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'Avant-Gardening is an arts and environment project aimed at engaging all sectors of the community with environmental and sustainability issues through art, gardening and food. Avant-Gardening aims to solicit the community's creative responses to issues such as global warming, recycling and bio-diversity through an ongoing and organically evolving programme of arts which will give a voice to the participants and involve them in cutting-edge arts projects and activities. Avant-Gardening brings fun and creativity into the city's urban green spaces and encourages participants to reconsider the local environment and their interaction with it. These aims will be achieved through a programme that introduces participants to contemporary arts practice and environment and sustainability issues. We will work with artists with an interest in the urban environment and socially-engaged practice; including publicworks, Lisa Cheung and Rob Rainbow (formerly of The Light Surgeons) to develop ambitious projects that are as artistically valid as they are socially-engaged. Avant-Gardening is developed and programmed by Paul Green and Polly Brannan.' Avant Gardening is based in East London, UK. Above: Mobile Allotment, by Lisa Cheung. Image held here. Amateur Hour is a showcase for exciting new learning, skills, entertainment and public actions. Submissions in any form welcome to selfinterestandsympathy@ gmail.com.
This edition of Amateur Hour features a special on hobbies/ crafts that found new necessity in postwar Britain:
Animal husbandry: Penguin handbook (originally published 1941, recently re-editioned) Keeping Poultry and Rabbits on Scraps &
Gardening & Knitting (both currently enjoying a lifestyle-y renaissance): two wartime posters by Abram Games, Please Knit Now and Grow Your Own Food. Read the rest of this entry »
(Unrelated) image held here
Bergen Biennial Conference, Norway
17th – 20th of September 2009
The Bergen Biennial Conference will bring together an international group of curators, critics, artists and art historians so as to benefit from their discussions of their findings, and create the occasion to reflect collectively about the practice and potential of biennials as institutions. Based on an earlier Call for Biennial Knowledge the organizers of the conference have identified and explored existing knowledge from different regions of the world. The conference will be made up of lectures as well as seminar style workshops with young and leading experts in the field. It will be complemented with an extensive publication, The Biennial Reader, aiming to be an important resource, and including existing seminal texts on biennials from around the world as well as newly commissioned essays.
As scholars and curators have acknowledged, the history of exhibitions is both one of the most vital and, paradoxically, ignored narratives of our cultural history. And given the increasing role of biennials and other perennial exhibitions of contemporary art in contemporary culture, it seems all the more necessary to critically examine them today. The impetus to do so now comes in response to the Bergen City Council’s plans to establish a biennial for contemporary art in Bergen, for which the Bergen Kunsthall has taken up the task of organizing an international conference and think tank to study and discuss the status of the biennial as an exhibition model, and also to launch a debate concerning the plans for a biennial in Bergen.
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Crisis in the Credit System is a four-part drama dealing with the credit crisis, scripted and directed by artist Melanie Gilligan. A major investment bank runs a brainstorming and role-playing session for its employees, asking them to come up with strategies for coping with today’s dangerous financial climate. Role-playing their way into increasingly bizarre scenarios, they find themselves drawing disturbing conclusions about the deeper significance of the crisis and its effects beyond the world of finance.
Image: Rathowen, Co. Westmeath, from Ghost Estates of the Irish Property Bubble
The title of this post comes from a chapter in Jane Jacobs’ book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, from 1963. Though speaking about housing and planning policies in the sixties and earlier in the US, the text has a sudden renewed sharpness in relation to recent events. (It doesn’t speak of diasaster capitalism a la Naoimi Klein, although there are similarities in the language of upheaval, violence and shock). Arguing for the necessity of ‘gradual, constant close grained changes’, Jacobs says:
… this money shapes cataclysmic changes in cities. Relatively little of it shapes gradual change. Cataclysmic money pours into an area in concentrated form, producing drastic changes. As an obverse of this behaviour, cataclysmic money sends relatively few trickles of money into localities not treated to cataclysm. Putting it figuratively, insofar as their effects on most city streets and districts are concerned, these three kinds of money [state, private and ‘shadow world’] behave not like irrigation systems, bringing life-giving streams to feed steady, continual growth. Instead, they behave like manifestations of malevolent climates beyond the control of man – affording either searing droughts or torrential, eroding floods…
City people finance the building of suburbs. To be sure, one of the historic missions of cities, those marvelously productive and efficient places, is to finance colonisation…
This city building money operates as it does not because of its own internal necessities and forces. It operates cataclymically because we, as a society, have asked for just this. We thought it would be good for us, and we got it. Now we accept it as if it were ordained by God or the system.
The pervasive responses to the recession here have been variations along the spectrum of I’m fucked to I’m alright, Jack. (And maybe now is time to get a good deal on a used car?) Apparently we will have to weather this recession until times get good again. The sense of resignation to capitalism’s sometimes cruel weather systems is disheartening. There are very many diverse microclimates to be found in the shade of mountains and in gardens and small parks elsewhere, both by chance and by design.
he told me
he found the slops of mashed potatoes