Le Zad © John Jordan

Le Zad © John Jordan

“To hope is to gamble. It’s to bet on the future, on your desires, on the possibility that an open heart and uncertainty is better than gloom and safety. To hope is dangerous, and yet it’s is the opposite of fear, for to live is to risk.”
Rebecca Solnit, “Hope in the Dark”

From the open-cast coal mines of Rheinland or Lusatia swallowing hundreds of villages, to the thousands of hectares of fields, wetlands and farms threatened by a planned airport in Western France, Europe is dotted with sacrifice zones entire areas dedicated to be destroyed, engulfed, concreted over for the sake of infinite growth. But thanks to growing popular resistance, these places have become landscapes of uncertainty. Their destiny has been embraced by thousands of people, prepared to disobey, to block the machinery, to occupy the territory and practice the art of new forms of community in order to derail the certainty of destruction. Isabelle Fremeaux and John Jordan have taken part in mass direct actions to block these coal infrastructures for two years and have recently moved their art-activism collective The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination to the Zad, the occupied (and liberated) territory where the building of a new airport has been resisted for more than 40 years. They will reflect on what it means and what it feels like to act against the fatality of defeat, despite being uncertain of victory.

 

The lecture was held on 10 July 2016 at the symposium “Landscapes of Uncertainty” at Foreign Affairs 2016.