exhibition at Labor Budapest, with the aim of providing constructive answers to the questions posed by unemployment, and to call attention to those resources of survival that are freely available even within an urban context. Since then, the initiative has grown into a collective. Involving actors from various fields (writers, illustrators, photographers, curators, activists, environmentalists, etc.), Collective Plant is concerned with urban self-sustenance. Through community activities, such as workshops and foraging trips, we aim to bring urban people closer to nature and the natural sources of nutrition (e.g.: wild plants) that are available in cities as well. As the work of participating artists supports our community, we would also like to support them through the creation of fanzines and publications.

“I can provide you with whatever evidence you require to prove that Ecotopians eat better food than any other nation on earth, because we grow it to be nutritious and taste good, not look good or pack efficiently. Our food supplies are uncontaminated with herbicides and insecticides, because we use cultivation for weeds and biological controls for insects. Our food preparation practices are sound, avoiding the processing that destroys food values. Most important of all, our agriculture has reached an almost totally

Collective Plant, Collect-

stable state, with more than 99% of our wastes

ing Experiment in the II.

being recycled.”

District of Budapest, 2013, (photo by Zsófia Szonja

(Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975)

81

Illés)


REAP & SOW Kathryn Miller, Seed Bombing Landscape in Southern California, 1992

opposite side:

composting, possibilities of

*The drawings depict

to decenter the human,

Snail, drawing by Claire

vertical farming; commis-

creatures from the soil–food

enhancing our understand-

Pentecost, from the series of

sioned by dOCUMENTA (13)

web, historical figures who

ing of ourselves as one part

sketches for money notes:

have played significant

of an immense and complex

Teachers of Gaia*.

roles in our understanding

ecology.

Part of the project Soil-erg

of ecological approaches

(2012) dealing with soil,

to agriculture, and people

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whose thinking has helped


Claire pentecost

“I am making soil. In my dream, someone asked, can soil be commodified? For a moment let’s leave aside the question of real estate and deliberate on soil itself. Separated from a fixed location, soil is not a very convenient commodity. Commodities are all about flow. Soil is heavy by volume and thus expensive to move. Its value is literally in the ground, in a specific territory. But capitalism in its brilliance finds a way. For things that don’t move or package well, such as climates,

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experiences, and geographic locations, capitalism extracts the elements of value and converts them to signs that can be circulated in markets. These signs are attached to things that can be bought and sold. How have corporations deterritorialized soil? By detaching from it the bare ingredients necessary to grow plants. The biological cosmos underground nourishes plants, protects them from disease and pests, and discourages weeds that might outcompete them. For these things industry substitutes synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides—“inputs”—that purport to replace the labor and knowledge required to maintain soil. With one application of biocide, living soil is destroyed and replaced by a lifeless substrate dependent on inputs to support plants. Agrochemical inputs are derived from the synthetic nitrogen and the poison gases produced in excess for the wars of the twentieth century. Many of the technologies informing processed food also derive from military research. Imagine that your life depends on vitamins, candy, and continual doses of antibiotics; pricey gizmo foods produced in labs and purchased on credit. The dynamic autonomous knowledge involved in feeding yourself is displaced by debt. The inputs are expensive, but soil ultimately is not. Just as anyone who grows things can save seeds, anyone who understands soil can make it. You can make it by diverting waste streams of nitrogenrich and carbon-rich organic materials and oxygenating them as they decompose. Perhaps more important, lifeless soil can be rehabilitated with one or two applications of well-made compost or aerated compost tea. It takes a little knowledge and labor, but why deprive ourselves of these pleasures?” *

“Well”, he replied, “things were clearly not getting any better – so people were really ready for change. They were literally sick of bad air, chemicalized foods, lunatic advertising. They turned to politics because it was finally the only

* text taken from:

route to self-preservation.”

Claire Pentecost: Notes from the Underground (100

(Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975)

84

Notes – 100 Thoughts / No. 61


soil

Drawing by Claire Pentecost, from the series of sketches for money notes: Teachers of Gaia. Part of the project Soil-erg (2012)

Gerrard Winstanley (16091676). English co-founder of the Diggers (also called True Levellers) who took over vacant common lands in order to grow crops and distribute the harvest for free.

