Stewardship: An Ethico-Aesthetic Approach to Uncertain Futures in the Valley of the Wild

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:02
Location: Seminar 33 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Grant CORBISHLEY, Wellington Institute of Technology, New Zealand
In January 2010 I deployed an ethico-aesthetic technique to address urgent issues in the area where I live. Issues that are common the world over, such as climate change and environmental degradation are also issues affecting our valley, but there it is also the question of community, of community’s human and non-human relations, and the ways these unfold at local and micro levels. The ethico-aesthetic technique I began to deploy is similar to Felix Guattari's notion of "ecosophy" that operates across the three registers of the environment, social relations and human subjectivity. Within our valley, processual ethico-aesthetic techniques and modes of expression demand a rethinking of relations between humans and the environment, without preference to either. Instead, they are thought and enacted ecologically, or what Guattari terms "ecosophically". 

Aesthetic machines of the type emerging in our valley are generating heterogenous events toward the resingularization of subjectivity and the aestheticization of the everyday. This project addresses processes that occur in the everyday but that can become resingularised: listening, noticing and waiting. Through this resingularisation such processes create the conditions for events to emerge collectively.

The techniques, processes, conditions and events that have occurred over the last four years will continue to become. It is from such becoming that more sustained evental conditions emerge that provide a sense of collectivity across the community, our environment and our subjectivations.  Via such evental conditions, systems of durational stewardship become possible.

In other eco-art projects, the question of stewardship is present. But I suggest, through this process-based art research, that what is needed is durational stewardship, referring to ecologies of care that operate over long time scales. Durational stewardship  challenges notions of relations between artists and community as it may well require artists to situate themselves within the project indefinitely.