Agriculture: the Art of regeneration.
Eating is not just to stuff ourselves with food but to celebrate the bondage that exist between our body and the rest of the universe. It’s from a patchwork knitted out of millions of invisible threads that we depend upon; local agriculture being a main thread if not the rope for salvation or at least a guide for better balance.
In the chain reaction of historic events, us the children keep being heirs of a left over world passed on by irresponsible parents.
The political circus that sadly entertains us daily, is clear proof of this fact. Especially here in Italy individualists egotistical interests rule over all the rest, leaving the new generations overwhelmed with having to deal with the aftermath of their parents’ world.
With depressing daily news as constant background to my struggle with my own beloved parents, I wonder if this could be the core of the generational conflict between parents and children. Somehow I feel we are left to resolve problems we have not created and that have been imposed on us throughout the centuries. Quite a hefty weigh to carry, I say!
Since birth children are victims and scapegoats. Our function purely symbolic. Symbolic metaphors that fulfill the idea of future and freedom. Symbolic attentions is all we really get in the end. Our parents too busy figuring out their unfair inheritance and having to look after old monuments rather than invest their energies to create the basis for a fair ground for children to grow in.
French obstetrician Frédérick Leboyer reported on how adults are the cause of babies’ unnecessary traumas. By privileging their needs over the newborns ones, adults breach right away on the baby’s right. Not a promising start!
Leboyer’s experience astonishingly revealed to me the general attitude of mainstream adults that probably only Freud will be able to justify.
‘Per una nascita senza violenza’ (‘Birth without violence’) by Frédérick Leboyer, is one of the many books Monica and I have been sharing since college. As one of those oblivious selfish adults (although I consider myself an adult in process, if not a child), I was surprise by both the pertinency and poetry of that book. In the beginning reading Monica’s books on birth and motherhood was a way for me to share her experience; maybe the only way to understand how to be closer to her new life as a mother. If that was the initial intent, I quickly grew fascinated by the subject and found my self taking notes while borrowing more books. It’s exciting to notice how this subject intertwines and links into the concept of my artwork.
These books provided the mean to open up our worlds and deepen our friendship. It’s in the pedagogic words of Frédérick Leboyer, Michel Odent, Rudolf Steiner we have found new common ground between our two different life styles: Monica as a mother and I as an artist. I believe that those books contain all the ideals and concepts that have lead to found this artists’ residency themed on Art&Agriculture.
The other day Monica quoted Rudolf Steiner and I thought of Picasso: children are born with the innate gift of creativity. An attentive mother, Monica too was able to ascertain that. Sadly those treasures are generally not celebrated but suppressed instead. In any possible way the rules of our social infrastructure of pre-concepts and expectations destroy what should be preserved and in fact encouraged and supported. Rather than cherish our gifts we are taught to dispose of them for the sake of creative-less adulthood and destruction.
I still remember how back in the days, sparse art classes shattered my creative desire: raw impressionistic ‘Art Brut’ attempts disappointingly compared to the figurative scholastic mainstream. Instead I found artistic solace in what I called ‘conceptual’ dressing up: dashing clothing compositions unnerving the conservative local crowds. But that didn’t certainly fulfill my creative cravings. I suppressed them for many years and when they later resurfaced I was very fortunate to be able to catch up with that neglected deficiency broadening my horizons and my ability to view and understand the world.
As Michel Odent wrote in his book: ‘The farmer and the Obstrecian’, the prehistoric Neolithic era, when human aggressiveness was an evolutionary advantage, is over. The way for man to survive nature and other human groups was to grow and develop belligerence. Over time this process has reduced the ability of loving, including the love and respect for nature. But things have turned around, it is now a fundamental survival necessity not to destroy life and nature but rather the opposite instead.
We are the product of thousands of years of selection based on the potentiality of aggressiveness. How are we going to revert and stop the process? The limits and limitations to nature domination have become all too clear now. But how to become a new human being and develop a new dialogue and respect for nature? How to unify with Mother Nature? Michel Odent’s answer is love! The ability of loving is an early experience that starts at birth, a ritual that has been corrupted and distorted.
This contemporary epoch has been characterized by a deep lack of interest for the planet’s future and lack of compassion for future generations. Our ecological instinct is shattered by a quasi genetical alteration of our capability to love. How to retrieve that ability?
Could agriculture lead us through that regenerating process? To learn how to care for our land that feeds our body and our souls feels right to me.
Through motherhood Monica has been transformed into a new person less focused on her individuality but looking out to the collectivity instead. Casa Didun is the result of hers and mine evolutionary journey that has lead us so far. Art&Agricolute is how we intend to tackle our concerns while preserving or resuscitating the good that is in the world: agriculture and creativity.
I am pasting here the synopsis of Michel Odent’s book that I have found on the internet and that can better explain the connections I have been making so far:
“While interchanging ideas the farmer and the obstetrician realise to what extent they both manipulate the laws of nature. They analyse the striking similarities between the industrialisation of farming and the industrialisation of childbirth, which developed side by side during the twentieth century. In both cases an innovation was usually presented as the long-awaited solution to an old problem. For example the advent of powerful synthetic insecticides has overnight dramatically reduced costs and increased agricultural productivity.” “Similarly, the advent of the modern safe technique of caesarean section offered serious new reasons to create gigantic obstetrical departments, so that all women could give birth close to operating rooms and specialised medical teams. But soon after the immediate enthusiastic reactions, a small number of sceptics expressed doubts and voiced fears concerning probable negative long-term consequences of the widespread use of novel little-tested attitudes or practices. Although repeated warnings went apparently unheeded, they motivated the development of alternative attitudes. Moveover they became the roots of organised movements involving increasing numbers of consumers.” At the turn of the century the history of industrialised farming suddenly speeded up. A collective global awareness was sparked by a series of disasters, particularly mad cow and foot-and-mouth diseases. In contrast, industrialised childbirth has not yet reached the same phase of its history”