As a part of the public program VÅLDET EKOLOGI / RANTAN EKOLOGIJE /ECOLOGY OF VIOLENCE, Tsuchimoto invited people to participate in a collective action Melancholy (Saturday). We traveled together by bus to gather sticks in a forest. Gathering sticks is a harmless activity, yet productive activity on the Sabbath was once regarded as a crime that deserved capital punishment as stated in the Bible. She puts forward the act of gathering sticks as disobedience towards authority, declaring ourselves “legal thieves”. The action questions the concept of violation and the imperative for productivity in relation to resilience and overcoming damage and trauma. Tsuchimoto refers to author Robin James’s definition of melancholy as a way to leave damage and noise as itself, “unproductive”, as a way out from neoliberal discourses of resilience. She suggests gathering sticks as an unproductive activity, the melancholy, for individuals to recover, survive, cope and flourish in ways that don’t support hegemony. She is also reflecting upon the meaning of collecting potential fuel for an unproductive purpose, the relation with ritual and mysticism, and the trend of emotional productivity in the era of automation in manufacturing.
‘Lokala konstprojekt’ is a part of the Public Art Agency Sweden’s ‘Knowledge hub public art’ which is a government assignment to inspire and strengthen the development of public art in all of Sweden. Within this framework, IntraGalactic arts collective, an artist-run initiative that was aware of the commission, invited an artist research group consisting of artists Malin Ståhl, Hiroko Tsuchimoto, and Anita Wernström. During the years of 2019 and 2020, they have worked collectively with performance as a process and setting up a research process with the coach travel center and service in the county of Jämtland-Härjedalen.