METSIK (WILD) draws attention to the notion of wild as metaphor for biodiversity, perceptual awareness and the need for experimenting with open ended non-standardized territories. Wild is not only a term we use to designate the physical space of wilderness, but also a platform for understanding mental and cultural perceptions of natural processes. Wild aims to open up discussions and dispute underlying assumptions regarding objectification, commodification, and normalization of living entities within complex ecological systems. Wild is a frame for self-reflection about ones influence on the processes we aspire to control. Wild is an exercise in observing the subtle transition zones between human activity and plant and animal habitats, from spaces of civilized control to the wilding areas of abandonment, ruins and forgotten cultivation slowly fading into the ever evolving perma-forest of life.
PROCESS / ACTIVITIES / EVENTS
METSIK involves a group of curated artists in a series of residencies, symposia and public events, that will take place from January through November 2018.
15.04- 30.06 Residencies at MOKS (3 artists, 1- 2 months)
July 22-28 Metsik Camp/Symposium Piirimäe farm (Viisli, Mooste) and surrounding areas (MoKS team + 5 artists/thinkers)
October/ November Exhibition and presentation of works and ideas at Tartu Art House
Fermentation along the borders of civilization
To what degree can we observe and evaluate the outcomes of our decisions? The Mooste manor, was “re-discovered” at the end of 20th century by artists, as an attractive place with its abandonment and potential wilderness. This border area, consisting of past and present, empowered artists and eventually the local municipality with ideas and a surplus of space. Estonia's, joining the EU allowed access to structural funds, opening the doors for redevelopment for the local municipality. Thanks to this, the majority of the Mooste manor complex was renovated and revived. From a ramshackle, overgrown corner of the village, historical layers were sorted as pleasing objects and were subsequently polished and exposed anew. As a result, the Mooste manor is becoming a regional trademark and source of pride, as an exemplary 'normalized' model of a well preserved historical complex. While the surfaces shine and new life grows, the machines of management, marketing and manicured lawns, sow the seeds of social tensions borne out of contractual obligations, political showmanship and economic interests. For the artists who arrived early on the scene, the values of undefined territories and the potential for creative intervention found in the cracks of history have become the very detriment of progress and threat to the ideals of the exemplary model. Is this what comes with the revival of architectural relics (as a unconscious simulacrum of history itself)? Are we too afraid to ask ourselves, at what cost and to whom, did these manors come to be? Do we awaken the ghosts in our very pursuit to highlight the past? The risks, challenges and consequences of our policies and decisions now, like then, often seem beyond our control (or possibly in the hands of those who are “in control”). But to what degree and how, can we, in our inherent “human nature”, define our abilities to balance the civilizing forces of development and control with the complex fermentative processes of “wild” natural habitats?
At times this dilemma looks much like the purification and sanitization of our ever increasingly anthropocentric world. The ugly is redefined and cleaned up, unsuitable pushed aside, waste thrown away or buried in the bushes by the forest, rising weeds poisoned, history is rewritten and discussion suppressed by political chess-steps. Manicured lawns, trimmed hedges, economic forests and monocultural fields define normalized nature as prefab housing, box stores, and supermarkets further confine our habitable space. Social cohesion, community, sovereignty, ritual and independent thought gives way to autocracy, extremism, isolation and algorithms of control. The “real” is outsourced to the “virtual”, only the virtual is presented as the real. The more we shape the world to our own demands, the more dependent we become on the systems of our creation. Yet these dependencies leave us ever more vulnerable to that which we cannot control. Can wild be something we embrace as sacred rather than continuously suppress and subdue? The case we speak of is not singular, but rather widespread if not indeed global, yet it serves to illustrate localized trajectory embedded within the larger normalization and homogenization processes, we have so advanced.
The basecamp for fieldworks and camps is MoKS centered in the Mooste manor complex with satellites in Piirimäe and Järvselja. Our sites for open interventions are the forests, fields, bogs, farms, gardens, parks, bushes, ruins etc, accessible from the base. Each territory a crossing point or boundary zone of wild and human activities, from rural to urban (Tartu) space.
John and Evelyn Grzinich (2017)
Metsik is carried out in the frame of EV100