Shifting Ground (2009)
Constituting almost half of EU’s budget, agricultural subsidies were long (in)famous for their production of excess; mountains of butter and lakes of wine. But since the early 2000’s grounds have been shifting. A new agricultural paradigm has taken 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.
The script was published on the occasion of its first performance at the conference “Mountains of Butter and Lakes of Wine”, European Cultural Foundation, Stadsteatern, Stockholm, 2009.