Towards An Expanded Landscape
Contrary to its dormant or idyllic image, the countryside has become host to some of the most pressing issues of our time: acculturation, autonomy, ecological models and food production, the enclosure of the commons as well as the resurgence of functional art. In seeking strategies to engage with these issues, Fernando García-Dory conceived INLAND (2009–present), which he defines as a “para-institution of polyvalent specialist mobile units working in emergency contexts that always operate in relation to an ‘official’ institution, that is, a state, a company, or an art institution.” INLAND research centres on probing the role of territories, geopolitics, culture, and identity between the city and countryside. Its projects are rooted in a wide variety of communities and places. And while each project has its own character and duration, it is always connected to a specific department of INLAND such as “Knowledge,” “Training,” and “Production”, as well as to the larger self-organized and self-sustained INLAND system. INLAND’s activities include: study groups; publications; training schools for shepherds, peasant leaders, and craftsmen; newly commissioned projects by artists and farmers; involvement in local politics; and solidarity networks. In sum, INLAND is an imaginative, inquisitive, and practical method for relating with our environment that gleans insight from peasant and indigenous resistance while also appropriating institutional means.
The workshop is inspired by INLAND methodologies, a nomadic para-institution García-Dory set up in Spain to examine the role of territories, geopolitics, culture and identity between city and countryside, art and agriculture. The course is furthermore connected to New Curriculum, INLAND´s inquiry into “composition of knowledges“ and how to develop a multisensory and interdisciplinary reading of landscapes and forms of intervention that also look at “community economies” which aims to bring hidden or undervalued economies and commoning practices to light.
As the economic, environmental and cultural model in which we live continues to collapse, every day more people across the world are starting to realize that the once promised lifestyle, now dictated to them by capitalist governance, is no longer (and for many, never has been) fulfilling, meaningful, or even viable. Hence the need to understand historical resistant realities (as the peasant or indigenous) and their knowledges as the commons model of management of resources. As activist and theoretician Silvia Federici states:
For me the idea of the commons is that of a society built on the principle of solidarity rather than the principle of self-interest and competition. It is a society in which wealth is shared, there is collective decision making, and production is for our wellbeing and not for monetary accumulation. It would therefore involve a radical change. I would not call it a takeover, however. That society is still only on the horizon. But we can begin to create new types of relations.
For García-Dory, those new types of relations are tactically more accessible and visible in rural and peripheral areas, where the most pressing issues of our time are being played out, from questions of acculturation, autonomy, ecology models or food production to the enclosure of the commons. By reuniting the city and the countryside, moving away from urban-centred discourses towards local, peripheral and non-anthropocentrical knowledges and sites, forms of experience linked to a new materiality and sustainable living may be possible. With the commons as our plane of interest and the land we live on as our research topic, we aim to question our understanding of economy and the role of the cultural producers within it.
Initial research questions for this workshop would be:
• How is the current landscape the result of local, rural and urban peasant’s practices and knowledges as well as industrial and urban dynamics? How to move toward more sustainable futures?
• How could cultural interventions contribute to that movement? Which draft ideas, possible tools or actions could be suggested?
Participants are invited to take part in different form of drafting, from actual landscape drawing to the design and narration of possible futures of the context of work. Gathering perceptions, experiences, visions and challenges from local actors we will be in exchange with will be also part of the learning process.
Day 1 – 8 July
10 am – 12 am: Guided tour of Cittadellarte
12 am – 1 pm: presentation of the whole week and first presentation of the first Visiting Artist
1 pm – 2,30 pm: Lunch break
2,30 pm – 4 pm: presentation of the other two Visiting Artists
4,30 pm – 6,30 pm: Workshop divided in groups - presentations of participants and approach to the objectives and methodology of the workshop.
Day 2 – 9 July
10 am – 1 pm: Visit at The Wool Company to have a presentation of wool production in the area of Biella and the activity of the Wool Consortium, by Nigel Thompson.
1 pm – 2,30 pm: Lunch break
3 pm – 6 pm: Workshop divided in groups: Different forms of reading landscape
Day 3 – 10 July
Trekking day at Lago della Vecchia (Piedicavallo, Biella) and group exercise: (tbc)
Day 4 – 11 July
10 am – 1 pm: Workshop: Fictional landscapes: a speculation on possible evolutions of a place
1 pm – 2,30 pm: Lunch break
3 pm – 6 pm: Workshop: Forms of place-making and cultural strategies on rural resignification.
Day 5 – 12 July
Presentation and exchange between groups
BIOGRAPHYFernando García-Dory´s work engages specifically with the relationship between culture and nature as manifested in multiple contexts, from the landscape and the rural to desires and expectations in relation to identity. Interested in the harmonic complexity of biological forms and processes, his work addresses connections and cooperation, from microorganisms to social systems, and from traditional artistic drawing of languages to collaborative agroecological projects and actions. He studied Fine Arts and Rural Sociology, and is now preparing his PhD in Agroecology.He has developed projects and shown his work at Tensta Konsthalle, Van Abbe Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, SFMOMA, dOCUMENTA 12 and the Biennales of Gwangju, Istanbul and Athens. Since 2010 he has been developing a project about a system called INLAND, in which he dissolves his authorship. INLAND is an arts collective dedicated to agricultural, social and cultural production, and a collaborative agency. It was started in 2009 by Fernando Garcia Dory as a project about an organization that engages territories, culture and social change. During its first stage (2010-2013) and taking Spain as initial case study, INLAND carried out an international conference, artistic production with 22 artists in residence in as many villages across the country, and nationwide exhibitions and presentations. This was followed by a period of reflection and evaluation, launching study groups on art & ecology, and a series of publications. Today INLAND functions as a collective and works as a para-institution to open space for land-based collaborations, economies and communities-of-practice as a substrate for post-contemporary artistic cultural forms. Appearing in different forms in different countries, whilst dissolving individual agency in the collective, INLAND publishes books, produces shows and makes cheese. It also advises as a consultant for the European Union Commission on the use of art for rural development policies while facilitating a shepherd and nomadic peoples movements, and is recovering an abandoned village in an undisclosed location for collective artistic and agricultural production. It was presented at the Istanbul Biennial (2015), and collaborated with Casco Art Projects in Holland, PAV Torino in Italy and the Maebashi Museum of Japan. In 2017 it worked at Contemporary Arts Glasgow, MALBA, Matadero Madrid, Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellin, and developed field actions in Italy (TRANSART Festival Bolzano and Puglia) and at the Jeju Biennial, South Korea. Recently, INLAND has been awarded the Council of Forms, Paris and the Carasso Foundation prizes for finalising New Curriculum, a project devoted to training the artists and rural agents of the future. In 2019 it will work with Serpentine London and Pompidou Paris.
* The participation fee includes accomodation and breakfast.