Week 50: Mildred's Lane

Mildred’s Lane

I’m Christina McFee, I’m a new media and visual artist.


Where is there?

I’m Scott, I’m here in Philadelphia in an apartment with my daughter Parker.

And there’s Steven there.

Yes, in Paris.

Hey Steven, what the hell? You’re in that apartment I’m going to live in next year.

Exactly, make yourself at home.

How are ya’ll?

Speaking for myself, I’m great. How are you Morgan?

I’m really good. I’m sorry I’m a little late.

No problem we’re used to that.

And who is this other person, Lanas Quinton?

I did the same thing Morgan, this is Greg. Hi how are you?


Yeah, that’s Quentin and he’s also one of the interns here this year from Nice also with Matthew and they are at the Basekamp space with a number of other people.


Interestingly, I’m at a Skype named Basekamp but I’m not at that space. But Basekamp is actually a group of people all over the place so, hence the confusion by that space by the same name.

This is very, but I’ll go with it.

Hey Morgan, this is Theresa here, Theresa Rosana.


Hey, how’s it going?

Listen, I’ve been carrying around a thank you note for my backpack, and I’m going to send it but I could never find where your address was. I felt embarrassed to ask to send you a thank you note.

Don’t worry about it. You just said thank you.

I’m so glad you’re here. Good to see you, I mean hear you.

Yeah, you too.

Who else is out there?

Yeah, well Maggie Lawson just texted in.

Oh gosh, I have to read and listen now.

It’s ok. You don’t necessarily have to we can kind of translate between the two.

This is good brain exercise. Can Maggie Lawson hear me?

Yeah I love you too, I didn’t want to interfere with the conference call but yes, I can hear you. I’m Maggie, I’m a visual artist in Oakland, California and I’ve been following the talks via the internet so. Looked like an interesting project I wanted to hear what you were doing.

Oh good! Welcome!

Thank you.

And ya’ll thanks Basekamp for having me here and I’m sorry I’ve been so hard to get a hold of. It’s just been a rough season for me. Anyway, let’s start because I know we’re behind schedule here. How do ya’ll want to proceed?

Generally we welcome you and we don’t usually go into a long introduction about what exactly you’re representing but usually it might be nice to make a, you know just briefly say, I know we’ve mentioned it to you for a while but why we’ve invited you as a representative of Mildred’s Lane and why we wanted to talk with you about that. In short, as you know, this year we’ve been talking every week, and if anyone else is here for the first time or not very often, we’ve been talking every week with different representatives from what we’re calling Plausible Art Worlds. Whether or not your project or the projects of the people that we’re asking to come on board are self-identified as developing alternative art worlds or rethinking art worlds structures. It’s useful for us to describe it that way because we’re looking at art worlds as the things that people build that both help in our practice to be able to be sustainable to actually exist as such and a group of people that helps define what art is within that context. You at Mildred’s Lane have been doing a lot of interesting things for quite a while and we really just wanted to catch up with you and talk with you about it, in the context of, how what you’re doing compares to, practically speaking, what’s currently seen as the art world or what’s generally on offer in a mainstream. So if you, I’m kind of pausing here, stopping and starting.

Do you want me to jump in?

Yeah, if you don’t mind just giving a brief introduction about Mildred’s Lane to people who might not know and maybe give us a sense of what you do and we can just kind of discuss from there.

Ok. I’m trying to see who… Ok, well, for those of you who do know, forgive me, but Mildred’s Lane is an ongoing collaboration between myself, Mark Dione, our son Gray Rabbit Puit and a lot of our friends and colleagues across disciplines. So, if we could just sort of look to, and I’m quoting someone but I don’t know who it is, “Let art go fallow” for a little while and just sort of rethink what that landscape is. Mildred’s Lane is a place where we’re just concerned with living, researching, working in an environment that’s loaded because it’s domestic. It’s a domestic environment and I’m going to talk more about that probably a little while longer but right now I just probably should say that it’s a place in upper Pennsylvania, north eastern Pennsylvania, a real crusty farm. Some of you… Can you hear me still?

Yeah, we’re just adding other people to the call periodically.

Ok, I heard that ringing. Some of you have been here, some of you haven’t. Theresa you can chime in and back me up on anything because she’s been here. It is unusual in the sense that, I mean I really don’t know what happened, but it’s evolved, co-evolved with institutions, with friends, with the community into what we call a new contemporary art complex city. It’s a really living, breathing museum we’re building with our friends. It’s an ongoing project, it’s been sort of slowly evolving over the last fifteen years or more and it’s become a site where there are active projects ongoing, and they are very slow moving and long term, but we have this 92 acre little parcel, upper Delaware recreation valley and it is very magical and I think that’s all I’ll say for a minute because I want questions and then I can go on.

Yeah, did you say it’s 92 acres?

92 acres, well it’s probably a little bit more like 95 acres.

Yeah, that’s not a little parcel exactly.

No, it’s not.

That’s quite a place. I was thinking maybe I could just bring up one of the things that was discussed right before you got on. I was wondering if you guys who organized Mildred’s Lane would see what you’re doing in any way as being, if you would see Mildred’s Lane as being interested in developing a kind of prototype alternative art world? Do you think that’s a fair thing to say or do you think that it should be distinguished?

