Sunday Night — 03.20.11 — Property crossing the line — Sarah Lewison

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Sunday Night — 03.20.11 — Property crossing the line — Sarah Lewison
1. About this Sunday
2. About Sarah Lewison
3. About Mobo Gao
4. About Timothy Morton
5. Useful links.
1. About this Sunday
When: 7.00 pm, Sunday 03.20.11
Who: Free and open to all
Where: 16 Beaver Street 4th floor
What: Discussion/Presentation
In 2008, Sarah Lewison and her son, performance artist Duskin Drum lived
for 5 months in a village in rural Yunnan China through the support of a
cultural residency program. Here they observed- and created a land art
project (“World Heritage Beer Garden Picnic”) that brought together
several species and economic philosophies- to respond to the transitions
rural farmers faced as a result of policy decisions of the 17th National
Congress of the CCP, (October 2007).
One of the phenomena they witnessed was an opening up to new forms of
commerce, the decline of traditional agrarian life and concomitant
socialist conditioning, and the remaking of indigenous “heritage” into a
market commodity. Under the current logic of neoliberal capitalism, all
forms and scales of life (nature, human, wild, domesticated,
neuro-cellular), are subject to domination and monetization- to becoming
kinds of “property.” At the same time, valuable practices that can’t be
commodified, such as the communal ways that were part of life under
Maoism, disappear.
Using video footage and anecdotes, Sarah will speculate about property as
something animated and resistant. She will, among other things, be
referring to Gao Mobo’s accounts of the post-mortem demonization of all
things Mao by an ascendant global capitalist engine, and the
ecological-literature theorist Timothy Morton’s reflections on
subjectivity and the nature of nature under capitalism, as well as the
hyperobject that brings another perspective to material relations.
2. About Sarah Lewison
Sarah Lewison is an artist and writer concerned with grassroots
pedagogies, social movements and the co-creation of alternative and
dissident forms of knowledge around what is material. In her work, she
seeks to make blurry the boundaries of what might be called a social
relationship or collectivity, by bridging concepts from political economy
and ecology. She is interested in radical contestation in the ontological
categories of nature and culture, and in how this separation makes the
subjects of both categories vulnerable to exploitation by capital. She
studied at the San Francisco Art Institute, in the Conceptual/Information
Arts program at San Francisco State University under Stephen Wilson, and
in the Visual Arts program at the University of California San Diego. Out
of school, she studied informally with microbiologist Ryan W. Drum. She
participated in the Tomkins Square Park rebellion in New York in 1988, in
artists squatters communities in Berlin in 1988-1990 and co-created a
non-non-profit arts and social space in San Francisco called the Armpit
Gallery from 1990-1993.
3. Gao Mobo [Challenging the Official Verdict]
Gao’s 2008 book “Battle for China’s Past” examines the received- and
preserved (both popular and official) history of significant portions of
modern Communist rule under Mao Zedong, particular focusing on the
Cultural Revolution and the Great Leap forward. He points out the
contradictions of accountability between a planned economy, which must
enumerate and take responsibility for its failures, and capitalism, which
finds buries them in externalities. He writes about China’s urban rural
divide and the class division that it represents, and which has worsened
(as has the quality of rural life in some respects), since the 1978
opening up.
4. Timothy Morton [referencel
Morton’s Ecology without Nature (2009) excited Duskin and I because 1. he
starts off as a theorist of romantic literature, which gives him the
capacity of addressing in very useful ways all potential emotional and
repressive reactions the idea of “climate change” triggers, and 2. he
uploads many talks to ITunesU or archive.org. So you can wash dishes and
think about strange strangers. “Professor Morton’s interests include
literature and the environment, ecotheory, philosophy, biology, physical
sciences, literary theory, food studies, sound and music, materialism,
poetics, Romanticism, Buddhism, and the eighteenth century. He teaches
literature and ecology, Romantic-period literature, and literary theory.
He has published nine books and sixty essays.”
5. Useful Links
Sarah Lewison http://carbonfarm.us/
with Duskin Drum http://carbonfarm.us/KATALOG/picnic/
Mobo Gao
Challenging Official Verdicts on Mao’s Cultural Revolution
a link to the introduction of book on same page
Timothy Morton
Academic and pubs:
blog: http://ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com/
Hyperobjects lecture # 1 at Calarts
16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th fl.
New York, NY 10004
for directions/subscriptions/info visit:
4,5 Bowling Green
R,W Whitehall
2,3 Wall Street
J,M Broad Street
1,9 South Ferry