‘How do we even begin to have a conversation about the gargantuan problems of finite resources, personal ethics and social change in a framework that renders an individual life seemingly powerless?’
Laura Sillars raises this question in her foreword to A Sick Logic, a collection of writings, photos and field guides that raise questions and possibilities about self-sufficiency in modern life.
The book has been brought together by Anna Chrystal Stephens and Glen Stoker to accompany their exhibition of the same name in Sheffield last summer. I had the pleasure of collaborating in a site tour with them, and have written an essay for the collection called Displace. You can read that here if you like, but there’s much more of interest in the book itself, a thoughtful and inspiring gathering of thoughts about place, escape and immersion.
Thinking is most often a conversation along a journey, often without the certainty of reaching a judgement or change in ideas. Often a journey ends here, where you are now, and might be picked up again another time. Recently I’ve gone back to these questions of how the social and ecological overlap. I’ve also been thinking a lot about how the collective and communal can also be understood within one’s own inner space, and how creating and cultivating an inner mental space, an unseeable side of internal wonder, experimentation and reflection, might be of some good in resisting the boredom and anxiety of a continuously connected, distracted life.
Displace touches on some of that, but still wears an air of certainty too easily, which is not the mark of a traveller, who listens, observes, never judges, and may be somewhere else entirely.