No that’s unfair. Like I said, I would really rather the term art go fallowed because it’s really about what we call work styles, as opposed to Bruce Maus lifestyles, recomposing lifestyles. Work styles are how we as artists or practitioners from any discipline live and work and research in the every-day environment, and how difficult it is now not only to get funded to do that but to find jobs, you know teaching jobs. We found that it was incredibly frustrating terrain, all of our peers griping about teaching, griping about funding, griping about being taken advantage of or not getting paid and just frustrated with the bureaucracy of teaching. Really it sort of became a real discourse that finally we felt, well god dammit, let’s do something about it. You know this is a spinning off of all the institutional critique artists that are sort of our peers. But I’d really like to think that this is a moving on from institutional critique. I like to use more biological, universal terms like co-evolving. We are trying to now co-evolve with the critical 20th century and move into the 21st century and find alternatives. We’re not meaning to be any model. There are so many changes ongoing all the time. There’s no manifesto or statement or model that we want to make. I think that that would be once again repeating sort of those static critical positions.

You’re right. We don’t usually like the term model either.  We’re really interested in looking at examples and accompanying them and doing that ourselves as well. If I said models I probably was out of term.

No, but it’s a good thing to bring up and say out loud.


Sort of nullify the term so don’t ever forget. Somebody’s got to go, sorry Mary Margaret, we’ll see you later. I’m looking down and seeing, Ok, some people are writing. We’re going….oh is he supporting it I see. I’m trying to see how this is working.

Morgan hi, that was my comment. I was doing a little bit of a commentary on what you were saying but actually I had a question that I just typed in a second ago.

Ok, let me just see it. Go ahead and ask it.

Well, you started off by saying that you’re involved with people from other disciplines as if, I mean by saying other you made it sound like art was a discipline too. I kind of wonder if art is a discipline or if that’s  a useful and relevant way to describe art because it kind of makes it, you know discipline kind of goes hand in hand with penitentiaries  and those kind of institutions. I kind of like to think of art as not being a discipline but although rigorous being extra disciplinary.

Ok, one, I think you’re absolutely right about that, but two, I think you’re absolutely wrong about that. Let me explain. I think that we’re referring to the way we thought about art in the past, especially between the 19th century right? That has just become a discipline in the 20th century, in the 19th century there was a more romantic view of art and going earlier in history obviously it was an employable subject. But not to take it on with such these grandiose or general perspectives that is a discipline such as penitentiaries because then you put, ok democratically, you put two penitentiaries next to science, biology, nursing and so on, so I’m not so sure that it’s extra disciplinary either. But, in the spirit, as you brought up, at creative time summit, I think they need a new explanation for the term. I’m not sure, I mean I think this could go on forever but, perhaps in this context let’s think of art as an overall life and you know what it’s potentiality is. Does that make sense?

That sounds great. I just wanted, I was being a little political. I hate to admit it but…

Some people like that. That’s good. That’s fine. Does that make sense? We can move forward and not spend the next hour arguing about what art is.

Actually we haven’t spent very long at all.

What we want to do is hear about what Mildred’s Lane is.

You know what? Mildred’s Lane is a home. Mildred’s Lane is a neutral home because of practices that we’ve chosen to apply here. It could be any home, it could be anywhere, but I think it’s our curiosity that goes there and I’m only going to try to use terminology that broadens the subject because it’s pretty mundane to say, you know,  here I am, I’m a single parent living with a kid in the middle of the woods. For some reason, you know, it’s become something else, because it’s not that simple. A lot of people have moved in and out of here. We’ve had…originally this property was bought with two other artists. They sort of had a very sad divorce. They sort of moved apart, moved away. Mark and I lived a life here and then also our careers really…other people pulled us apart. We were floating in these other drains, yet we still…Mark and I had a kid together, and so biologically we still are so centered here. Though I’m speaking for him I think he feels the same way. This is kind of a life project and it’s slowly evolved into a situation where we grew up with all of our friends doing projects here, doing presentations here, you know we made a long time practice of a very incredible (inaudible) dinners and then suddenly woke up one day and we were middle aged. And now all of our friends are in all of the collections around. We realized there was a moment for it, there was a place where this thing could fall apart. We decided, oh my golly, we’re producing history, why stop? I think that’s what it was, is just recognizing what the home, what this potentiality could be and so we proceeded. We proceeded a little more formally and took on all of the complaints and gripes (inaudible) All of our friends are now teaching in all of these hobbies, they’re deans at institutions, they’re presidents at these schools and they’re scientists, economists and geologists, historians writing books about this subject. So, why not turn the place into a place where we can all think tank and discourse these ideas out? So our crude site, which is this really crusty, crusty site, slowly we’ve been building into this future. I think it’s future becoming. There’s no end to it, there’s no statement that I want to say. It just is. I’m going to stop for a minute so people can chime in. I got to read what people are saying.

Is it possible to ask a question?


I’m really interested in your speaking about this site is kind of open ended or endless and making history, I’m wondering about the spacial aspect of that. How have you worked with the architectural potential there at the site to sort of carry out these ideals?

Well, ideals is a problematic term too. First of all, it started out as a very democratic problem. We had four people sort of proposing what we could do with the site. So very early on, I think we got this place in 1997, very early on we were thinking of how to deal with it because it really had no electricity, no septic system, no well, no running water. So it’s been 12/13 years coming now where we have taken on each one of those things single handedly. I guess I’m the one that’s been living here pretty much most of the time. Because a person (Inaudible) in and out in a single day, so I’ve pretty much moved out of New York and sort of set up shop here and then just have been going back and it was in 2000 when I actually had a baby and I pulled out of New York all together and then just been solidly working on this as the site architect but in a broader sense of the term architect, as a sort of a moveable collective. The site’s been opened up to friends to propose projects that will keep the landscape inventions. Really opposing the traditional sculpture park, blob art kind of situation. You know what I mean?


