Another Tiny House at Wurrukan

Another tiny house for just over $400 at my young friends’ and comrades’ simpler living project at ‘Wurrukan’ in Victoria, Australia. Please check out Wurrukan’s website for its social philosophy of the collective Simpler Way (on Blogroll). We need much more of this.

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~ by Peter Lach-Newinsky on October 25, 2015.

9 Responses to “Another Tiny House at Wurrukan”

  1. […] Source: Another Tiny House at Wurrukan | memengineering […]

  2. At first I thought, it’s just a shed dude and nothing more. A wooden teepee. And it pretty much is, so nothing much new there. Each to their own. Then I thought, where was it built? It looks good in all that wonderful space. I wonder what it would look like if next to a whole heap of them, like along a beach front? Then I discovered that those who built it belong to a little community that lives on some landowners property and they “rent” it by looking after it and growing food stuffs. That’s cool, but perhaps not for everybody. Then I thought, seems a little feudalistic. Wonder if the landowner takes some of the food? Sounds cynical I know, but one can’t help thinking this stuff. I know they do stuff, teach and help out visitors, sight seers, passers by and community and stuff. I know none of this stuff is new and perhaps we should never have gone so super tech and industrial and urban and city as we did, but we did. And we do need hospitals and doctors and nurses. Old style medicine and “healing” ain’t gonna cut it you know. And hospitals are big and require lots of stuff to make the stuff needed to help people with all kinds of ailments. And that’s a lot of stuff, and techy shit and mining and industrial shit and educational institutions, that is needed just to get the hospital running well. So the truth is, this place and many other intentional communities are only a very small part of the picture and probably not even the major part, unfortunately. Especially for gamers and those millions and millions living in high rise housing estates.

    Of course the underlying principle is terrific. Of course these people can be commended for living simply and wanting to. Of course it would be good to have more of this sort of thing. But how does this sort of thing interact coherently with other sorts of stuff? And that sort of thing needs a fair bit of space I guess.

    I know it’s all great but it doesn’t inspire me that much at all. Never has. But what would I know.

    • Fair enough cobber. No desire to defend anything. Just say ya gotta lotta straw men and assumptions goin there camerado, e.g. about simpler living VERSUS hospitals, providing land as feudalism, the necessarily hi-tech (i.e. high energy) future etc etc.

      What I’m gonna do instead is ask those silly young folks at Wurrukan whom I support to stop that naive neo-fuedal simpler living building the new within the shell of the old crap and think about proper things like hi-tech hospitals and the gamers in the high-rise and Karl Marx and Michael Albert and the Paris attacks and world war 3 and the meaning of life as expounded by me and you and Frank Zappa on a good day in heaven.

      • Hey, I’m just respondingly honestly. I have no idea about straw men and assumptions. Just try to enter the discussion. Not asking anyone to stop shit. Starting to think I should just stick to picture framing and leave the good ideas to others. I don’t want defense from you just maybe discussion. Discussion’s all I got. But I guess people just find those who they get along with or who fit well with their own proclivities or communicate in the way they would prefer.

        So I have no idea what that last paragraph means or the point of it. Nor why you brought up Paris and that shit.

      • James, the last paragraph was a feeble attempt at a quite Jamesian ‘just responding honestly’, hey just riffin, just off the top of me head, just my gut feelings, just a bit of the ole sarcasm. Shoulda stayed in compassionate Buddha mode, but not this time, just felt like a bit of good ole counter-sarcasm (or being ‘cynical’ as you noted for yourself), no good I know I know. Rap on knuckles, stand in corner. No offence. But anyway, looking at your first comment, ya gotta admit (?) that that there’s just a teensy bit of putting down going on, albeit interspersed with more relativising modifiers (that’s cool but…sounds cynical I know but…the underlying principle is terrific of course of course but…but what would I know), no? (e.g. a wooden teepee…so nothing much new there, seems a little feudalistic, wonder of the owner takes some food, old style medicine and ‘healing’ ain’t gonna cut it you know, so the truth is etc etc). Anyway that was what I was reacting to.

        So, less subjectively, more objectively. My take on a practical simpler living projects like Wurrukan (have you checked out their site via the blogroll?), the tiny house movement etc, is that they are doing something very worthwhile rather than just talking and theorizing or just protesting against this or that and then going home again. The eco-social argument or assumption here being that, given global ecological overshoot, given climate chaos and energy descent, given that our middle class average energy and resource consumption is going to have to come down radically, Ted would say to about 10% what it is today, such projects can serve, with all their necessary contradictions and problems, as useful models. Models of how to live better on less, how to actually practice participatory democracy, perhaps, in time, even localised/regional forms of cooperative and participatory economies. Energy descent, much lower energy consumption, voluntarily or compelled, will probably entail great ‘simplifications’ on all levels. In terms of people running their own affairs, in terms of re-connecting with each other and with nature and reality, this can also be a good thing. One result of the state socialist fiasco: a wariness of big plans, of big and tidy solutions, of knowing what the social future will be. Libertarian approach, Zapatismo: finding the solutions by walking the path, by doing, step by step, from below.

