june 2018

20jun18:1018:40Natalie Joelle - Gleaned Waters in Lean Culture: Global Marine Gleanologics18:10 - 18:40 C: Studio 3

Event Details

What does it mean when the historically land-based agricultural practice of gleaning becomes marine?

Thispolemicalcreative-criticalpaperexploresacross global waters the transdisciplinary relationship between gleaning, leaning and the genealogy of lean management technologies, which I term ‘gleanologics’, in order to reveal and contest the flows of an increasingly global ‘lean culture’.

The shifting meaning of gleaning calls out lean culture at its leanest: instead of a customary right or charitable gathering of what remains after the harvest, to glean is transmuted into a process of fishing or ‘harvesting’ the oceans. The paper reads this transition across Chilean artist Elsa Bolívar’s recent oceanic adaptation of Millet’s iconic The Gleaners, the contemporary English survey vessel HMS Gleaner, and twin Gleaner and Harvester images by Alec Finlay, in the context of the fluvial rhetoric and visual culture of lean thinking.

The paper incorporates performances of original found text works exploring the liquidscapes of two bodies of gleaned waters, drawing upon the hydrographic histories of the English River Glean and Australian Gleaner Reef, which was named after a wrecked fishing ketch.

It has never before been more important to name, and in so doing, call out the contemporary flows of ‘lean culture’ than in our current climate crisis, in which there is no such thing as sustainable fishing, and the production of animal protein and its by- products is both the largest single cause of greenhouse emissions and a leading contributor to water injustice.


Natalie Joelle is writing a transdisciplinary study of gleaning and lean culture at Birkbeck, University of London, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. She has published critical and creative work on Georges Seurat’s drawing ‘The Gleaner’, The Book of Ruth, Jean-Francois Millet’s The Gleaners and Glean Cereal Herbicide, and her writing forthcoming includes considerations of gleaning in the work of Peter Larkin, Jim Crace’s novel Harvest, agrotechnological innovations, and managerial handbooks. Further information about her work is available on Academia.edu, and she can be reached at natalie@gleaning.info.


(Wednesday) 18:10 - 18:40


C: Studio 3

Dartington Hall, Totnes, Devon TQ9 6EN