Assembling Recipes for Sustainability
Mail art project with the Centre For Sustainable Curating
Dowload or view digital package HERE
In the 1960’s, well before the global network of the internet, Fluxus artist Robert Filliou famously coined the term “The Eternal Network” to describe a global network of artists exchanging works, ideas and objects through the mail, or what came to be known as an artistic genre of mail art. “Eternal” in this case refers to both the decentralized nature of the network, and importantly, to the notion that art itself is eternal: without end or beginning. Today, in the context of environmental concerns and ecological thinking, the idea of something ‘eternal’ evokes the concept of sustainability. With a nod to this art historical precedent, we have initiated this mail exchange to explore this method as a framework for collaboration, to imagine different ways of convening and to share ideas around sustainability in the arts.
We were inspired by mail art tactics in which all are welcome to contribute and the assembled collection is distributed to all participants. Through an international open call, we invited artists, writers, activists, scholars, organizers, visionaries, and revolutionaries to contribute to a collective project through the mail as a form of ‘slow scholarship.’ Participants were invited to contribute a ‘recipe’ for sustainability—with ‘recipe’ to be interpreted as literally or as creatively as desired. These recipes were submitted on index cards and the collection of cards is assembled in a recipe box set.
We hope that through this collection, we will inspire each other with ideas, DIY solutions, creative or speculative imaginings, practical tips, inherited strategies, poetic responses and plans for sustaining our work.
Assembling Recipes for Sustainability was developed by Amanda White, Zoë Heyn-Jones and Kirsty Robertson as part of a larger visioning exercise at the Centre for Sustainable Curating. It was conceived in consultation with artist and mail art practitioner-scholar Lois Klassen and realized with help from Ashley Snook, Katie Lawson, Anahi Gonzales and all of the 50 contributors herein.