Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Marcel Duchamp's early success as a pedlar of art, namely Brancusi's sculpture, afforded him about thirty years of independent income, which in turn provided him the time to pursue his thought and art. Gertrude Stein's independent income was afforded to her by her father's success as an industrialist. Along with her own dedicated temerity (and Alice) this income provided her the opportunity to pursue forty years of thought and writing.

For years I have tried to foster a Duchamp-like canniness, or pathetically longed for a Stein-like stipend, but mostly I've made work on the hop, so to speak, my method is based on 'stealing time'. And when circumstances amalgamate so as not even theft is possible I tend to overheat, breathe far too thinly, self-loathe and spiral downwards, sometimes taking loved ones with me. 

The Garden of Self Defence – an experiment based on self-sufficiency – is my most ambitious attempt to live, not of independent income but independent of income, not outside of an ecology, but ecologically co-dependent. I've come to realise that 100% self-sufficiency is hard-core living, and I'm not sure I'm capable of it. However, I think 70-80% food, water and energy self-generation is possible, and I'm determined to find out whether this will provide a post-industrial income. 

Maintaining this life (a 'lifestyle' is a mediated perversion of capitalism), using permaculture and referring to indigenous intelligence, may result in permapoesis – a term I've developed to define a practice of sustainable meaning-making – but I'm not sure, so the GOSD remains an experiment of life founded on giving time, rather than stealing it.

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