13 Dec 2018


De-Industrializing Subjectivity, Restoring Senses and Telling New Stories

Wednesday – Thursday, 2-3 July, 2014

Brett Bloom will lead a two-day workshop De-Industrializing Subjectivity, Restoring Senses and Telling New Stories which will be realised in Suomenlinna, Helsinki on Wednesday–Thursday, 2–3 July, 2014. If you are interested in participating in the workshop, inquiries can be sent to info(at)hiap.fi by 25 June, 2014.


What kinds of subjective experiences of our world and of our selves are normalised and routinised under the all-pervasive use of fossil fuels? How deeply does petroleum penetrate our bodies, minds and ways of being in the world? What does it mean to do work to shift individual and collective subjectivity to prepare for climate change and the ensuing chaos it brings? How can we work towards an ecology that puts the concerns of the environment, other species, landscapes, on equal footing with those of people? What are we capable of, and what do we suppress, in terms of our emotions, our senses, and our aesthetic awareness living in a carbon-based society?

These questions and more will be explored during this two-day workshop. It will take a look at the individual and collective subjectivity we have when we live in a petroleum-driven and human centered culture—the very ways we conceive of ourselves, our behaviour, and what is normal amongst our communities. It will investigate ways of working our selves out of The Petroleum Space/Time Continuum—a state of experience and being that generates every single one of our social/spatial/temporal encounters. It is the condition we need to understand and begin to dismantle to be able to connect deeply with the locations we inhabit as well as transition to something utterly other.

The workshop will ask questions about how we can develop post-carbon aesthetics and social structures: how we can de-industrialise our notions of self. It will be a combination of discussions of selected texts and direct exercises in understanding our perceptual capacities, which evolved over millennia and predate the advent of civilisation remaining mainly dormant as they are not needed in the sped up, stripped down, abstracted, collapsed space/time we live in.

We will do mapping, listening, and other perceptual exercises. We will think about how we may work on emergent subjectivities on our way to developing skills needed to endure crises, collapse, and climate chaos. What is needed is not some nostalgic return to hunter-gatherer-cave-painting-culture, but an honest conversation about what it means to power down our aesthetics and by extension our larger society.

About the artist

Brett Bloom is an artist, writer, and organiser. He has worked with the art group Temporary Services since 1998. The group has made over 100 publications, many of which are relevant to this workshop—particularly Group Work (NY: Printed Matter, 2007), which explores the benefits, drawbacks, and processes of group working in collaborative configurations. Bloom collaborates with Bonnie Fortune on a variety of initiatives around art and ecology. Their recent work together includes a large scale “powerless powerpoint” that is made of a hand painted and screen printed slides and is mounted on a cargo bike to be presented in various situations in public. It is titled Alphabet of the Anthropocene and presents key words and concepts that reflect the complexity of the impact of human activity on the climate of the globe. Bloom has led numerous weeklong workshops, including ones with artists and cultural workers on building deeply attentive group process and collectivity. This workshop is one of several that Bloom is organising—plus making trips, doing research, writing book-length essays—to build up to a series of gatherings next summer, as a part of Frontiers in Retreat, that go into these questions and processes in a more sustained and intense manner.