Claire Pentecost, Soil-erg (2012), installation view,

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dOCUMENTA (13)


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Miklós Mécs, Compost mandala, drawing, 2012

Miklós Mécs, in collaboration with László Mécs, Judit Fischer, Compost mandalas, 2012

86


Miklós Mécs

Graveyard Vegetables and the Compost Mandalas are pretty similar projects in fact. There is nothing much to explain about them: they exist in my mind as daily routines, but so far, they had only been realized as works of art. Graveyard vegetables is definitely a controversial project, it provoked extreme reactions among artist friends of mine. Some said that what I do is morbid and blasphemous and that they would have been going crazy if they had seen that someone had planted tomatoes in their relatives’ graveyard. While, for instance, my mother told me that she’d be happy if she could feed me this way after her passing. I believe that being a landholder in this manner is an interesting idea: on one hand, it may sound outrageous, but on the other hand, it’s very practical to make use of the soil this way. [...] We have started to make Compost mandalas in suitcases that we have later exhibited in Zalaegerszeg and buried after the show. They are probaly still lying below ground. Whenever we cooked, we carefully made a new composition on the top of the former ones, photographed the ephemeral configuration of our daily waste and covered it with a thin layer of soil.

Miklós Mécs in collaboration with Borbála Sárai, Hajnalka Tulisz and Csaba Vándor, Graveyard Vegetables, stills from the video, 2004

87

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vee8oxdQDww


REAP & SOW Stählemühle, Destillat Nr. 369: Wachauer Marille im Maulbeerfass (Apricot Brandy from Wachau, riped in a Mulberry barrel), 2012

ex-artists’ collective, slogan

“Many Ecotopians however seem to buy only bread, beans, rice, fruit and similar staples from these stores, relying on small independent shops for meat, produce, etc. – or shipments from fellow communes. ... Preserved food comes in three sizes of containers (all biodegradable, naturally) – one about the size of a small pickled-herring jar, one like a large jam jar, and one huge, the kind our restaurants get fruits in. … The labels, however, very lovely in design.” (Ernest Callenbach, Ecotopia, 1975)

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Collective Plant, Forest Tea,

lés), Zs.Sz.I. makes products

Wild Flower Tea, 2014,

for sale out of foraged ingre-

(photo by Zsófia Szonja Il-

dients (fruits, herbs, etc.)


artists' products

Artists not only engage with agriculture, but make and market their own produce. This produce can be the artwork itself, as in case of Andrea Fajgerné Dudás and Eszter Ágnes Szabó, who made apple marmalade as part of a performative show by which artists and art historians “conserve sin” - a feminist reference to the first sin and the consequent holy judgement of women’s repression - or as in case of Joseph Beuys and his Diffesa della Natura. They can appear in the course of an artistic project, not regarded in itself as an artwork, rather as a significant by-product, a document and result of an artistic action (Honey Neustadt, Fallen Fruit). In any case, the product cannot be separated from the action or performance by which they were created, and their value is therefore higher than that of the same, but non-artistic produce would be. Therefore the produce can serve as a means of partially financing artistic production or support the empowerment of a community the artist works with (finger group, Myvillages), but can simply be produced and marketed out89


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side the art world as well, as in case of Christoph Keller’s Städemühle. Andrea Fajgerné Dudás

entitled Common Jam that

event along the way of the

Pantry proved to be pretty

- Eszter Ágnes Szabó:

took place in 2013. We

suburban railway (HÉV) to

successful among the inhab-

Common Pantry, part of the

approached an apple tree

Szentendre. As part of the

itants of the neighbourhood,

exhibition CommonJam2,

situated in public space in

vernissage, we conserved

many jars and bottles had

ART9 Gallery, Budapest,

Budapest and harvested the

the fruits and later on, visi-

been swapped during the

2013

ripe fruits with our friends

tors could bring their own

exhibition.

and fellow participants, then

jams, canned fruits and

“Our performance enti-

we preserved the apples

other self-mafe goodies and

Andrea Fajgerné Dudás: The

tled The conservation of

together. In 2014 we organ-

exchange them for the ones

conservation of sin, oil on

sin is related to our action

ized another apple picking

we preserved. The Common

canvas, 170 x 250 cm, 2014

Fallen Fruit, Public Fruit Jam jars

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artists’ products SUPERFLEX, Guaraná

Guaraná Power soft drink.

the raw material has driven

Power, 2003. In 2003,

The farmers have organised

the price paid for guaraná

SUPERFLEX initiated a

themselves in response to

seeds down by 80% while

collaboration with a guaraná

the activities of the multina-

the cost of their products

farmers’ cooperative from

tional corporations XxXxx

to the consumer has risen.

Maués in the Brasilian Ama-

and XxxxxXx, a cartel whose

http://superflex.net/tools/

zon in order to produce the

monopoly on purchase of

guarana_power

Public Fruit Jam, collaborative performance, 2006 – ongoing. Fallen Fruit invites the public to bring homegrown or street-picked fruit and collaborate with them in making collective fruit jams.

