Reading on Commons | with Amy Franceschini from Futurefarmers
18:00 – 19:30 CEST
This reading group event is part of SEA Foundations’ longer-term research of art and sustainability fold #02 on Commons
The event is free of charge, organised by artists and volunteers of the SEA Foundation. Donations are welcome.
The Politics of Small Gestures
Amy Franceschini from the group Futurefarmers will lead the next reading session as we are moving on to fold II. on Commons. Franceschini recommended two texts for the event, both of them relate to the practice of Futurefarmers.
Amy will join from Philadelphia. The reading will be held online but visitors are welcome to join on-site at SEA Foundation too. We will start with the introduction of Mika Hannula’s book The Politics of Small Gestures: Chances and Challenges for Contemporary Art and follow with Chapter 1 from Michael Taussig’s book Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America. Both texts will be shared with the attendees prior to the reading, it is not necessary to read them in advance.
Wandering might be what Futurefarmers do best—sure, on land and at sea, but also through anecdotes of history, or lines of inquiry that trespass disciplines, or into the materiality and means of production of everyday things. This kind of wandering, a bit more directed than flânerie, a bit more open than academic research, has led them from grain fields to nuclear test sites to the brick pathways of Harvard; from orchards to stock exchanges to the telescope observatories; from studios to picnics to libraries and factories; from galleries to the highest peaks of San Francisco. Up there, where the clouds touch the ground. – Elizabeth Thomas, Independent Curator, San Francisco.
Futurefarmers is an international group of artists, farmers, architects and anthropologists with a common interest in creating frameworks of participation that recalibrate our cultural compass. A through-line of their work is a questioning of the tools we use and create and the implications of these tools on our everyday life. Futurefarmers’ engage in research and actions in both rural and urban contexts with particular attention to land use. They often create relational sculptures and tools to manifest collective insight into deeper fields of inquiry- not only to imagine but also to participate in and initiate change in the places we live.
Futurefarmers create temporary schools, tours, large-scale exhibitions and temporary public artworks. In 2008, they created a proposal to the City of San Francisco to adopt an urban agriculture program based on the historic Victory Garden programs. This work was exhibited at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in 2007 and in the following year, a pilot program was adopted by the city of San Francisco that resulted in a large demonstration garden planted in front of city hall, new legislation to support urban agriculture and the formation of a Food Policy Council.
Their work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the New York Museum of Modern Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim, New York Hall of Sciences and the Walker Art Center. Founding member, Amy Franceschini is a 2009 recipient of the Guggenheim Fellowship, Cultural Innovation Fund, Herb Alpert Award for Visual Arts and the Graham Foundation.
Mika Hannula (Born 1967) is a writer, curator, teacher and art critic. He was a professor for artistic research at the faculty of fine, applied and performing art at the university of Gothenburg, Sweden 2005-2012. Through the years 2000-2005 he was the director of the Academy of Fine Arts, Helsinki, Finland, also acting then as the chairman of KUNO, Nordic network of Art Academies. Hannula lives and works in Berlin. Mika holds a PhD in Political Science and is the author of numerous articles and of several books on contemporary art.
The Politics of Small Gestures: Chances and Challenges for Contemporary Art (2006) is an extended version of an essay published in the Istanbul Biennial reader during the 9th International Istanbul Biennial. The book, as it says in its preface, is an argumentative book that argues for contemporary art being an active and shaping part of our society. It is not a product made for its market value, nor a spectacle. “It consists of acts and gestures that are available, accessible, self-reflective and self-critical.” (p. 6.)
Michael T. Taussig (1940) is an Australian anthropologist and professor at Columbia University. From the point of view of a cultural anthropologist, Taussig looks at categories such as time or space, our experiences or explanations not as natural constructions but as social products that shape our sense of reality. His book The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America critiques the capitalist society of his own and argues that a commodity-based society produces fetishism and phantom objectivity. The text is an invitation to being aware of our own commonplace and what we consider natural.
The programme of reading sessions:
More suggestions for reading check out the Commons recommended book list