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THE GREATEST CRIME OF ART IS TO PRETEND TO DO POLITICS

12. 7. 2012 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2012

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Last Saturday a wonderfully audacious action took place at Londons Tate Modern museum over 100 people installed a 1.5 tonne wind turbine blade in the museum, without asking permission of course! It was the latest in a series of actions that have taken place against the sponsorship of the Tate by oil giant BP by Liberate Tate an art activist group that was born from the workshop that we The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination held at Tate Modern itself.

It was the fear by the institution of the museum, of artists not just talking and representing action but actually taking disobedient action that created the rich ground from which Liberate Tate was born.

What is it about the word disobedience that the institutional art world doesnt understand? In the autumn of 2009 the Nikolaj Contemporary Art Centre Copenhagen dropped the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imaginations (Lab of ii) bike bloc project when they realised that the tools of civil disobedience that we were going to build were not gestures but actual tools and tactics for the protest actions around the UN climate summit. The curator told us that she feared that the museums funders, the City of Copenhagen, would not support any illegal activity. It seemed that she had assumed we would pretend to do politics.

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Fast forward to winter 2010 and another international contemporary art museum, not in a converted church this time, but a transformed power station, Londons Tate Modern. The Lab of ii had been invited by PublicPrograms to run a two day workshop on art activism, looking at the issues of the museums environmental impact and exploring, in their words, the question: What is the most appropriate way to approach political issues within a publicly funded institution? After several months of planning, we received an email from the curators that casually ended with the paragraph: Ultimately, it is alsoimportant to be aware that we cannot host any activism directed against Tate and its sponsors, however we very much welcome and encourage a debate and reflection on the relationship between art and activism.

There were two things we could have done in response. We could have refused to run the event under such draconian criteria and pulled out, or we could do something much more interesting, keep stum and make the email the primary material for the workshop. At the end of the final planning meeting, at which it was confirmed that the workshop would conclude with a public intervention, one of the curators, lets call her Sophie, excitedly announced that it was incredible that it took the Tate till 2010 to work with a real activist. I walked out of the meeting feeling slightly sick but convinced that the strategy of using the text from the email could form the basis of a fascinating experiment in radical pedagogy.

Entitled DISOBEDIENCE MAKES HISTORY: Exploring creative resistance at the boundaries between art and life, the workshop was promoted on the Tate websites front page and soon sold out. On a chilly January Saturday morning, myself, thirty three participants and sophie the curator, sat in a circle on the top floor of the museum and began the first day long event. All was going well as we played games to build conviviality, discussed our personal acts of disobedience against injustice, learnt consensus decision making techniques and explored the work of artists who had applied their creativity to acts of civil disobedience ranging from Gustave Courbet to Sylvia Pankhurst. When I began to talk about the climate crisis and the context of the Tate, mentioning the fact that British Petroleum was a major sponsor with its ex CEO, John Browne head of the board of trustees, things started to turn. When I projected the email on the wall and asked the students to stand along a spectrum line to begin to open up discussion as to whether we should or shouldnt obey the demand from the Tate, the shit began to hit the fan.

The curator, tried to sabotage the process of discussion, claiming it was limiting the participants experience. The participants were thrown into heated debate, after several hours two thirds of the group decided to plan an intervention at the Tate the following week targeting the sponsors and highlighting issues of censorship. Leaving the Tate that evening Sophie was clearly upset: you betrayed our trust she told me, we are going to have to have a meeting before next Saturdays workshop. When I got home one of the participants had emailed: thanks again for a great day, very inspired by this liberating experience I’ve never been to a workshop that raised pulses and adrenalin the way this does.

The following Friday, I was summoned to the Tate to discuss the planned intervention. Four people welcomed me: Sophie; another curator, Michael; a woman who never smiled and whose name escaped me, head of visitor services and David, head of safety and security. They asked me what was going to happen and I told them that I knew as much as they did, that following the Labo of iis methodology the workshop was now entirely self managed by the participants and the intervention would be designed by them during the final workshop. David explained in no uncertain terms that there were three principles paramount to the Tate: The safety of people, the protection of art works and finally, to ensure the quiet enjoyment of the public. That goes without saying I replied, no action we take would ever hurt anybody or any thing. In fact all our work is precisely about minimising the damage our system has on people and eco systems.

