“LIFT UP YOUR HEADS!”
— F.T Marinetti’s
So concludes “The Founding and Manifesto of Futurism,” F.T Marinetti’s avant-garde guide to plunging headfirst into an uncompromised life, a life fully immersed in art, love, poetry and fearlessness. The art-manifesto, or rather, the art of the manifesto, has served as a prototype for decades of intention-setting to come; free-flowing back and forth between the creative arts and advertising, politics, feminism, and – of late, the absurdist realms of digital media. A manifesto is prescriptive. It is fervent, but mutant. It can be as stoic or light-hearted as you, the reader, make it out to be.
Where better to appropriate the urgent didacticism of the manifesto than into the complicated and escalating conversation about the environmental crisis? Most of us wish we could do something – something more, but we feel powerless in our individualism and limited by the smallness of our actions. Where do we start? How do fight against the destruction of our environment, in a way which feels sincere and effective? This is where the crippling paradoxes arise, and for many of us, the point at which we lose hope and abandon ship. The manifesto serves as an antithesis to helplessness. It is, by nature, a roadmap designed for personal use.
MANIFESTO takes direct inspiration from artists, writers and other creatives who have, to one extent or another, authentically aligned their environmentalism and their creative practice. It looks at ways in which day to day actions can be sustainable, joyful, and in-line with one’s craft.
The first chapter of MANIFESTO we delved into the idea of journeys near and far, as the basis of eco-creative projects. We featured a photographer who traversed the prairies and Great Plains of the United States, including her home state of Nebraska, to highlight biological diversity and push for conservation. This chapter also includes the work of an illustrator who collects botanical relics while exploring her city of Buenos Aires, a French artist’s photographic travel-journal from the wilderness of Bali and Java, and a Canadian photographer’s documentation of the remarkable geologically-active ecosystem of North Island and Whakaari, New Zealand. In order to limit the environmental damage of our wanderlust as a global society, it is for important for us to redefine and expand our definition of “travel” to include all kinds of purposeful engagement with the landscape, including local expeditions that do not require air transport. “Songlines of the Here and Now is an inspiring example of how an artist has engaged with the cultural, geophysical, and mythical complexities of a landscape, by slowly tracing the ancient Aboriginal maps of Australia and capturing narratives along the way.
Chapter two highlights the work of seven artists who have committed to using l’objet trouvé: found, foraged, recycled, or environmentally friendly materials in their artwork. This includes; sculptures made from found geological materials, pigments from foraged urban plants, botanical textile dyes, sculptures from discarded objects and modern basketry woven from the natural landscape. Finally, a practical guide to exiting the consumerist hamster-wheel of fast fashion.
In chapter three of MANIFESTO examines the intersection of art and food, because what you choose to put on your plate is both a political and ecological decision. We look at some instances in which sustainable food production and consumption has been successfully merged with creative work. We were incredibly fortunate to hear from an artist whose work begins with site specific research into local food production and wild edible plants, and culminates with a multi-sensory dining experience bringing together community over a meal of foraged ingredients. We also spoke to a writer who found peace and fulfilment dedicating her life to a permaculture farm in South India.
The option of leaving the city, of course, is not available to everyone and for this reason we also made sure to include the voices of urban farmers in our fourth section on gardens. Gardening, like cooking, is a creative endeavour that brings beauty and joy into our lives, and, if done well, can manifest positive change within our local environment. Chapter three peeks into the garden of a Viennese artist whose labour of love, her garden, has morphed into an open-air art studio, a space for inspiration and relaxation, a space to share ideas and experiment – as well as the source of her food all summer. It also features the work of a graphic designer who introduces elements from her garden into her surrealist sculptural works, and a visual artist who creates botanical still life installations at various art residencies around the world. Finally, four urban farmers give us some tips on building an urban garden on a balcony, rooftop, or at a community greenhouse.
In these pages, you will also find a tale of a wild sisterhood, a bright green bookshelf, and a wardrobe designed to treat our planet with tenderness.
Alex Bateman, Alisa Tanaka-King, Charlotte Ellis, Chiara Zonca, Christi York, Dennis DeHart, Elena Cremona, Elizabeth Fleur Willis, Ellie Irons, Hannah Rowan, Isabelle Landicho, Jayne Goldheart, Leah Abraham, Madeline Cass, Maela Ohana, Maria Montiel, Marga Karayol ,Martin Gisborne, May Hands, Megan Mericle, Mia Middleton, Michaela Altweger, Mira Loew, Molly Tucker, Nyima Ohana, Ofer Gensler, Priyanka Shah, Sheena Swirlz, Simrit Malhi, Sophia Nicolov, Stanislas Motz, Tanya Houghton
Debossed cover, A4, 204 pages, offset print using non-soya vegetable oil-based inks, perfect bound, full colour on 100% recycled uncoated paper.