Actor Tom McKay meets former agricultural commissioner Franz Fischler in Absam, Austria
An artist’s unrequested inquiry into European agri-cultural policies
Constituting almost half of EU’s budget, agricultural subsidies have long been (in)famous for their production of excess; mountains of butter and lakes of wine. Today the grounds are shifting. A new agricultural paradigm is taking form in which subsidies have been decoupled from production. Farmers no longer receive support to (over)produce, but to reinvent themselves as environmental entrepreneurs and guardians of the landscape. No longer asked to provide food, but to provide open fields.
Goldin+Senneby proposes that these reforms have something to tell us about the fundamental (power)relations between funder and funded, as applies to the entire field of cultural subsidies, not only agri-culture. The drama explored plays out in the space between the image of landscape and the usage of land. But in the tension between policy maker and practitioner, what stands at stake is as much the survival of the artist as that of the farmer.
The work takes the form of a 20 min scripted speech, written by speechwriter Simon Lancaster, directed by Charlotte Westenra and first performed by Tom McKay.
Shifting Ground is a commission financed by Almost Real, European Cultural Foundation and curated by Maria Lind.