Beyond Property

March 10th, 2020

Exploring the evolution of the “ownership model” of property as a technology of the colonial Anthropocene and considering alternative possibilities.

Field Guide 04 and sensing exercises

This experimental field guide is grounded in the history of family land in Wisconsin’s Driftless region and explores conflicting ideas of land ownership and occupancy in North America. Framing property as a technology and key driver of the Anthropocene, the text considers its centuries-long rise and alternatives to the ownership model that were never extinguished by colonization, and which form the basis of emerging frameworks that center the land as agent, rather than object. The field guide is accompanied by a set of sensing exercises that ask us to both consider the intangible systems that allow us to inhabit structures and cultivate mutual responsibility. Both texts are complemented by artist-writer Sarah Kanouse’s video work featuring audio excerpted from a conversation with Bill Quackenbush, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer of the Ho-Chunk Nation.