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Entering the Symbiocene:
A Transversal Ecosophy-Action
Research Framework to Reverse
Silent Spring
Cathy Fitzgerald | Irel...
Outline: articulating long-term
ecological art practices
•  discuss my practice as an example to argue why long-
term ecol...
“…we live
in the most
destructive
moment in
65 million
years!”
Brian Swimme, Professor of Integral Studies and
evolutionar...
Yet “there are
opportunities even in
the most difficult
moments.”
Dr. Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner,
first wom...
living in the Anthropocene
" Harraway (2015) renames the Anthropocene as the
Capitalocene, as it rests on the unsustainabl...
the Plantationocene
Image courtesy of Irish singer-songwriter Cathy Davy’s New Forest Album 2016 video
"   And Harroway fu...
Others confirm… we are living
in a sociopathic society
Charles Derber, 2014
  Albrecht (2016) writes
how instead we must
urgently value the
mutual flourishing of
all life
  He urges we must
quickly ...
Cultural responses are crucial
facts + culture =
is what changes
societal behaviour
(Lakoff, 2010)
Sacha Kagan andVolker K...
I’m particularly interested in creative practices
that build bridges between art, science
and other ways of knowing; that ...
long-term ecological art
(eco-art) practices are valuable
my eco-social art
practice is a gathering
of skills, lifeworld 
...
Hollywood forest (2010)
I blend these various skills
and lifeworld knowledges
to explore how we can
move from the life-
li...
2008 interested neighbours and local Green Party
Cllr. Malcolm Noonan, learn about about close to nature,
non clearfell fo...
Hollywood forest, Blackstairs Mountains, South Carlow, Ireland (2015)
‘the little wood that could...’
Hollywood forest, Blackstairs Mountains, South Carlow, Ireland (2015)
… has advanced new experimental videos that reflect ...
However, similar
valuable and
inspiring long
term eco-art
practices
remain marginal
in the art world
why are eco-art practices
not more common?
Ecology challenges the Western worldview.
Joseph Beuys (1980s) declared everyon...
Unfortunately,
incomprehension of valuable
long-term, multi-constituent
eco-art practices continues
(Goto and Collins, 201...
Articulacy is important! A clear
guiding theory-method framework
may help the marginalised art and ecology
field, which ha...
I began to see patterns in the
aims of such multi-
constituent practices
and
that these practices’ routinely
involve simil...
Paul Elliott (2012) briefly applied
Felix Guattari’s lifetimes’ work
on the theory and applications of
transversality and ...
Explored Guattari’s applied theory
of transversality, which is much
extended for an ecological context in
his last book Ch...
Guattari understood that
"   the environmental crisis was rooted in calcified mental and
unquestioned social practices
"  ...
Guattari’s ecosophy
"   we need to advance “the three
ecologies”, the mental, social and
environmental spheres together,
s...
Guattari argues
"   the means to advance
resistance to capitalism lies
in micropolitical
assemblages that operated
transve...
Through Guattari we
can learn that
sustainability is
contingent, emergent
Rather than trying to
enforce one-size fits-all
...
(Reason et al., 2009) A means to articulate the main method stages
of eco-social art practices
2) Action research –
a methodology approach for
eco-social complexity
action research is not a prescriptive
model but a re...
This is what you might have encountered
If you had asked what my practice was
at the start of my
Hollywood forest project …
action research… identifies and
characterises my activities in
a recognised cycle of stages
practical challenges
In articulating my practice,
action research identifies and
orders a repeating cycle of
method stages...
to valuing many ways of
knowing (experiential, lived,
traditional, Indigenous knowledge)
Being-in-the-forest reminds us of...
Action research also embraces
propositional, theoretical
and scientific knowing
Artistic knowing
is essential
in action research for
sustainability, to
translate
experiential
knowing and overall,
to wea...
"   Hollywood forest is a home to others
participation and
democracy stage:
developing ideas for
practices that extend a
d...
participation and democracy stage:
leads to new knowings and relevant
life-sustaining policies
New sustainable forest poli...
action research
prioritises an emergent
communicative space
for exchanges and
learning
Sharing views, inviting comments wi...
