20220211

Eco-phenomenology and the Maintenance of Eco Art: Agnes Denes’s A Forest for Australia (2021) Clarissa Chevalier. A nice introduction to discussions, and summary of approaches to land-art conservation. Chevalier refers to William Cronon who argues that approaches to the natural world which portray it “as Edenic or sublime uphold problematic colonialist ideology” (in stark contrast to what Enis Yucekoralp writes concerning the sublime). The article offers a through investigation to the condition of the artwork (building on the work Sarah Hicks and Gilbert Jock started) and calls for a change for how we appreciate land- and environmental artworks.

I argue that there is value in allowing A Forest for Australia to be gradually shaped by its environment without human intervention, as the trees extend past the planned geometry of the original planting. As Jock and Hicks note, A Forest for Australia offers a rare glimpse into the increasingly extreme weather of Australia, in contrast to the manicured suburbs and lush city parks of Melbourne. […] I believe Denes’s “A Forest for Australia” highlights the contradictions of artificially sustained urban green spaces in the face of extreme weather conditions induced by climate change.

I’m flattered by the quote from my contribution to the “Forest Dreams” seminar last year: “As performance artist, Eero Yli-Vakkuri poetically states […] approaching the uneven growth of Denes’s forests allows us a mental exercise in cultivating our appreciation of decay, of ‘failure’, of our unmet expectations of nature.'”

Turns our marble can be made into co² using sulfuric acid: From Marble Dust to Soda Water (2021) Henry Levin. I could use a part of the Finlandia hall to drink the other.

20211114

Daily teaching at Kankaanpää Art School is progressing well. The group is acceptive to the activities I’m proposing and we are speeding along. The days are long and the weekly 6hx2 buss travels are rough but I’m feeling reinvigorated. Joined a local gym and got to perform kettlebell routines in a group. Planning to use the school facilities to build a new two row 104hp case. Sourcing wood from leftover bins.

Succeeded in swapping a busted usb-c port and changing the battery on my phone. I’ve serviced the usb port on this device twice.

The Eco-Politics of the Sublime (2021) Enis Yucekoralp attempts to reintroduce the sublime, so that we may gain a new political horizon. Yucekoralp argues that a division between humans and nature is beneficial for political decision making (citing Andreas Malm). They are calling for eco-socialist approaches instead of techno-fixes and define “climate apartheid” a political reality where the rich can keep distance from the destruction. Some parts are complicated but I think they are providing a critique of a virtuoso-male-survivalist-figure (built trough a critique of Kant: “[Who] exalts human reason to the extent that rationality is elevated to the level of transcendence”).

An eco-political sublime takes umbrage with the Kantian supremacy of reason and concludes that Nature can never be mastered. Instead, it represents a figuration of Nature that will never be totally knowable and that holds a mirror up to our own limitations of conceptualisation.

The Covid-19 pandemic represents a ‘sublime’ event insofar as its seismic calamity — by the force of its tragedy — also represents a naked revelation of societal immiserations and the possibilities for alternative socio-political formations.

20211029

In the contemporary milieu, the idea of being negative is either regarded as a destructive mentality or else defeatist fatalism. But, at least in passing shades, negative emotions can hold great power. There resides in negativity the seed of critical thought and a beneficial duty to engage with one’s internal feelings.

The Art of Negativity – On Rejecting Positive Thinking (2021) Enis Yucekoralp. The text draws a link between capitalism, positivity and the “Likes” which social media devices employ. There is a determinism at play in positivity… As if things would “get to” or need to “go towards” to exist or feel good to be meaningful! I’m reminded of a previous claim that bitterness is in fact an emotional response of class awareness #ॐ. This is framed in a sentence: “Judgmental bourgeois attitudes towards revolt and protest necessarily represent hegemonic support for the status quo”. The text brings forth a useful concept: “toxic positivity”, which is deployed to against the stagnative argument that “negative emotions are inherently ‘bad'”. The author identifies trades of “cultist optimism”, which approaches critical world-views as a sin. Also loving the critique of “wellness capitalism” (Yucekoralp is citing Audre Lorde).

… the English Romantic poet John Keats formulated a concept, one which he termed ‘negative capability’. At root, it describes a propensity for living in the midst of mystery; or, more accurately, the power to accept enigmas and uncertainties with an open mind free from the imposition to hunt down order and clarity. His very use of ‘negative’ is not meant derogatively, but to represent absence in a more abstract sense – the positive potential of ‘being without’ something. In this case: knowledge or certainty.

Wellness capitalism is the symptom of a much more corrosive condition; as if more consumption were the answer to healing the wounds of capitalism. In reality, the promises of ‘mindfulness’, ‘positive mental attitude’ and ‘healthy living’ pledged by the industrial wellness complex are exposed as just one more arrow in the quiver of exploitation.

We should work to destroy ourselves nicely, not only to maintain the current but to destroy it! Authentic movement and authentic drunken slumber can possibly be equally healing. Authentic Drinking (or getting fucked up in other ways) was recently discussed with Leena and Heini.