Digging Deep and Disturbing the Peace?

From Planet 252

by Dylan Huw

Dylan Huw explores the tensions and creative possibilities at play in recent partnerships between the Welsh environmental sector and artists in the context of the climate emergency. How can institutional agendas converge with ecologically sensitive artistic freedom?

We are at the Centre for Alternative Technology, our heads full. We have spent the morning in the company of Becca Voelcker, the Eryri-born, London-based critic, lecturer and researcher, who guided a series of reflective writing exercises informed by her research into collectively produced eco-political cinemas of the 1960s and ̕70s. It is now the afternoon, and the artist, DJ and musician Talulah Thomas’s turn to lead a workshop. Its emphasis is on active listening: how such an experience might be fostered and enacted as a practice, and thus be transferred into all realms of our everyday professional and personal lives. We are paired up, and given two questions to discuss, which require us to dig deep; there is to be no dialogue, only three minutes of respective uninterrupted monologuing, without so much as a facial expression exchanged. Anything shared between the pairs is not to be repeated or addressed outside of the intimacy of the exercise. It is an experiment in paying careful attention, and in intensifying how we understand the mundane acts of speaking and listening to each other: as artists, as people sharing in a time and place and something like a common mission.

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About the author

Dylan Huw is a writer, critic and convenor of artistic programmes, who writes regularly for Artforum, e-flux Criticism and Frieze.