Downshifting – the focus of the contemporary art festival SURVIVAL KIT 4 – is a widely discussed subject all over Europe. The whole concept of the festival toys with the idea of living slow, chasing after your own interests and possibilities of growth, being closer to nature and evaluating the egoistic wants and needs of a human being, “escaping from the rat’s race”.

“Downshifting?” was a question all of the participants of SURVIVAL KIT 4 were asked. As a sneek-preview to the vibe of their ideas and masterpieces, that will be displayed/performed/sung/ danced etc. in SURVIVAL KIT 4, here are some answers from artists regarding the concept itself.

John Griznich from Estonia, an artist and cultural coordinator working with various practices combining sound, image, site, and collaborative social structures since the early 1990s, when asked about the term “downshifting” becomes philosophical, “Generating integrated cultures of language, food and art is so inherent to human life that only empires built from violence and systems of mass repression are powerful enough tools to create beliefs of mass deception to shadow these facts.”

“I think (in a way) we live now in a time similar to middle ages or – in some way – also like the Revolution time in XIX century France,”  says Julita Wójcik , an artist from Poland. “And this revolution has already begun: in Spain, Greece and those countries where the economy has recently collapsed.  People change their life to make it more personal, more “useful”. They eat less, build less, and produce less garbage. They do those everyday things that we all do but in “human proportions”. In my artistic practice I have always been trying to expose simple daily activities like flying a kite, gardening, peeling potatoes... to do that what for today’s world is to be “slow-living”…”

Søssa Jørgensen and Geir Tore Holm are part of the “downshifting” movement in Sweden, “We moved to the farm Ringstad in March 2010, and started up our life there, being looser connected to the city and the artists’ community. We are experiencing a change of workloads, but not a reduction, taking care of the land, growing vegetables, grass and fruit, berries. Our animals demand a change in our daily routine, the demand working dynamically bearing in mind the changing seasons.
“Shifting down” is probably more of necessity in our individual lives, but in the broader sense, in societies there are cycles of changes based on resources, ideas and politics.”