Fernando Garcia-Dory is equally concerned about endangered cultures that are being subsumed in the frenetic pace of technological innovation, industrial transformation, and market globalization.
a. An exhibition at the David Brower Center on the University of California campus in 2011 teamed Fernando Garcia-Dory and Amy Franceschini. The artists were paired because both had conducted art projects protesting intrusions upon traditional lands and the appropriation of them. The exhibition was appropriately named Land, Use.
Dory focused on the use of land for shepherding. Franceschini focused on farming.14 Their collaboration produced community gatherings, sculptures, and social media projects designed to transmit skills and knowledge that had been passed down through the generations of agrarians. For their installation, titled Blueprint for a New Pastoralism. the artists designed furniture and constructed a roofed structure that served as the setting for a public discussion exploring pastoralism, farming, and environmental activism.
a. When Dory stated that “Blueprint for a New Pastoralism was intended…as a toolset for education and advocacy,” he established connections with two other artists in this book. Superflex also creates ‘tools’. Joseph Beuys also promotes ‘education and advocacy’. Compare Dory’s and SUPERFLEX’s use of tools. Compare Dory’s and Beuys’s use of art to foster dynamic exchange of ideas.
b. Dory’s engagement with pastoral traditions in northern Spain utilizes two characteristics of art that the sophisticated art world has typically disdained as mere ‘provincialism’: local histories and non-urban environments. Respect was reserved for ‘cosmopolitanism’, being involved in metropolitan centers and free from local attachments.
In the following statement, Garcia-Dory defends pastoralism by reversing ‘provincial’ and ‘cosmopolitan’ as they apply to artists. “…we have an art system only looking to the city, as the main environment of inspiration, intervention and circulation. This is based in some ignorance, or even disdain, of other environments including the rural. The rural is actually a low-density urban realm in which nature breathes a bit more through the interstices. To lean towards these interstices give us the possibility to experience another way of living, a way that has been embodied by indigenous and peasant cultures.”15
This statement applies to the following artists in this book: Lily Yeh, the Beehive Collective, Bright Eke, Mel Chin, and Pedro Reyes. Select a work by any one of these artists and explain its relationship to rural settings and local concerns. Compare it to the way Dory manifests these issues in Shepherd’s School.
c. Biodiversity entails many species interacting in multiple, coinciding networks of positive and negative response loops. The term also refers to the variety of species that exist on the Earth or within an ecosystem. This number has been in continual flux since the origin of life on Earth. Nonetheless, there is widespread concern that current decline in the number of species is both precipitous and preventable. It is disheartening to know that more than 1,000 animal species are endangered worldwide, and this number is increasing.16 They are all at risk of extinction.
Fernando Garcia-Dory is equally concerned about endangered cultures that are being subsumed in the frenetic pace of technological innovation, industrial transformation, and market globalization. He has asked, “…what does “preservation” mean when it comes to tradition, land, and knowledge?” The following comment demonstrates that his concerns exceed pastoral shepherding, “I’m currently working on a project about endangered occupations, to put an ironic perspective on that wish. I’m working with Madrid’s last ‘Hand Car Wash’ station, struggling to maintain it in an ongoing project that plays with the sometimes futility of fixation of past form under the added-value concept of “tradition”.17 The following artists in this book also look back to phenomena that are either threatened or extinct: Frans Krajcberg, Bonnie Ora Sherk, Alan Sonfist, Maya Lin, Red Earth, and SUPERFLEX. Select a work by any of these artists and identify the phenomenon it is either reviving or preserving.