This exhibition is inspired by The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming (1975), an influential book on ecological thought and practice. Written by Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka, the title refers to the technique of scattering straw in a field post-harvest, following Fukuoka’s philosophy of cultivating the earth with minimal waste and respect for preserving the balance of ecosystems. His work is one of many that prompted scientists and scholars to coin the term “permaculture” as a shorthand for “permanent culture” – a philosophy and practice that emphasises working in harmony with and not against the ecosystems that we are a part of and dependent on.
The One-Straw Revolution exhibition focuses on the core concepts that laid the foundation for the term permaculture: care for living with others, care for fair share. The participating artists pay homage to the main principles of Indigenous and feminist ecological thought and practice, which define sustainable ways of living and tangible forms of interspecies co-existence. Several artists focus on human disconnection from nature and our surroundings, highlighting the need to re-affirm our connections. Others trace the role of power systems and models of governance in the destruction of our environment and the disruption of interspecies kinships, as well as the corrosion of invaluable knowledge systems on ecosystem balance.
The presented works explore questions regarding “permanence” and sustainability, deriving from a desire to connect with ancestral philosophies, knowledge systems that escaped the colonial violence of Western modernity and communities operating counter to neoliberal and capitalist models. The exhibition serves as a first realisation of curator iLiana Fokianaki’s research into permaculture as a methodology for exhibition-making and institution-building, offering a proposition to rethink how we practice and discuss culture. Spatially, the exhibition is structured around the permacultural zone system, with a focus on zone 0: the human and her settlement.