In Star Trek the new generation they had a policy of not interfering in any way in the planets they visited, thus maintaining an ethical stance. I hated the new generation start trek and it's polite approach, I remember waiting episodes for them to use their phasers, or Warf to reluctantly resort to a fist fight. This was entertainment and I didn't want a lesson in interventionist ethics from the script writers every week. I mean it obviously didn't work on the target audience's approach to foreign policy, except boosting an inflated sense of self righteousness.

This is real life not TV, but in a sense the star trek approach is kind of relevant. Is taking a photo or video of the farmers and taking it home to show/sell in a gallery an ethical thing to do? It is an intervention to some extent, and we have discussed it a little bit but not a lot. It feels kind of colonial, and exploitation is implied as we regularly term it 'farm porn', creating ultra seductive shots of terraced farmland and villagers in traditional hats.

Artists have a habit (fueled by an ultra discursive educational model) of reading into things too much and are also prone to the odd bought of self righteousness. To most people (including the farmers) this kind of soft exploitation matters not a jot, and pales into insignificance with the real injustices of the global economic sphere. Though you might have to reinvest your photo's sale profits to get yourself really off the hook.

In my own project paying the carpenter to make me a market stall is not on the same scale as setting up a ceramics factory and employing cheap labour whilst making a huge mark up at home. But in paradigmatic terms it is much the same thing, and art is often read as a metaphor for a wider meaning/philosophy. My action practically is very different in that it is on a personal level, one on one with the carpenter and we hang out and negotiate a rate ( i agree to his 100% price increases!), there is no sweat shop, and he uses only hand tools. If we ditch the do nothing just look approach of the 'Trekies' where your very presence is something you have to feel guilty about, we can get on and act in the world. My model is in-fact a paradigm of economic investment and the more work we give the carpenter the better for him and his family business. I say lets get a shipping container organised.

Instead of the traditional artist as philosophical voyeur I prefer the lets get our hands dirty approach which try's to create something such as a building that could have real effect, we can see what the complex web of implications are as it develops. I should know but secretly want to ask if this what is meant by being 'after post colonialism' ? If so, one other post-post-colonial intervention will be to buy a mouse trap and kill the little rodent living in our Pingfang house that nibbles my biscuits.


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