Most east Londoners born

them directly, with the prof-

before the 1950’s know

its feeding into a community

about “going picking” and

owned enterprise. The new

associate it with “going

company would be grounded

down to Kent” to pick

in the history of ‘going

berries, apples and most

picking’ but at the same

famously hops. Myvillages

extend the collective labour

came across this remark-

process further, to complete

able collective history

a whole cycle of production,

early in 2014 and started to

trade and reinvestment. The

imagine ways to restore this

full range of drinks will be

extraordinary urban-rural

sold across public events in

relationship through a new

Barking and Dagenham and

Myvillages, Company:

communal picking endeavor.

some high profile art events

Movements, Deals and

This time the plan was not

in London where we hope to

Drinks, 2014-2015, (photo

only to pick, but to keep the

maximise on our margins.

by Jennifer Balcombe)

crop, make drinks and trade

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http://c-o-m-p-a-n-y.info


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Collective Plant, SageQuince Bitter, 2014 (photo by Zsófia Szonja Illés)

Urban Honey from Buda-

the art context as well, for

pest (photo by Dóra Halasi),

instance in MMK (Museum

finger group invests the

für Moderne Kunst) Frank-

money acquired through

furt, where some of their

honey production back in

hives are kept.

artistic production for the bees. The honey is sold in

“Probably, from what I have told you before,

old forms, revived in a wonderful way during the

you will have a guess at the remedy for such a

latter part of the struggle, especially as regards

disaster; remembering always that many of the

music and poetry. The art or work-pleasure, as

things which used to be produced—slave-wares

one ought to call it, of which I am now speaking,

for the poor and mere wealth-wasting wares

sprung up almost spontaneously, it seems, from

for the rich—ceased to be made. That remedy

a kind of instinct amongst people, no longer

was, in short, the production of what used to be

driven desperately to painful and terrible over-

called art, but which has no name amongst us

work, to do the best they could with the work

now, because it has become a necessary part of

in hand—to make it excellent of its kind; and

the labour of every man who produces.”

when that had gone on for a little, a craving for

[…]

beauty seemed to awaken in men’s minds, and

“You must not suppose that the new form of art

they began rudely and awkwardly to ornament

was founded chiefly on the memory of the art of

the wares which they made; and when they had

the past; although, strange to say, the civil war

once set to work at that, it soon began to grow.”

was much less destructive of art than of other things, and though what of art existed under the

92

(William Morris, News from Nowhere, 1890)


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250g of Berliner Blüte honey, from the project Honey Neustadt, 2006

ex artists’ collective, From the Agriculture Project, 2011

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BIBLIOGRAPHY Baruchello, Gianfranco; Guogo, Zheng; Haeg, Fritz; Obrist, Hans Ulrich; Rojas, Adrian Villar & Varda, Agnès (2013). Transcript from Artistic Practice | The Artist as Farmer. Art | Basel. Retrieved from: https://www.artbasel.com/-/media/ArtBasel/Documents/Transcripts/Transcripts_2013/ Transcript_Artistic_Practice_The_Artist_as_Farmer.pdf Callenbach, Ernest (1975). Ecotopia (30th ed.). Berkely, CA: Banyan Tree Books in association with Heyday Books. Krasny, Elke (2012). Hands-on Urbanism 1850–2012. The Right to Green. In Architekturzentrum Wien, Elke Krasny (Eds.) (2012). Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012. The Right to Green. Hong Kong: MCCM Creations. Feenstra, Wapke & Schiffers, Antje (2011). Introduction. In: Wapke Feenstra & Antje Schiffers (Eds.) Images of Farming. Culemborg: Jap Sam Books. Howard, Ebenezer (1902). Garden Cities of Tomorrow. London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd. Retrieved from: https://archive.org/details/gardencitiestom00howagoog McKay, George (2011). Radical Gardening - Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden. London: Frances Lincoln Limited Publishers. Moore, Thomas (1516). Utopia (2012 ed.). Wivenhoe/New York/Port Watson: Minor Compositions. Retrieved from http://theopenutopia.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Open-Utopia-fifth-poofsfacing-amended.pdf Morris, William (1890). News from Nowhere (13th ed.). London: Longmans, Green and Co. The Project Gutenberg eBook, retrieved from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/3261/3261-h/3261h.htm O’Neill, Paul (Ed.) (2007). Curating Subjects. London & Amsterdam: Open Editions and De Appel. Pentecost, Claire (2012). Notes from Underground. 100 Notes – 100 Thoughts | Nº061. Kassel: Hatje Cantz Verlag, dOCUMENTA (13). Potrč, Marjetica (2012). The Cook, the Farmer, his Wife and their Neighbor. In Architekturzentrum Wien, Elke Krasny (Eds.) Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012. The Right to Green. Hongkong: MCCM Creations.