Then things became interesting. He began to talk about Reputational Risk, about the fact that an action could affect a funding deal, that the Tate prided itself on free access to art and that if their funding was hit it would not be a positive thing for anyone. I looked everyone in the eye and asked whether they were censoring the workshop, Censorship, thats an emotive word to use. was the reply. The tense and frank meeting lasted over an hour and a half, we talked about BPs use of the museum to give it a social license to operate and about the fact that the sponsors should not be embarrassed. We dont have any problem with the intellectual content Micheal told me and then proceeded to announce that three of them would be present at the next workshop and would desist any activity that was not commensurate with the Tates mission.

As I left, refusing to toe the line, David leant across the table We have done much riskier things .. Ive had meeting like this with Damien Hurst and Sarah Lucas. Yes I retorted smiling they never bite the hand the feeds them do they. In fact they FEED the hand. As soon as I got home, I wrote up the discussion and put it online for workshop participants to see, more great material.

The next morning the participants arrived even more enraged than before, the more the Tate tried to shut things down, the more the students were learning about how corporations drape themselves with the cosy cloak of cultural legitimacy and how those who work in our (co called) public institutions play the game. They experienced first hand the hypocracy of cultural institutions that claim to be sites of progressive practices and with every exchange with the curators they became more radicalised. Eight hours later, the workshop ended with a simple, the words ART NOT OIL were placed in the windows of the top floor.

But thanks to the Tates cack handed attempts at censorship, the participants set up Liberate Tate and have brought the issues out into the public arena in a way that when we were sitting in that room fighting with the curators we could not have anticipated..

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Liberate Tate has disrupted the BP summer party held at the museum- with lots of molasses poured inside and outside the gallery: We have sent dead birds and fish into the roof of the Tate – which that had to be shot down by security; we made giant sunflowers in oil on the floor and covered a naked body in black crude. Most of these actions got extensive media coverage, including front page news such as the Financial Times. In the end the DISOBEDIENCE MAKES HISTORY workshop was a pedagogic success beyond anything we could have ever imagined, thanks to attempts to make us pretend to do politics.

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Last weeks The Gift took the disobedient creativity one step further. (see this great video about it ) A British law states that members of the public can donate an art work to a museum and the museum have to consider it for their collection. So Liberate Tate decided to donate a a gift that would be hard to ignore, brought across the city by 100 people, pushed through security and deposited on the floor of the museum with grace and audacity. The communiqu sent with the work ended: “What we have brought you is the blade of an old wind turbine, sixteen and a half metres long, beautifully sharpened by the weather. It is a blade to cut the unhealthy umbilical cord that connects culture with oil, a blade that reminds us that when crisis comes, when the winds blow strong, the best thing to do is not to build another wall but raise a windmill

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How to Hold up a Bank: On riots and flamenco dancing.

26. 6. 2012 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2012

bank-bailout-cartoonLast night one of the many small groups of invisible hands that rest on the keyboards of computers manipulating our society with their magic numbers and occult equations, downgraded 28 Spanish banks. Moodys rating agency hasnt been the target of much direct action (unfortunately.. any ideas out there ? ) but Spanish banks certainly have. Especially since Bankia with assests worth nearly a third of the entire Spanish economy stole 23 billion euros from the already suffering public purse.

In this age of robin hood in reverse, where banks are robbing us in broad daylight, I thought it would be worth looking at different ways the banks are being targeted by Spanish activists. Spain has a long tradition of bank transformation, perhaps beginning with Durruti who used the money from bank robberies to fund anarchist schools for the poor. These days the weapons are somewhat more frivolous but are the ends as useful?

At the end of March I was invited to Barcelona for a gathering of art activists Como Acabar el Mal. I took the night train, the little plastic couchettes rattled down from Paris and I arrived in Barcelona preparing for a general strike. For reasons of climate justice I have stopped flying for the last 9 years. Climate Change is a war on the poor, a war that is happening here and now across the world. I dont want to fly in the planes that are delivering the carbon dioxide bombs which are pushing us to the brink of extinction and so I spend a lot of time on trains.

For me ethics and aesthetics are woven together like strands of DNA. One without the other is a death blow to what is beautiful. If we see the world as a series of interconnected worlds, of networks and webs, of relationships rather than just atoms, then it is impossible to separate one from the other. To chose aesthetics over ethics is to ignore the beautiful in everyday life, it is to ignore that true creativity is to enable the creativity of others and the natural world to blossom. It is forgetting that some of the most beautiful things in life are the way we can be human together.