Action research therefore
confirms what pioneers of long
term ecological art practice, the
Harrisons, have argued:
that th...
And action research orders the complex iterations
of a transversal practice as a recognisable cycle of
activities
Action r...
SUMMARY:
thus, through my research I argue that a:
Guattari ecosophy - action research framework
significantly improves th...
audio-visual ebook and print-on-demand
version, coming soon!
Sharing the guiding theory-method
ecosophy - action research ...
Thank you!
Follow ‘the little wood that
could’ at:
email: cathyart@gmail.com
Watch Reversing Silent Spring (2016): summary looped
video of the 8-year ongoing Hollywood forest project
[next slide]
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Entering the Symbiocene: A Transversal Ecosophy-Action Research Framework to Reverse Silent Spring

Being in Place, The Highs and Lows of Sited Practices
Post-Graduate Research Conference
24 and 25 Nov 2016, University of Dundee

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Entering the Symbiocene: A Transversal Ecosophy-Action Research Framework to Reverse Silent Spring

  1. 1. Entering the Symbiocene: A Transversal Ecosophy-Action Research Framework to Reverse Silent Spring Cathy Fitzgerald | Ireland Being in Place: The Highs and Lows of Sited Practice 5 t h A n n u a l P o s t g r a d u a t e Conference in Art & Humanities, Dundee, Scotland 25-6 November 2016
  2. 2. Outline: articulating long-term ecological art practices •  discuss my practice as an example to argue why long- term ecological art practices are important: ‘memes for the Symbiocene’ not the Anthropocene •  ‘the low’ of such sited practices is they remain marginalised in art education, art publications and little understood by audiences •  Articulation matters! Why developing a theory- method framework is empowering and urgent •  Why a Guattarian ecosophy – action research framework is a valuable guide for practitioners and educators, and for non-artists collaborating on long- term eco-social art projects to ‘reverse Silent Spring’ (video at end).
  3. 3. “…we live in the most destructive moment in 65 million years!” Brian Swimme, Professor of Integral Studies and evolutionary philosopher, The New Story, 2006 (film)
  4. 4. Yet “there are opportunities even in the most difficult moments.” Dr. Wangari Maathai, Nobel Peace Prize winner, first woman in Africa to get a Ph.D and Kenyan ,Green Belt, forest planter founder
  5. 5. living in the Anthropocene " Harraway (2015) renames the Anthropocene as the Capitalocene, as it rests on the unsustainable advance of a globalised, extract-at-all costs capitalism
  6. 6. the Plantationocene Image courtesy of Irish singer-songwriter Cathy Davy’s New Forest Album 2016 video "   And Harroway further defines industrial culture has simplified much of the planet’s living diversity into ‘slave’ monoculture plantations – the Plantationocene
  7. 7. Others confirm… we are living in a sociopathic society Charles Derber, 2014
  8. 8.   Albrecht (2016) writes how instead we must urgently value the mutual flourishing of all life   He urges we must quickly adopt new thinking, life-enriching practices, and thus develop policies and a politics of mutualism entering the Symbiocene Slovenian non-clearfell, mixed species permanent forestry is an e.g of mutualism - It is illegal to clearfell forests there!!
  9. 9. Cultural responses are crucial facts + culture = is what changes societal behaviour (Lakoff, 2010) Sacha Kagan andVolker Kirchberg, 2008
  10. 10. I’m particularly interested in creative practices that build bridges between art, science and other ways of knowing; that recognise the value of lived experience, local knowledges and the intrinsic rights of nonhuman communities to thrive photo: emily coghlan
  11. 11. long-term ecological art (eco-art) practices are valuable my eco-social art practice is a gathering of skills, lifeworld experiences and actions. developed comprehensive online community-building skills since 2007 amateur filmmaker since 2002 involved in Green Party since 2004 amateur forester these past 8-years worked in research biology for 10-years
  12. 12. Hollywood forest (2010) I blend these various skills and lifeworld knowledges to explore how we can move from the life- limiting, unsustainability of monoculture forestry ….to instead, investigate new-to-Ireland Close-to-Nature continuous cover forestry approaches.
