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poster spotted on a Manhattan bound Q train in early October
It was a dismal reality-check to spot this poster (above) on a Q train last week. Given the complexities of people and motivations that resulted in the People’s Climate March last month, this poster felt like just another missed opportunity to communicate something vitally “else” to the millions of people who flow through New York City’s transit system. It could be read as a bit of human self-sabotage: the perpetuation of the (at least American) myth that despite the slogan of the march (“this changes everything“), we can still go to brunch, walk the dog, and be entertained in the afternoon as we contribute to “sav[ing] everything we love” simply by being physically (though not psychologically) present for an hour or two of marching.
So, here’s to embarking into new territory.
Over the next few months, via this blog, we’ll send occasional signals of our attempts to live and enact a literal “difference.” Signals will come from within (rather than describing or representing) projects/events in which we take-up new forms of performative research and applied aesthetics — enacted through intentionally designed practices. These could range from daily life practices, new language/communication skills-building, inhabitation practices, and food production/consumption. We envision events in which we create contexts where we, and sometimes others, can co-exist with unfolding, planetary material realities that are “changing everything” in ways that don’t take us “out” of those realities, and that sturdy rather than drain us. We’re most interested in practices that make it possible, without overexposure to hyper-mediated fear messages or debilitating narratives of guilt, to hold the thought that what is happening to the human habitat “changes everything,” and to accept that these massive changes as real.
We made a nascent attempt at one such practice in Truro, MA two weeks ago (“Renga for the Fifth Season”). From here, we hope to go deeper with how to set up and live through such practices, and what such gestures might mean. This is likely to be a long-term commitment. We don’t know where they might take us, but we make these gestures as a refusal to wait for or expect governments to “solve” or “fix” the “problems” or to “save” the planet (or us)—and we make them as a means to actualize our intentions to turn daily life into a sustained practice of inhabiting change itself.
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