Only when we turn a blind eye to the shadows and separate the world into little isolated pieces, only when we stop feeling the world, only then can such paradoxes such as a great work of art funded by a bank be able to split our culture apart. A work of art funded by a bank can only be beautiful when we ignore that the same bank evicts families from their homes or fuels climate change by funding oil exploration. Ignoring the relationships is an act of ugliness. Art is the science of connections, usual and unusual.

To chose ethics over aesthetics is equally problematic. Why build a political movement which envisions a culture that is dull and undesirable. Why write political texts that dont make your heart race like poetry. Why chose to live well if its not a beautiful thing to do. If we cannot make changing the world the most desirable activity worth doing in our life times, then we might as well give up now.

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Barcelona has been a key place for art activism over the last decade. Ten years ago a gathering of different international groups took place, out of which came a whole series of actions and movements. Including the infamous YOMANGO group, who turned shop lifting into an art, the veterans of which set up this second meeting a decade on. The idea was to attract the young indignados movements and open a window to other forms of creative action for them.

I gave a slide talk ( see an edit of it here ) and the next day we were on the streets as the country was shut down by the general strike.

DIRECT ACTION

During the strike, many banks in barcelona were targetted. The outcome were classics of the iconography of the European riots and many might argue a beautiful act of anger – colourful and dramatic.

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But is it politically effective? For me the key to direct action is that it has both a symbolic and a practical political effect. Symbolically it is clear that smashing the facades of banks creates a striking picture of resistance, which is why anyone doing such a thing is always surrounded by media cameras and the images easily make the front pages of the newspapers. Its direct in that its not asking for things to change, not asking leaders to make decisions for us, but taking control of our own lives and making the change here and now.

If a direct actionist sees someone who is hungry they feed them rather than write to politicians complaining about poverty. If she sees someone who is homeless she squats a building rather than protest against poor housing provision. Direct action is the difference between protest and resistance, and as far as Im concerned it is resistance that has historically changed the world a lot more than mere protest.

When I worked with Reclaim the Streets in the 90s we defined Direct action on our (very 90s looking web site) thus:

DIRECT ACTION enables people to develop a new sense of self confidence and an awareness of their individual and collective power.

DIRECT ACTION is founded on the idea that people can develop the ability for self rule only through practice, and proposes that all persons directly decide the important issues facing them.

DIRECT ACTION is not just a tactic, it is individuals asserting their ability to control their own lives and to participate in social life without the need for mediation or control by bureaucrats or professional politicians.

DIRECT ACTION is not a last resort when other methods have failed, but the preferred way of doing things.

Burning a cash machine can be seen as a form of direct action, but does it really affect the bank beyond the symbolic? Does it really have a direct effect on its unethical activity? Is it a useful weapon against the dictatorship of the markets? Does it tell a good story?

It certainly has its cathartic aspect for the resister, and when the mind and body feels free, when the endorphins of pleasure flow through our veins as we resist it certainly makes the action therapeutic and healing in this dark world difficult world. But the images of broken windows easily become fuel for the criminalisation of movements, enabling repression and the creation of new laws that curb dissent. The Spanish government following the huge indignados camps last year, has already proposed a law which would make it “an offense to breach authority using mass active or passive resistance against security forces and to include as a crime of assault any threatening or intimidating behaviour”, and simply blockading traffic or using social media to organise protest could mean jail for two years.

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The fear of chaos is a useful tool for governments. Wanting to re imagine the classic iconography of protest that the media spew out and to play with forms of direct action that cannot be turned into campaigns of fear and terror by the authorities, one of the groups presenting at acabar con el mal has another way of using a bank as a canvas for a resistant art work. Over the last few years the art activist group flo6x8 has held extraordinary disobedient flamenco dances inside banks. This video of their recent actions shows how with skill and artfulness political protest can be beautiful and popular, 811,000 people have watched this! We might ask however, how open such actions are to people who are not expert flamenco dancers?

An answer was provided last month when a group that was formed during the workshops of acabar con en mal came together to hold a somewhat more wild and free party inside a branch of Bankia. Much more participatory perhaps but as effective ?

So here we have 4 ways to hold up a Spanish bank. Durutiis pistol, the black bloc redecoration, the flamenco occupation and the party. . Again the question remains how do these actions really affect the bank. They clearly show people enjoying disobedience, and they make direct action desirable rather than fearful both of which are key political acts that help nurture movements. But in the end the bank has only been symbolically affected, the rioter is in the end no more effective than the flamenco dancer.

