CAMP BREAKDOWN BREAK DOWN was an eleven-day gathering at Scottish Sculpture Workshop organised by artist Brett Bloom. The programme was framed by Brett’s most recently published book ‘Petro-Subjectivity: De-Industrializing Our Sense of Self’, and focused on issues surrounding climate breakdown. During the eleven-days a closed group of participants, artists and SSW staff took part in intensive schedule of workshops, embodied exercises, discussion, rewilding activities and sauna whisking. In addition to the group work programme, an evening talks programme of invited speakers was  open to the public to attend.

Invited speakers and facilitators:
Ximena Alarcón (Deep Listening facilitator)
Bruce Ball (Soil Scientist)
Tim Collins and Reiko Goto (Environmental Artists)
Charlotte Du Cann and Nick Hunt (Dark Mountain Project)
Dudendance Theatre (Multimedia Artists)
Karen Grant (Artist & Campaigner)
Mari Keski-Korsu (Artist)
Nance Klehm (Radical Environmentalist)
Alastair McIntosh (Activist & Writer)
James Reid (Tap o’ Noth Permaculture)
Paul Spencer (Highland Yurts)
Andy Wightman (Land Reform Activist)
The Project Café

Brett Bloom (Artist & Organiser)
Nuno Sacramento (Director of SSW)

SSW Staff:
Sara Gallie (Office Manager)
Yvonne Billimore (Programme Manager)
Eden Jolly (Senior Technician)
Uist Corrigan (Junior Technician)
Conor Baird (Assistant Programme Manager)

Camp design:
Sofia Oliveira (Architect) & Brett Bloom

Brett Bloom
Brett Bloom is an artist, activist, writer and publisher. His main work is collaboration with the group Temporary Services (Copenhagen/ Chicago/ Philadelphia). He regularly works with ecological issues. This CAMP was coordinated by Brett as part of a multi-year effort called Breakdown Break Down, that mobilise others to articulate and build a civil culture to prepare for and survive climate chaos and breakdown. One key goal is to generate new stories that replace western petro-subjectivity, our industrialised sense of self and place, with other narratives and possibilities.

A group of 20 participants were selected from an open call to take part in this eleven day programme, along with the staff at SSW and a group of invited artists, practitioners and facilitators. The CAMP included eleven full days of free programme, accommodation and full catering by The Project Café… a big thank you to them!

As framed by the artist and organiser Brett Bloom, CAMP BREAKDOWN BREAK DOWN was for challenging our industrialised sense of self and relation to the ecosystems we inhabit and rely on. For researching, debating, and practicing post-oil aesthetics and culture. For entering a shared effort that goes forward and amplifies itself in the places, cities, landscapes, narratives, and congregations we carry it to.

One of the biggest challenges to addressing climate breakdown is the fact that we exist primarily in terms of oil use and the relationships it structures every moment of every day. Constantly relating to the world in this way cauterizes individual and collective petro-subjectivities, a numbing highly industrialised sense of self and society that can seem impossible to exit. In nearly every articulation of how we deal with climate breakdown—from underground acts of sabotage or the withdrawal into the dark mountains, to mainstream activist efforts and green capital abstractions—we see the violence and logic of oil replicated incessantly. This goes unarticulated and unchallenged.

What can we do together to start de-industrializing our sense of self while building a culture of survival, healing, and re-wilding that is for not only ourselves, but also our land bases, and all the non-human inhabitants, organic and other, that share them with us? We know the power of myth and how dominant ones like infinite economic growth and technological progress are destroying our planet. How do we mobilise stories and myth for regeneration, healing and a different way of relating?

Grounding our search in local struggles to shift our relationships to land, food, culture, climate breakdown, and each other, we will be introduced to and develop embodied learning skills to understand how powerful our perceptual-emotional-ideational capacities are beyond the very limited narratives of collapse, survival, daily life, our culture replicates. These practices will open up our thinking and imagination to generate new narratives of survival, community, and care. We will work to prepare for what lies in the deep times ahead, that haze that sits where the Anthropocene is the long past. These activities will be combined with discussions, visiting speakers, and excursions to places that will help focus our efforts and make them resonant well beyond our short time together.

CAMP BREAKDOWN BREAK DOWN is part of the larger project Frontiers in Retreat, of which SSW is a partner organisation.

Frontiers in Retreat is a five-year collaboration project that fosters multidisciplinary dialogue on ecological questions within a European network formed around artist residencies. The project sets out to examine processes of change in particular, sensitive ecological contexts within Europe, to reflect them in relation to each other and to develop new approaches to the urgencies posed by them. Moreover, the project recognises the necessity of multidisciplinary approaches to the current ecological concerns and aims to develop means and platforms for this through methods of contemporary art.

With the support of the Culture Programme of the European Union

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