Archive for October, 2016

#11 QofR: My Story

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#10 QofR: Irwin Klein and the New Settlers: Photographs of Counterculture in New Mexico (An example of Ethnographic Research)

A bit of background – Counterculture of the 1960’s

From researching about the creative responses to Gerard Winstanley’s Diggers I came across the ‘Counterculture’ of the 1960’s. A movement that held it’s roots with the early socialist principals of the Diggers: taking back ownership of common land, living a self subversive lifestyle (living without relying on money, Consumerism, Capitalism), growing their own food, making their own clothes…and building a community based on all of these things living on the fringes of ‘normal’ society. At a time of great change the creativity of a group thrives in order to nurture, strengthen and solidify a political standpoint, philosophy, morals, ethics, ideas and theories underlying the culture. Music and art becomes a means of communication and a sign of solidarity.

The Encyclopedia entry below uses a quote by Mario Savio, leader of the Free Speech Movement.

“There is a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part;…and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it…that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.”

This is an inspiring quote, encouraging those that are fed up of how the machine is operating to not simply run away from it but to attempt to change it in order to improve the conditions. Therefore the Counterculture movement of the 1960’s sought to undermine this machine by forming a new ‘arm’, a ‘reformed society’ because they believed that ‘you’re either part of the problem, or part of the solution.’

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Hill, R. A. (2016). Counterculture of the 1960s. Salem Press Encyclopedia

Irwin Klein, a photographer from

irwinA perfect example of ethnographic research!

Irwin Klein and the New Settlers

Book Description: Dropouts, renegades, utopians. Children of the urban middle class and old beatniks living alone, as couples, in families, or as groups in the small Nuevomexicano towns. When photographer Irwin Klein began visiting northern New Mexico in the mid-1960s, he found these self-proclaimed New Settlers-and many others-in the back country between Santa Fe and Taos. His black-and-white photographs captured the life of the counterculture’s transition to a social movement. His documentation of these counterculture communities has become well known and sought after for both its sheer beauty and as a primary source about a largely undocumented group. By blending Klein’s unpublished work with essays by modern scholars, Benjamin Klein (Irwin’s nephew) creates an important contribution to the literature of the counterculture and especially the 1960s. Supporting essays emphasize the importance of a visual record for interpreting this lifestyle in the American Southwest.Irwin Klein and the New Settlersreinforces the photographer’s reputation as an astute observer of back-to-the-land, modern-day Emersonians whose communes represented contemporary Waldens.

KLEIN, B. (2016). Irwin Klein and the new settlers: Photographs of counterculture in new Mexico. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt1d4tzz7?

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#9 QofR: Lecture Notes ‘Research Methods’ from Michele-Anne Dauppe

Ethnography

  • Methodology
  • Fieldwork key – first hand
  • Developed by anthropologists to study a society, culture or group.
  • Observation or Integration into a society.
  • Methods from practice – reflective methods: sketchbooks, journals
  • Participant observation, observer participates in every day life of people being studied.
  • Everything can be significant.
  • Endangered cultures, story telling, inspires change
  • Qualitative – in depth, rich responses – asking why
  • Use an ethnographic model to study the specifics

Humphrey Spender:

  • Ethnographic research
  • Question of Research
  • Counter culture – photography

How was the subject matter directed?

  • – Invisible Spy, trying not to be embarrassed, coping with his on reactions
  • – ‘Someone from another planet.’

Visual Ethnography – use of video and photography

Lister Et Al (2009) Actual Words

#8 QofR: Lecture Notes ‘Research Methods’ – Simone Gumtau

Research Methods – Simone Gumtau

  • Interface design, Interactive, Users.
  • Rational
  • Co-design workshop
  • Collaborative design

Researching Experience:

  • Observation
  • Interviews, Surveys
  • Co-design
  • Story telling
  • Prototype/ Testing
  • Speculative Design

Sensorial / Affective Turn

  • We all operate differently, emotive, not machines, empathetic

Blame the designer if something doesn’t work.

Nathan Shedroff, 2001 – Experience Design – Advertising, smells, sight, sound cues.

Concerned with the human experience, hopes, fears, aspirations, tastes, pleasurable, emotional connection.

Experiential Aesthetics – Pat Jordan

Designing pleasurable products

We look for pleasure and fun rather than performing tasks.

People Characteristics:

  • Physio pleasure – sensory/sensual, body, touch, taste, smell
  • Social pleasure – the enjoyment of a persons relationship with others and society.
  • Psycho pleasure – cognitive and emotional states, capabilities and traits, ease of use.
  • Ideo pleasure – peoples values, tastes, morals, beliefs and aspirations.