As I was leaving Barcelona someone passed me a copy of a free newspaper, REBEL! It was called, it had been printed in an edition of 500,000 and described new ways that people across Spain are setting up alternatives to the economic dictatorship: cooperatives, alternative currencies, schools, self managed health centres to name a few of the initiatives. The paper was funded by Enric Duran. I met the quiet introverted catalan ten years ago when the first art activist conference took place in Barcelona, little was I to know how infamous he was to become.

In 2008 he published another free newspaper CRISIS! which described how he managed to steal nearly half a million euros from 39 Spanish banks. I deliberately carried out an individual disobedience action towards banking, he wrote, to denounce the banking system and to use the money for supporting initiatives which alert us to the systemic crisis that we are starting to inhabit and which intend to build an alternative society. The article became known all around the country and earned him the nickname Robin Bank. He had managed to take out loans that he never intended to pay back and all the money was given to postcapitalist projects. When the act was announced the media story went viral and Duran had to flee the country for fear of prosecution.

He had perhaps found the most effective way to hold up a bank, in a kind of act of jujitsu the banks own weapon of debt, a weapon that holds individuals and entire economies in states of dependence, was turned against them . It was an action that merged the symbolic, in the form of great story telling, and the pragmatic, in the form expropriating wealth and supporting social movements. He was practicing the true art of Situationist detournement, direct action in its most beautiful form!

Perhaps the last word should be left to Gustav Landuaer, whose strategy of a living revolution envisioned a network of alternative communities that would divert creativity away from capitalism thus withering its institutions, famously wrote: One can destroy a pane of glass (but) The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behaviour; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another… We are the State and we shall continue to be the State until we have created the institutions that form a real community.

A letter of Introduction…

15. 6. 2012 // // Kategorie Randnotizen 2012

Dear blog readers. I thought as a way to introduce myself to you I would write a letter for reasons that will become clear as you read, I’m sorry it has not arrived in your hand addressed to you personally, but maybe you can imagine the sound and feel of opening an envelope.

I will be writing weekly on the blog, following two projects, that like all things beautiful sit on the edge between life and art, politics and the poetic, activism and performance. One will be our ( the collective that I work in THE LABORATORY OF INSURRECTIONARY IMAGINATION move from London to set up a rural postcapitalist community in Brittany and the other our latest experiment What is Enough? which will be launched in August in Hamburg as part of the Kampnagel Sommer festival.

Enjoy the letter.

yours JJ

Marinaleda 6

John Jordan

The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination,

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Morbihan

Breizh

Friday 15th June 2012

Dear U..

Why do I choose to write to you about Utopia in the form of a letter? Why not as a story (its common form travelogue, science fiction etc), or manifesto (its explosive form Surrealism, Situationism etc.) or as a blueprint (its most dangerous form Fascism, Stalinism etc.)? Because letters (and I mean letters, written on paper, kissed by stamps, put in post boxes and taken from hand to hand across the land and seas) are like good Utopias, they exist in the spaces of uncertainty from which we learn and change.

Letters are written in the present – I sit here now, the suns rays flow through the window and I write to you. Yet you will read this somewhere else, at least a day later – and by the time you read it, these words will have become my past and yet are now your absolute present. Utopias like letters confuse time, they bring the future into the present and visa versa.

As I write, I picture you, but its an imagined you, an absent you. Im writing to you there and yet also to myself here, these words are both dialogue and monologue. This letter is for the fantasy and the real you, for us together and us alone. Like utopias, letters confuse what is the imagined (the dream of what might be) with the real (what is), but most importantly they help us forget that we are apart. The greatest challenge of Utopia is surely the question of how can we live together and be free?

The Zapatistas, the masked indigenous rebels of Chiapas who against all odds are translating their dreams into everyday life, say we are you. Those three simple words help us to go beyond the idea of self and non self, of individual versus collective, they dissolve the great myth of our independence, our aloneness. Deeply embedded in the natural world, living within one of the most biodiverse ecosystems of the planet, the Zapatistas experience the complex interdependence of life daily, they literally eat and breathe the rich web of life that binds the forests together. They know that a tree cannot be by itself alone. A tree cannot just be, neither can you or I just be, we are and always have been interdependent, inter-beings. You and I are deeply entwined with each other and this world, whether we like it or not. Everything is relationship.