So everything that we do here is active or interactive, every folly, every little building, every art project that never went anywhere, that got shipped back to us and we’ve rebuilt here, has become a dwelling for a visiting artist or visitor. We even have a little stack of little projects that Mark and I both have out in the construction yard, we call it, that still have to be produced here. But it’s just a matter of time, money and man power.

In a way you’re saying that there’s a kind of a, what I’m hearing you say is something about new kinds of habitation or domestic habitation is a big interest.

Definitely, creative domesticating, I refer to it. I think the domestic environment is socially and politically really potent right now. Really thanks to our economics and our global situation. There’s this rash of interest (inaudible) time and I think it’s really (inaudible) that people have taken it on and we’re not the only ones, by golly, and I support every colleague (inaudible) that are actually intending to turn their homes into a site of discursive, critical discursive (inaudible). But yes, the place….

So you’re…I’m sorry go ahead.

No she asked, so go ahead because I’m going to go on describing the place for her.

Yeah, I was just going to say, so you see….I’m sorry I’m having a difficult, difficulty talking right now. I have a three year old crawling on my back. Hold on a sec.

See, see what I mean?

I know. I know.  So yeah, what you’re describing is an idea of a

It looks like you’ve been sort of the translator here. I’m backing up the

We often do that because

It’s a good record.

Yeah, and it’s helpful for people that don’t always get the best audio and it keeps a syncing between what’s happening on the text chat and the audio chat.

You know what let me qualify a couple of things here because I’m reading the archives and it sounds really silly. “We are making history.” Let me back up two steps and say that our friends who are doing projects here became sort of think tank projects and then got spit out into the art world. Ok, let’s use that art world for a moment. Such as, let me use the “Elephant Smith” project that was at the public arts fund in New York in 2005. Huge success, huge project, got a lot of press. The 2004 version of that was kind of the dress rehearsal as I often like to think it as. Where she experimented with the idea, here build a site first. I think those kinds of things happen here quietly before they move into the world where people are actually trying things out. Allison’s was particular success, also there are people who have been our friends then  to have attended events and discourse this year who have now proposed projects such as Jasai Midwaney, he has a glass pavilion on proposal and it’s just a matter of getting the funding to do it. Although, what we’re not keen on is looking to the art world for funding. What we’ve tried to develop is a real interesting co-evolving situation with institutions. So the very frustrated terrain that we make our livings in has suddenly got on board and supported our efforts and set up scholarships, programs where they’ll send students to help us create that Jasai Midwaney project. His is not on the schedule for next year but it’s coming up pretty soon. It’s a very convoluted and crazy thing that’s going on that actually the institutions are supporting chaos here.

Can I add to that? This is Carolyn Morgan, hi. I just thought I should add to the comment about the culture there. Just as someone who’s experienced Mildred’s Lane a lot and been helped by it. I feel like it’s a great place to have long term discussions with people who really care about issues that are overlooked in the, like larger, art world. So, the retail think tank has helped me incredibly because it’s a community pretty rigorous artists who are at the edge of the art world doing really great work and spending a long time together really. Just hunkering down and having all their meals together and talking about issues that are often overlooked so that retail think tank has helped me incredibly.

Let me just qualify. What she’s referring to, retail 21st century is one of several (inaudible), so at any given moment in a year there are many (inaudible) going on but what’s interesting is they’re strewn out they don’t have deadlines, they don’t have endings or beginnings, they’re strewn out over our lives. So retail 21st century is a project that’s been going on for three years and it’s evolving into it’s fourth year and Carolyn saying too…because I want to talk more about that for sure. I’m so glad you’re here.

Yeah, of course.

But yeah, jumping around, retail 21st century, Carolyn’s project grew out of that discourse, I think that Carolyn, you should talk about that. It’s like a little epiphany at the very first think tank and Carolyn…

I mean I can put a link to it but I was just saying, yeah. It’s kind of a specific example but it’s just a sense that people are there to help each other, think through the topics that really matter most to them. So, getting all the people, Christine Hill and Allison Smith and Claire (inaudible) in a room together for a week is really incredible. Like a lot of work gets done and generated that way.

Thank you. Anybody else? I got to catch up, this reading/talking thing is very difficult so I’m distracted.

Well, most of the text comments so far have been not really transcriptions but…

Yeah, I see, Ok.

We’re more taking notes I guess. You know I wanted to say that I’ve been sort of, I’ve kind of had a hard time giving…

Pardon me?

I’ve had a hard time presenting a coherent thought during this because of wrangling a small kid, but I think I’m in a better position where I can ask you a better question now. If that’s ok?


What I’m hearing a little bit, I mean there’s a lot of interesting things coming up here, but one of the things I wanted to ask, I guess sort of, bring up earlier was not to belabor questions about defining art necessarily or somehow focusing on that partly because it’s boring and also it may not really be very useful. But at the same time I think we’re approaching a kind of clash of terminology a little bit because, what I think I was really asking was about the kinds of alternative structures that you are helping to set up just with the example of what you are doing at house, and the kind of structure that you are proposing beyond just what you’re doing. You’re imagining a network of similar things, maybe not exactly the same but you know of independent initiatives. That’s a kind of proposal and I think, the kind of proposal that it is, is a proposal for another kind of art system, otherwise known as an art world. I think what I meant by clashing terminology is that we’re really not that interested in talking about what’s often referred to as the Artworld, with a capital A or whatever, with a capital T whichever. But really looking at the various kinds of systems that people are setting up as artists, not just the objects or “projects” that they are making but the actual set ups that you’re developing. I know that you’re an artist and you do all sorts of things but one of the things that you do is set up this. You know which I think you can see as an artwork but I think it’s also a kind of, a kind of structure and it has meaning for you and for the people that are involved but it also might shed some light on what else is possible. If you know what I mean.

