The dream of community-life in Rocalet met the reality of the guy who was just for bureaucratical reasons the owner in the papers. „It’s not important for us who’s name is there.“ But now we know that it is essential for a healthy non-hierarchiechal community, to have the issue of ownership set up in a way that no individuals have the power.
And I am leaving again, (so do all the others but the guy…) and continue my explorations and researches for the group ant the place without that stupid annoying 1 guy.
We hosted about 80 people for the RTF-europe gathering. It was a big effort to get the grange ready, finishing all the fucked-up walls, putting in windows and doors, stairs, building a huge stove out of clay, insulate the roofs… well a lot of work for which a lot of people came to help and managed that during 1 week everybody had a fruitful time and was not too cold. (while it had -11°C during some nights)
And I think from there on, as soon as all the nice and interresting people had left, and we had the time to pay attention to ourselves, it became clear that there were big problems within the collective.
We asked friends from another collective to support us with mediation. So we all went there and already the first session revealed how impossible it was to continue living together. Some more mediated meetings later it was clear that the people who called themselves anarchist will use their power of ownership to impose their ideas.
Who doesn’t agree, well can change their opinion – or leave.
Luckily I still have another home, the Biketour, were I went as soon as it was possible. I spent another amazing summer on the road with this constantly changing community. This time on the iberian peninsula. And as always, the Biketour is not over when you leave the cycling group – many participants keep meeting in different places all over Europe. I passed by in Bordeaux, where I found a very alive squatting scene. And also, not surprising, the other part, alive police-repression. In drew this ruin, once apon a time nice villa with huge garden, was teared down when the evicted inhabitants came back again and again. The owner wants to transform the whole area into a huge industrial area with hotels and all the shit that capitalism needs but people don’t. Well now it has been almost 2 years that it is all empty and falling apart, the broken piping spills drinkingwater, several liters every minute. As if it would have harmed anybody if instead people had lived in there all that time…
Continued my trip to Rennes. Hanging out a bit with my old housemates in another context than our cursed home. Which was nice! The festival „Les oiseaux de passage“ (=the migrant birds) was a good opportunity to meet some people, to expierence some culture with political background. To run a kitchen for a few hundred people. Afterwards, it was propsed to visit La Ronce, a collective that I visited 6 years ago on my first trip in France. Funny. We made a lot of chestnut-cream. (also possible anywhere else than Rocalet apparently)
Next stop (after a quick return to rocalet with some biketour people) was the chestnut-camp of the paysannes nomades. A group who uses abandonad food recources in different places and transforms them in big quantity into deliciousness. Here they set up their camp on a beautiful riverside and collect tons of chestnuts in a nearby forest who belongs to the neighbouring collective. In exchange they get some stacks of firewood. My day was mainly composed out of having ice-cold baths, going for walks, collecting chestnuts and then there is a whole procedure that follows: sorting them out by throwing them into a big water-bucket, the ones that float have worms and are thrown away, then spreading them out on the several wire netting floors of the drying rack, then speration: pass them through a sort of grating, all the small ones (later transformed into cream or paté) would fall through and the bigger ones (later pealed and put into jars as a whole) stay up. Then everything is packed into bags of 25kg and goes to the communal atelier of food transformation in the next village.
Well, I realised during this time, that doing things in this big scale is not my thing… I prefered picking the huge parasol-mushrooms and putting them up to dry. Also in sort of big quantity because they where growing everywhere, but at least I can see the final product without passing by to many steps. And I prefer to eat as many chestnuts as I want (a lot) while they are available. But it is great that there are some of us who are up to do things like that!
It is so extremly annoying to deal with all that stuff for me… Tax-declaration, ensurance, all that doesn’t even make a bit of sense in my world. All my incomes are on the base of free donations. And I stopped counting them when I realised that it doesn’t change anything. So now I have to I invent something about how much I earned and to feed these institutions with precise numbers and the system is satisfied.
