Guest Editor, Andy Field

Guest Editor Sale from 1 July 2017 - 31 July 2017

Andy Field is an artist, writer and the co-director of Forest Fringe.

Let’s change the world
Yeah! Let’s change the world
Not a little (a little)
A lot (a lot!)
Let’s change the world
Yeah! Let’s change the world
(‘Let’s Change the World’, traditional) 

About seven years ago I was on the campus of Warwick University, just outside Coventry, for an event hosted by Fierce Festival and Warwick Arts Centre. As part of this event an artist called Eitan Buchalter waited at a zebra crossing for four hours. I remember very vividly his calmness and his neatness, arms by his side, gazing out across the street, like a young mathematics teacher who had lost himself in the middle of a quadratic equation and slipped quietly into a fugue state. The sun shone thinly on the neat green lawns and the childlike bends in the tiny campus roads.

Inevitably as cars would arrive at the zebra cross they would pause for a few seconds, anticipating that Eitan was about to cross, and on realising that he was not going anywhere, they would move on. Some would occasionally beep as if attempting to wake him from his trance or chastise him for his transgression of the traditional etiquette of zebra crossings. It was so beautifully tiny, his action, so delicately fleeting; like a bird flying backwards. A hiccup in an otherwise ordinary afternoon.

For one man, however, it was not such a small indiscretion. One man was furious. He shouted at Eitan, questioning what he was doing and why he was doing it, and on receiving no response he took it upon himself to right the miniature wrong that had been inserted into the day, shouting at cars as they stopped that it was ‘an art thing’ and that they shouldn’t stop. ‘What a waste of time’ he said, repeatedly. ‘He could be out raising money for homeless people.’

Since that day I have often wondered what it was that so provoked the furious man. Was it, as he would have it, the uselessness of the action, its essential meaninglessness when placed against other possible things that Eitan could have chosen to do with his time, like raising money for homeless people? In this context, it is the choice of action that is so egregious. Eitan clearly has dedication and endurance, and yet he is employing them in pursuit of something the furious man perceives as without purpose or outcome. Why choose to do something as indulgent and inconclusive as art when there is so much suffering in the world?

Or is there another possible cause of the furious man’s ire? Could it be that it is not the ineffectuality of Eitan’s performance that is upsetting him but on the contrary, its very effectiveness? How easily Eitan is able to send these ripples of disruption out into the world, his mere motionlessness stopping traffic, his small transgression unstitching the unspoken rules that hold the world together. Is this what the furious man is afraid of, that far from being useless, art is a virus with the power to topple civilisations?

Here are some books that I think might help us to resolve these questions. For the month of July 2017, these have all been discounted by 25%

The Art Of Living: An Oral History - Book CoverThe Art of Living: An Oral History of Performance Art
Dominic Johnson
£16.49 / Original Price £21.99
These extraordinary lives are holding open space in which to re-imagine gender, identity, the way we relate to one another and the way we live in the world.

The Interventionists - Book Cover

The Interventionists
Eds. Nato Thompson, Gregory Sholette
£18.71 / Original Price £24.95
A catalogue of strategies for resistance.

Vacuum Days - Book Cover

Vacuum Days
Tim Etchells
£14.25 / Original Price £19
A document of a project that spanned a remarkable year and in so doing became implicitly bound up in the strangeness, to the point where it seemed Tim Etchells might be writing the world into existence. 

Out of Now - Book Cover
Out of Now: The Lifeworks of Tehching Hsieh
Adrian Heathfield and Tehching Hsieh
£24 / Original Price £32.95
In Out of Now art becomes a vehicle for radical transformation, a rewriting of a life that is nothing short of remarkable.

Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil - Book Cover
Not if but when: Culture Beyond Oil
Eds. Jo Clarke, Mel Evans, Hayley Newman, Kevin Smith, Glen Tarman
Free PDF Online
If Art can be a vehicle for social change, then it must also recognise its frequent culpability in perpetuating capitalism and ecological harm, as in the toxic ongoing relationship between art and oil.

Gardens Speak - Book Cover
Gardens Speak
Tania El Khoury
£9 / Original Price £12
Tania is an extraordinary artist and this piece is the best example I can point to of the potential for the tangibility of live performance to change the way we relate to geopolitics and mediatized suffering.

Cassils - Book Cover
Cassils: Artist Books
David J. Getsy and Julia Steinmetz
£23.63 / Original Price £31.50
Cassils’ work is doing something in the world.

4 Boys [For Beuys] - Book Cover
4 Boys [For Beuys]
The Institute for the Art and Practice of Dissent at Home
£3 / Original Price £4
The Institute is a remarkable example of an activist practice that is deeply embedded in ordinariness of everyday life, they are a map to another kind of resistance.

It's All Allowed - Book Cover
It's All Allowed: The Performances of Adrian Howells
Eds. Deirdre Heddon & Dominic Johnson
£15 / Original Price £20
Adrian brought so much beauty and compassion into the world and I miss him very much.

Theaster Gates - Book Cover
Theaster Gates
Eds. Carol Becker, Lisa Yun Lee, Achim Borchardt-Hume
£22.46 / Original Price £29.95
In the info for this book Theaster Gates is described as "The poster boy for socially engaged art" and it makes me want to be sick a bit in my mouth, but you should read this book anyway.

Not Just a Mirror - Book Cover
Not Just a Mirror: Looking for the Political Theatre of Today
Ed. Florian Malzacher
£8.24 / Original Price £10.99
There is so much in this book you will definitely find something to cling to, and something to hope for.

Forest Fringe - Book Cover
Forest Fringe: The First Ten Years
Forest Fringe
£10.50 / Original Price £14
This is our book. You should buy our book