07.03.2015 · Residency
“Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it.”
- Bertolt Brecht
Paths Through Utopia [d'Isabelle Fremeaux and John Jordan] https://vimeo.com/21689832
Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka, eds., Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook (Utrecht: Casco-Office for Art, Design and Theory, 2012), 227. (included below)
SUGGESTED WALK: Neighboring - The Shape of Hello!
SUGGESTED READING: Paths Through Utopia
For our second reading of the Tactical Walking Training Course series, we will consider the film Paths Through Utopia (2011).
About Paths Through Utopia
As the global financial crisis surfaced in 2007, we journeyed for 7 months across Europe to investigate and experience examples of post-capitalist living – from a direct action Climate Camp set up illegally on the edges of Heathrow airport to a hamlet squatted by French punks, an off grid low impact permaculture community to occupied self-managed Serbian factories, a free love commune in an ex Stasi base to a farm where private property had been abolished, we shared different ways of loving and eating, producing and sharing things, deciding together and rebelling. We were not looking for escapist Neverlands, blueprints for a perfect future or universal systems, but communities who simply dare to live differently, despite the catastrophe of capitalism.
From this experience came our film-book, fusing reflective travel writings with an attached DVD. Whilst the book is a rich travelogue, analyzing the communities, their practices and their histories, the film is a magicorealist road movie set in an imagined post-crash future but shot in the style of a fictional documentary during the journey.
Paths Through Eutopia (with English subtitles) may be watched online here: https://vimeo.com/21689832
For more information about the project, please see their website: https://lessentiersdelutopie.wordpress.com
Also see: The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination http://labofii.net/
Neighboring and Organizing
Under increasing privatization of space in major cities, neighborhood relations seem to becoming even more compartmentalized around lines of property. But as the material feminists of the late nineteenth century understood, as did the squatters of the last few decades, and the migrant workers of today do, the awakening of more robust alliances in neighborhood living-more satisfying and empowering than sharing amenities in a condominium or joining the local business association-can occur in the creation of collective agencies via aesthetic, political and spatial approaches.
Within apartment 18b itself, cultivating the latent potential of neighboring was a constant process of negotiation and the ability to utilize the porous nature of boundaries that typically divide us. Proposals and projects by GDR residents shared in this chapter reflect on the macro and micro dimensions of living in proximity. It finds that the subtle pushing and pulling that occurs between neighbors actually entangles multiple boundaries simultaneously: state-controlled limits on neighborhood noise are read through intrusive sonic encounters of eavesdropping across balconies: a neighbor’s complaint letter delivered the morning after an impromptu dance party is a penetrating critique of public art and local continuity; and putting up fences and peering into glass houses leads to propositions sharing space outside of voyeuristic interactions. These experiences describe the more elastic networks of collectivized care and organization of the commons.
So how can this knowledge and practice coming out of our homes and neighborhoods, be scaled up, extended, and spatially supported? How can we use our practice with confrontation and collaboration, refrain and intervention, towards the creation of alternative economies, relationships, and resource provisions in non-capitalistic ways?
Binna Choi and Maiko Tanaka, eds., Grand Domestic Revolution Handbook (Utrecht: Casco-Office for Art, Design and Theory, 2012), 227.
SUGGESTED WALK: Neighboring - The Shape of Hello!
Once each day for several days (or more if you like), simply add a nod, eye contact, a wave, a smile or a verbal greeting to the people that you see during your outdoor movement in your neighborhood and beyond. Outdoor movement may include walking to the subway, bus, mailbox, post office, breakfast/coffee joint, work, library, or while grocery shopping, walking the dog, etc.
The walk can be any distance and at anytime.
The walk can be multiple times during the day or night.
The walk is not meant to be performative, which may cause the “simply” not to be so simple.
Who will you greet? Who will you dismiss? Is your greeting a connecting ritual, an act of trespassing?
What will be the shape of your “Hello!” and how will it be shaped?
About Tactical Walking Training Course
Tactical Walking Training Course has been developed as part of FLOAT 2015: Tactical Walking Camp [An Imperative to Map], organized by Sarrita Hunn with The Luminary (St. Louis, MO). On each of the six weeks of this “training course” leading up to FLOAT 2015, we will publicly share our readings (and other media) and suggested walks on The Luminary’s blog. We encourage others to follow along and perhaps even organize their own reading/walking groups. We hope this training course will provide a common set of references and starting points for collective discussions around the intersections of art, activism, and community organizing.