Perhaps then, what Im writing is a love letter a love letter to Utopia. Not to Utopia as a perfect place, nor to Utopia as macro solution to our systemic crisis but Utopia as an attitude and a way of life not a big dream of the far future, but a nowtopia to be performed in the present. Not something to be imposed from above but experimented with from below. This is a letter to Utopias that begin with everyday acts – the specifics of the way we greet each other, the particularities of the way we grow our food, the way we constitute a group, the minute details in the way I touch you. Perhaps Utopia, like love, is simply the dare to allow the other to be truly free.

But I want to begin with a shadow, the dark trace of what is already here. I dont have to tell you this is a moment of historical crisis. The problem is that its like nothing weve ever faced before yet were facing it as if its just like everything else. The future is not what it used to be. Our Utopian imagination has atrophied in the asphyxiating atmosphere of apocalyptic predictions: a climate catastrophe, energy shortages, spreading social injustice, mass extinctions, economic meltdowns and looming resource wars. It is a lot easier to imagine the world ending than changing for the better. But it is exactly when Utopia becomes unimaginable that it is most needed. Not as an escapist perfect Neverland, but as the constant wrench in the gut that reminds us that we do not have to accept the crumbs of the present. There is always somewhere else to go from here. Always. In fact there are as many destinations as there are imaginations.

Yet we hide our utopian dreams between the pages of beautiful books. We protect them from the harsh challenges of reality with soft lines of poetry. We make micro models of them walled inside art galleries safe from those who might not agree. We perform them in theatres where at the end, the curtain comes down and everyone goes back to business as usual. But in an emergency you do not play with Utopias, you do not pretend. Utopia is a practice of everyday life or nothing at all.

Perhaps we could call this practice Nowtopianism, the art of the future performed in the present, an art performed by all, not by the ego driven specialist artists, not as fiction that separates but action that connects. Nowtopianism is an art that embeds itself in our homes and offices, shapes our meetings and gatherings, suffuses our bedrooms and kitchens, designs our celebrations and resistance, organises our villages and cities. Ambitious in its courage to mould the mess of the social world yet committed to a human and local scale in its applications, As the great radical 19 c artists and activist William Morris wrote, such an art will gather strength in simple places, not just in “rich men’s houses”.

Nowtopianism will not be about turning our life into art, (and then displaying it in the palaces of culture) but about using the processes we are used to associating with art to transform the experience of everyday life itself. This art will no longer be seen as an end but a means, a way of doing things, a way of making our worlds with the same craft and pleasure that an artist applies to her work. Art will be the technique for reconstructing reality, not in a metaphoric way, but a hands-on practical way. The meal you eat for lunch will be as much a material for this practice as the way you next make love.

The key to practicing this art of everyday life will be paying deep attention to ones daily activities, immersing ourselves in the act of doing so that like a dancer, every step, every breath and gesture is conscious and considered. Nothing will be automatic anymore, nothing is just doing, everything is doing as best as we can, doing that generates pleasure within us and which is in the service of the life around us. The function of Nowtopianism is to bring maximum potential and connection to every situation, to open us up and bring us together. Rather than carelessly reproducing the rituals of money and power in the autopilot mode that consumerism encourages, Nowtopianism wakes us from the numbness, the anaesthetic hold of capital, it aestheticises life because it brings all our senses back from the dead.

To live a radically different life we need to change not only our way of thinking but also our bodys way of feeling. We need to train ourselves in new modes of perception, new sensibilities to the world that enables us to feel so disgusted by the dull familiar actions of daily life that reproduce capitalism that we are unable to carry them out anymore. A trip to the supermarket with its industrial toxic foods will feel like being a tourist in Auschwitz, taking a flight on a plane and pouring tonnes of CO 2 into the atmosphere will feel like we are dropping cluster bombs on the poor. Buying cheap clothes from H &M will feel like having child slaves crouching in the corner of our bedrooms. We need a new sensitivity where we become so shocked by the banal horrors of this system that puts economics ahead of life, that we are prepared to leave it, prepared to say goodbye. Perhaps this is a leaving letter not a love letter after all.

***

For over two decades, I lived in London, a city of 7 million, a monumental machine for the reproduction and expansion of capital. There I practiced what I called art activism, designing acts of creative resistance to open cracks so that postcapitalist life could emerge. These were not political performances, nor pictures of politics, but projects that applied creativity to radical politics itself. This involved working embedded as a creative organiser within social movements from Reclaim the Streets to The alterglobalisation movement, from Climate Camp to local movements against gentrification the movements became the canvas, the stage, the material. I was not interested in making art that illustrated the worlds problems, or performances inspired by radical politics or arty documentary films representing political struggle. The art was working with others within the movements to make its strategies, tools and protest tactics as beautiful and politically effective as possible. The aim was to make radical politics more sexy than capitalism, to make disobedience deeply desirable and the practice of alternative life irresistible.

