We Are ‚Nature‘ Defending Itself – Entangling Art, Activism and Autonomous Zones

Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan

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  • Pluto Press
  • 2021
  • ISBN 9780745345871
  • 160 pages
  • Softcover
  • 22 × 11 × 1.2 cm

Chronicles the story of the ZAD (zone to defend), a resistant land occupation emerging out of a decades-long struggle which stopped a new airport project

In 2008, as the storms of the financial crash blew, Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan deserted the metropolis and their academic jobs, traveling across Europe in search of post-capitalist utopias. They wanted their art activism to no longer be uprooted.

They arrived at a place French politicians had declared lost to the republic, otherwise know as the zad (the zone to defend): a messy but extraordinary canvas of commoning, illegally occupying 4,000 acres of wetlands where an international airport was planned. In 2018, the 40-year-long struggle snatched an incredible victory, defeating the airport expansion project through a powerful cocktail that merged creation and resistance.

Fremeaux and Jordan blend rich eyewitness accounts with theory, inspired by a diverse array of approaches, from neo-animism to revolutionary biology, insurrectionary writings and radical art history.
Published in collaboration with the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest.

Isabelle Fremeaux is a popular educator and action researcher. She was formerly Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College London. Along with Jay Jordan, she is a coordinator of The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.

Jay Jordan is co-founder of Reclaim the Streets (1995-2000) and the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, and co-author of We Are Everywhere: The Irresistible Rise of Global Anticapitalism (Verso, 2003) and A User’s Guide to Demanding the Impossible (Minor Compositions, 2011). They are a coordinator of The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.

Labelled a „Domestic Extremist“ by the UK police, and “a magician of rebellion” by the French press, JJ likes spaces in-between of all sorts, especially between art and activism, culture and nature, the masculine and feminine. They have intervened in museums, squats, International Theatre Festivals, climate camps, choreographed riotous carnivales, written BBC radio play and an Opera. Co-founder of creative direct action collectives Reclaim the Streets and the Clown Army. They deserted their job as senior lecturer in fine art in 2003 to work as cameraman for Naomi Klein’s film The Take. They co-edited and co-authored We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism (Verso, 2003), The Users Guide to demanding the Impossible (with Gavin Grindon, Minor Compositions 2009) & the film/book Les Sentiers de L’utopie (with Isabelle Fremeaux, La Découverte, 2011). Since 2004, with Isabelle Fremeaux, they co-facilitate the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination. Infamous for fermenting disobedience on bicycles, throwing snowballs at bankers, launching a rebel raft regatta to shut down a power station and refusing to be censored by the Tate Modern. They inhabit the Zone A Deféndre (zad) of Notre-dame-des-Landes, where disobedience cancelled an international airport project. Www.labo.zone

Contents

Preface by Marc Herbst
Tempests

Part I: Seeding
Scream —Disobedient Desires—Following
Swallows—Extinction Machine—Rebel Bocage

Part II: Germinating
Departure Lounge—Desertion—Mud and ACAB—Insurrectionary Inhabiting—Building in the Ruins—A Discipline of Attention—Love and Forgetting

Part III: Rooting
Offensive Defense—Everyday Magic—Compos(t)ing Together—Medieval Futurisms—Victory and Revenge—Gambles and Barricades of Paper

Part IV: Flourishing
No Commoning without Commoners—Synergies and Regards—No Commoners without Rituals—Life is Feeling—200 Years of Art and the World Is Getting Worse—An Art of Life

FUCK ‘IT’!

Gratitudes
Notes