Shifting Ground

First commissioned for a conference on cultural funding in 2009, Goldin+Senneby set out on an unrequested inquiry into European agri-cultural funding.

Constituting almost half of EU’s budget, agricultural subsidies had long been (in)famous for their production of excess; mountains of butter and lakes of wine. But in the early 2000:s a new agricultural paradigm took form in which subsidies were decoupled from production. Farmers no longer received support to (over)produce, but to reinvent themselves as environmental entrepreneurs and guardians of the landscape. No longer asked to provide food, but to provide open fields.

Goldin+Senneby proposed that these reforms had something to tell us about the fundamental (power)relations between funder and funded, as applies to the entire field of cultural subsidies, not only agri-culture. The drama plays out in the space between the image of landscape and the usage of land. But in the tension between policy maker and practitioner, what stands at stake is as much the survival of the artist as that of the farmer.

The work takes the form of a 20 min scripted speech, written by political speechwriter Simon Lancaster.

Publication design: Johan Hjerpe

Shifting Ground was commissioned and financed by Almost Real, European Cultural Foundation and curated by Maria Lind. The research also resulted in the artwork Not Approved (2011).

Shifting Ground script as PDF