the very same culture that had destroyed all reason for going from one place to another

“That’s an attitude too that you often find in the kinds of artists who are content to call themselves ‘cultural operators’ and who get involved with the idea that art has to be revolutionized and made scientific, but they’re getting it all ass-backwards that way. They’re trapped in an illusion that our whole society agrees upon, jet planes were invented because of the developments of science, all of our technology comes out of science, and we’re all drugged on technology and on the idea that I can take this jet and be in America in six hours. But why should it make a difference to me that I can get to American in six hours, maybe I don’t want to go to America at all, and maybe it’s all the same if I get there in six days, or six weeks, I could take a clipper ship and clipper ships were certainly more pleasant than airplanes and maybe just as safe. A friend once told me about an airplane trip where he began to realize that the culture that had made it possible to get from one place to another on all of these fantastic means of transport was the very same culture that had destroyed all reason for going from one place to another. Travelling doesn’t mean anything any more. One of the things technology does to people is to rob them of motivations, you push buttons and you open cans and life becomes much poorer than it ever was before, it’s enriched only by a greater degree of boredom. It creates these huge empty spaces in our lives and then fills them up with itself again, you wash the dishes in a machine and while you wash them you have to look at the television. People who are most alive when they’re active, people who need the feel of being effective and useful in all of the things that go into their daily living are people for whom technology doesn’t mean anything at all, or at least anything positive.”

Gianfranco Baruchello & Henry Martin, How to Imagine: A Narrative on Art and Agriculture, pp. 151–2.)

aesthetics into economy

“It was a question of pulling aesthetics into economy and of pulling the most rudimentary and fundamental forms of agricultural economy into aesthetics, and so much the better than if I was doing it with produce that came from lands that didn’t even belong to me. It was all in a tradition of dada scandal, the very same tradition of Duchamp’s Fountain, and it was a very very ambitious idea and very very stimulating, at least that’s the way it was for a while, there were absolutely no precedents for it either ideologically or otherwise.”

(Gianfranco Baruchello & Henry Martin, How to Imagine: a narrative on art and agriculture, pp. 38–39.)

eau et gaz

“And the problem, suddenly, was that I’d been trying to be eau et gaz for all my life, that was the kind of game I was trying to play, that was the way I read the lesson I learned from Duchamp, it was a way of liberating yourself from just about everything, and it’s a very dangerous lesson to learn, the idea was to be always and totally available, even more than schizophrenic. The idea of living in a state where the mind has just simply exploded, scattered itself everywhere, and the psyche, the animus, the capacity for feeling is exploded and vaporized too, the idea of belonging to everybody, the idea then too of needing a container. I found myself deciding that I’d had enough of that and that I didn’t want to be eau et gaz any more because being a fluid in a container is a very difficult state to live in. All somebody has to do is to punch a little hole in it, and here I was suddenly full of holes. It suddenly became clear that I had to transform my whole way of being. It seemed that I couldn’t any longer be pure eroticism always at the disposal of others, just as my work couldn’t continue to be, well, so open, so open to investigation. There’s a secretiveness in Agricola Cornelia too. There’s a point where everything you’re dependent on can turn against you, and being eau et gaz is like being an irritated mucous membrane, it involves a sensibility where you can be very easily hurt by even the very slightest slight, and I decided that I’d had enough of that and that in addition to being eau et gaz, that instead of being eau et gaz I had to be something else.”

(Gianfranco Baruchello & Henry Martin, How to Imagine: a narrative on art and agriculture, pp. 52–53)