PHILOSOPROPS: A UNIFIED FIELD GUIDE by Alyce Santoro (2013)
‘Philosoprops’ are devices,implements, or illustrations.
In this crowdfunded hundred page book Alyce Santoro, an American marine biologist with an artistic bent, provides a thought-provoking guide to how her “sharable forms of expression” can help people to think differently about their surroundings and relationships with others.
Via this publication and her ‘Center For The Obvious & (Im)Permacultural Research’, her aim is to produce audio/visual prompts that challenge common misconceptions about the environment and society.
Her work is humourous and quirky but her motives are serious. She is fired by a profound opposition to the profit obsessions of corporate interests.
Her actions are motivated by the belief that we should “cease to be passive consumers and become engaged social architects”.
Santoro is something of a maverick but her voice that is very much in tune with that of the Occupy movement and she calls for empathy as a cure for isolation.
One of her best known images is her upside down LIFE which succinctly makes the point about the mess the world is in right now.
It’s a sign of the times that she spent a night in jail for posting stickers with this image on the streets of New York. She wants people to ask of her work “What does it MEAN?” and was quite chuffed when prosecuting lawyers described her pieces as “non-specific philosophical humor”.
These are my favourite quotes from the book:
- “Imagination is the enemy of the mogul”,
- “Interconnectedness is the true nature of being”.
- “To become profoundly free we must become profoundly interdependent”.
- “Until we begin to perceive ourselves not as superior but as equal and integral to all other phenomena, our misguided actions will continue to serve as a destructive force in the world”.
- “By allowing ourselves to think in less linear, literal, rigid ways and by instead cultivating forms of thought and dialog that are more encompassing, cyclical, and even accepting of contradiction and paradox, we may discover new ways to relate and cooperate with forces once seen as opposing”.
- “Changing what is “normal” in societies that are deeply influenced by corporate interests begins with rejection of forms of space (e.g., shopping malls, cloned fast food/coffee conglomerates, cubicle workspaces) and time (e.g., chronic busyness, obsessive scheduling, being “on the clock”) that reinforce behaviors and routines that alienate individuals from one another, from the development of a sense of connection to place, and from the clarity of mind that arises when we feel integrated and composed”.