(Photo: Edie Steiner, Industrial Ruins at Michipicoten Bay, 2010.)
“My name is this and that and I come from here and there and I practice I don’t know what and I am not myself because I am also my government and I am also my economy and I am very much my one-directional totalitarian culture which subdues me and misuses me and uses and misuses my work to the point where I don’t know where my work is itself or where my work is something other than itself or where my work is the opposite of itself and this one-directional culture uses and misuses not only my production but also my protest against these uses and misuses because my protest is part of its pluralistic glory which is part of its world governing economic order which presents itself as a religion and is as fervently believed in as a religion and extracts from its believers the fanaticism of a fervently believed in religion and the chief characteristic of this self-righteous world governing order is that it is marching on and on and on and on and this marching on and on and on and on has no opposition because it eats opposition for breakfast.”
– Peter Schumann, Bread and Puppet
The title of this episode, Resistance for Breakfast: Hegemony, Arts, and Environment, is a playful departure from Peter Schumann’s words, and suggests that, perhaps, we could all use a little more resistance in our diet. We will investigate how hegemonic power manifests itself in environmental art and how art practices can also expose and challenge such power. Hegemony is a social condition in which dominant groups exercise power in all aspects of social reality not through militarized violence but rather through implied means (Mayo, 35). The scholars, activists, and educators we speak with call for resistance to hegemonic power that is not only critical and subversive but also beautiful.
Featuring interviews with FES Professor Deborah Barndt, storyteller and FES contract faculty Chris Cavanagh, FES PhD candidate Heather McLean, and artist and FES PhD candidate Edie Steiner, we will discuss the ways ‘the arts’ reinforce common sense understandings of what constitutes ‘good art.’ We’ll also explore the problematic relationship between large art festivals and local arts movements and suggest ways in which critical environmental art practices can facilitate meaningful activism and create change.
CoHearence Contributor Websites/Blogs
- Chris Cavanagh’s Blog
- Creative Class Struggle Blog
- Edie Steiner’s Website
- FES Community Arts Practice Program Website
Community Art and Arts Activist Web Resources
- Bread and Puppet
- Catalyst Centre
- Neighbourhood Arts Network
- Toronto Free Gallery
- Atwood, Margaret. “Girl Without Hands.” In Morning in the Burned House, 112-113. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1995.
- Barndt, Deborah (ed). VIVA! Community Arts and Popular Education in the Americas. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2011.
- Cavanagh, Chris. “The Pedagogy of the Short Tale.” Comeuppance: Thoughts on popular education, storytelling and activism for a possible better world. Entry posted April 3, 2007.
- Cole, Thomas. The Course of Empire. 1834-1836. The Columbia Museum of Art, Columbia, SC.
- Dillon, Brian “A Short History of Decay,” In Ruins: Documents of Contemporary Art Series. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011.
- Frye, Northrop. The Bush Garden: Essays on the Canadian Imagination. Toronto: Anansi, 1971.
- Hall, Stuart. “Gramsci and Us,” in Gramsci’s Political Thought, Roger Simon. London: Lawrence & Wishart, 1991.
- Jacobs, Jane. The Death and Life of Great American cities. New York: Random House, 1961.
- Jordon, Chris. “Midway: Message from the Gyre.”
- Mackey, Clarke. Random acts of culture: reclaiming art and community in the 21st century. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2010.
- Marino, Dian. Wild Garden: art, education, and the culture of resistance. Toronto: Between The Lines, 1997.
- Mayo, Peter. Gramsci, Freire and Adult Education: Possibilities for Transformative Action. London: Zed Books, 1999.
- McLuhan, Marshal. Understanding Media: the extension of man. New York: New American Library, 1964.
- Solnit, Rebecca. Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. Berkeley & Los Angeles: University of California Press, 2007.
- Deborah Barndt
- Chris Cavanagh
- Heather McLean
- Edie Steiner
Citation: Di Battista, Amanda and Andrew Mark, “Exploring the Intersections of Culture, History, and the Environment” CoHearence. 11 April 2012.