Yesterday we learned that yet another funding bid had been successful--this from the philanthropic arm of a local business. This is the most recent in a really wonderful series of successful bids: something about what we do or the way we do it corresponds to something the these organisations want to do, or the way they would like to see it done. We are, of course, delighted and grateful. Could it be that there is an aspect of what we do that is explicitly, deliberately visible, and so exceptionally accessible?
… and yes, as you say, Nancy,
"roaming goes back to the state of mind before anyone sets out on the dérive, before anyone decides to let themselves be affected by immediate events, or to try to manipulate them to one's own purpose, before anyone decides to oppose capitalism or revolutionise art. "
Our Roaming 'intention' is in fact almost a contradiction of the word. This isn't to say that we have no focus or strong feelings, we most certainly do, but we are attempting to meet in as open a way as possible in order to understand difference differently. Tensions can arise when some individuals see the lack of definition as an opportunity to forward their own particular agenda. When this has occasionally happened we have had some extraordinary moments of the group as a whole handing the situation in reasserting our values and ethos.
I remembered Rosi Braidotti writing about 'radical immanence' when I was out walking with Olive today. She says that the spirit of any transgressive movement is typified by 'a lightness of touch, a sense of opening up of possibilities, a profound empowerment of the potentials of life'. She expresses how it is crucial not to become overly absorbed in the seriousness of political issues and to give credence to what she describes as, 'the merry-making aspect of social change'. (Rosi Braidotti, Metamorphoses: towards a materialist theory of becoming, Polity, 2002)
They aren't the same, clearly. The dérive is a journey [always in a city, it seems. Almost always Paris] without explicit purpose, an openness to "psychogeography," the associations any given person makes with the space he or she occupies. Both "dérive" and "psychogeography" are associated with Situationism, the Paris-based avant-garde movement, 1957-1972, and more, with Guy Debord and a fierce opposition to capitalism. Roaming is neither French, nor avant-garde, nor Marxist. Far from any deliberately oppositional stance toward social or economic convention, it is a community interest company, that is, positivity engaged in community affairs.
'in a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their usual motives for movement and action, their relations, their work and leisure activities, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there... But the dérive includes both this letting go and its necessary contradiction: the domination of psychogeographical variations by the knowledge and calculation of their possibilities." Knabb, Ken, ed. Situationist International Anthology, Berkley: Bureau of Public Secrets, 1995. pg 50.
It is as if roaming goes back to the state of mind before anyone sets out on the dérive, before anyone decides to let themselves be affected by immediate events, or to try to manipulate them to one's own purpose, before anyone decides to oppose capitalism or revolutionise art. Maybe it goes back to a moment when all that is still open...
This is a page for notes about how Roaming is related to contemporary art as a whole. We hope the contributors list will expand.