Tuesday — 07.22.14 — Erie Basin Meets Erie Basin, Vol. III: Artificial Corridors
0. A Note on Gaza
1. About Tuesday
2. About Artificial Corridors
3. About [subset of the archive]
4. Further links and readings
0. A Note on Gaza
We have never ignored the underlying conditions and contexts within which our discussions and thinking take place.
There are no words which can address the atrocity being perpetrated in Gaza today.
And in a larger context, we can see the impotence of the current political frameworks and structures (monopolized by the state and legitimized by media) in being able to confront the unfolding disasters, whether it is a context like the nuclear catastrophe still emanating from post-Fukushima Japan (which states and their media mouthpieces are intent on literally burying) or in this genocidal campaign being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza today (which states and their media mouthpieces are intent to falsify/distort).
Our discussions and thinking around common(s), money, debt over these last years have been and continue to be attempts to think through these circumstances and their accompanying impotencies.
We still write the same words, even when the articles are critical ones. Our protests and outrage grows but to whom are we expressing this outrage? Especially as the intransigence on the part of those who ‘think’ they govern (as even they are governed) grows at an even greater intensity.
And so, the gap widens, between what is evident – that we cannot continue like this – and our means of living, of realizing a life commensurate to, or deserving of, living up to these conditions, circumstances.
This is the place we, whoever identifies with this utterance of a ‘we’, find ourselves in. It is a place of unknowing, of unlearning, of wandering in the dark, looking for friends, a process of thinking collectively and attempting to find and discover the practices that are commensurate to these thoughts, or even provoke further these thoughts and accompanying experiments.
If today, power functions best in separating us from our ability to refuse, to not do, or to not be complicit. Then we must find again, beyond the necessary but always insufficient actions of resisting a particular condition or situation, these capacities of non-participation on an even larger scale of our everyday life.
In this way, the boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement against Israel is an obvious and necessary part of the struggle against what is taking place in Gaza today and upon Palestinians every day.
As the Israeli writer and historian Ilan Pappe wrote in an article we posted on our site entitled “Genocide in Gaza” in 2006:
“Nothing apart from pressure in the form of sanctions, boycotts and divestment will stop the murdering of innocent civilians in the Gaza Strip. There is nothing we here in Israel can do against it. Brave pilots refused to partake in the operations, two journalists – out of 150 – do not cease to write about it, but this is it. In the name of the holocaust memory let us hope the world would not allow the genocide of Gaza to continue.”*
What is more difficult to imagine and invent the language, processes, and means for is a Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement directed against the conditions of our everyday life. Conditions which place us in direct complicity with countless processes of violence, not just those against inhabitants of Gaza but across the entire planet earth, including ourselves.
We can only hope whatever we do, including the meetings and discussions we organize, are a small part of an effort to discover those means of subtraction, withdrawal, and collective non-participation from this planetary security-state apparatus which pillages and plunders daily in the name of democracy and security for (nothing other than) the community of money.
Anything short of searching for these means of subtraction, at this point of human history, from the vantage point of this moment, appears to be a contribution to this course toward collective suicide.
* To read Ilan Pappe’s article from 2006 and a more recent one written in the wake of the most recent attacks on Gaza please follow the links below:
0. About Tuesday
What: Meeting / Presentation / Conversation / Screening
When: Tuesday July 22, 7:30pm
Where: 16 Beaver St., 4th Floor
Who: Free and Open to all
Tuesday night we will be joined by Paul Lloyd Sargent, recently arrived in NYC after a month-long tour of the water systems of upstate New York.
In our ongoing inquiries into processes of commoning the city, issues of water management, the segregation of waste and water in the NYC metropolitan region, and commoning initiatives to reclaim waterfront spaces for community use have been vital recurrent threads.
As the waterfront has been specifically targeted by real-estate speculation for large-scale development projects, these initiatives represent critical instances of the claiming and the reclaiming of the water (ostensibly a commons) and waterfront areas for common use. Ahead of events that we hope to have on initiatives to common the Marine Transfer Station at 135th Street in Harlem, and trans-state activism around the issue of water, tonight will be a report-back and screening from Paul’s current project, Erie Basin Meets Erie Basin, Vol. III: Artificial Corridors.
1. About Artificial Corridors
“Erie Basin Meets Erie Basin, Vol. III: Artificial Corridors
~~~ Paul Lloyd Sargent, Summer 2014 ~~~
This project is a month-long odyssey through the waterways of New York State by boat, venturing from Buffalo to Brooklyn by way of the NYS Canal System and Hudson River, entitled Erie Basin Meets Erie Basin, Vol. III: Artificial Corridors. Four years in the planning, this project is the third major iteration of an on-going series researching, exploring, and documenting historic and contemporary economic, labor, trade, nautical, and cultural relationships between these termini on the former Erie Canal.
