WorkmanJones do nothing

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A few weeks ago Jason Workman and I pulled the pin on a funded trip to the US scheduled for next year. Our practice has always included a critique of contemporary art and its development driven agenda. Several years ago we 'developed' the practice of free-dragging as a form of 'do-nothing' art. This morning I read this passage from Masanobu Fukuoka –

The more people do, the more society develops, the more problems arise. The increasing desolation of nature, the exhaustion of resources, the uneasiness and disintegration of the human spirit, all have been brought about by humanity's trying to accomplish something. Originally there was no reason to progress, and nothing that had to be done. We have come to the point at which there is no other way than to bring about a "movement" not to bring anything about. 1978 p159
I received an email from an artist last week advertising the 5 different shows that he was involved with this month. I have previously interviewed this artist for a column on ecological art practices and was made aware that his career development was superiorly more important than ecological crises.

Jason and I have spoken about our practice as 'no-practice', and that pulling the pin on flying to the US is contiguous with free-dragging; a practice of embracing hopelessness.


lucazoid said...

Patrick, well done on pulling the pin. "Doing less", I believe, will increasingly become seen as a way of making a contribution.

You're in the avant-garde of this (rather static) movement (well, maybe you and Gerald Murnane!

In "mindfulness" and zen, I think it might be called "active non-doing" - something that is actually incredibly challenging to have the discipline to pursue "in this day and age". Ego always demands that we do more...

lucazoid said...

oh, and here are some celebrations of doing less, just so ya don't think it's all about hopelessness!

Permapoesis said...

thanks so much lucaz,

yes, there is already too much in the world. i like gerald, and your 'ego demands...' good stuff.

also thanks for the links.

for me. hopelessness is simply a liberation from hope. when i embrace hopelessness i'm at my most embodied. therefore hopelessness is a form of celebration post hope – post anxiety; post expectation; projection; desire.


Sylvie said...

Happily I have discovered your blog!
I did a search ("alan watts making trouble") trying to find a "lecture" where Watts talks about someone watching raindrops roll down a window pane and an observer accusing them of doing "nothing". Watts says something like, "In other words, not out 'making trouble'." That lead me to your post Making meaning (or, Alan Watts lives), March 24, 2009.
And now to this lovely post with the passage from Masanobu Fukuoka!
Merci beaucoup!

Richard Oxman said...

Gardener. Good. Alan Watts. Good. Movement to Accomplish Nothing. Good. Let's be good friends. You can write to me directly at tosca.2010[at] where I'm involved in California in doing a lot with the mindset of not having to do so. You, Patrick (and your family)[and congenial anarchist readers of this blog] are all welcome to drop by in Aptos, CA to hang with us a bit... if you ever decide to put that pin back in. Blessings in solidarity, Ricardo P.S. Is there any need to do anything about the climate change problems in and around Melbourne? In the context of not feeling compelled to do so?

Permapoesis said...

g'day sylvie and ricardo, thanks for yr intros and kind words. good to have you stop in, and blessings back in solidarity to you both. p

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