We are traveling to the NM desert to explore off the grid living, sustainable building and artistic collaboration.
Applying to PLAND came in a moment of considered collaborative effort between Jaime Knight and Ari Marcantonio, friends and collaborators who share a passion for the transformative power of artistic practice and engagement. Our application essentially consisted of a questioning of ourselves, our practices, the site and how each can begin to be a place of resistance to the literal and metaphorical ever encroaching grid that both sustains and limits humanity’s growth.
Can a relationship, begun in a high school classroom as teacher and student, move beyond the intricate play of power, generational differences and societal perceptions that influence it to become a friendship of equals, where influence bounces back and forth and ideas are collaborated upon and shared in a generative and challenging way?
Is there a parallel to be drawn between what it means to live in a place like Taos Pueblo and the idea of an “off the grid” sustainable, alternative existence?
What does it mean to live “off the grid” in a place that historically has fought the force that built and perpetuates “the grid” (capitalist society in general), but now is enmeshed in that lifestyle? What types of indigenous “resistance” to the approaching grid already exist and how is this resistance related to the history of the site?
To live removed from the grid is to physically and psychologically remove oneself from society as a unit, and potentially to protest the structures (political) that support and are supported by the grid. But is living off the grid truly a way to resist (in order to alter) the ever expanding logic of late capitalism and the oppressive anti-humanism of neoliberal policy decisions? To what does removal from a society enmeshed in such logic portend? How can such a practice extend beyond those involved to affect that society at large?
As PLAND’s 2012 artists in residence we consider PLAND as a template to examine the reciprocal and supportive nature of our relationship in parallel to the reciprocal and supportive ideals on which PLAND was founded, as parallel microcosms, or a microcosm within a microcosm. We will not only collaborate on building and making with PLAND but will commence on tasks, events, adventures, sojourns and conversations that can help articulate points of intersection in our interests and practices. Work at PLAND is site responsive and therefore planning is tenuous and subject to change but the following is proposed.
During the course of our stay at PLAND we will construct a multipurpose structure that will solve several pressing needs of the site. Primarily the structure will serve as a sauna for waterless bathing. It will be dug several feet into the ground for purposes of insulation and material conservation and will be constructed primarily of recycled wood and cob. The structure will be heated by a high-efficiency rocket heater constructed of reclaimed fire bricks, stove piping and recycled material. The stove will ventilate through the roof passing through a water heater to provide water for bathing. The bathing unit is designed for efficiency in every regard. Strong insulation and high-efficiency combustion will combine to make a cheaply powered sauna and shower.
Our interest in carrying out this project is twofold. The construction will be as important to the piece as the finished product. On the one hand, the structure is an elegant solution to a real need of PLAND’s residents. On the other, it is a metaphor for our relationship as collaborators, exemplifying a life condition we both acknowledge. We will commit our bodies to the arduous task of constructing a device, the primary purpose of which is to heal and relax those very same bodies. We believe this process has real and symbolic parallels to an inability to live in a present which pushes so many people, ourselves included, to strive for the life that will be worth living. Always running forward because we are scared of slipping backward, we hurl ourselves into the ambitious projects, careers, and lives that we believe will bring us happiness, in the process losing sight of the real satisfaction we already enjoy.
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Ari will deliver a digital copy of his Guide for Self Critique via email.Estimated delivery:
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13 backers Limited (7 left of 20)
Hand printed photogravure of an image chosen amongst those created while in residence by the two artists.Estimated delivery:
- (14 days)