Week 50: Mildred's Lane

Hi Everyone,

This Tuesday is another event in a year-long series of weekly conversations and exhibits in 2010 shedding light on examples of Plausible Artworlds.

This week we’ll be talking with J. Morgan Puett, co-founder (with Mark Dion) of Mildred’s Lane, a long-term collaborative experiment in research and event-based practices situated on a 92-acre farm compound in the upper Delaware River Valley region of Pennsylvania.


Mildred’s Lane might be simply described as an “artists’ colony” — a remote location, bringing artists and art-related practitioners together for discussions, shack building, worldmaking and dinners — except that given the methodological agenda, it is actually more oriented toward “decolonizing” our very conceptions of art and the world. As they put it: “The project is actively reassembling the terms of exchange and collaboration, and enthusiastically soliciting participation to co-evolve our (inter and intra) institutional engagements. It means to be a revolutionary rigorous rethinking (the 3 Rs) of the contemporary art complex.” “Complex” is a nice term, largely but not quite synonymous with “world”, adding an interesting nuance by suggesting an intricate plurality within a single expanded field.

The project statement suggests that this is not so much art about life, but literally life about art — everyday living as practice: “The core of the project practice and educational philosophy at Mildred’s Lane is an attempt to collectively create new modes of being in the world — this idea incorporates questions of our relation to the environment, systems of labor, forms of dwelling, new sociality — all of which compose an ethics of comportment – and are embodied in workstyles. As a participant at Mildred’s Lane these issues will be negotiated daily through the rethinking of one’s involvements with food, shopping, making, styling, gaming, sleeping, reading, thinking and doing. This is a program and a place where a work-live-research environment is developed to foster a rigorous engagement with every aspect of life. The entire curriculum is based on experimentally rethinking being as a practice.”