2 weeks, 5 days ago
“Certain gardens are described as retreats when they are really attacks.”
Ian Hamilton Finlay cited in George McKay’s Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden.
When I first saw the theme for this year’s Memefest Friendly Competition, my instant response to the word ‘Pleasure’ was gardening. Not very radical might be one’s first response but for me the pleasure of gardening does lie in its radical ‘roots’. Whether it’s planting indigenous Australian plants, growing organic fruit and vegetables, raising chickens and sharing the bounty with neighbours and friends or saving heritage seeds that can be used again and again, my politics underpins and is underpinned by my gardening.
Being able to cultivate a patch of land, as an individual or as part of community, should be a basic human right. And for millennia it was taken for granted. Once the commons began to be foreclosed and the world colonized, people have had to fight for their right to plant and nurture gardens. As large agribusinesses swallow up the land and patent our seeds, the need has grown for a concerted “horticountercultural”  politics – what Peter Lamborn Wilson calls “avant gardening” . As he notes:
Voltaire’s cynical advice in Candide – “Cultivate your own garden” – can no longer be considered simply an amoral bon mot. The world has changed considerably since the Enlightenment. Meanings have shifted. “Cultivate your own garden” sounds today like hot radical rhetoric. Growing a garden has become – at least potentially – an act of resistance. But it’s not just a gesture of refusal. It’s a positive act. It’s praxis. (Lamborn Wilson, 1999, 9-10)
I know that I am privileged. I live in a house with a garden. I can afford to water our plants, feed our chickens and buy seeds. My house stands on the lands of the traditional owners, the Wurundjeri people, and it is through their dispossession that I have come to be here. It is important to acknowledge this.
Gardening is never far away from politics. George McKay’s wonderful book, Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden, traces this relationship, in a mainly British context, by examining the urban allotment movement, the politics of the Garden City, organics, the fascist origins of biodynamics, flower power, peace and memorial gardens, land cooperatives, community gardens and guerrilla gardening.
Gardens don’t just support plant and animal life. They ground our ethics and values. Tending a garden teaches patience. Plants and animals have their own time and we have to adjust to them. Being in the garden helps us to acknowledge the interconnectedness of our lives and changes in the climate, to think about what will and won’t go together and to remember that what ever is taken out must in some way be restored or returned. Our successes and failures are actually life and death issues for the inhabitants of our gardens so we need to be mindful and attentive to their needs before we can meet our own.
As I’m writing this, a Red Wattlebird has landed on the flowering Grevillea outside my window. Before I can take a photo it notices my movement and moves away. It’s a fleeting glimpse but one that recurs each day as the birds come to suckle on the sweet nectar in the winter flowering native bushes. I’m reminded again that our imposed European ‘seasons’ don’t align with those as described by Aboriginal people for tens of thousands of years. In southern Australia, the plants that are indigenous to the area flower in what we have come to call ‘winter’ but was known to the Wurundjeri people as Berrertak Darr – Karr (Cold West Wind), a time for artefact making. [https://vimeo.com/133830628] Another lesson from the garden.
What has gardening taught you? What pleasures does it bring?
Share your transformative gardening story.
 McKay, George, Radical Gardening: Politics, Idealism and Rebellion in the Garden London: Francis Lincoln, 2011, p.7.
 Lamborn Wilson, Peter, “Avantgardening” in Wilson & Weinberg (eds) Avantgardening: Ecological Struggle in the City and the World, New York: Autonomedia, 1999, pp. 7-34.
1 month, 3 weeks ago
Addiction as the driving model of Facebook: http://nyti.ms/1N6K0rO
See here our festival outlines:
Capitalisms business models are based on addiction. New clothes, new technology, permanently new and innovative strategies in institutions, new cars, new mobile phones new this and that, are what we can see everyday. And our addictions rising- just think of our addiction from screens and social media and the internet- the perfect complementary drug to the pharmaceuticals- the legal drug of choice- creating an atmosphere, but never demanding, or even destroying – focus or attention. While “expanding horizons”, “exploring consciousness” and "hedonism" used to be a quality of drugs, pharmaceuticals are correctives, ironing out inappropriate behaviour. No wonder the drugged masses like to do the “right thing”. Little pleasure the pharmaceuticals give us, we must add as well.
Check the whole outlines here:
2 months ago
Here a good piece on the Managerial University. I see this happening every day. Its really worth your time! Whats the alternative?
2 months, 2 weeks ago
The Boston Globe recently published a fake cover imagining a time when Donald Trump would be president. The first major daily doing it as the Yes Men did it with their fake New York times - although this was an art project. Art imitates life imitates art imitating life....Here more: http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/apr/10/trump-president-boston-globe-predicts-news-fake-front-page
2 months, 2 weeks ago
Here a good list of alternative knowledge sharing platforms:
2 months, 3 weeks ago
Remember Memefest 2013: DEBT-
Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on Occupy
3 months, 1 week ago
Part of this years Memefest PLEASURE outlines is devoted to the Pleasure of Hospitality (and being human). Here a wonderful short film about conversations between refugees and tourists on the Greek Island Lesbos:
3 months, 1 week ago
Memefest 2016 Festival theme: PLEASURE
The pleasure of drugs:
At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
More here: http://jezebel.com/nixons-policy-advisor-admits-he-invented-war-on-drugs-t-1766359595
Memefest outlines here: http://memefest.org/en/competition/intro/
3 months, 1 week ago
Here's a good one about the new Facebook "Reactions" recently introduced to supplement the Like button.
3 months, 3 weeks ago
Will be doing a virtual Iranian cooking lesson tonight.
THE IRANIAN VIRTUAL COOKING LESSON
Where: TEHRAN, IRAN & AROUND THE WORLD (via video call)
When: Saturday March 5, 2016 8:00pm-10:30pm Tehran time (GMT +3:30)
Join Conflict Kitchen and participants from around the world for a virtual cooking lesson and Iranian meal with Executive Chef Bahar Sarhangi, live from Tehran. You can tune in from your home kitchen to our live feed below. We will be making Khoresht-e Bademjan. You will be able to follow it live from the link bellow. If you want to cook as well see here what ingredients you need.
4 months ago
Here my new text in Design and Culture:
Social Innovation and Design Education: Towards a Socially Responsive Communication Design Pedagogy
Kevin Yuen Kit Lo