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CONTRIBUTORS Callenbach, Ernest

finger group, artist

works in Budapest,

Norman, Nils (b. 1966,

(1929–2012) writer,

collective, living and

Hungary

UK) artist, lives and

critic, editor, lived and

working in Frankfurt

worked in the USA

am Main, Germany

works in London, UK Mécs, Miklós (b. 1981, Hungary) artist, lives

Paksi, Endre Lehel

Collective Plant, col-

Horváth, Gergő (b.

and works in Eszter-

(b. 1978, Hungary)

lective of artists and

1987, Hungary), lives

gom and Budapest,

art historian, lives

herbalists living and

and works in Buda-

Hungary

and works in Horány

working in Budapest,

pest, Hungary; Nagy,

(Szentendre Island)

Hungary

Róbert (b. 1971, Hun-

near Budapest, Hun-

Dory, Fernando-

gary) artist, lives and

McKay, George (b.

works in Budapest,

1960, UK), Professor

Hungary

of Media Studies, Uni-

gary

García (b. 1978, Spain)

versity of East Anglia,

Pentecost, Claire (b.

artist, lives and works

Norwich, UK

1956, USA) artist and

between Madrid, Mal-

Karga, Valentina (b.

writer, lives and works

lorca and the northern

1986, Greece) artist

in Chicago , USA

Spanish mountains

and architect based in

Moore, Thomas

Berlin, Germany

(1478–1535) writer,

Erdődi, Katalin (b.

lawyer, politician,

Sach, Harry (b. 1974,

lived and worked in

Germany) artist, lives

London

in Berlin; Hoefner,

1980, Hungary), cura-

Krasny, Elke (b. 1965,

tor, lives and works in

Austria) curator, cul-

Franz (b. 1970, Ger-

Vienna, Austria

tural theorist, urban

many) artist, lives in

researcher based in

Morris, Williams

Vienna, Austria

(1834–1896) artist,

ex-artists’ collective,

writer, socialist activ-

Loránt, Anikó (b. 1977,

ist, lived and worked

Hungary) and Kaszás,

Keller, Christoph,

Tamás (b. 1976, Hun-

(b. 1969, Germany)

gary) artists, live and

lives and works on his

work in Horány (Szen-

farm „Stählemühle“

Myvillages (until 2013

tendre Island) near

in Eigeltingen (Lake

myvillages.org) is an

Budapest, Hungary

Constance), Germany

international artist

in London, UK

initiative founded by Fallen Fruit, artist

Kathrin Böhm (Ger/

collective, living and

Major, Virág (b. 1980,

UK), Wapke Feen-

working in Los Ange-

Hungary) lives and

stra (NL) and Antje

les, USA

95

Schiffers (D) in 2003

Berlin, Germany


colophon REAP & SOW Lumen Station #3 Between 2004 and 2012 the Foundation ran an international exhibition space in Budapest: the Lumen Gallery. As of 2012, the Lumen Committee has opened a new chapter. The monthly solo shows are substituted by the Lumen Station program. Within this framework a single project or a general topic is chosen and focused upon. Instead of the artwork and the exhibition, the artistic process and its context are put into spotlight. Contributors: Collective Plant, Andrea DUDÁS Fajgerné and Szabó Eszter Ágnes, ex-artists’ collective, Fallen Fruit, finger group and Katalin ERDŐDI, Ivan Ladislav GALETA, Fernando GARCIADORY, Gergely HORVÁTH - Róbert NAGY, Valentina KARGA, Christoph KELLER, Elke KRASNY, George McKAY, Miklós MÉCS, Myvillages, Nils NORMAN, Endre Lehel PAKSI, Claire PENTECOST, Klaus PICHLER, Harry SACHS - Franz HÖFNER

Editor: Major Virág Co-editors: Krisztina Erdei, Gergely László, Judit Szalipszki, Katarina Šević Graphic design: Katarina Šević Proofreading: Júlia Laki

Publisher: Lumen Foundation www.photolumen.hu © 2015 Artists, Authors ISBN 978-963-88761-5-7

This publication was made possible by tranzit. hu’s Catalyst Award, which in 2012 in Motor category was given to Lumen Vegetable & Community Provider

2015, Budapest-Berlin Special thanks: Dóra Ferenczy, Tamás KASZÁS, Eszter ŐZE, Katarina Šević, Dániel SIPOS, Stefi SPÁRING

96


Lumen Station – www.photolumen.hu A research and publishing program of the Lumen Foundation

budapest

front page image: ex artists’ collective, Diversity Wreath, 2008

REAP & SOW  

REAP & SOW Lumen Station #3 Publisher: Lumen Foundation www.photolumen.hu ISBN 978-963-88761-5-7 Contributors: Collective Plant, Andrea DU...

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