Thursday, March 26, 2009

Free-dragging, slow text and permapoesis: towards a biophysical poetry (an excerpt)


The following is the final paragraph of a paper I finished today for UK journal Angelaki, which I am presenting at Two Fires festival this weekend on a panel called Social Warming. The festival's theme is "Coming Together".
Little by little the things that were once free and uncapitalised are increasingly legislated against, privatised or both – seed, birth, milk, school, water, art, death, etc. While free-dragging on road signs in country Victoria a few years ago Jason Workman and I were booked for “abstracting traffic”, and after challenging the police officer as to why we were being booked he told us “people have concerns when they see people doing things”. The fine was manageable at $120, however it was 100% of the budget for our day of practice. I managed to record the whole conversation I had with him, and have played it back many times to hear those words: “abstracting traffic”. But we were neither abstracting nor obstructing, which is no doubt what the country cop meant to say. Free-dragging developed for both Workman and I out of our own imprisonments. Free-dragging is thus a response to feeling enslaved. Free-dragging is a biophysics for self-liberty, a poetry form synonymous with composting where abstractions do not dominate but rather play their part in a material world. In coming out of these self-imposed sentences we began to understand that to hope was to project something abstract and unreachable upon the future and this caused considerable anxiety. We quickly came to reacquaint ourselves with joy and post-utopian play – non-deluded – our blood oxygenated with the liberty of hopelessness; endorphins as air in an aerobic compost. By becoming unstuck and uprooted we took greater refuge in ourselves as contiguous beings with everything else. Therefore our poetry/graffiti had to become public and participate in social space. We pulled down our garrets and with the materials reclaimed from an age of isolation and anxiety built raised beds for vegetables, chook houses, compost bays and are planning future alehouses based on steady state economics. Food sovereignty has become central to our work, which has developed as part of a broader permaculture community, a community of intensifying "poeverty" (post H D Thoreau and D T Suzuki), and through the development of a personal permapoesis. Thanks to Ian, Meg, Kate F, Jeff, Hamish, Jason and Pete O for your help with this work.
The title of the panel came from this drawing I did a few years ago and was first published in Going Down Swinging No.26 last year.


Click for bigger.

5 comments:

derek said...

ha, it's true, “people have concerns when they see people doing things”.

i also have concerns when i see people not doing things. they appear suspect.

The Garden of Self Defence said...

we're in the business of not doing anything too, although it's a more skilled part of our practice, and as a result we try to avoid it.

Di said...

Hey Patrick,

This sounds good. Let me know when the alehouses are up and running will you?

The Garden of Self Defence said...

i will. beer exchanged with other localised resources... it's coming!

Meg said...

Is beer recession proof??