Updated: Jun 18



I was lucky enough to recruit one of my dearest and most intelligent friends Natalie Osborne to talk Prefigurative Politics with me this week. In this episode, we discuss creating the post-capitalist world we would like to see in the present and all that it entails- the art of failure, radical care, an appreciation for smallness, cultivating our relationships to place and context, daily practices, and navigating complicity.


This episode is a wild ride full of big (and small) ideas, I felt like I was hanging on by my coat tails for much of it! But it's also full of warmth and a healthy dose of we're-doing-the-best-we-can.




Resources mentioned in this episode:


Nat's article- For Still Possible Cities: A Politics of Failure for the Politically Depressed

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/329190544_For_still_possible_cities_a_politics_of_failure_for_the_politically_depressed


How to do Nothing by Jenny Odell

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/600671/how-to-do-nothing-by-jenny-odell/9781612197494/


How to be an Anticapitalist in the 21st Century by Erik Olin Wright

https://www.versobooks.com/books/3065-how-to-be-an-anticapitalist-in-the-twenty-first-century


Sally Molloy - Artist behind "Backyard Reckoning", a guided audio for decolonising your own backyard

https://sallymolloy.wordpress.com/




It was an absolute pleasure to drive out to Cedar Creek to record this podcast with Emma Wilson, who creates dance (amongst other activities and intersections which you'll hear about). Emma's been thinking about similar topics of labour and art practice in a product-oriented system for a while longer than me, and was SO generous in sharing that journey. I'm serious folks, there are gems of knowledge in here, and you hear my mind get blown multiple times.


This conversation was fantastic for me personally, as Emma is a literal example of someone who has committed to an anti-capitalist, collective, situated arts practice made up of the "undecideable propositions and movements" that the Autonomists mentioned in Episode 1 as being full of potential radical, transformative experiences. If you haven't listed to that episode, it gives a great grounding to some of the topics we're discussing here, however it's by no means essential to listening to Emma and I.


Listen in as we discuss radical homemaking and its relationship to a deeply localised and situated art practice, about generative and collective modes of working, and how institutions might be able to support artists in this way.



In this episode we discuss or quote the following texts:


Emmas' essay, "On the Question of Value" for Delving Into Dance

https://www.delvingintodance.com/dwords/on-the-question-of-value


How to do Nothing by Jenny Odell

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/600671/how-to-do-nothing-by-jenny-odell/9781612197494/


How to be an Anticapitalist in the 21st Century by Erik Olin Wright

https://www.versobooks.com/books/3065-how-to-be-an-anticapitalist-in-the-twenty-first-century


Artist at Work: Proximity of Art and Capitalism by Bojana Kunst

https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/zer0-books/our-books/artist-work







So it's the end of week 4 and time's gone completely fluid. Like many of us, I've also begun getting out into the world and seeing people again which has been absolutely lovely!


Lots of reading has happened, lots of ideas formed, and perhaps unironically, finished products are nowhere to be seen thus far! (Except a podcast episode).


Continuing the calligraphy practice, I'm now officially on real letters. It didn't take a full four weeks to get to letters by the way... in committing to radical transparency and a process-led approach, you'll be able to see how few sessions over the 4 weeks I engaged in (I dated each session in the margin)...


I am using the following youtube videos to teach myself:






In traditional Western calligraphy, the aim is perfection. As the teachers say in the videos, "consistency is key". For an inspiring example of non-Western calligraphic practice with a focus on expression, check out this video of Thich Nhat Hanh's calligraphy meditations- I don't think you can get any more different! I enjoy that you can see his hand in the marks. As I find my own way to blend process, mindfulness, body and creative writing together, I look forward to find my own visual calligraphic "voice".



It's definitely an inherently very mindful and focused practice- the ones I concentrate harder on always work out the best and each "mistake" is a record of where my mind wandered or I began to get bored.


I am using the book Make Ink: A Forager's Guide to Natural Inkmaking by Jason Logan. A basic recipe by Jason can be found here:

https://www.marthastewart.com/1516423/natural-ink-colors



For this gorgeous warm grey, I used eucalyptus leaves with an iron mordant, made of rusty nails in white vinegar. You can see that it went much darker after the mordant was added. However it was still brown after brewing, the grey came in the next week or two.






And here is the colour progression over the over 5 hours of boiling which is recorded in my journal (the place where I keep my life):



So many colours are possible, I look forward to experimenting more in future!

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