Friday, January 21, 2011

The Future Academy / Metronome No.10

In July 2009 I was in Oslo visiting my friend Kim Hiorthoy - on the last day we visited a bookshop and he bought me a book called Dwelling Portably 1980-89; it is a collection of zines known as The Message Post written on a typewriter, in incredibly small type (in order to save paper) in a yurt in an undisclosed location in a forest in Washington State. The authors are long-time outdoor-livers Bert & Holly Davis, who have collected tips from other home-less (not homeless) people for decades. I love the amount of detail it gathers together from individuals finding their way, outside the confines and rules of our towns and cities.

I've extracted a little content from this fantastic catalogue here;

Wild Sprouts Update: Mustard Seeds Sharply Flavoured.
Having the 'Wild Sprouts' article has given me lots of feedback. The young sprouts from the seeds of the mustard family, including black mustard, peppergrass and wintercress, are very tasty. But some are so sharply flavoured that many people will only enjoy eating them raw if they are mixed with larger amounts of blander sprouts, such as alfalfa or wheatgrass. William Chapman, NY.

There is Much Good Camping in Northern California.
The river canyons are largely empty and beautiful. I've been mining for gold on the North Fork American between Truckee and Sacremento. Pretty good gold at end of summer. Paul Rinne.

I recently uncovered Dwelling Portably again after reading about Metronome No.10 in Art School; a project carried out in 2006 by The Future Academy, which is an instruction manual for artists who wish to live and work portably and features unusual yet vital hints for our social and economic survival. The above image is the cover page from Metronome No.10 - intentionally designed in exactly the same format and spirit as Dwelling Portably.

Metronome No.10 was published while living in a portable publishing studio, and covering 2000 miles of the great outdoors looking for Bert & Holly. During this production period the Future Academy artists "built a ‘hill-lodge’ into the side of a south-facing slope in the woods, digging out the mud bank and setting up tarps and poles to insulate the 3x2m cavity against the pouring rain and wind."

This kind of thing makes my day, especially after a month of varying my working-time-and-location; from libraries, to cafes (old and new), to the poorly lit corners of the Barbican, from my desk at OPEN at 6am to 4am in my kitchen. I wanted to see what it would do to me, and as January comes to a close, I'm really glad I did. Even if I didn't get to sleep outside once.