Researching People

  • Desirable / Undesirable
  • Participation / Don’t really want to do it so gives you irrelevant answers or no answers at all.
  • Rich description / No information
  • Focused, relevant / Irrelevant information
  • Independent, bias free / Skewed results, influenced, gives you what they think you want to hear.
  • Honest / Rationalised
  • Noise free, accurate, clear / Vague, off topic
  • Representative / Individual opinion
  • Easy on time and effort for participants / Demanding on time and effort for investigation for participants.

#7 QofR: Freegan Foodies

The act of subversion results in a large quantity of food which, once distributed needs to be to be used up as soon as possible, preserved or frozen. We have to be creative in order to achieve minimal waste: creating, following and sharing recipes and organising events.

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#6 QofR: Aldermoor Farm

Visit to Aldermoor Community Farm, Southampton, October 2016: Chickens, Ducks, Permaculture, Tea, Volunteers, Manure, Hydroponics…

It was a pleasure to meet Richard and his volunteers at Aldermoor farm. They grow such a wide range of fruits and vegetables and have been very creative in the way they use permaculture methods (growing certain things next to each other in order to help plants flourish i.e nitrogen fixing plants). They also use an aqua/hydroponics system to grow seedlings. The water comes from the stream into the pond, where food scraps are thrown in and little fish break them down making this water really rich in nutrients. The water is then filtered into the poly tunnel and through a series of gravel filled beds…it gradually becomes cleaner and cleaner but still retains nutrients. in the sixth bed along the line the team have started to grow salad leaves directly from the water, suspended in polystyrene. In the last bed there is a small amount of soil on top of the gravel where there are seedlings being grown. The excess water is then directed back to the pond and the whole cycle starts over again. Richard informed me that this is a work in progress and a bit of an experiment. It seems to be working well so far and so could be used on a larger scale eventually.

The farm also provides opportunities for businesses to spend a day working on team building projects like constructing poly tunnels, fencing and pergolas in order to fulfill their promises to help a project that concentrates on protecting and nurturing the local community and environment.

Any one can get involved with the project and you can give as much time as you can manage. The general atmosphere is one of positivity, community and creativity…fueled by plenty of tea! The project subverts the norm, demonstrating that projects and communities can thrive without money (maybe a little to keep the place running!), with volunteers happily giving their time in exchange for the feeling of responsibility, a chance to be creative and productive and a network of like minded and friendly people.

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Aldermoor community farm. (2013, April ). Retrieved October 6, 2016, from http://aldermoorfarm.org.uk

#5 QofR: Models of Research – Simone Gumtau (Archer Text))

archernotes

#4 QofR: Urban Farming Projects

Reclaiming Unused Gardens, Urban Orchards and Food Waste Cafes:

Fleet Farming Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/NowThisNews/videos/1079270152163108/

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Berger, K. (2016, June 28). A bike-powered urban farming program. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from http://fleetfarming.com/

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Du Cann, C. (2015, September 17). Food waste cafes and urban orchards: Five ways people are building a new economy. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2015/sep/17/economy-grassroots-projects-local-social-austerity?CMP=share_btn_fb

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Phat Beets Produce. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from Phat Beets Produce, http://www.phatbeetsproduce.org

James, C. (2016, July 15). Phat beets produce. Retrieved October 12, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/Phat.Beets.Produce/?fref=ts

 

 

 

#3 QofR: The Sholing Diggers

A self subversive lifestyle: As a family we have been intercepting food for nearly 6 months now, often with members of Curb (The Real Junk Food Project Southampton) and after many discussions in our kitchen with a coffee about living a self sufficient lifestyle without relying on supermarkets, we decided that the first step to making this a possibility would be to grow as much of our own food as possibly while simultaneously intercepting or swapping food. We aim to go against the ‘norm’, undermining the capitalist systems that repeatedly tell us to buy more and eat more by making a conscious decision about where (if we need or want to) spend our money (e.g independent cafes, restaurants, ethically and environmentally friendly beauty products, clothes etc).

We will be creative with the way in which we…

Grow food: Permaculture methods, using reclaimed materials to build beds, hanging baskets, trellis, swapping seeds and reusing seeds from fruit and vegetables or that we have grown before or intercepted.

Use the food: Cooking vegetarian and vegan food (unless we intercept meat and dairy), baking, making and sharing new recipes.

Distribute excess food: Donating excess fruit and vegetables to Curb to use for pop up cafes, food boutiques or events or distributing it to our friends and family directly or hosting dinner parties using intercepted and home grown food.

