Emma Rushton & Derek Tyman curated The Good Life project in 2011. It used the work of 19th Century American writer, philosopher and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau as a starting point. Rushton & Tyman invited artists, activists, writers, musicians and others to respond to his ideas on self-sufficiency, politics and nature.
For more than two years, Thoreau had lived a self-sufficient and simple life in a Massachusetts forest. Ruston & Tyman built a replica of Thoreau’s cabin in the Miterdale Forest and a wooden stage at the Lanternhouse art centre, both in Cumbria.
Rushton & Tyman asked me to give a talk about my project Urban Utopias in relation to Thoreau's ideas. They then invited me to stay in their replica cabin for four days. I asked artist Katie Beeson and curator Martina Caruso to come with me. We were instructed to 'idle' our time and spent our days mainly eating, talking, sleeping and walking.
A book entitled The Good Life, documenting the project and published by Castlefield Gallery Publications, is now available.