We Are 'Nature' Defending Itself: Entangling Art, Activism and Autonomous Zones

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    Isabelle Fremeaux and Jay Jordan

    Publisher: Pluto Books

    Year: 2021

    Format: Paperback

    Size: 160 pages

    ISBN: 9780745345871

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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.

About the Authors

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). He is a coordinator of The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination.

What People Are Saying

“We need stories of victory! We need stories of transformative imagination and wild adventures that somehow succeed against all odds. Jay and Isabelle think about organizing and activism like nobody else. They've given us more than an account--they've created a new myth that has the added benefit of being true.” Starhawk

Table of Contents

Preface by Marc Herbst

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



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