Yeah, I agree. You know I do do a lot of things but if you look at my scope of work which actually on my website it’s really I mean, it has not been updated for several years because, I’ve been so focused on these things.  Life has been going too fast but the work is all about Mike. It’s about shared experiences, it’s about collectivity and you know modes of living, modes of being. In all of my writings and statements and lectures the most paramount thing that I put across there is being is the practice. Being is the complex practice and it’s taking on, you know the social and political head on. It evolves and I list them out, we’ve all heard it but I’m going to say it again. The environment, all of those issues like we are completely, I mean cemented in the issues of hydraulic gas factoring up here in Northeastern Pennsylvania which will absolutely poison our earth where we will not be able to have free border, we will not have organic food because our ground will be too toxic. Although the government keeps lowering the standards for certified organic where no one will ever know. You know, so, we are grounded in the environment we are grounded in modes of dwelling so, it’s not you. Modes of dwelling, where we’re rethinking what is comfort? Comfort is essential to our being, our being creative, our being intellectual. We need enough sleep, we need enough rest and we need comforts. It’s something I want to talk about later. Another one is clothing apparatus, I believe clothing is the intersection of all these discourses. If you talk about it historically, politically, socially, clothing is absolutely a terrain that my entire adult practice has been involved with. Clothing relates to dwelling, dwelling relates to clothing. Another thing and the most important thing, is creative domesticating, which I started the conversation out with.  I like to wrap all of these things up in what I call an ethics of comportment. The comportment of how we are, how we behave on this planet with all of these other human beings. So I’m furling the early language because you wanted to keep going back to this other art world. It’s not that so much as that art complexity again. It’s a complexity living, working, and researching. I bang this out again and again because it’s kind of a new association language. Does that make sense?

Sure. I think art complexity is an, I mean we’re not really stuck on terminology necessarily. I think, one of the main reasons that we actually decided to continue to talk about art worlds, albeit you know in the plural, is because I think, often a lot of our work and many people that we have known that have been doing something besides what you mentioned earlier that you don’t want to really focus on either and kind of institutional critique, people that are saying, “well we don’t just want to criticize what’s there we want to be involved in reshaping what’s in the world,” and part of that is working with existing institutions but also part of it is sidestepping them all together and doing something completely different, whether it’s off grid or…

The thing is that people really forget that, you know sidestepping is about, you know, doing it well in your own domestic environment. Doing it in the way you perceive and not following the mainstream. I’ve recently been doing a lot of study on Thoreau for this project is Boston. He speaks about how we follow this path, same path, you know and how he talks about falling into this rhythm of the path, from his house to Walden pond and he walks this path daily and it starts wearing a trench. Then he talks about how he visits the same place years later and how people sort of fall into that path and they just follow it. Then he talks and expels more about how difficult it is to get off the path, break habits and move off the path. Weed whack so to speak. It’s really beautiful to look at the way he (inaudible) Ironically, the 21st century (inaudible). Are ya’ll still there?


In the mid 20th century and we look at (inaudible), it’s a great example, which is one of the first things we looked at when we started the retail 21st century think tank, which I want to get back to, Carolyn, if you’re still there. But it’s getting off the beaten path and creating new paths and rather not even walking but lifting up and sailing. Getting up and imagine not putting your feet down on the ground at all. What does that mean? Here’s a question, Keith Richards, “autobiographer recently”…Keith Richards? Oh I clothed him at some point. “the rest of the time he’s awake and as he said so to demoralize most people twice as much can we apply that logic to your kind of art practice? I mean you have turned” (inaudible). I’m reading this, “as you know I am a strong supporter of your practice, saying I’m a fan of your life. But, isn’t there a risk of someone cheapening life by declaring it to be art?” Excuse me but I never declared it to be art. “Isn’t there a real case to be made for demanding a specific anta logical status for art and for life, rather than conflating them? I am of few minds of this personally but what are your thoughts?” Well, first of all, I’m not saying my life is art. I’m saying let’s let the term art go fallow so that we can actually talk about existence?

Morgan I think I sorry.

Let me just finish this question. (inaudible) is great explainer, which I really like.(inaudible) I could move anywhere from here but I’ve just been in that head lately. “Declaring it to be art” It depends, ya’ll are falling back on this term that I’ve hoped we could let go fallow for the conversation because there’s no anchor. I would rather be on a ship floating forward. I’m not anchoring at any terms right now and I’m answering these questions one by one. He asks again, “Isn’t there a clear case to be made for demanding a specific anta logical status for art and for life?” Ok, let me back up. Keith Richards, you know, made a pretty cocky sort of statement there. I just wanted to ironically say that I clothed Keith Richards. Again, clothing becoming an (inaudible) to talk about and now I’m going back down here. You know, that’s been done again and again, “Isn’t there a clear case?” It’s been done. “Rather than conflating them”, I don’t know that I am conflating them but I am saying that it doesn’t matter to me what you call this. It’s interesting that the term art is applied, I do have a deep history with that term but I’m moving on. I have two mindless persons, yeah, yeah, yeah, I understand the dilemma but God leave it behind.

