FIELDCLUB – Non-Human Graveyard

2004 - 2012

During the seven years Chaney lived and farmed at FIELDCLUB the complex reality of the human/non-human relationship revealed itself unrelentingly.

FIELDCLUB was a fairly unusual opportunity for a modern human to live in a geographically restricted food web. During his time at FIELDCLUB Chaney applied the principles of the Hutchinsonian niche system to map the interactions between himself and the non-domesticated non-humans with whom he shared the FIELDCLUB environment. This postion quickly highlighted an issue fundamental to the development of a theory of non-anthropocentric coexistence on this planet – that of 'tierischer lebensraum', or 'animal living space'.

Two maxims became apparent:

1) The less distance there is between the site of production and the site of consumption, the more the necessarily horrific nature of the relationship between the human and the non-domesticated non-human will reveal itself.

2) The more living space one affords the non-human (through the practice of low-impact farming), the more complex and numerous the non-human biota becomes – resulting in more unintentional non-human deaths as an outcome of human activity. If 'nature abhors a vacuum', then the simple act of repeatedly ploughing the soil is as violent as the initial act of clearing a native forest to make a field. Ploughing is a deliberate denial of animal living space, meaning that in the conventional farming system there are very few non-humans around to kill by accident.

This problematic double bind underpinned thinking at the FIELDCLUB project and continues to remain unresolved in contemporary attempts at co-existential thinking and practice (i.e. veganism).

At FIELDCLUB, many unhappy incidences of non-human death caused by Chaney's attempts to go 'deep green' were documented and categorised before the non-human bodies were buried in the dedicated FIELDCLUB graveyard. Two examples are shown here.