Dress and Clean ourselves: Clothes swaps, charity shops, ethical and environmentally friendly products.

Form a Community of ‘Diggers’: Kate Chorley, one of the directors of Curb has her roots in Wigan and informed me about the history of the 17th century British social and political movement led by Gerrard Winstanley and the Diggers. This inspired us to start our own Digger community for those that share the same ideas about living a self subversive, anti-capitalist life style, growing and sharing our own food.

Who were the Diggers?

“Human history boasts two important traditions: one of control, harmony and discipline and another of expression, liberty and the pursuit of justice. The Diggers were intimately associated with the latter of those schools of thought, though the reality of implementing such ideas would push them in the direction of the former.

A loose social grouping, the Diggers emerged between 1649 and 1650 as a radical response to the post-civil war insurrection in 17th-century England. Their beliefs, desires and deep-felt hankering for liberty from the mythical ‘Norman yoke’ were something radically new – the product of a revolutionary epoch in which the traditional order of English post-conquest society had been undermined. It is in the Diggers that some modern commentators have seen the roots of modern socialism and even communism…

A ‘Digger’ in our context was any member of this group of agrarian Utopians who existed around 1649-50. These men, and women, were led by one principal chief: Gerrard Winstanley, assisted, at first, by William Everard. During the sober spring of 1649, on All Fool’s Day, about a score of poverty-stricken souls assembled at St George’s Hill, Surrey, and embarked upon a slow and laborious cultivation of the common land there: a curious exhibition of eccentricity characteristic of the times. Such a fresh attempt at ‘alternative living’ has been inspirational ever since, stimulating the production of a whole range of Digger songs and literature – more recently, even websites and a film. Somewhat ominously, there is even a plaque dedicated to Winstanley in Moscow’s Kremlin Wall.”

Sandell, B. (2011). GERRARD WINSTANLEY AND THE DIGGERS. History Review, (70), 9-13.

“The idea of the Norman Yoke is based on the belief that before 1066, England was a free country with self-governing institutions. After the Norman Conquest – where Harold was defeated by William at the Battle of Hastings, dethroning the English monarchy – the country and its power structure was greatly altered and these lasting effects of William’s reign have become obvious in this term.” 

HistoryLearning. (2015). The Norman yoke. Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://historylearning.com/medieval-england/the-norman-yoke/

Subversion: Radical response to post-civil war insurrection, radically new, product of revolutionary epoch, undermine the traditional order of English post-conquest society.

Creativity and Practice: Cultivation of the common land, an exhibition of eccentricity, alternative living, inspirational, Digger songs, literature, film and websites (I intend to carry out more research about these creative responses!).

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“Gerrard Winstanley, (baptized Oct. 10, 1609, Wigan, Lancashire, Eng.—died 1676) leader and theoretician of the group of English agrarian communists known as the Diggers, who in 1649–50 cultivated common land on St. George’s Hill, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, and at nearby Cobham until they were dispersed by force and legal harassment. They believed that land should be made available to the very poor.

Of Lancashire origin, Winstanley was a cloth merchant in London until his business failed. In April 1649, in the revolutionary atmosphere of the Commonwealth period, he and William Everard took the lead in establishing the Digger colony, a timely project because of the unprecedented height of food prices in England. Although the colony ceased to exist in March 1650, Winstanley remained prominent as a pamphleteer, foreshadowing later communist and materialist ideas in his vigorous and racy prose.

The Law of Freedom in a Platform (1652), his sketch of a communist society, was dedicated to Oliver Cromwell. Winstanley believed that the English Civil War had been fought against the king, landlords, lawyers, and all who bought and sold, these being enemies of the landless and labouring poor, and against priests, whose preaching of heaven and hell diverted men from asserting their rights on Earth and who were an instrument of class rule. He was an advocate of universal religious toleration, and he would have replaced sermons by lectures on the natural sciences and on the English constitution. He died a Quaker in 1676.”

Gerrard Winstanley. (2016). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gerrard-Winstanley

Some Examples of Creative Responses to The Diggers

Source: Diggers (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diggers

– 1966 San Francisco Diggers – Hippy Community in Haight-Ashbury. Strongly anti-establishment, handed out free food in Golden Gate Park.

– ‘The World Turned Upside Down’ by Leon Rosselson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCXnol8NGbg A song about the Diggers and their activities on St. George’s Hill in 1649.

– Winstanley, a fictionalised 1975 film portrait of the Diggers, directed by Kevin Brownlow, based on the novel Comrade Jacob by David Caute.

