“A eulogy for all the Cicada’s underneath this building, our loss of nature as we know it, the passing of time, & a toast, to the total and utter destruction of everything we know, which is the only possible outcome.”
The most democratic option would be to give no credits at all, but I will demonstrate the issue if I do:
Created by Tank and Francesca Hyde in collaboration with numerous twigs from various types of trees / bark mainly from the Angophora at the entrance to BigCi, but also from surrounding trees / Sydney based artist Skye Gellmann / the stones from the driveway / sand from the crushed animals and shell and rock over millennia, and Bunnings who washed, screened, and sold it to me / the money I bought it with / the ropes and pulleys through which Tank & I have developed a language together / the cicada’s outside and underneath me / the other artists in BigCi / the mountains / the liquid crystal that forms the computer screen staring at me now – and so on in an infinite loop of gratitude.
“Art is the collaboration between humans and non humans”
Timothy Morton on Hegel, Ecology, Aesthetics.
I was the jerrycan in the caravan of circus artist Francesca Hyde. Fran was looking for a partner to be a hair-hang counterweight. I suggested myself. I am now a member of the company ‘Collectif and then…’ a group of artists with a background in circus. I am a ‘non-human object’. We prefer this term to the anthropocentric term inanimate (inanimate to whom?).
The anthropomorphism was my suggestion, I thought it would allow Fran to treat me in a more egalitarian way during the rehearsal process. We didn’t feel it was necessary to anthropomorphise all the collaborators, although Fran does still lean towards a human bias. We recognise the irony of employing anthropomorphism in an attempt to move away from anthropocentrism. Philosopher Jane Bennet argues the case:
“We need to cultivate a bit of anthropomorphism – the idea that human agency has some echoes in nonhuman nature – to counter the narcissism of humans in charge of the world.”
Jane Bennett, Vibrant Matter
From the objects that took part in this collaboration
We are working towards a shift in the dominant anthropocentric thinking of today, in a hope that this will in turn change behavior, politics and the world as we know it. We are looking specifically at challenging the nature/culture binary. There are a number of other artists working towards the breaking away from anthropocentric thinking, such as Adam Dickinson and his Polymers, and Robert Sullivan and his Meadowlands. Timothy Morton argues that nature doesn’t exist at all, and the concept of it is troubling. This has been central to our process.
“Putting something called nature on a pedestal and admiring it from afar does for the environment what patriarchy does for the figure of women” Timothy Morton, Ecology Without Nature
The human/non-human object collaboration led us to think about Global Warming (Global Warming also being a collaborator in this process and one with a very strong voice). Looking at Global Warming led us to think about mourning (specifically for our human audience.)
We wanted to create a space to mourn the things we have lost – species, ideas, concepts, time, hope, structures, friends, fossil fuels…in order to move beyond denial towards acceptance & change.
We take seriously our ability as artists to take liberties with reality, imagination and ideas. We may be presenting ideas that we don’t all have a full concept of but which fire in the neurons of the spectator. We need to imagine a different way of thinking about the world before we can change our thinking. We need to do this collectively. We each have different fragments of understandings, suspicions & ideas that we can weave together to form new concepts. Contradictions will occur and are important. Artists have a power to make people believe in things that live outside of our reality. And we need a different reality.
From a water Tank to a human being
Call me inanimate
and annihilate, primate –
Who am I to you
while you empty me
of polyethelyne dreams
They might just slip inside
you, you know.
I got a poly-dream-team.
I am dangerous like that.
I fill you up whether
you like it or not
linking my C’s and H’s
to yours in an intimacy
you know but don’t care
to understand, hand in hand
like this word.
My plastic belly
(that you think you made alone)
rumbles with a distant
thunder. Count the seconds
between that and
when you see the light-
ning to predict the coming storm.
You have been warned –
and you felt the thunder
shake your own bones
because I was there.
But not seen.
Just part of the invisible plastic dream.