In the train back from Lijiang to Kunming. Christine and I revisited the artists recidency Lijiangstudio, www.lijiangstudio.org We both went here in 2006 for a two month working stay. I could realize my project IN THE HEIGHTS www.alfred-banze.de/lashihai
It was so great to see everybody again, director Jay Brown, the neighbours family of grandfather He Xidong, the musican Yang Zemin,Will from Shangri La, and many others. And Christine and I had many interesting talks, also related to our next project! We decited to invite the wodden carver, painter and farmer Mu Yunbai from the village Lashi Hai. If everything works out well, we hope to invite him as one of 14 artistis positions to an exhibtion, workshops etc. in Berlin in 2013.
Looking out of the window of the train, I think of our next project. In this blog, I will not mention the title etc. but anyway, sometimes I will talk about its contents. Looking out of the window, I see many empty mountains, without any trees. Some days ago, we went around the beautiful Lashi Hai Lake, and I saw some old fisherboats, made out of one piece of wood. The wood for these boats must have been imported from Tibet or Myanmar. But the tradition of these boats is from older times, when the lake was surounded by uge deep forests. They disapeared forever. This morning, Christine, Jay, and I had a little talk: EROSION as a global phenomen. How to deal with it, as artist, as cultural or political activist? As an example, Jay Brown mentioned Duskin Drums “Beer Project” in Lashi Hai in 2008. carbonfarm.us/KATALOG/picnic A great and inspiring art project, but it was not really acepted by the village farmers, because it could not create a positive visual and countable change in the projects short time schedule. EROSION is mostly an effect of the mis-use of local water resources, the enormous growing of the regional population, and by the agressive new planting technologies of the agricultural industry. It appears on a big frame, simultanious in many, global connected regions.
To fight against EROSION is only possible on a big frame, it needs the cooperation of ecological oriented researchers and activists of different fields, also with (unfortunetly often corrupt) gouverment institutions, and also with international companies etc. The artists options in this processes are very limited, and as long as they are not able to cooperate with other ecologic and cultural activists, often their projects seems to be a cosmetic beauty effect of a not changes willing conservative society.
One day later, breakfast in Kunming. Jay wrote me an email: Must we play with the mass media? What you said in the car today, that small scale projects can’t compete with the the way things really work… well i hope that’s wrong! It must be possible for small projects to link together…. or what are we doing, anyway?
Yes, I think thats the way how we go! We have to link small grassroots projects together. In the art field that means, that we are not identify as nomadic artists, jumping from national recidencies to national recidencies, serving their program and definition of globalism, but we built our own point to point global networks. And I think, we should not try to play with the mass media, we should use it as a tool for exactly these reasons, making connections! In the content of the Banyan Project, and in EROSION, I like to mention the Tree Planting for Peace Project by Wangari Maathai from Kenia, she got the Nobel Prize for it in 2004. It became so powerful because it was dealing with nature protection, cultural prevention, womens liberation, and economic issues at the same time, conncting all of them to one powerful movement! And in the content of the use of mass media i like to mention the possiblities of the Internet for subculture communications. For example as a communication plattform for producers of organic food on the global market.