– Caryl Churchill’s 1976 play ‘Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, named after the Digger pamphlet and set in the English Civil War, charts the rise and fall of the Diggers and other radical ideas from the 1640’s.

– Jonathon Kemp’s 2010 play ‘The Digger’s Daughter’ tells the tale of the Diggers and quotes much of Winstanley’s teaching directly.

Who were (are) The San Francisco Diggers

‘The Digger Archives is an ongoing Web project to preserve and present the history of the anarchist guerrilla street theater group that challenged the emerging Counterculture of the Sixties and whose actions and ideals inspired (and continue to inspire) a generation (of all ages) to create models of Free Association.

The Diggers were one of the legendary groups in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury, one of the world-wide epicenters of the Sixties Counterculture which fundamentally changed American and world culture. Shrouded in a mystique of anonymity, the Diggers took their name from the original English Diggers (1649-50) who had promulgated a vision of society free from private property, and all forms of buying and selling. The San Francisco Diggers evolved out of two Radical traditions that thrived in the SF Bay Area in the mid-1960s: the bohemian/underground art/theater scene, and the New Left/civil rights/peace movement.

The Diggers combined street theater, anarcho-direct action, and art happenings in their social agenda of creating a Free City. Their most famous activities revolved around distributing Free Food every day in the Park, and distributing “surplus energy” at a series of Free Stores (where everything was free for the taking.) The Diggers coined various slogans that worked their way into the counterculture and even into the larger society — “Do your own thing” and “Today is the first day of the rest of your life” being the most recognizable. The Diggers, at the nexus of the emerging underground, were the progenitors of many new (or newly discovered) ideas such as baking whole wheat bread (made famous through the popular Free Digger Bread that was baked in one- and two-pound coffee cans at the Free Bakery); the first Free Medical Clinic, which inspired the founding of the Haight-Ashbury Free Medical Clinic; tye-dyed clothing; and, communal celebrations of natural planetary events, such as the Solstices and Equinoxes.

First and foremost, the Diggers were actors (in Trip Without A Ticket, the term “life actors” was used.) Their stage was the streets and parks of the Haight-Ashbury, and later the whole city of San Francisco. The Diggers had evolved out of the radicalizing maelstrom that was the San Francisco Mime Troupe which R.G. Davis, the actor, writer, director and founder of the Troupe had created over the previous decade. The Diggers represented a natural evolution in the course of the Troupe’s history, as they had first moved from an indoor milieu into the parks of the City, giving Free performances on stages thrown up the day of the show. The Digger energy took the action off the constructed platform and jumped right into the most happening stage yet — the streets of the Haight where a new youth culture was recreating itself, at least temporarily, out of the glaring eye of news reporters. The Diggers, as actors, created a series of street events that marked the evolution of the hippie phenomenon from a homegrown face-to-face community to the mass-media circus that splashed its face across the world’s front pages and TV screens: the Death of Money Parade, Intersection Game, Invisible Circus, Death of Hippie/Birth of Free.

The Diggers broadcast these events, as well as their editorial comments of the day, pronouncements to the larger Hip Community, manifestos and miscellaneous communications, through broadsides and leaflets distributed by hand on Haight Street. These Web pages are my attempt to present the story of the digger movement as it developed in the mid-to-late sixties and early seventies (and evolved in various directions even to the present). I have been collecting this Archive for forty years, and see the Web as a way to display the materials and make them available both for researchers and for all diggers past and present who want to preserve and participate in this history.’ (“SF diggers (1966-68, beyond),” n.d.)

SF diggers (1966-68, beyond). Retrieved October 19, 2016, from http://www.diggers.org/top_entry.htm

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#2 QofR: Curb: The Real Junk Food Project Southampton

Since June 2016 my family and I have been involved with Curb: The Real Junk Food Project Southampton as well as intercepting (bin diving) for our food from supermarket/convenience shop bins. Our first experience of Curb was a ‘cafe takeover’ at The Art House in Southampton where they fed over 200 bellies with food that would have otherwise been thrown away. The meals were delicious, vegetarian, vegan and worth every penny on a ‘pay as you feel’ basis.

We host an annual mini festival in our garden called ‘Misselstock’ and asked Curb whether they would be able to cater for our event. This proved to be a total success and we were eating for at least a week after the party on ‘bin food’. In the lead up to the event I went ‘binning’ with Kate, who I met at the Art House when we both volunteered there in the cafe. I was totally shocked when we pulled up to a bin at the back of a convenience store in the city, lifted the lid and pulled out five bin bags worth of perfectly good food that was deemed unfit for human consumption because it would have been past it’s best before date at 00.01 that morning.

