Archivio Tesi di Laurea Triennale Filosofia ed Estetica

Agriculture as a tool to overcome the urban crisis of imagination

A creative journey to the margins of being


This thesis is a philosophical/auto-ethnographic/artistic inquiry into the beneficial aspects of farming, in the light of individualisation and commodification of society, as I show it to be a marginal experience of both identity and body. The following philosophers with respective concepts are used: Tim Ingold and Correspondence; Richard Shusterman and Somaesthetics; Mariana Ortega and World-Travelling; Joseph Beuys and the extended concept of art. This experiential journey is captured in an artwork where bodily transformations are shown with repeat photographs of hands and upper body, along with daily video recordings of the self-reflective kind, along with a hand-written diary. The thesis shows how body and identity are porous concepts, co-created in a larger horizon of experience and subject to multiplication through liminal, embodied experiences that are detrimental to the mainstream idea of ourselves as unitary and transcendental – destroyed in the face of non-linear leakages of those multitudes that constitute that which only appears to be one, constant and homogenous body. For the urban, the farming experience is an act of reconciliation between self-fulfilled dichotomies of reality. To farm traditionally is to follow a set of extraordinary consequences catalyzed by the “rubbing up” of one’s own body onto the surface of the earth, constantly responding to them. It blurs the split between mind and body. Traditional food producers are here seen for their multitude of functions and relationships that all sticking onto each other on a specific site. Accepted as such they constitute a tactical resource, a threat to the cartesian view of the self as unitary, which is also a threat to the hierarchical, mechanical and compartmentalized view of the world. This deeper, holistic reality of a system view of life is however true for any human experience, but naturally easier to spot in relationship with a diverse ecosystem. Culturally, this is therefore susceptible to romanticization – which unfortunately is a perpetuation of those mechanical and compartmentalizing thought processes, showing high concomitance with the urban identity. This thesis sets out to use agriculture in order to expose my own body to a reality prior to both the Kantian objectification and to the stigmatization/romanticization of the countryside. Combining physical, social, ecological and technological aspects of the self, I try to manifest the holistic experience of an urban identity/body moving awkwardly towards a deeper understanding of the sustainability issues of our time.

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