Sometimes this involved choreographing crowds of thousands using different coloured masks in a mass carnival against capitalism that brought creative chaos to the financial centre of London. Sometimes this involved bringing artists and activists, engineers and bike fanatics together to collectively transform hundreds of abandoned bikes into tools of civil disobedience against a UN climate summit. Sometimes it was burying dozens of boats (with bottles of rum) in a forest, to be found using treasure maps and sailed in a rebel regatta down a river to shut down a coal fired power station. Sometimes it was inventing new forms of civil disobedience, such as the methodologies of the clown army that spread across the world and became part of the iconography of early 20c protest culture.

Means and ends were never separate. In this way the work was utopian, we were acting as if we were already free, creating the world we wanted in the present every project worked without leaders or directors, we used horizontal forms of organising, decided things by consensus, tried to reduce our ecological impact on the world as much as possible and put pleasure before profit every time. But something was wrong. It felt that our life was a series of projects, of actions, short lived, never really feeling sustainable, never connecting to the whole of our life.

Living in a megapolis it was hard to re-sensitise our bodies, hard to refuse the draw of consumerism, hard to live every aspect of life as an ethical aesthetic act. Londons insane scale, its pervasive surveillance, its disconnection from natural systems other than human, its speed and over stimulation, its every rhythm dictated by the markets, meant that the cracks we opened soon closed up again.

Just as the first winds of the financial crisis were picking up in 2007 Isa (my partner) and I went on a journey through 11 European utopian communities. We experienced many worlds, from the temporary direct action Climate Camp set up illegally on the edges of Heathrow airport to a hamlet squatted by French art punks, occupied self-managed Serbian factories to a free love commune in an ex Stasi base, an Anarchist school to the 40 year old free town of Christiania, a village of precarious day labourers who had expropriated land from the local Duke to a permaculture settlement that lived off grid.

Out of that experience came a book-film, Paths Through Utopias. ( to be released in German, as Pfard durch Utopia with Nautilus in August 2012) We always knew that each word written for the book was also a step towards setting up our own utopia. By the time the last pages were drafted we desperately wanted to leave our London rhythm, unglue ourselves from our computers, and reboot our lives. We wanted more coherence, an everyday life entirely entwined with our politics. We wanted to consume less but make and grow more, to be more autonomous from the system and develop resilience for the economic and ecological shocks on the horizon. Although we had experienced so many communities doing this during our journey, it seemed impossible for us to make the leap. Where would we start, and how? Then, seemingly out of nowhere, we got a letter from a friend who had just found 16 acres of abandoned land in Brittany.

Now, 18 months later weve sold our flat, Isa has left her well paid university tenure and we have moved to Brittany where we are collectively buying the land. Its rolling fields and semi ruined farmhouse emanate abandonment, brambles have engulfed everything. But the site itself is only one part of the story. One of the most valuable aspects of the project is that three deeply rooted locals are on board. We are artists, farmers, teachers, mechanics, cooks and activists. The local networks of peasants activists already settled in this region and building new forms of production and exchange is strong: we definitely havent retreated to the countryside but have come to open up of another front against capital and for life.

Together, we are going to build a place where our abilities to explore postcapitalist ways of living will be nourished, and where tools of resilience and autonomy can be constructed and shared. Amidst an edible landscape, we will set up a laboratory of self managed education where the relationship between art, activism and ecology is explored, its founding question being: what would the Bauhaus or the Blackmountain college be like if it were founded in the 21st century? There will be also be a workshop where people have access to tools and advice in order to build, mend or create – anything from cars to bikes, via wind turbines or machines of resistance. A mobile vegan field kitchen will be based there, together with a productive organic farm using horse drawn tools and Permaculture principles. Named La r.O.n.c.e, (meaning brambles in French) and standing for Resist, Organise, Nourish, Create, Exist it will not be a model, but a living experiment in the art of Nowtopianism. One that we hope will be as hard to get rid of as the brambles.

The sun has set, its time to stop writing, time to sleep and dream. One night when we were on our road trip, Isa and I promised to each other that we would never again live in a place where we could not see the stars. I look outside, the sky is full, I breathe the fresh cold air deep into my lungs. I wonder if you look outside now whether you can see the stars, I hope so. If not your will always be welcome to pass by here on your way to utopia

Love JJ xx