Morgan, I think the thing is, this isn’t a new conversation for us. I mean, we’re not stuck on, I mean I think most of the people on this chat aren’t stuck on the term art.

It’s been the subject of your conversation in all of the Basekamp dialogues, right?

Well, in this particular year we focused on a specific question. Which is, so many people that we know are doing other things, but one of the things that I think, I mean I’m not really sure why you got into a work as artists in the first place. Maybe that would be an interesting thing to talk about.

How I got to where?

Wanting to work as an artist in the first place. Perhaps that would be an interesting thing to talk about at some point. But for now, I think, there should be no shame.

I have no shame.

Well, it’s not an accusation, it’s more of a general dilemma that we’re facing and I think a lot of people are facing, which is we try to do something different right? Something different that’s not on offer in the world that we’re not satisfied with because we know that often what’s on offer in mainstream leads to a certain kind of world. No matter how hard we try, regardless of what we do eventually, I mean we may have different outcomes from what we do, one to one experiences with other people, impacting certain communities, inspiring others, and so on you know. But at a certain point what we do, and if you don’t mind me finishing this, because I feel like we’re having a little bit of a disconnect here. Where you feel like we’re sort of putting up a barrier to discussion, I think that what we keep winding up with often is that a lot of alternative art practices continue to be framed within existing systems that defang it where that sort of channel in a very specific direction. I think what you’re doing, I’m super interested in your interests and your modes that you’re not concerned with art hardly at all. That’s great. These conversations are about, “hey, could you just sort of step into the conversation for just a moment”, about how what you are doing could be useful to other people. How you can continue to be, if you want to say, inspiration or affect or whatever. Other people who are just pouring out of schools, people who are channeled into art education systems because they’ve expressed more general creativity whether it’s connected to art or not. There’s a push in that direction right? And they’re going through these education bills and they’re being taught how to be a creative person in the world for these systems. So I think what you’re doing and what a lot of other people are doing are finding other ways to explore what it means to have to have a creative life. But you can’t do that only within the existing systems. You’re helping to create other ones and I think that’s what we want to look at.

I hope I’m not coming off defensive, really I was just getting excited. And sometimes my tone gets excited but it sounds really, it starts getting really, really offensive. It’s completely a conundrum to me that there’s so much interest in the way that these things are moving right here at Mildred’s Lane. But I think just to address what you say is that I think that critically, there’s a lot of hoopla around the term social practice. If I could just stab through that middle right there and what we’re doing, and Mildred’s Lane’s, what Mildred’s Lane’s doing is sort of lumped into these modes but I don’t think that we’ve been doing anything….now my son is starting to get me to giggle and distracting me….I don’t think that what we’re doing has been anything we’ve been doing for decades, but terms sort of catch up with you. Terms follow people, you know, the trend of terms. Let’s just, you know, I want to drop the term forecasting  mechanisms which I’ll get back to later if we can get back to retail 21st century think tank. But these terms are dredged up for purpose, they’ve become co-modifiable. Art is one of those terms I’m afraid to say, in the 21st century and the 20th century even. I think that that’s very suspect. What I have to say to those people who are sort of making those decisions and moving into those drains is, who and what are you doing it for? I’d liked to ask a series of questions. Who and what are you doing it for? And another question would be, who is actually in control or who desires control? Are you able to live poorly or humbly or do you desire to have money? What are your motivations for these avenues? And most of all, where is that money coming from? I think that those are questions that interestingly the world of non-profits are particularly interested in, but I don’t want to be in the non-profit world. I mean, we’re going through this terrible growing pain of do we, don’t we, do we, don’t we. What is it about the home that is somehow more extraordinarily and potent socially and politically now then ever before? That’s the question I’m interested in and that’s the question I’m interested in sort of keeping up in the air, because I think the home, domesticity has this new potency that we should be moving toward. I laid out a big section there and I want to take out each one of those questions but somebody interrupt me so I can re-gather and proceed which way we want to go. Who’s Parker? Hello? Is anybody there?

Yeah, we’re all here. Parker is Scot’s daughter and I think…

Did everybody leave?

No, we’re all here.

I was on such a rant, everybody left.

No, no. Scot had to step out for a bit to do some fatherly duties but…

I understand. I understand.

Listen, there’s a couple more questions, Morgan already, you’re just like a, you know it’s like, you just sort of stoke our questions. I think Christina has one. Christina you want to ask your question out loud?

Let me read that. Shall I read it out loud, Christina?

Sure go ahead.

Volume 0 the spacial ocean is a design…

Alright, I’m back

My god I was answering all these questions and talking and no one was there.

Well sometimes it works this way sometimes it doesn’t.

Christina, I was sitting there having a whole dialogue with your question

No, I can now. Speak, Speak.

I was going through your whole thing for the last 5 minutes.

Oh cool. Ok, well sometimes I write better than I talk. I don’t know, sorry. So I didn’t say that I just wrote a note.

I was ending up with Hidigir’s dwelling and I follow you and I understand. I think it’s a very important term that you introduced and I know that people have a big issue with Hidiger. Get over it you know, he did have a brilliant idea that we’re still reeling off of it and I think that’s where I go back to being, although it’s not the right of being necessarily. It’s so complex now through Fuco and Deluse and above all Bruno Lauture. I’m more interested in moving beyond. I’m not so interested in (inaudible) but actually dredging up what’s good and seeing what’s in the funicular tradition.

