agri_culture, to (take) care for the land
We were birthed by the land itself, always connected to it, always dependent on it. This bond from which humankind emerged grounds us and has the potential to show us our place in the symphony of life. To care for the land, the ecosystems and communities who are supported by it should be the central aspect of human culture and aspirations.
Such an earth-centered vision strives to entangle culture with agriculture, to connect philosophy with soil health, and to make biodiversity part of education. agri_culture tries to give this approach to life a physical, material form. This form can take the shape of a philosophical debate or artistic installation in a wheat field, it can be a graceful and colorful approach of a community towards erosion, or the education of the next generation to gain a deep knowledge of the ecosystems in which they live.
Agriculture, especially if you expand the term to include land management, intervening in the landscape, and caring for the land, is a universal aspect of human societies. Since the dawn of time, humans intervened in the ecosystems that supported them, to make them fit their needs, as many other species do as well (beavers, wild donkeys, squirrels, etc.). This interaction and the technology we developed to form the earth is what makes us human, this impulse is neither good nor bad in itself, the form it takes is what is crucial. Various human societies in all climates and continents were able to create societies that could practice agriculture (in both is broad and narrow meaning) while not disrupting the ecosystems which supported them. However especially in the last 400 years, due to capitalism and colonialism, plantations, industrial agriculture, the uprooting/extinction of native species, synthetic fertilizers, and pesticides the interaction between human societies and the biosphere produces not just harm for both but also changed the climate of our planet and the very chemical composition of its hydrosphere, pedosphere, and atmosphere.
These issues are not part of an „Anthropocene“ or „ evil human nature“, since our species dominates most of Earth’s terrestrial ecosystems since at least 10 000 years ago and the conflict with those was incomparable to our current situation. These problems that humankind faces are part of the system of production that is associated with capitalism, industrial society, modernity, globalization and colonialism/imperialism. This system has directed our view towards the stars while it destroyed what lies below our feet.
agri_culture tries not to re-erect a harmonious and mythical past of rural life, agriculture is flexible, integrates plants, technologies, and approaches that were cultivated in various societies. It respects agricultural traditions and history as well as the cultures and religions which are connected with them and tries to integrate them into a biodiverse, just agri_cultural society. Biodiversity means in this context not only the abundance, variety, and health of different species, but also biodiversity within human society (abundance, variety, and health of different modes of life). agri_cultural means that care for the land and the communities that it supports should be at the center of this society, that positive interaction with the planet can be achieved.
Positive interaction with the planet is the very opposite of the attempts of our technocratic rulers to geo-engineer climate change away. The planet told us very clearly that our current mode of existence will lead to collapse, trying to find some loophole to „innovate our way out“ (technological progress without a change in the system) will only deepen the crisis.
Culture is becomes more and more fragmented, targeted towards a diverse range of consumer (identity) segments. It has lost its universal approach and is proud of that. agri_culture tries not to find a universal idea in modernity, it recognizes that we all come from different particular cultures, climates and places. Universality needs to be rooted in the particularities, it needs to grow together, not be forced upon people and ecosystems or it is not universal. We don’t want to participate in the never-ending culture wars of the urban middle class but to change the playing field and concentrate on what is crucial for humankind and the planet.
agri_culture does not dream of utopia (Greek, ou-“not” + tópos-place, „non-place“) or paradise (Greek, paradeisos, „royal enclosed park“) but it tries to engage with the very real places in which we live, to care for and to transform them without making them either royal or enclosed. This transformation necessitates a deep knowledge, love, and engagement with the land and its people, it cannot be decreed from above and it certainly will not come from a white cube, no matter what radicality (is allowed to) happen(s) inside it. We want to cultivate those practices and technologies that help us humans to imagine and enact this transformation.
agri_culture tries to direct the attention of culture towards the earth and the people that work and care for it.
“El error consintió
en creer que la tierra era nuestra
cuando la verdad de las cosas
es que nosotros somos de la tierra”
“The error consisted
in believing that the earth was ours
when the truth of things
is that we belong to earth.”