HOW TO DRAW CAPITALISM

An interactive Art & Design Workshop
17:00-19:00 Wednesday Nov 2, 2011
at Occupy Finsbury Square
Tent City University, Finsbury Square
nearest transport: Moorgate, Old Street

Many visual artists and designers have commented on the difficulties of creating simple, symbolically poignant images that represent the harms of capitalism. Likewise, it is hard to envision or imagine its alternatives in basic images. Instead of icons on placards, banners and flyers, we tend to see slogans and tag lines. Those few images that do appear often do not represent the ‘targets’ of our protests, in part because of the many challenges that come with representing complex issues like exploitative labour policies, migrant work, profit-driven greed, credit crashes or disappearing pensions.

This workshop offers a brief historical overview of how past protest movements have ‘drawn capitalism’ to initiate a discussion and brain storm on possibilities for new images in movements today. We’ll then work to sketch out some of our ideas, learning from each other how to draw capitalism. This workshop is about creativity and imagination, all artistic experience and abilities are welcome!

Artwork by: Josh MacPhee

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Funds Awarded to Support Artists and Activists Working Together in “School for Creative Activism”

Stephen Duncombe (NYU) and Steve Lambert (SMFA) Receive $45,000 Through George Soros’s Open Society Foundations Grant

Founded and directed by Stephen Duncombe, a professor at the Gallatin School of New York University and long-time activist, and Steve Lambert, a faculty member of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and recognized political artist, the School for Creative Activism is a participatory workshop infusing community organizing and civic engagement with culture and creativity. As co-director Lambert describes it, “Imagine if Saul Alinsky took a class in performance art.”

Working directly with organizers and community actors, the SCA leverages the strengths of grassroots activism and the attention grabbing and complex messaging of art through a curriculum designed to:

·       Teach cultural tactics and creative strategies employed effectively
by organizers in the past.
·       Recognize and draw upon the cultural resources and creative talents
residing within individuals, organizations, and communities in the present.
·       Collectively run scenarios and plan campaigns that utilize culture
and creativity.
·       Build a network of organizers and artists using a model of creative
organizing more effective in our media-saturated, spectacle-savvy world.

 

Curating Resistance :: Aesthetics & Ethics in Social Movement

October 25th, 2010:: University of Essex
Ivor Crewe Lecture Hall Seminar Room 1PM – 5PM

Participants: Paul Halliday (Goldsmiths) // Antigoni Memou (University of East London) // Matthew Poole (Essex) // Stefanie Tan (Glasgow)

Avant-garde and social movement art production has long had a troubled and conflictual relationship with the museum and the archive. The call to abandon the gallery as a space for art separated from everyday life, one that all too often neutralizes the antagonistic energies of radical art, reverberates from Dada through Fluxus, the Surrealists to Reclaim the Streets. But in today’s post-Fordist creativity-fueled economy, the call to end this division rings hollow precisely because it has already been accomplished: the energies of insurgent creativity are rendered into forms of dispersed production for the net economy. The surrealist invocation of the marvelous is today’s advertising copy. Joseph Beuys’ proclamation that “everyone is an artist” has been realized in perverse form as “everyone is a worker,” where relationality is ‘socially sculpted’ through the circuits of an always present network culture as opportunities for capitalist valorization: all YouWork and MyProfit.

What might there be that could avoid these tensions and contradictions, or at least begin to suggest ways to work through and against them? Where does one go when life itself is both a direct producer of value and the substance of artistic production? To a gallery of the streets? Or maybe a university of trash? Is the archive of the undercommons a pile of zines sitting at the back of the infoshop? A pile of fleshy tissue inscribed on by a Kafka-esque writing machine? Perhaps it is all and none of these things. Thus we return to the question of the archive and history not to catalog social movement artistic production for a gallery-morgue or the productivity of the metropolitan factory, but rather to consider what an ethics and aesthetics of developing a living archive of experience and knowledges that can feed back into and through the fabric of everyday life might be.

Sponsored by the University of Essex Management Centre (http://www.essex.ac.uk/ebs/research/emc).
For more information contact Stevphen Shukaitis (sshuka@essex.ac.uk).
http://www.minorcompositions.info/curatingresistance.html

Creativity and Resistance

DATE: Friday 12 November 2010
TIME: 2PM – 6PM
VENUE: Birkbeck University, B03, 43

A half day workshop introducing and exploring historical and contemporary practices of creative approaches to political action, organised and facilitated by the Creative Resistance Research Network

The first half of the event will be a round table discussion about possible definitions and examples of “creative resistance”; the characteristics of such approaches; their particular relevance to various political contexts; their limitations; etc. The second half will be a workshop aiming to practically experiment with some of the questions raised earlier, by exploring ideas and plans for a potential act of creative resistance.