      • I think we here, and probably Wurrukan, are in agreement: necessary but not sufficient. All these attempts at demonstration and creating autonomy, or even a “pre-figurative politics”, can only be partial and fraught with all those contradictions James and others are concerned about. Of course, right? If we think about this notion “the shell of the old” , it implies a structure in crisis, hollowed out and thin. But let’s acknowledge that ,despite the cracks, liberal “democratic” capitalism is still hegemonic big time and will do everything to circumvent, disrupt, infect, marginalize these utopian imaginings. But we have to widen the cracks, as old Holloway puts it.

        As an old back-to-the-land hippie from the seventies I am particularly critical (and less than objective) when it comes to the power of “intentional” counter-cultural projects that arise from privilege. But I am looking at Rojava and Chiapas and trying to maintain some hope. And I definitely appreciate this blog space.

      • Thanks Dave, all good. Not gonna nit pick. Can see where you’re coming from. What isn’t ‘partial’? What does not ‘arise from privilege’ in our parts? I also see lotsa hope in many places, and lotsa despair and doom. And I appreciate your comments too.

  3. Yes, I know the arguments and I respect them. But… I was reacting to the “we need more of these”. Ok, but how and where and for whom? Everyone? Yes I looked at the site and I watched the video. They are “allowed” to live on a landowner’s property in return for doing stuff. That feudal thing was a little facetious I admit but it came straight to mind. How do others find land and space? The latter very rare. How many more people would be able to take up space on that land or any land for that matter? What are the rule pertaining to space available? They may seem like simple questions but they come to mind. Then coupled with all the other stuff that comes to mind, always when I come across this sort of thing, intentional communities or whatever, I think that they aren’t really prefiguring or doing the new in the old crap, but rather just living simply. A small group living simply. Millions of other people in the world. And I know I am not telling you anything you do not know. So I ask myself how does this all look at a larger scale and is it possible? Hospitals, high rises come to mind immediately and how do they fit in the picture. Ted’s vision isn’t convincing to me, it’s rough and hodge podge, nor Takis Fotopoulos’, not clear enough, nor what Gar Alperovitz is doing nor the solidarity Ethan Miller economic advocates. Great start and necessary but… And hospitals, medical things are hi tech and something has to be organised around that sort of thing. Like it’s pretty important to millions of people. I just threw in the other extreme to the simple living scenario which kind of implies simple medicine. Well, perhaps there is simple medicine but that won’t cut it and if something bad happened to one of these simple living folk would they be shipped to a hi tech hospital? OK, sounds all a bit silly, but I’m no Einstein and these are the things that come into my mind.

    Your second paragraph had nothing to do with my comment at all. WW3 and Michael Albert?? Paris?? The Michael Albert thing pissed me off. WW3, well bring it on and take me out first, please! There was absolutely no insinuation that these things should stop. I was responding to the fact that it doesn’t inspire me because it is so small in its focus.

    I know what Ted, the J Rutherfords and thousands of others say about the 10% stuff. Depressing. I also feel, like many others that it won’t happen and that we are probably passed some threshold. But none of that makes what those who say walk the path from below totally right. Improvising as we go, I get totally as an improviser through and through but I don’t think it’s sensible for society as a whole and I’m not convinced that those, like Ethan Miller and simple way folk are as open minded as they make out. I hope I’m wrong but they often come across pretty forthright in their views and what they want to ignore and think others should ignore and what they think others should do. Robin Hahnel in his Economic Justice and Democracy book, chapter 13, has some great ideas about all this connecting to a bigger vision and totally commends things like Wurrukan and even declares all anti-capitalists should start walking the path that those in intentional communities, co-ops, worker owned whatevers, land trusts, community garden folk, simple living communities are doing. Yeah he has a critique and it is one I think is pretty important and worth keeping in mind.

    But to finish, it isn’t a tiny house. It’s a shed and they are sleeping in it because there are other facilities for all the other stuff. It’s a wooden teepee. So what that I say that. Like a shack. Put lots together close by and what do you have? So what sort of density are we talking and how many of them do we need to get to the 10%? Is it at all possible? And what do all those living in high rise public housing think of the idea? have the simple living folk asked them?

    Going over same old ground. Gotta get out of here. I’m just a dick who isn’t walking the path. A two bit bul,lshit artist. I apologise for all my crap. Not getting anywhere and you just wanted to advertise a tiny house and Wurrukan as a good thing. Sorry for jumping all over your garden.

    • No worries cobber. All good. Your second last sentence is probably a good enough summary. Sorry, I really don’t feel like a big theory discussion about defending or critiquing a tiny house (No! it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a, wait for it, SHED!!) two young people have built for themselves within a communal space trying to live more simply and collectively and within a certain system-critical paradigm. I more or less dropped out of local Transition stuff because it seemed too limited, so I guess you can believe I know where you’re coming from. Been there, done that. Maybe some other time. No offence, and feel free to jump ‘all over my garden’ anytime. We know we share most basic views anyway, you get more turned on by Parecon, I by other things, so WTF we’re all different and the same. Let a 1000 utopias or visions bloom, and let there be open dialogue and perhaps a bit more mutual respect between them as we, as Zappatismo says, find/build the path by walking it (coz we all now it’s hyper-complex and no one knows what’s gonna happen and no one has the total solution and we’re open to new ideas and dialogue with all and a bee just bit my finger while I was extracting a frame of honeycomb).

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