  13. 13. 2008 interested neighbours and local Green Party Cllr. Malcolm Noonan, learn about about close to nature, non clearfell forestry from Jan Alexander ecological forestry: for the Symbiocene
  14. 14. Hollywood forest, Blackstairs Mountains, South Carlow, Ireland (2015) ‘the little wood that could...’
  15. 15. Hollywood forest, Blackstairs Mountains, South Carlow, Ireland (2015) … has advanced new experimental videos that reflect my and others new sustainable forestry experiences and learning contributed to Irish Forestry Journal of new-to-Ireland continuous cover forestry (CCF) approaches I advocated this forestry management approach as the key point of Irish Green Party forest policy (2012) developed a political voice to champion developing international laws against the crime of ecocide (2013)
  16. 16. However, similar valuable and inspiring long term eco-art practices remain marginal in the art world
  17. 17. why are eco-art practices not more common? Ecology challenges the Western worldview. Joseph Beuys (1980s) declared everyone should be taught ecoliteracy, he understood ecology fundamentally "   decenters the primacy of humankind and human concerns, of which much art is currently focused "   challenges the idea of the solitary individual, the artistic genius working alone "   that new art (and political) practices, that emphasise the social and environmental were needed
  18. 18. Unfortunately, incomprehension of valuable long-term, multi-constituent eco-art practices continues (Goto and Collins, 2016) This hinders recognition and limits understanding of such practices in contemporary art education and for non-artists working on such projects 1994 2016
  19. 19. Articulacy is important! A clear guiding theory-method framework may help the marginalised art and ecology field, which has struggled to convey such practices’ complexity and value ‘Articulacy has a moral point, not just in correcting what may be wrong views but also in making the force of an ideal that people are already living by more palpable, more vivid for them; And by making it more vivid, empowering them to live up to it in a fuller and more integral fashion.’ Charles Taylor, cited in Dean Moore, 2016
  20. 20. I began to see patterns in the aims of such multi- constituent practices and that these practices’ routinely involve similar key method stages (and I’m indebted to Chris Seeley’s art & action research here). Case Studies: Helen Mayer Harrison and Newton Harrison (US, watersheds, forests, rivers, lagoons, meadows, ecosystem policy) Insa Winkler (Germany, pigs, Oak forests) Simon Read (UK, rivers, estuaries) Deirdre O’Mahony (Ireland, peat-lands) Ursula Biemann (global migration, resources, forests, rights of nature) My practice (forests, ecocide law advocacy)
  21. 21. Paul Elliott (2012) briefly applied Felix Guattari’s lifetimes’ work on the theory and applications of transversality and his last writings of ecosophy and chaosophy to ecological art practices (to the Harrisons, Mel Chin’s work) While not examining eco-art practices specifically, Iain Biggs (2014a,b,c) analyses in applying transversality to deepen understanding of multi- constituent art-led practices are also important
  22. 22. Explored Guattari’s applied theory of transversality, which is much extended for an ecological context in his last book Chaosmosis: An Ethico- Aesthetic Paradigm (1992) and his last ‘Re-Making Social Practices’ (1992) article. The late ecosocial activist- therapist-theorist and new media enthusiast, Félix Guattari (1930-1992)
  23. 23. Guattari understood that "   the environmental crisis was rooted in calcified mental and unquestioned social practices "   that capitalism seizes people’s minds as an ‘overcode’: "   that the politics of the left or right cannot defeat it "   and that a scientific - technological paradigm was gravely insufficient to counter its pervasiveness (this does not treat the root of the planetary crises) "   the utmost necessity to ‘re-make social practices’ and re-think politics, that we must move from a scientific to an ethico- aesthetic paradigm
  24. 24. Guattari’s ecosophy "   we need to advance “the three ecologies”, the mental, social and environmental spheres together, speaks to the aim and potential of long term eco-social art practices priorities "   I call ecological art practices “eco- social art practices”, to underline that these practices are not only about environmental restoration or resilience, but act politically as a form of creative resistance Guattari understood through applied therapeutic practice and his lifelong political activism, why and how capitalism, particularly globalised capitalism, and the western worldview is sociopathic and why we need to advance the “three ecologies”, the mental, social and environmental spheres together to advance effective societal change
