I started this project a little over a year ago, but haven’t had much time to seriously sort out the distribution logistics. I’ll mention it here as a way of thinking aloud. Retailers and gallerists tend toward cognitive implosion when they try to decode the pricey-fair-wage-USA-produced/low margin/charity-project puzzle. That leaves me in a bind with projects like this.
In the Spring of 2007, Korean cab driver, Heo Se-Wook sacrificed himself to the elemental hunger of flame. His self-immolation was an effort to awaken his country to the threats of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement. $119 billion dollars in aid over ten years was agreed to be paid to Korean farmers to mitigate the adverse impacts of the KORUS-FTA. Two critical points of contention between farmers and both the Korean and American governments were that rice and beef should be eliminated from the trade agreement. The import of these commodities into Korea from America would devastate family farmers. Unable to match American prices, Koreans would be forced to foreclose on their farms.
Heo Se-Wook’s protest was neither without reward nor without peer. Self-immolation has always been a rare but notorious, Artaudian, theatrical form of protest. Other Korean farmers allegedly followed in Se-Wook’s fiery footsteps–which had likely been inspired by the actions of monks and farmers before them. Following Se-Wook’s self-immolation and a series of large, organized protests, rice was ultimately eliminated from the implemented KORUS FTA. Sold to the Korean people as a path to cheaper goods and prosperity, KORUS FTA has adversely impacted industries as disparate as agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals and the Korean legal market. KORUS joins NAFTA and CAFTA as another slow-release Amerotoxin in the resource-rich waters of emerging markets.
Not directly influenced by any imagery of Se-Wook’s protest, “Acts of God: Rugs for Lost Homes–Vol. 1: Korean Farmer” is an homage to the contributions of those who have sacrificed themselves in the Theater of Pain to sustain the viability of local production. The 10′ x 5′ hand-made berber wool rug is the first in a series of 5 Acts of God rug editions intended to benefit NGOs with missions to mediate grass-roots land and property conflicts in emerging economies. A dark play on western imperialism, the Acts of God rugs amplify and glorify the actions of people who would otherwise go largely ignored in popular culture–laying these heroes out to be stomped upon by people who unconsciously and compulsively fill their homes with the products of exploitation. Collectors involuntarily tithe 5-10% of the price of the AOG pieces to organizations founded to protect the individuals upon whom the wealthy and powerful habitually traipse so viciously with the contents of their shopping bags and the thoughtlessness of their votes.
Pricing available on request. Each volume editioned at 25 rugs and intended to benefit a different NGO involved in a different conflict. 10% of sale donated on direct purchases or sales where retailers match a 5% retail donation.