Answering Earth

'Teaching Capitalism to Nature' is a series of still photographs, or a video installation (20 hours), wherein, I humorously and tediously read aloud from Adam Smith's seminal text "The Wealth of Nations" to the landscape.

Clint Sleeper

My creative research evolves out of an activist position identifying with anarchist ideologies and the politics of the radical left. Anti-disciplinary investigations that grow out of this position are focused on a frantic political reality that is able to claim and reterritorialize not only intellectual existence, but each aspect of everyday life. Approaching this frenetic moment, I draw on art history, popular philosophy, digital tools, and moving images to humorously and disappointingly reflect a moment at the cusp of interplanetary hysteria. These investigations are carried out within collaborative models, as a somewhat traditional studio artist, and as a technologist exploring various coding platforms and exhibition strategies.

As a member of several collaborative projects, my creative research merges with the research of various artists from around the continent resulting in interdisciplinary performances, installations, and book projects. Recently these works have focused on performances and installations that draw on ideas present in the work of Timothy Morton, who convincingly pleas for a political position of non-human solidarity. Undoubtedly, this western translation serves as a politicized reading of various indigenous ideologies where humans are more effectively cooperating with the universe, the environment, spirits,and all beings and objects of varying ontological confidence. This research driven work results in installations and performances making use of coded forms to activate materials ranging from burning sage to minimalist steel fabrications, and as video performances whose tense flickering images are subjected to the energy of drums or singing bowls.These recent collaborative efforts serve to implicate industry, humanity, and technology as a way of highlighting the tensions created by the anthropocene as we stand in solidarity with non-humans.

Working independently, my topic-driven and research-based practice lands on experimental modes that employ digital tools to query contemporary art history or political philosophy. Through these experiments, I humorously draw on a history of performing for the camera, hero-complexes, activist positioning, conditions of neoliberalism, the culture spawned by digital media, and the strange intersections where all of these intellectual interests dovetail into a series of videos or objects generating a new line of questioning. My work is undoubtedly influenced by my work as a professor and curator, where I am deeply interested in history, the formation of the canon, and the influence of art institutions in contemporary practicioners, artists and otherwise.These interests collide with political ideas borrowed from Simon Critchley or Slavoj Zizek, where predominant political theories are challenged through performative practices of various sorts. It is certain that these are turbulent artistic and academic oscillations across innumerable points, and as such, these shifts serve to reflect the intense conditions brought on by precarity atop a planet in crisis.

Ultimately, I hope that the objects and images created through these experiments translate a sense of responsibility not only as statements loaded with criticality, canonical awareness, and political action, but as gestures that insist on a future of plurality and human/non-human collaboration.

'Answering Earth' archives 15 artworks displayed in the virtual exhibition Answering Earth— organized by Rural Midwest Artist Collective, with guest juror Jason Brown (@miningthelandscape). The exhibition called for any media concerned with the subject of land-use. 

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