Resistance comes in many forms – Telling “STOP” to spectacle-based, status-driven creative culture

uncredited image from PLAND Facebook page

An interest in examining relationships as well as a desire that their artistic practice include some sort of sustainable and community directed action has led artists Ari Marcantonio and Jaime Knight to Tres Piedras, New Mexico and to a residency called Practicing Liberating Art through Necessary Dislocation (PLAND). In this instance, “examining relationships” can be understood as looking into the space that separates/joins teacher and student, artist and colleague, friend and friend; on a macro scale Knight and Marcantonio are questioning their individual relationships to the physical world, and how these relations are altered when individuals work together; as artists the two propose a responsibility to culture, and they wish to explore methods of demonstrating their commitment.

uncredited image from PLAND Facebook page

PLAND is a project of self-reliance, creative problem-solving, and collaboration. PLAND is remote — 30 miles from any kind of food, gas, medical facilities, or other services. Residency is the heart and soul of PLAND. Not only does the Residency Program offer time and space to participants, but moreover, it offers the opportunity to deeply consider daily life. What does it mean to reside in a place? What supports or limits  a life off the grid? What happens when your cell phone loses its charge and the sun goes down and the water supply runs low? Each summer, PLAND offers a number of residency awards to individuals and collaborative groups who apply through an open call process. Residencies span two to six weeks between June and September.

PLAND website:

Ari Marcantonio and Jaime Knight:

“We will commit our bodies to the arduous task of constructing a device, the primary purpose of which is to heal and relax those very same bodies. We believe this process has real and symbolic parallels to an inability to live in a present which pushes so many people, ourselves included, to strive for the life that will be worth living. Always running forward because we are scared of slipping backward, we hurl ourselves into the ambitious projects, careers, and lives that we believe will bring us happiness, in the process losing sight of the real satisfaction we already enjoy.”

…and continuing:

“Holy Molé! Thanks to your incredible generosity we’ve reached our ($450) goal in less than 24 hours! We cannot express how appreciative we are. Thanks to each of you who has donated and made it possible for us to do this thing!  Moving forward we’ve decided that any funds generated beyond our goal will be divided between a donation to PLAND and the creation of a fund for future collaboration between the two of us.  Please feel free to continue sharing this project with anyone who you think might be interested.  You guys are our heroes.”

Jaime and Ari

I offer the above to show support for ideas in which I believe and to artists whom I admire – one is at the beginning of his career life as an artist, and one is returning to the moment of establishment of such a life with experience already in his hands.

I offer the below as an exercise comparing and contrasting the above with the actions of local wealthy philanthropists.

First, read the definition of “philanthropy” that Wikipedia offers: and then – because this is the summer of 2012, the season when Eli Broad and the MOCA Board of Trustees are wrecking the very idea of philanthropy and have set up MOCA (the museum of record for contemporary art) as a body to be violated by millionaires and celebrities and plundered of its cultural credibility, [MOCA makes me think of Philomela, tongueless in her prison chamber after her rape by the king of Thrace. Lord, tho’ the museum can’t speak, this crime fair shouts for justice! ed.] – and then think about what it means to ask for relatively little, to give more than is asked, and to require little or nothing in return.

PLAND summer art and sustainability residence, a Kickstarter project of Ari Marcantonio and Jaime Knight:

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