Earth Leakage Trip
256 pp., 8 x 10 in, 150 color illus.
- Published: March 14, 2023
The travails, triumphs, and disappointments of eco-life, viewed through the prism of artistic research.
In 2004, distressed by the insanity of capitalist consumerism but dissatisfied with mere utopian rhetoric, self-taught artist Paul Chaney went “back to the land” for real. During the next eight years spent creating FIELDCLUB, a self-sufficient four-acre off-grid settlement in the UK, Chaney continually scrutinized the travails, triumphs, and disappointments of eco-life through the prism of artistic research. What emerges from this durational embedded practice is a vision characterized by a delicate equipoise between irony and sincerity and shot through with absurdism, in which speculative materialist philosophies are reworked in close contact with the humiliating tribulations of “living with nature.” In a shifting experimental triangulation of the human, the non-human, and the technological, themes such as geotrauma, dark ecology, and accelerationism are stress-tested, reconfigured, and supplemented with new concepts including the apocalyptic vernacular, carboniferous insurgency, and the solar contemporary.
Richly illustrated with sketches, diagrams, notes, and photographic documentation of his work, Earth Leakage Trip explores these concepts and collects Chaney's raw self-reflections on his itinerary as an artist-outsider and as a human being—that extravagantly enlightened species that nonetheless remains physically enmeshed with others.
Chaney combines art and research the way one wishes it were more often done: with genuine intellectual curiosity and derived from the pressing issues of our day.