Though this is primarily a solo expedition of the “artist as explorer imaginary,” I am also curious to see how connected one remains even while navigating a centuries old, obsolete waterway.
I will arrive by boat with a waste bin aboard so that visitors may participate in the project by contributing an item of trash or other discard to be “returned” from the sacrifice zone of Western NY to the capital of Capital: New York City. See below/attached as well for more information on [Subset of the Archive], the official cargo of this excursion: a curio cabinet of samples of pollution gathered in WNY to be delivered to NYC in response to the uneven development and environmental injustice of industrial ecologies.
Artificial Corridors is a nautical dérive, or drift across New York State, a durational performance by boat, tracing a line to highlight a now obsolete but formerly crucial route of trade and transport crisscrossing the vestiges of the Erie Canal and Hudson River that once connected the cities of Buffalo and New York. As the third iteration in the series Erie Basin Meets Erie Basin, this drift will reconnect two nodes in an ever-expanding network, two places embodying the inequities of uneven development, where the canal, as the instrument of global Capitalism, catalyzed the production of tremendous wealth at both termini: Buffalo, as Western Door, the gateway to vast exploitable resources of the North American interior, and New York City, as port of international trade and center of Capitalism in the 19th and 20th centuries.
2. About [subset of the archive]
Though New York City has continued to advance its position as a global metropolis throughout the two centuries subsequent to construction of the Erie Canal, in the environmental and economic inequality of resource distribution central to Capitalism the sacrifice zone of Western New York remains permeated with legacy toxins, brownfields, polluted waterways, and other public health burdens and socio-economic hardships indicative of the myriad externalities of industries of extraction, manufacturing, and energy production. Long after smokestack-chasing industrialists abandoned the region, traveling first south, then across the oceans to the east in a perpetual search for cheaper labor, fewer regulations, and freer markets, Buffalo, like many “legacy cities” in the Great Lakes Basin, was left with an accumulation of rust, rot, corrosion, and contamination.
In an absurdist response to the complexities embodied in the wreckage of such histories, artist Paul Lloyd Sargent employs the tactic of the dérive in this summer’s Artificial Corridors project to pilot a 19-foot, open-hulled powerboat, to navigate across the New York State Canal System and down the Hudson River, and to transport a cargo comprised of remnants of the Great Lakes Basin’s toxic legacy. Titled [subset of the archive], Sargent has compiled an array of pollution and environmental toxin samples in order to critique commonly held conceptions of “pollution,” ultimately positing that the entirety of the Great Lakes watershed, with its tributaries, littoral zones, and coastlines, as an enduring archive of the material histories and conditions that produced this region. As cargo on the drift, [subset of the archive] manifests as a curio cabinet of samples ranging from roadside litter, leaking fuel oils, and lawn chemical run-off to soil, sediment, air, and water samples laden with mercury, lead, dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyl, C. botulinum, E. coli, and fecal coliform, each collected from brownfields, waterways, and Superfund sites in the Erie Basin, like the Buffalo River, Scajaquada Creek, Love Canal, Tonawanda Coke, and the Manhattan Project. In addition, [subset of the archive] includes culturally constructed “contaminants,” such as invasive species and weeds, as well as personal pollutions of everyday life, represented by household dust and detritus, pharmaceuticals and other heath care discards, pet waste, residential sewerage, and the microplastics found in beauty products now impacting the ecology of the Great Lakes and other water bodies on the molecular level. Juxtaposed in this context, [subset of the archive] aims to illustrate that, just as there is inequity in the distribution of wealth and risk in the production of Capital, similarly, not all pollution is created equal.”
Tonight’s event will include a discussion round, and a screening and report-back from a water reclamation project in Lagos, Nigeria from Mary Taylor.
3. Further Links and Readings
A primer on “tactical ecology”, compiled by Paul [pdf]:
1. Thompson, N. (2008). “In Two Directions: Geography as Art, Art as Geography.” in Experimental Geography. (one need only to read to page 18 in the essay to get the primary point that I am referencing).
2. Paglen, T. (2008). “Experimental Geography: From Cultural Production to the Production of Space.” in Experimental Geography.
3. Bateson, G. (1972). “Pathologies of Epistemology,” in Steps to an Ecology of Mind.
4. Castree, N., et al (2009), “Introduction: The Point Is To Change It.” Antipode, 41:S1, pp 1–9.