I think that’s…go ahead. Yeah, I think that this idea of trying to use what’s good and take it to a new place. That’s kind of a really core value and sort of a critical design project.  So I think that this is where it excites me about what you are doing, whether you call it art or life, it kind of doesn’t matter.

I call it work styles.

Exactly and I think when you combine a little equation or a little algebra here of work styles X dwelling =what? I mean it’s like going into some kind of interesting potential space of development in which you’re continuously architecting something new. That’s why you say that it’s history but it’s not ending. So, which is kind of an oxymoron and yet is something that you’re actually doing in a pragmatic way. That’s really exciting.

Well, I’m excited. I’m excited that people keep coming and keep creating due discourses and just being a part of it. We’re opening a new project, Carolyn, are you still there?

Yeah, I’m here.

We’re opening a new project. In our third year of retail 21st century, which is one of the sessions during the summer think tank, that she reeled off a few names who are involved with that Claire Pintacos, Brian Hongs, Christina Hill, Carolyn Hopkingsberg, Allison Smith, Lacey Wosney, Carolyn fill in where I’m filling the blanks, Deena Cockoronas,

I think you’ve had a lot of them, I don’t know.

It goes on and on because you know, it’s sort of a, it’s open ended. All of these dialogues are open ended but we’re entering a new phase that we’re actually moving and tackling the old notions of community and new notions of sociality on to mainstream USA in a little village called (inaudible), New York. Upper Delaware river, just about two miles from here, so it’s very convenient, so that we can think tank and move in. We’re actually going to rent a store front and do a series of experiments. There’s also a class that I’m part time faculty this next season with a class of students that are going to be involved and becoming the diplomats in this project where we develop relationships in a community. Every artist that does a project in the store front space, which is still indescribable because it’s not a gallery, it’s not a store, we will make product, we will have events, we will have food, we will not do other things. I mean it might be just quiet for a little while, but whatever happens in this store front space, the one rule is that the artists have to collaborate with someone in mainstream USA. There’s a weaver, a real estate agency, two home stores, there’s a knitting store, two cafes and a restaurant, there’s a furniture store, there’s a funeral home, a couple of flea markets, there’s a hardware store a lumber yard, it’s endless. It’s a real mainstream USA that has sort of been gentrified into this fancier town for part time New Yorkers to come to. So, it’s a very interesting site to sort of play around with. You want to chime in Carolyn and answer questions about and I can go on? Or I’ll just keep talking.

Yeah, I don’t know. Maybe we should see what people want to ask.

I thought I’d let you know, there’s a couple of blurbs on the Mildred’s Lane website under “Town & Country” about what sort of the general interests are of that think tank but in a nutshell it’s about the future of exchange, future of exchange and collaboration. And what that means to us. How can we sort of take hold of the way things go? I’m not seeing any text here. Basekamp, “back in action sometimes I feel like I’m talking to myself”, I was talking to myself. “How do we get involved?” How would you like to be involved? What interests you about it, Greg?

Everything, I’m just curious what different capacities folks can get involved. You know, like if we’re not close by or…

Well, we will some kind of internet interface there. That’s one thing, I think, that’s crucial. So, I think we’ll have an ongoing dialogue in the space like this, so that people can chime in and say what’s going on there and then someone, whomever is ambassador of the space, will be involved with that.


I was also thinking that if any of these people listening are interested with helping in web design or helping with research online and things like organizing conversations, they could help that way.

Yes, that’s definitely true.

Is there a time frame for this to take place?

We’re starting the ambassador rounds in January. We don’t have a space secured yet, although there’s one pending. But I’m actually being a little open. We will have office space down there, as soon as, probably within the next month. But we won’t have the store front probably, our opening schedule is May 2011, hopefully. If all things go well and we get the space that we’re sort of hanging on to. But there’s some complications, you know, mainstreet is pretty tight. We’re sort of waiting to see what’s unfolding here.  We will be present in the office at least by February or March at the latest.

By we, you mean Mildred’s Lane, the office?

Well, actually this entity will be called the Mildred Complexity and “ity” at the end of the word complex, it’s like complex but “ity” is in quotation marks. I mean excuse me in parenthesis, so the Mildred Complex really but it’s a complexity.  We are not seeking non-profit, but we will be a not for profit endeavor. That is going to be an interesting discourse. How will we proceed to (inaudible) subject who the incredible rigid terrain of capitalism. I mean I think that there’s so many modes that we have not yet experienced or experimented with and I’m looking for that kind of discourse. How do we get around these big boulders as (inaudible) bolder and the bolder of capitalism, realizing that it’s there, that’s absolutely infected the entire world and how do we proceed around it? Who’s giggling?

I have a question and I’m laughing, I’m sorry to be laughing, I do apologize but I’m wondering how people are going to pay. Are they paying their way to come to this? I mean like if you’re far away, how does one afford to spend time in the Complex(ity)…

What do you mean pay?

How does it get paid? Let’s say a person, how can a person manage to go to this? What’s the financial basis, I mean not all financing is capitalistic so I’m just trying, it’s just a pragmatic question about how we can do this that’s all I want to know.

