As part of Question Time, which took place in Copenhagen during the COP15 Climate Change negotiations in December 2009, I took part in the writing project STATEMENTS OF INTENT with Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, and Mary Paterson. We described this project as follows:
Each day Question Time hold a summit somewhere in Copenhagen- in cafes, street corners, domestic apartments, and train stations – after which a new statement of intent is produced towards an alternative declaration of the way forward on climate change.
Statements were written by the person taking minutes during the daily meetings, and would have to be completed and published the same day . They were initially published on the project blog. My own first statement read as follows:
Summit Date: 8 December 2009
Attending: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg
Location: Red Cross Cafe Zusammen
Minute Taker: David Berridge
Tuesday 8th December 2009
We chance encounter. We design. We subject to change. We smallness and the individual voice. We social. We ambition. We abandon. We aim for higher emission targets. We post-global meltdown universe. We writing machine.
We embrace the uncertainty of our position – participate or die – within a community of hosts and guests in Copenhagen, within economies and governments and global climate systems. We collective voice. We minute. We proliferate.
We never ask a question we know the answer to. We work as artists, reclaiming the interview as about more than information or jobs, politicians or celebrities. The interview is about encounter and conversation as ecological systems on the edge of collapse, but full of suggestions towards prosperity.
We social sculpture. We propose categories holding clusters of related ideas, ever adaptable to any particular situation. These categories are: (1) START; (2) COP15; (3) SOCIAL SCULPTURE; (4) HOSPITALITY; (5) ACTION; (6) PERSONAL KNOWLEDGE; (7) HOME; (8) ENDING; (9) CHANCE AND FUTURE; (10) WILD CARD.
We graphic continuity. We draft. We disaster. We turn thought into manifesto. We New Life. We globe. We guilt. We science fiction. We don’t know. We host. We tone. We light up through pedal power. We wild card. We deal with urban development. We preparatory.
When it was my turn to be minute taker again my sense of the Question Time project, COP15, and being in Copenhagen, seemed to be finely balance between presence and negation:
PRESENT: David Berridge, Rachel Lois Clapham, Alex Eisenberg, Sara Seerup Laursen, Sarah Wingate.
MINUTE TAKERS: David Berridge and Sarah Wingate.
STATEMENT 4: “Boring Rhetoric Your Question”
Boring rhetoric destroying the house of cards. Destroys questions. Destroys the room of space. Destroys music.
Boring rhetoric binds non-verbal actions. Boring rhetoric the action of now. Boring rhetoric not lived out yet.
Boring rhetoric can get weird. Boring rhetoric “with my mind.” Boring rhetoric pledge mimics boring rhetoric.
Boring rhetoric magic of choice. Boring rhetoric utopia becomes two statements: “Boring and “Rhetoric.” Begins with ending. Refuses to answer question. Boring rhetoric turn over. Let’s all jump up and down at the same time.
Boring rhetoric meets one person and everything changes. Boring rhetoric self publishing. Boring rhetoric more important than the interviewee. Boring rhetoric New York.
RIP UP BORING RHETORIC! EVERYONE! PLAYING! WITH! DECLAMATORY! STATEMENTS! BORING RHETORIC THROUGH ABSENT MINDEDNESS DESTROYED!
WE SAY: THE BORING RHETORIC EMERGENCY COULD BE A BORING RHETORIC CRISIS! RHET YOUR CONFIDENT BOR AND TOR AND IC AND ING!I CAN’T MAKE OUT IF YOU’RE HAVING A TERRIBLE TIME. IS EVERYTHING OKAY?
WE SAY: BORING RHETORIC THE MOST CRYSTALLISED! TAKE A PHOTOGRAPH! DESTROY! BORING RHETORIC WHAT PEOPLE TAKE IT AS! WE SAY:
BORING RHETORIC WHAT IS YOUR QUESTION?
The statements were later re-formatted as a set of downloadable press releases. A sample of the project is below. You can read the full set of Statements of Intent here.