  25. 25. Guattari argues "   the means to advance resistance to capitalism lies in micropolitical assemblages that operated transversally, that ‘softly subvert’ the status quo So my transversal practice aims to softly subvert the stranglehold of unsustainable, industrial monoculture forestry
  26. 26. Through Guattari we can learn that sustainability is contingent, emergent Rather than trying to enforce one-size fits-all sustainability directives, we learn that enacting life- sustaining thinking & practices is an ever-evolving process, that is enriched by democratic participation and different ways of knowing the world. So, Guattari’s ecosophy identifies the target, main components and potential of transversal practices
  27. 27. (Reason et al., 2009) A means to articulate the main method stages of eco-social art practices
  28. 28. 2) Action research – a methodology approach for eco-social complexity action research is not a prescriptive model but a reactive pathway, each step allows plenty of opportunity for creativity and serendipity, action and reflection.
  29. 29. This is what you might have encountered If you had asked what my practice was at the start of my Hollywood forest project …
  30. 30. action research… identifies and characterises my activities in a recognised cycle of stages
  31. 31. practical challenges In articulating my practice, action research identifies and orders a repeating cycle of method stages, from worthwhile purposes to…. Employing the practical skills and learning of continuous cover forestry from forestry contractor, Sean Hoskins
  32. 32. to valuing many ways of knowing (experiential, lived, traditional, Indigenous knowledge) Being-in-the-forest reminds us of the complex interconnections that foster a thriving forest
  33. 33. Action research also embraces propositional, theoretical and scientific knowing
  34. 34. Artistic knowing is essential in action research for sustainability, to translate experiential knowing and overall, to weave other ways of knowing into cohesive and engaging projects (Chris Seeley, 2011, 2014)
  35. 35. "   Hollywood forest is a home to others participation and democracy stage: developing ideas for practices that extend a duty of care to others, including the non-human
  36. 36. participation and democracy stage: leads to new knowings and relevant life-sustaining policies New sustainable forest policy
  37. 37. action research prioritises an emergent communicative space for exchanges and learning Sharing views, inviting comments with foresters, landowners, carpenters, art officers, artists, curators, tree lovers: Hollywood, 2014
  38. 38. Action research therefore confirms what pioneers of long term ecological art practice, the Harrisons, have argued: that the most valuable outcome of their multi-constituent practice is ‘conversational drift’ : how the questions, the new images, texts, diverse perspectives, develop a communicative means for envisioning new values, possibilities, practices and policies for a specific context and environment
  39. 39. And action research orders the complex iterations of a transversal practice as a recognisable cycle of activities Action research’s recognised terms, overcome the confusion such exploratory practices create and encourages easier peer-to-peer learning In these urgent times, we need a recognised means to compare effective practices and to encourage more people to creatively engage with eco-social concerns.
  40. 40. SUMMARY: thus, through my research I argue that a: Guattari ecosophy - action research framework significantly improves the articulation of long-term eco-social art practices best means to develop and maintain transversal practices advances understanding of transversal practices for the emergent art & ecology field and for non-artists, particularly those collaborating on such projects.
  41. 41. audio-visual ebook and print-on-demand version, coming soon! Sharing the guiding theory-method ecosophy - action research framework as applied to my practice:
  42. 42. Thank you! Follow ‘the little wood that could’ at: email: cathyart@gmail.com
  43. 43. Watch Reversing Silent Spring (2016): summary looped video of the 8-year ongoing Hollywood forest project [next slide]

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