Let me clarify and I’m referring to Brian I’m assuming because he’s the one who speaks about capitalism being a fact that we have to live with. That we sort of work with it and figure out ways around it. I’m interested in how do we find new modes of exchange and just what retail is interested in. Carolyn Woolard’s one of the most brilliant examples to date out there in the world inventing new modes of exchange with her peers. But, Mildred’s Lane proper, two things, the Mildred Complex(ity) and Mildred’s Lane proper most of all is a generosity endeavor, you know by myself and Mark Dion. Interestingly we’ve gotten institutions to support it by creating scholarships to send students here every year and there’s a handful of incredibly innovative institutions that have bizarrely created scholarships to send students here every year. That scholarship money goes towards paying minimal travel stipends for our friends to come, pays for all of our food, it pays for all of the staff, which are not servants, they are actually collaborators and they are working hardest amongst us and it basically barely covers the cost. There are a bunch of independent artists who also apply and we select and they pay to come and they pay their own way. But ideally I like to go to, again continuing the collapse of institutional critique and moving forward into something that’s more co-evolutionary with institutions. I like to think that institutions can quietly come up with these funds to send people here. The Mildred Complex(ity), on the other hand, will be a complete experiment in how it supports itself. The first investments are a generosity project by me and my collaborators which will partially be the students and other artists like Abby Lutz, Athena Congronis, Monique Millicent, other artists that are in this area but, that will be helping to create a series of what we call “Rent Dresses”, so we’re going to create a series of dresses that are dredged up from whatever we find here at Mildred’s Lane that will be sold off for each month’s rent. So, that’s how we’re going to support the overhead as we come up with kind of a thread product, like the “Rent Dress” idea to sort of support what the needs are. And we’ll come up with a in each case that there is a need. It’s just that we’re interested in other modes of exchange which might include barter. Such as Carolyn’s model. It might include monetary exchange but services for services or whatever that will be, I mean it’s as yet to be defined. There’s all of this is up for grabs but, each event based and discourse based practice that happens in the space, it might not be tangible. Whatever it is will just have to come up with a small mode of supporting itself and supporting the artist that goes with it. We’re also going to try to make an alliance with Delaware Valley Artist Alliance which is also on mainstreet. We hope that we get some support through them that will help our meager endeavors. But it’s a tire experiment, it’s a tire experiment where we are completely open to ideas and if you’d like to be a part of the discourse we welcome it.

So you’ve asked institutions for help and you’ve gotten educational grant funding…

No, we have no funding, none.

You have no funding from, sorry I was under the impression that you explained that Mildred’s Lane itself was partially funded by grants that support students,

No, they’re not grants

some undefined students like high school students maybe or sometime student. So I was just wondering whether there’s some artists who are not students, how do they…they would need to get there somehow right? Whatever project they might have would be able to translate into some type of goods for exchange, whether by barter or into monetary system, in some way their object or project or something has to…

Let me clarify, and I’m sorry I presumed that you knew…Mildred’s Lane is not grants actually. MFA or EFA students in schools all across the world, they are not all art schools, they’re universities, they are science students or history students they are trans-disciplinary students who come and live and work with our artist friends who are dozens of practitioners again trans-disciplinary all around world come and discourse and lecture, do seminars, workshops, whatever, it’s kind of the wild card of education. You have some intellectuals from Princeton suddenly who want to propose to do something as a one week think tank and you know we take it on. We collaborate with them. They’re generally, you know our network of friends. So, that’s what I’m talking about institutions and colleges, those educational institutions are now sending scholarships, making scholarships for students to come and live here with us in these little intensive sessions. The Mildred Complex(ity) on the other hand is a project that’s an outgrowth of one of those sessions. So there’s several different projects, discursive projects that happen throughout the year. Retail 21st Century is just one of those that Carolyn here has been a huge part of and the Mildred Complex(ity) is a new experiment that’s grown out of that. So, I’m just speaking about that one problem, and that’s still being defined. I’m not the only one that’s doing this. It’s a group of people who are sort of weaving in and out…I’m sorry I’m reading at the same time…”university grants”, they are not grants, they are scholarships. “Bartering” bartering is always everywhere, you know, it’s just a natural exchange of being, you know, you’re just like figure out what feels right for someone to do something for something in exchange for something else. Oh gosh, is it almost time? It’s late.

Well, yeah, Greg was just asking…and it always goes by so fast and we start….

I’m sorry I was so late, I’m embarrassed about that, it’s terrible…

I wouldn’t be seriously, don’t worry about it. Often we don’t start till about then anyway. But, yeah, guys it’s been really great. You know, Morgan I think there were a few things that have come up through this conversation that would be great to follow up on and if not in another chat like this then in the publication that we would like you to contribute to for next year.

Well, that’s great. It’s really rich, it’s fun. I wish I was a little more organized; it’s kind of like what’s going to happen?

No, no we definitely don’t want it to be more organized.

It was kind of off the cuff and I thank you all for being patient with my long diatribes.

Yeah, it would be great for a number of us to come up visit you sometime soon.

I reckon you’ll have to come up and present this project. It will be really interesting, next summer.

Cool, yeah, if we can find a time to do it. That would be awesome.

Who’s still there?

I’m here but soon coming to the east Delaware River.

Yes, upper Delaware River.

Upper Delaware River, right.

Yes, Steven you got to come when Claire and Bryan are in their house.

Yeah, that’d be really cool. I mean Bryan was telling me how really fucking fantastic it is.

It’s really strange, very unusual little thing and I’m really proud of it and I’m glad to be in dialogue with you folks about it. Thanks a lot for questions, thanks a lot for your comments and I’m so sorry if it was a short space to not really articulate all the details. It’s really a complexity for God’s sakes.

You could never do justice to any of these in two hours. There is just no way.

Ok, thank you.

Bye everyone. We will see you next week.


Hey Morgan.

Carolyn, thank you for being there.

Yeah, I’m going to go have dinner with everyone in the studio now but I was going to say something about that. That you definitely showed me the social side.

