Methodologies of Survival (2012)

A KIOSK collaborative text commissioned by Arcadia Missa for How to Sleep Faster 3:

Methodologies of Survival

Implicit within every survival is the suggestion of struggle. As a collective, we thrive on this struggle, welcoming the productivity of one jostling against another as we each vie for authority through frictions and synchronicities. The methodology of our survival therefore, is a means of maintaining, keeping alive and sustaining, an essence of the urgency to survive.

Through lexicography we find solidarity in a shared language. Appropriated from diverse sources, we use lexicons to develop mutual understanding and sympathetic methodologies. Methodologies of Survival draws on ‘prepper’(1) terminology’s abundant acronyms that point to an urgency and a need for a recognised, shorthand code system. It is a system that simultaneously reveals and obscures, an exclusive vernacular that reduces vastly complex (yet somehow vague) speculations into nonchalant sequences of letters – TEOTWAWKI(2).

Here we present our lexicon of survival – an outline of the means and methods by which we endeavour, as collective, to survive. The process of defining such a resource is also, by virtue of our very undertaking, another methodology as and of survival; we hope for the development of this lexicon to act as means – and demonstrate method – of survival.

(Self-Organised Survivalism)
As a collaborative practice, we are not a member of an institution, academic or artistic, though we contribute to discourse spilling from both. We are born of an institution; we are not anti-institution – we have ideas about power, hierarchy and pedagogy, which constitute central motivations in our practice and which filter through, often covertly, in our work. Having made the decision to come together, to work and produce as one unit, we had to organise ourselves. Collaboration is a means that, via a multitude of positions, voices and hands, can make for a richer, cumulative, thorough and more whole reading. Our self organisation is not a political statement, it is a means of perpetuating something we value. It is a survival tactic, and we don’t pretend that this is new.

(Optimism And Positivity)
Collaboration marks a point of entry into a field of tension with an unwritten outcome. With increased inputs comes increased instability and volatility. But within our collaborative entity we endeavour to allow our difference to thrive, making the most of our individual and collaborative attributes in the creation of a new work. We are not resolutely or defiantly positive – sometimes we struggle. Our optimism is fuelled by our past experience of positive experience; we anticipate enjoyment. Optimism is the means by which we sustain our efforts until we remember why it’s worth it. We seek to preserve and grow the essence at the heart of our collaborative work, which is positivity. In this way survival is not about mere existence – it is about taking pains to facilitate a situation in which something overtly positive might flow. And the belief in the need for a survival of this kind is pure optimism.

(Rhythms Of Time Sharing)
Fostering motion and momentum, we work together – plotting, flagging, making. We rove and forage through myriad (re)sources, bringing these to bear in a trialogical, tripartite, networked cluster. With this perpetual motion rolling away and towards, the rhythms of our working patterns undulate in and out of synch – working together when we are apart we cross timezones through technology, connecting disparate geographies – whether SE8 to SE15 or +44 to +1/+43/+65/+57.

Synchronicity is our methodology, where efforts are tripled and ideas pooled – we critique, negotiate, support and share – a mutual understanding of what it is to be together, and what it is to be apart.

(Momentum And Impetus)
Essence/content/method/direction – these are points of tension that we negotiate as they shift across the plane of practice: foreground to background to somewhere in the middle. The constant shifting builds up momentum and at the meeting points, we come together to progress along a single trajectory according to a precise internal logic. We are not so concerned with being progressive as we are with making progress. There is a wider context of momentum in which we sit, and from which we cannot isolate ourselves. But our objective, our impetus, is not to perfect the outcome of this wave into something remarkable in history. We are excited that we don’t know what the outcome will be – for our work or this time – and we are not afraid that it may be familiar. We expect to be judged by all of this.


POSTSCRIPT: TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It)

The world is changing and we are in flux. In days of crisis, preparation is paramount – tinned food, bottled water, weapons and batteries. Investment, bullion, private pensions and benefactors – planning and contingency for the WCS.(3)

Instead of initiating the WCS, TEOTWAWKI simply births the unknown and the new, unveiling a whole series of possibilities ahead. Being prepared is a willing anticipation; it is a commitment to the future, a future that in this instance is shared and requires both belief and perseverance. In the same way that ‘apocalypse’ is equal only to ‘change’, implicit in TEOTWAWKI, is a fundamental newness.

Survivalism ensures longevity in the face of adversity. Longevity means (a) survival in practice.


(1) ‘Prepper’, also ‘survivalist’ – from ‘preparedness’ – one who makes practical preparations for large scale emergencies including environmental disasters, biological warfare, societal breakdown etc.

(2) The End Of The World As We Know It

(3) Worst Case Scenario.

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