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Art, Activism and Permaculture

Project: Permaculture College Australia

Posted by Robyn Francis about 13 years ago

What happens when you bring artists, activists and Permaculture together? The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination!!!

The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, known for instigating the famous bicycle protest at Copenhagen, explain how permaculture influences their approach to activism and civil disobedience - this interview with the Laboratory's co-founders Isa Fremeaux and John Jordan is from the new book Art and Activism in the Age of Globalisation

Here are a few choice extracts - to read the full deliciously inspiring interview by Lars Kwakkenbos go to http://permaculture.com.au/online/art-activism-and-permaculture&catid=27:articles&Itemid=55

"What happens when you bring artists and activists together? Artists have an incredible imagination and creativity, and an ability to think out of the box, they create form and craft and beauty and poetry and all that, but they are often totally egocentric as well, wrapped up in their own practices, their own world and inflicted with the disease of representation: thinking that one can’t change the world, only show it to people. We want to sabotage representation. Among activists there is an incredible audacity as Isa was saying, courage, radicality, critical thinking, desire for collective practices, knowledge about how to work collectively and a real desire to transform the world."

"Activists tend to think that mere facts and figures will bring people into action. It is not only that people don’t act because they do not know how bad things are. Facts and figures alone don’t necessarily bring people into action though. What makes people want to change themselves, their own everyday life, but also the world around them, is a sense of hope, a fantasy of what things ‘could be like’. Dreams and desires are what make you get off your bum and do things."

"Permaculture is really important to our practice. It is a design philosophy that was developed in the seventies. Its main question is: how do you create sustainable, resilient productive human cultures? Permaculture suggests that the best way of achieving this is by observing natural systems. Let’s look at a meadow or a forest for example, they are incredible in terms of their ability to be resilient, to create no waste, to be energy-efficient, self-supportive and entirely sustainable. The idea behind permaculture is to learn from the book of nature, and to use its knowledge as a way of thinking about how we design human systems and cultures. From building your house, how you design a political action, a festival, choreographing a performance… anything."

"Permaculture is such an inspiring framework because in the end it is about thinking about every aspect of our culture. If you have organic farming with people working 18 hours a day, then that’s not sustainable."

"In coercion, there is no sustainability. For me, these are totally mutually exclusive. It is not as if we are in search for the single blueprint, and once we have found it, the idea would simply spread. Permaculture illustrates this: you can only have healthy forests if you have healthy meadows and healthy meadows if you have healthy bees and thriving bees if you have blooming flowers and only if the soil is alive, etc. You need the rich diversity. Japanese communities are not going to want or need the same thing as kids growing up in the east end of London or Sudan or Brazil. Trying to imagine that the same model could work for everyone makes no sense to me. It needs to come from the ground up. People have to find their own models."

Enjoyed these teasers? You've just GOT to read the full refreshingly inspiring article.


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