Linda Weintraub Question
Linda asked a very provocative question about the difference between sustainable and ecological art. I do associate Land and environmental art and do see ecological art as distinct but perhaps not entirely distinct from what they define as sustainable- except in so far as the cultural aspect.
There is a further comment on this, re: what is cultural? Cultural, in the context of ecological art, until now, has been primarily defined as activist, interventionist, teaching. I think it must go further. The pitfall I see in the activist parallel as the model for the cultural element is the assumption of otherness. There is also the temptation to a presumption of authority, the authority to proscribe. For that reason, I think some deeper investigation is useful based on earlier feminist models.
In so far as we all subscribe to a green agenda, our definitions must grow and expand over time, supposing a sustainable process of inquiry. Are there boundaries to that investigation? I believe there are profound distinctions to consider.
Aren’t sustainable personal politics key to sustainable anything human over time? How does one design such safe parameters that the unsafe can be investigated by non-professionals? To what extent must personal politics be an ecological investigation? The NEWSSC workshop (which i shall report on later) investigated that in some detail. Interesting if science is ahead of art on this.
I have stated very openly that I think there is a direct connection between personal issues and public ones and there are environmental consequences. I didn’t initiate that idea and it is not new. It has affected generations of thinking since the seventies. I consider that a basic feminist premise that has infiltrated public discourse in every way from Oprah to transparency in corporate bookkeeping. I believe it is still an essential question to answer about ecological art.
I recognize that it is a tricky thing to explore personal questions dispassionately, without blame and with plenty of self-reflection. I also accept that for many, with a wonderful practice, these are irrelevant questions. And for still others, it is a closed book they choose to keep closed. Finally, it may be impossible to investigate virtually.
Opinions about and the understanding of motives for discussing what I consider at heart, an abstract philosophical difference with real world practical implications can make such openness "virtually" impossible. Virtual (email) communications give a false sense of intimacy. Being open with people who truly don’t know us, opens us to being filtered & judged on the basis of their own private experiences.
I equally question whether this genre can fully flourish without that investigation, if it is to be wholly ecologically sustainable.