We think of nature as the pristine, untouched landscape, the idealized version of the earth before or simply without humans. We even build ‘shrines’--as geographer Cindi Katz says--to this nature in the form of local and national parks, wildlife preserves, land trusts, etc. However ‘nature’ has never been completely devoid of people (since it's a concept we invented), so how did we come to this ideology? Whose interests does it serve to view nature this way, and how does this view shape the way we manage our shared landscapes?
Geographers, who historically were the arbiters of ‘pure nature’, now discuss how this ideology has been used over time to discipline labor, separate the ‘town’ from the ‘country’, and accumulate capital even when ‘untouched’. This Olio will explore the many lives of nature, and how the belief in pure space influences how we view social change and fundamentally, one another.
Let's gather upstate at OlioHouse as we start to untangle our notions of nature and begin to deepen our connection to our surroundings, both intellectually and experientially.
On Saturday we'll have a communal lunch, two Olios taught by Lauren Hudson, time to explore Wassaic (and swim if weather permits!) followed by dinner at the Lantern Inn. For an additional $75, you can stay an extra night and take part in a natural dye workshop on Sunday led by our artists in residence, Ana Ratner. After the workshop, we will barbeque together and stargaze late into the night. We'll enjoy breakfast together the following morning and then give you a ride to the 12:15 train.
Noon- Communal Lunch
1:30pm - Our Separation from 'Nature'. A socratic-style Olio framing the discussion on how nature has been defined - i.e as something separate or 'out there'. How do we see these dynamics play out both in mainstream environmental discussions and on the ground?
3:00pm - Free time to explore Wassaic, hike and or swim!
5:30pm - The Forces of Nature. In the evening, our Olio will scale up the earlier discussion to cover how the production of nature has supported projects that have drastically changed our social landscape from the positive environmentalist movement of the progressive era, to global land grabs, population control, and corporate environmentalism.
7:00pm - Dinner at the Lantern Inn
Hang around on Sunday to get your hands dirty in the garden (we'll be planting tomatoes and strawberries!) and relax around the house. We'll barbeque in the afternoon and then make sure you get a ride to the train whenever you need to get back to the city.
This is our gorgeous home up in Wassaic, NY. We hold weekend seminars and welcome members of our scenius for creative residencies and projects. It is located less than a 20 min walk from the Metro North station in Wassaic and 2 hours from Grand Central. We are the proud neighbors of the Wassaic Project.
Think Olio is not about learning a new skill or adding credentials to your resume. It is about getting together with other people and expanding our worldview. It exists as a conduit for fruitful discussions, a dissent from the regurgitation of facts, and an embrace of new perspectives.