Art Is Caretaking

San Francisco needs to change how it talks about art

I am reading The Red Deal by The Red Nation, and there is a particular passage that is striking me:

"If prisons, police, and the military are the caretakers of violence and agents of death, then educators, health workers, counselors, water protectors, and land offenders are caretakers of peace and agents of life. A green economy should be born from and center the labor and needs of caretakers. Indigenous people, for example, are already working green jobs they're just not getting paid or enjoying the protections employment offers for land water and treaty defense. Caretaking is often unrecognized work that is heavily gendered severely criminalized and never fairly compensated."

It got me thinking about San Francisco, and how we as a City talk about art.




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Transcript

Good morning family, comrades, and neighbors. It is Jason Wyman here. It is pretty early in the morning still, so I'm out here on my front steps. You might notice that it's a little noisy, but I am reading a really good book today. It's called The Red Deal, and it is by The Red Nation. One of the things that they were talking about in here that's really got me thinking this morning is talking specifically about this idea of a caretaking economy. If you will, I'll read just a little bit:

"If prisons, police, and the military are the caretakers of violence and agents of death, then educators, health workers, counselors, water protectors, and land offenders are caretakers of peace and agents of life. A green economy should be born from and center the labor and needs of caretakers. Indigenous people, for example, are already working green jobs they're just not getting paid or enjoying the protections employment offers for land water and treaty defense. Caretaking is often unrecognized work that is heavily gendered severely criminalized and never fairly compensated."

It's got me really thinking a lot this morning about art & art making and art & economy and culture & commerce. One of the things that I'm noticing is a huge conflation of art & economics and art as economic revenue generator, as art and culture being the things that are going to lead the revival of San Francisco. That's language that's been used here often. It's right here in the City.

And yet we're not thinking about art as caretaking.

And so for me the piece of art making—the the the kernel of art and the kernel of art making—that I am most..that compels me the most or that, I don't know that I'm most interested in, are the...it's the kernel of art that compels humans—compels me, specifically—to connect...to reflect on, to connect to, and to communicate my interiorities, my relations, my environments, my cosmos, so that I can cultivate, practice, and demonstrate how I care for and tend to my being, my relations, my environments, and my cosmos.

I want to offer this as a way to think about art and art making and culture just in general—that art really is incredibly human. In fact, it is the thing that makes us human in all honesty.

And so I really want us to think about how art making in general can be used towards caretaking rather than just thinking about art in the context of commerce, art in the context of production, art in the context of economic revenue generator, art in the context of tourist industry, which are all of the ways in which art gets talked about in San Francisco. Instead, think about art as caretaking, and how do we use and facilitate art as part of a revival, as part of a re-centering around a caretaking economy. And that would actually align very nicely to The Red Deal by The Red Nation.

Take a look for this book. Read it. I'm reading it right now. Post your questions. I'd love to talk more about this incredible book that has some really bold ways for us to think about and reimagine our world in a non-capitalist, non-imperialist perspective.
Again check out The Red Deal by The Red Nation

That's my morning thoughts as I'm drinking coffee and smoking a joint. Ciao for now.