Part of the public program of Waste/d Pavilion held at State of Concept in Athens, Greece, is a Leftwing Prepping workshop coordinated by the theoretician Gene Ray in collaboration with permaculture educator and activist Yorgos Theodorakis and botanotherapist Constantina Litsa.
In his provocative text “Leftwing Prepping: After the Holocene, the Commons”, which accompanies the Waste/d Pavilion Episode 2, Gene Ray proposes ‘commoning’ "as a name for the planetary practice of more-than-human mutualism”. He writes “Strategy, here, would focus on building alliances between common ecologies, working class and social movements and peoples’ parties, and on coordinating the actions of allied counter powers.[…] Needless to say, the capitalist class would fight ruthlessly to prevent this. Leftwing prepping is not in itself an adequate revolutionary strategy for collective self-rescue, obviously, the reskilling and conviviality it fosters are both useful and rich with enjoyment”.
In an era of climate chaos as conditions degrade, ecologies collapse and social antagonisms intensify, what can be done? Can simple citizens take care of themselves and each other? Rightwing preppers hoard assault rifles and freeze-dried food. Failing to anticipate and prepare is folly, but how would leftwing prepping, based on values of commoning, care and mutualism, be different? Is the development of prepping situated (differently) to the context of various localities? Is it at all telling that the great rise of prepping came from the United States, still retaining something from its Far West mentality and individual gear and development from the lonely cowboy to the great golden boy and the unique superheroes accompanied by an internal struggle regarding legal civil weapon usage? Is the proposed expression for a post apocalyptic condition, like in the film Mad Max, a possible solution to the persistence of capitalism to be sustained by eating its own flesh? What about Europe and the decay of civil democracy squeezed by a, once more, national pride, white (and christian) separatism and hate speech outlook? In order to understand the depths of the survivalist tendencies we have to consult the political and economic history that constructed particular societies and their situated condition (also in the aftermath of the global imperative). (Right) Prepping is here, it is something already happening and increasing as long as ideals of a civil society, mutual care, civil rights are deteriorating, as individualism is preferred and attired to exceptionalism and excellence. Leftwing prepping raises questions on the troubling commonalities that the extremities that construct 'ideologies' of risk can have, no matter how oppositely they move. As well as on the importance of the ethical positions they take concerning responsibility towards each other and society, which is the radical point of differentiation between them (individual preparation vs mutual aid/community). Reflection on Right and Left prepping confronts us with this responsibility, resists easy reductions and unhistorical equations and invites us to reflect on the differentiating agencies that wish to dislocate interconnections (struggles and claims) of collectivity, of society, a priori in favour of an individualist survivalism and of the forces that resist this impulse.
The Leftwing Prepping workshop aims to open these questions for discussion, to turn our vision toward a pressing problem coming forth by the urgency of some to be the chosens, the ones to survive alone and of others to live together (beyond-the-human) differently. And for art to become a vault to activate our critical thinking and creative exchanges with other disciplines and agents. This workshop also moves directly to some joyful hands-on skill-sharing on the level of basic needs and metabolism.
Waste/d is one of their ongoing art and pedagogy research projects on social and artistic potential in times of extended crisis, or better in the contemporary condition. The Pavilion unfolds through four “episodes”, focusing on different thematics: labor, body, ecology, and language. Artists, researchers, and scientists from Greece and abroad have been invited to present different conceptualizations of the notion of Waste/d, through various ways of viewing, circulating, and developing methodologies for an anti-Waste/d front.
The 2nd episode of Waste/d Pavilion (24 May - 24 September 2022) is dedicated to the intersection of art and politics, the aftermath of globalization and turbo-capitalism, protest and democracy, the commons in relationship to labor and questions that relate to ecology and sustainability and how these connect to the damaging effects of the anthropocene/capitalocene, and will host the Leftwing Prepping Workshop.
Waste/d Pavilion is curated by PAT, hosted by State of Concept Athens under the auspices and funded by the European Cultural Foundation and European Pavilion.
Banner:Notes for Les Sanglières, Elsa Brès, Wasted Pavilion
@State of Concept
This Contribution was released with the support of Rudolf Augstein Stiftung, Bundesverband Soziokultur, Neustarthilfe, Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.