But also I had the pleasure to meet my old friends from Quellkollektiv times. I spent quiet some moments with the former crew who was running the art-space „Heute:“ All is as usual as soon as we exchanged the news, we start to invent things, create ideas, build stuff and complain about gentrification and yuppies. Next stops were on my art-market-tour and after I continued directly to Switzerland to visit a place where I already had been with the Biketour 2 years ago. And the people that live there, I’ve met in the meantime here and there…
The community in and around the house in Agiez is a very diverse and creative bunch of people. Constantly some little things in the space are added, modified, improved.
At some point we made a little trip to Lausanne to the Museum of Art Brut. I liked the art but not the museum. Somewhere was a quote of the museum’s founder Jean Dubuffet saying „L’art ne vient pas se coucher dans les lits qu’on a faits pour lui ; il se sauve aussitôt qu’on prononce son nom. Ce qu’il aime, c’est l’incognito, ses meilleurs moments sont quand il oublie comment il s’appelle.“ – The art won’t come to lay down in the beds we made for it; it escapes as soon as one pronounces it’s name. What it likes is the incognito, its best moments are when it forgets its name. Yes, I agree!! And the museum??? It puts all these crazy pieces of art into frames and glass-boxes. With a little printed sign saying: „sans titre, 120 x 80cm, technique mixte, 1987″ I am completely lost. This museum is like a zoo. The normal people can come and watch; everything is properly ordered how they are used to, into boxes according to security norms; come and watch the creative output of the crazy people. Those people create so called Art Brut because they they like to do so and spent their life in psychatry or prison – in secure cages like their work.
When we came back to the house with all its hidden little pictures and sculptures, I realised that it is a much better way to „consume“ art – in the context where it belongs.
Plenty of random objects everywhere, assembled in a certain manner, they are transformed from trash into art. Until somebody needs a part of it and leaves the rest behind or modifies or adds something to the constant installation. But at the same time there is a rule to leave the communaly used spaces such as kitchentable or the leaving room neutral, so that everybody can interpret them temporarly as they wish.
Leaving this place I was hitchhiking, finally with a friend and not alone. We spent christmas on the road, had to explain several times that we are not a couple and took all the time we needed. Every now and then, we checked that our wishes go in the same direction. We had two stopovers with relaxing chats and walks, in Chartreuse and la Montagne Noire.
In Sales we could squat the grange-co, a collective space in the village for visitors or playing music or whatever. Outside, night, the wheather was really unusal. Storm and fog. Pretty unfriendly. Inside, the we didn’t get the lights to work. Apparently there was no electricity. We went to ask our friends if they knew how to turn it on… they sent us to their neighbour, she puts on her boots and raincoat, and also is helpless in front of the multiplug with the missing switch. So we go and ask another neighbour, boots and raincoat, same surprise, where is the switch? We find it on the ground but it doesn’t seem to be a good idea to put it back in with bare hands while everthing is connected. So the first neighbour brings us some candles, we slowly install ourselves, try to find the dryest wood in the wet pile. Good news, the gas-stove is running, so we put the few potatoes to boil that we found in a corner. Somebody comes inside, asks us the hell we are doing there, also finds the broken switch. We can convince him to not repair it tonight. He comes back with a crate of dry material to start the fire. The room starts to become a little bit less ice-cold, we cut the wild herbs, that we have collected earlier in the day. Another person enters the room, with a dog, asks what we are doing there, inspects the plug, same result as all the others, leaves again, we finally have a spartanic but delicious dinner.
After, we had a few sunny days which is apparently extremly rare for this time of the year.
I returned to Rocalet where I met somebody with a van who was somehow having similar ideas of travelling as I do. And somehow their next destination was again the Black Mountains. A little bit further, other people, also very nice!
Wheather extreme, fog cristalizing on the trees, and then falling down in form of ice cubes, constant wind. Their house was like a little warm oasis in the middle of a white desert. And it was a place where just within one evening, we travelled far in our conversations, we invented games, broke their rules, noted down everything on a bill-paper-roll. One goes outside, feeding the cows with frozen hay, the other stays inside, working on little surreal puppet-installation. Cut of from the outside-world, no signal, no telephone, no internet, no car-access. Just us and the fire in the stove.
After a while both our feelings corresponded to move again and our next stop will be the hotsprings in the pyrenees.