Is this is an act of subverting?

To uncover and bring to light the contradiction between the ethics and principles that the Cooperative claims to have in regards to welfare, farming efficiency and the environment and the amount of meat, dairy, vegetables, fruit and processed foods which are wasted, destined for landfill every single day. On their website the Cooperative claim that “None of our food waste is sent to landfill – it all goes to AD (Anaerobic Digestion) to produce energy and compost, and we continue to explore options to reduce any reliance on AD.”

From my personal experience there is no attempt to sort through the rubbish in order to filter out any compostable materials. As for recyclables, items that we find in the bins are still packaged; cellophane, cardboard boxes, plastic trays, full milk bottles, paper bags, glass bottles…all of which would have ended up on a landfill site.

In my opinion, any concerns about animal welfare are completely nullified when meat is going straight from the shelves into the bin and not used by staff or given away to charities and not reduced enough for customers to consider buying it. Making sure an animal has a happy and healthy life before it’s slaughtered is utterly meaningless when the meat is thrown away at the end of the process.

Best before and use by dates have us all convinced that we don’t have the common sense to identify whether food is fit for consumption or not. Before processing and packaging, at a time when we foraged, grew or hunted food we used our senses…smell, touch, sight to make these decisions. When we sort through the food we have intercepted we are careful to store it carefully (freeze, refrigerate etc.). We use our own judgement as to whether something is or isn’t suitable to eat and we use our creativity and skills* in order to preserve and use up as much of the food as possible, making jams, chutneys, sharing and developing old and new recipes, having friends round for dinner, baking cakes and drying seeds from fruit and vegetables to grow second generation plants. The Curb Kitchen use most of their intercepted food for events such as pop-up café’s in local restaurants, food boutiques in local shops and stalls at festivals.

By intercepting food we are undermining the core values of consumerism (the concept that an ever-expanding consumption of goods is advantageous to the economy) and exposing the flaws in the system. We accept that money is a tool within our society but choose to invest this in independent companies that are true to their morals and ethics.

Undermine: Verb
  • to injure or destroy by insidious activity or imperceptible stages, sometimes tending toward a sudden dramatic effect.
  • to attack by indirect, secret, or underhand means; attempt to subvert by stealth.
  • to make an excavation under; dig or tunnel beneath, as a military stronghold.
  • to weaken or cause to collapse by removing underlying support, as by digging away or eroding the foundation.

This is the tip of the iceberg…each photograph below is from one bin, on one night from one small convenience store…imagine how much food is wasted nationwide or even globally from supermarkets, fruit and veg markets and farms. When constraints and strict requirements are given to farmers for the size and quality of their produce imagine all of the fruit, vegetables, dairy and meat that is thrown away, then even once ingredients have ‘passed the test’, been processed, packaged and placed on the shop shelves there are still inconceivable amounts of waste…all because the rules and regulations tell us to throw them away.

*Intercepting food (the act of subverting) requires us to develop our creativity and practice (baking, cooking, event organisation skills) in order to use the food.

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Curb is a branch of The Real Junk Food Project, which started in Leeds in 2013 and is now known as the Armley Junk-tion Cafe. ‘

It was the first cafe of its kind to feed intercepted food that had been destined for landfill and turn it into delicious healthy meals allowing it’s customers to “Pay As You Feel” or what they can afford for the food provided. PAYF is a concept that does not focus on monetary contributions, it was created to allow people to give their time and skills  in exchange for food also. We believe everyone should have access to food and everyone has something to offer. PAYF puts the value back into food and breaks down the social barriers that money can create by giving people the option to offer what they feel is appropriate for the food provided.’  (“Armley Junktion Cafe,” n.d.)

 

Post blog thoughts:

Where do attitudes towards food and consumerism come from? Post war manufacturing, post rationing? Giving the impression that we’ll never run out of food and everyone can have what they want. Have companies subverted our free thought and ruined a culture of self sufficiency and no waste through advertising. So many adverts in the media are food or drink related.

References:

Dictionary (2016). In . Dictionary.com. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com

The real junk food project. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from https://curbkitchen.wordpress.com/

The Art House. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from https://thearthousesouthampton.org/

new, 2016, & require. (2016). Curb: The real junk food project Southampton. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from https://www.facebook.com/curbkitchen/?fref=ts

Limited, C. G. Supermarket food waste. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from http://www.co-operativefood.co.uk/food-matters/preventing-waste/our-food-waste/

Armley Junktion Cafe. Retrieved October 6, 2016, from http://www.armleyjunktioncafe.com/