The Pond and Beyond

Let us first be as simple and well as Nature ourselves, dispel the clouds which hang over our brows.
- Economy, Walden, Thoreau

Taking Henry Thoreau's seminal book Walden as a starting point, this round of PERMACULTURES residencies set out to explore some of the pervasive tensions immanent in creative technology. 

The 4 selected artists are:

Damien Roach
Yuri Pattison
Josh Love
Andy Weir

First published in 1854, ‘Walden; or, life in the woods’ is a personal declaration of social autonomy, self-reliance and spiritual discovery. A transcendentalist response to widespread industrialisation, the book accounts Thoreau’s withdrawal into the wilderness for a year of solitary cabin life. 

Though penned in the nineteenth century, the dialectical oppositions running through Walden remain clear. Should we continue to invest in positivist notions of technological progression, or question where the industrial ideology has taken society? Should we always celebrate the trophies of technological innovation, or begin to question their long-term impact? Does ‘better, faster, stronger’ – the mantra of that ultimate avatar of the military-industrial complex, The Six Million Dollar Man – hold water in an age of global economic inequity and savage environmental degradation?

And whilst we sought proposals that address these questions – and this the crucial component of this year’s residency cycle – it was paramount that applicants executed their critique of technology somewhat paradoxically by means of technology itself.* In essence, we are interested in the détournement of technology; an antagonistic realignment of technology so that it no longer serves the sign of military/industrial progression, but instead moves in a totally different direction, suggesting new vistas of, social, cultural, economic and political autonomy along the way.

PERMACULTURES supports artists to explore the difficult relationship between art, technology and ecology. The Pond and Beyond follows 6 previous residencies since 2009 which can be viewed here.