You’re doing so well, you are the pride and joy of Mildred’s Lane. You have to know that. We toot your horn all the time, don’t you think otherwise. Go give Athena Cockoronas a big sloppy kiss for me.

Yeah, you need to come here. It’s not as beautiful but there’s a lot of love and there’s a lot of flowness.

That’s so great. I wish I was years younger sometimes. I got to go feed my kid. I bowed out on him because I forgot about this thing and I completely started this big stew and this big download on my computer…

Well, I think it’s low key. I don’t think it’s a big deal.

Thanks for being there.

Yeah, no, I miss you, I would like to see you and…

It’s seems like you’re always here when I’m not here.

It’s very strange, I was trying to help out Monique but then it seems like it’s all weird like Nathaniel Whitmore is all over her, their place. I can’t really handle him.

You know what, I’m so with you. Nathaniel, I mean he is really such a mooch. I don’t really like that scene. Poor Monique, I got to talk to her.

I used to like him but now I’m like every time I thought I was helping Monique I felt like I was crashing his party like he turned their house into his party and I’m like I thought I was house sitting like what are you doing here?

Oh no.

Yeah, like every time that’s what I’m doing and then what is he doing? I’m like why are you here?

I’m so glad you told me that because I think Monique is not into that at all. I don’t she’s into him being there.

Yeah, I mean he’s a bum. He’s sleeps out on her couch all the time.

He’s a mooch man. I know his girlfriend…

He doesn’t have a house…

He’s a mooch. Lonnie kicked him out. Lonnie is grey rabbit’s, she’s my friend and she’s grey rabbit’s teacher. She’s just crabbing about him all the time. But you know she’s, but they’re still lovers, so he must be doing something right. But she won’t live with the guy, she kicked him out. I’m sorry I have a lot to say about him maybe we shouldn’t be on this public Skype but…

Oh no, are there still people here?

I don’t think so, I think they all went…

Well anyway, let’s go eat and then tell me when you are coming into the city and…

Are you coming to New Years?

I don’t know. It’s a question. I would like to but last year we had this roof top sauna here and people really want us to do it again so, it’s a question. We got to figure it out.

Come stay with us for New Years.

I know I would love to but people are all into going to Coney Island and jumping in the water on the 1st. Kind of crazy! But yeah, sometime soon we need to see each other.

Well I’m going to be in New York more this spring. I’m staying home. I have just been traveling like crazy, I am so over that. I quit installation art completely.

I agree.

I quit. I am just going to make some dresses God dammit.

Yeah, Jenna told me that’s so great.

I’m really excited about that.

You do them so well, there’s no reason to not do it. Like it’s a gift you know?

It’s going to support the Mildred Complex(ity). It’s going to be good. That’s the way we’re going to support it. So, at least we’ll be able to afford the experiment. Monique and I were going to get together yesterday but I didn’t realize it was her birthday, so that was a total screw up. So, we’re going to see her probably tomorrow. But you know she can’t have that guy around when they’re having that baby. She’s got to go through a little incubation time in that house.

She’s got a lot to deal with.

Oh dear, when were you…

I want to be helpful  but I don’t know how.

Oh dear, yeah, you know, he’s probably threatened by you coming in and making your dwelling action too. Oh gosh.

Yeah, like we came in and I cleaned the whole place because it was gross because he was like leaving it that way. He came in and was like, “Oh you’re going to be here during my date.” And I was like, “What? This is not your house.”

Oh my god and what did he say?

He was just like just kidding. Whatever, hopefully he fed the animals.

Oh no.

Anyway, let’s go eat. I need to go to dinner you need to go to dinner.

I love you and I miss you dammit.

It was good to hear you talk.

Oh gosh, I think I, I completely forgot and he called me and I was so embarrassed and I was like oh my god I said, “why didn’t you tell me today or yesterday?” I just got home from a huge 3 week trip.

I think it’s ok. I think they just do it, it’s an informal chat. Nobody really understands how to use Skype seriously so it’s a little crazy.

I was not prepared, but you know there was questions and…

I think it got going by the end.

Yeah, thanks for being there and chiming in though. Your voice had nice direction for me so thank you very much.

No problem.

Give Chris my love and I hope to see you…oh I got mail from a friend of ya’lls.


Jonas something.

Oh, he’s a voyager.

Yeah, voyager. So, I’m going to send him a note back. I just have been catching up since I’ve been home since yesterday, so I’m going to send him a note.

Let me just tell you that we don’t really know him. He just got in touch through Collen through several Voyagers.

Collen I said Chris didn’t I? Stupid, I’m just reading a Chris.

I thought you meant Chris Kennedy. Oh yeah, Collen for sure.

I saw Chris Kennedy in North Carolina. I was at Elswhere.



I would just say with the voyager he seems to have a very strange girlfriend. Watch out.

Oops. Ok that just…thank you.

You will know, quick, I don’t know if they are really together or what the deal is but you will figure it out in like two seconds.

Well, he has to have some real heavy recommendations for me to take anybody cold turkey. That’s for damn sure.

Yeah, well we had dinner, he seemed nice. He was excited about Mildred’s Lane and I just said, “yeah, just write her a letter.”

That’s good. Thank you. Keep your eyes peeled. Ministry of comfort. We’re not going to have Monique. She’s going to be completely squiggled down with her little animal.

I know.

Good golly.

Yeah I’m thinking. But I really need to leave. It’s a family dinner and I’m late.

Be in touch.

Love you.


Bye Bye.