Resilients imagine possible futures and prototype them as artistic experiments in living and working environments. In 2011 a group of us started the Resilients project to collect, create, share and support resilient creative practices that we believe are needed to thrive in uncertain, turbulent times.
A resilient practice is both flexible and robust. It is continuously engaged in the delicate balancing act of growing and evolving, adapting to change while discarding unsustainable elements. Resilients recognise that change is a continuous process that is becoming less predictable as our habitats, societies, economic and technological systems increase in complexity and become more interdependent. To be able to respond to unpredictability, we look towards our human capacity to face and embrace change.
Resilients bring together two human capabilities: imagination and adaptation. We enquire into the potential of cultures to adapt to different situations and respond to them adequately. We'd like to know when it is beneficial to resist, when to change, and when we must simply accept our present condition as it is. We'd like to imagine our lives in diverse futures, to broaden our range of options beyond the usual polarities of either total collapse or the continuation of status quo.
By prototyping the future as an artistic experiment we create a training ground for our vision and adaptation: we try things out in a temporary, relatively safe zone. We design experimental situations and social structures, then test them out in real-life labs. As such, we designed six case studies that looked at different aspects of possible futures and explored them in workshops, gatherings, residencies and transiencies, as well as public experiments.
Resilients is atemporal, living firmly in the present while straddling both past and future. It borrows from a more frugal preindustrial culture, while embracing the newest systems, materials and technologies that can sustain both people and the planet. It builds on contemporary advances in science and technology, while remaining rooted in the diversity of our European cultural heritage.To encourage the emergence of a resilient postindustrial culture, we look to preindustrial and early industrial European traditions, including arts and crafts, science and philosophy, gardening and cooking, pilgrimage and venerative practices. Resilients “scavenges” amongst the practices of the past to re-infuse them with contemporary ethical, ecological and cultural insights.
A long term goal of the Resilients is to establish a support structure for its members and kindred spirits – the Resilients Guild. We draw on the traditions of early European guilds – associations of crafts practitioners and merchants which emerged to foster the practice and education of its members, circulating works and knowledge. There are three roles in the Resilients Guild: apprentice, journeyer and master. Apprentices are mentored by masters to acquire specifc skills and knowledge. Journeyers travel to collect diverse models of cultural resilience and gain pan-European experience. Masters are responsible for case studies in resilient culture.The roles are interchangeable – a master in one area can become an apprentice in another, encouraging life-long learning and development.
There is a notable difference between traditional guilds and Resilients: where a traditional guild is often closed, disciplinary and rigidly hierarchical, Resilients is an open network of creative practitioners, working together to enhance resilience across sectors and cultures. Resilients subscribes to open source and “integrative rather then separative” principles, making its methods, activities and membership publicly accessible.
Resilients aim to: