Our society is governed by all sorts of systems and structures that organise and steer life. No system, however, whether political, judicial, economical, socio-cultural or spatial, can comprise life in its entirety. Every system has gaps, leaks and ambiguities.
The artists in the exhibition Mind the System, Find the Gap seek out these gaps. They set forth from this intermediate position to unveil, circumvent or criticise ruling systems and structures
i’ll take the publication of the book “Weaponized Architecture: The Impossibility of Innocence” as an excuse to talk to Ethel Baraona Pohl and César Reyes Nájera who are both architects, bloggers and heads of the publishing house dpr-Barcelona
Alternative and Activist New Media provides a rich and accessible overview of the ways in which activists, artists, and citizen groups around the world use new media and information technologies to gain visibility and voice, present alternative or marginal views, share their own DIY information systems and content, and otherwise resist, talk back to, or confront dominant media culture. Today, a lively and contentious cycle of capture, cooptation, and subversion of information, content, and system design marks the relationship between the mainstream ‘center’ and the interactive, participatory ‘edges’ of media culture
Over the past twenty years, an abundance of art forms have emerged that use aesthetics to affect social dynamics. These works are often produced by collectives or come out of a community context; they emphasize participation, dialogue, and action, and appear in situations ranging from theater to activism to urban planning to visual art to health care. Engaged with the texture of living, these art works often blur the line between art and life. This book offers the first global portrait of a complex and exciting mode of cultural production–one that has virtually redefined contemporary art practice
Jacobsen is a media artist based in Copenhagen and an Adjunct Professor in Digital Culture and Mobile Communication at IT University, Copenhagen. His artistic work either closely follows social, political and ethical questions or sabotages technology, by mix-matching new and old media or by inviting web users to subvert web banners
The lack of Corporate and Governmental transparency has been a topic of much controversy in recent years, yet our only tool for encouraging greater openness is the slow, tedious process of policy reform.
Presented in the form of a Soviet F1 Hand Grenade, the Transparency Grenade is an iconic cure for these frustrations, making the process of leaking information from closed meetings as easy as pulling a pin
The Finnish artist is the only person i’ve heard about who was actually arrested for pretending to guillotine a cheap Ronald Mc Donald statue. With the help of a friend, i got in touch with Jani Leinonen and bombarded him with questions about the beggars signs he’s been exhibiting at the Venice Biennale, his crazy sexed-up versions of cereal boxes for children, his successful attempts at selling contemporary art works by the bulk as if they were vegetables and of course i was curious about the aftermath of the Ronald affair
Yesterday evening i went to Foto8 in London again for the screening of How to Start a Revolution, a documentary tracing the global influence of Gene Sharp’s work. Sharp believes that non-violent struggle has a greater chance of success than violent resistance, because violence is typically the most powerful weapon used tyrannical regimes and they will always have the upper hand. His booklet From Dictatorship to Democracy provide a list of 198 “non-violent weapons”, including mock awards, alternative communication system, wearing of symbols, pray-in, boycott of elections, withdrawal of bank deposits, consumers’ boycott, renouncing honours, etc.
Weaponized Architecture is an examination of the inherent instrumentalization of architecture as a political weapon; research informs the development of a project which, rather than defusing these characteristics, attempts to integrate them within the scene of a political struggle. The proposed project dramatizes, through its architecture, a Palestinian disobedience to the colonial legislation imposed on its legal territory
What roles can art and activism play in a post-Fordist society of the spectacle? Can activist art effect real change? Art & Activism in the Age of Globalization asks these and other pressing questions facing contemporary activist art, through case studies by established artists and filmmakers as well as emerging voices. It investigates issues of urban activism and the activism of anonymous networks, giving special consideration to the effects of the War on Terror upon the activist agenda
Milica Tomic decided to produce the non-existing war image. The images would not only be fake, they would also be made in other locations and contexts. And with every reconstruction, Tomić came across new information linking host countries to various war zones or episodes of local violence
War veterans are homeless people too. They might go back to a house after the war, they might have a roof over their head but it doesn’t feel like home anymore. They are traumatized to various degrees and feel like they’ve become strangers to the place where they used to live. They don’t function like they used to. They have been conditioned to be constantly on alert, to react on the spot to any unexpected light, move, noise, etc. They can’t turn off that aggressive instinct when they go back to civilian life
I’ve seen Trevor Paglen’s fascinating photos in numerous contexts, from new media art festivals to activist conferences and contemporary art exhibitions. But i’m no different from most people: the more i see Paglen’s work, the more questions i want to ask him. I’ve finally decided to catch up with him and interviewed him via skype for the upcoming Z33 catalogue
Krzysztof Wodiczko covers 40 years of the artist’s extensive, and often controversial, body of work using contemporary technologies to form a commentary on politics, ethics, social responsibility and the urban experience. Comprising a collection of writing by some of the most critically acclaimed art historians, cultural theorists and commentators working today, along with both previously published and unpublished texts by Wodiczko himself, this book is the definitive study of the artist’s work
This morning i left London unimpressed by the Frieze art fair and took the train to Manchester. The lady at the hotel reception manages to wear two sets of fake eyelashes on top of each other, the weather is lovely and i’m following Creative Tourist’s recommendation to embark on a Manchester Weekender, three days of celebration of art, literature, music and performances. First stop, On the March – An exhibition of banners made by Ed Hall
Shaped like flying saucers, the Nanodrizas are floating autonomous robots which measure, in real time, the environmental conditions of polluted water surfaces. The data collected is then transmitted for interpretation and analysis. Once the level and nature of pollution has been identified, the nanodrizas directly intervene by emitting synthesized sound and releasing bacterial and enzymatic remedies in the eco-system that, ultimately, should regulate the quality of the water
Heathrow Heritage is a series of excursions run in cooperation with the activists, historians and residents living around the London airport. Lisa Ma also enrolled the complicity of the airport deacon who invites stranded passengers for bike tours around the ancient villages threatened by the expansion of the airport
This book explores the current interrelationship between art, activism, and politics. It presents new visual concepts and commentaries that are being used to represent and communicate emotionally charged topics, thereby bringing them onto local political and social agendas in a way far more powerful than words alone. It looks at how art is not only reflecting and setting agendas, but also how it is influencing political reaction
In October 2010, Simon Norfolk began a series of new photographs in Afghanistan, which takes its cue from the work of nineteenth-century British photographer John Burke. Norfolk’s photographs reimagine or respond to Burke’s Afghan war scenes in the context of the contemporary conflict
A few months ago, the Musée d’Orsay in Paris decided to ban photographs of the artworks and of the inside of the building, allegedly ‘to preserve the comfort of visitors and the safety of the artworks.’ OrsayCommons is a performance pro-photo, pro-remix and pro-public domain at the Musée d’Orsay that civilly and cheekily protests against what its participants call “a measure not only at odds with our times but also illegitimate since it concerns public heritage.”
Herman Joshua Wallace has spent the past 38 years in Solitary Confinement (or closed cell restriction) for a crime he probably didn’t commit. A few years ago, artist Jackie Sumell asked him: “What kind of house does a man who has lived in a 6′ X 9′ box for over 30 years dream of?”
Each day in September, Damián Ortega took inspiration from a newspaper and translated it into a physical interpretation, be it a sculpture, installation, proposition or prototype for a future project. The works made over this period have become both a sculptural chronicle of this period of time – and a dynamic reinterpretation of the notion of an art commission
To many of their fellow Israelis, they are traitors. They are attacked, arrested and demonised. Yet Israelis like Yehuda Shaul, leader of Breaking the Silence and Jonathan Pollack from Anarchists Against the Wall continue to struggle for a more peaceful Middle East. They believe that they can save their state by putting an end to the military occupation
The project explores the difference between the virtual freedoms experienced by a population and the physical constraints imposed upon it by the urban environment. It explores the effects of new technologies of urban sight and urban occupation on the social and political structure of a city. The resultant proposition is a series of physical interventions that subvert the urban landscape through its digital counterparts
In London of the seventies, a dynamic counterculture blossomed against a backdrop of unemployment, racism, and IRA bombings. This volume, a collage of texts and images, provides an overview of the radical political and cultural developments of the decade
Meet two activists from Mexico. The first is hackarchitect Ehécatl Cabrera who believes that since architecture is not able to answer the many issues that the city has to face, we should raise and ‘make the city ourselves’. The second is Tijuana-based Raúl Cárdenas from Torolab who was in Mexico to present his Institute of Waste
The movie that received most attention from both the public and the members of the File Prix Lux is War of Internet Addiction, a machinima advocacy production that voices the concerns of the mainland Chinese World of Warcraft community. Although the machinima was created with WoW players in mind, the video strikes a chord with the broader public by pointing the finger to the lack of Internet freedom in the country and conveying a general feeling of helplessness
In this series of photos and installations in public space, Mitch Epstein explores and questions the ‘power’ that lays at the core of the United States. ‘Power’ in this case stands for both strength and energy. Over the course of 5 years he traveled through 25 states to photograph nuclear reactors, oil refineries, mines, rigs, abandoned gas pumps, wind parks, pipelines as well as their environs
Allan Sekula’s portraits of seafarers, dock workers, port cities and their industrial hinterland register the affects of globalisation on people’s lives. With these works, the artist counters the myth that underpins neoliberal ideology of painless flows of goods and capital that constitute international trade
Conflict Kitchen is a take-out restaurant that only serves cuisine from countries that the United States is in conflict with. The food is served out of a take-out style storefront, which will rotate identities every 4 months to highlight another country. Each Conflict Kitchen iteration will be augmented by events, performances, and discussion about the culture, politics, and issues at stake with each county we focus on
Can airspaces be owned and activated by the public? What is the size of the airspace you can own? How can we employ wind farms in a way that disrupts conventional understandings of their use?
Artist Sascha Huber symbolically renames “Rentyhorn” a mountain currently named Agassizhorn, after Swiss natural scientist Louis Agassiz. Renty was a slave from the Congo whose picture Agassiz had taken in the United States in the 1850s as a proof of the inferiority of the black race. The performance is part of a campaign that attempts to make the legacy of colonialism visible
Wafaa Bilal’s latest project addresses the issue of the invisibility of Iraqi civilian deaths during the war. The artist will submit his body to a 24-hour live performance. His back will be tattooed with a borderless map of Iraq covered with one dot for each Iraqi and American casualty near the cities where they fell
Two artworks i discovered at the Lyon’s 10th Biennale for Contemporary Art. Both by the talented and socially-engaged Pedro Reyes
The exhibition explores the new “updated” textile crafts that are developed by a new generation of serious amateurs, innovative craftsmen, engaged entrepreneurs and political practitioners. Once again the home is the workshop where economic and ecologic innovation happens – not only in the labs of the industrial expertise. After decades of outsourcing, the new modes of production are in the hands of the layperson
A photo of a secret CIA prison. A map designed to help visitors reach Malibu’s notoriously inaccessible public beaches. Guidebooks to factories, prisons, and power plants in upstate New York. These are some of the more than one hundred projects represented in Experimental Geography, a collection of visual research and mapmaking from the past ten years
The artists brought together for this show reveal an imagery that has been inspired by the current mutations in our environment. They deal with diverse matters such as Chernobyl, global warming and the rise in oil rates. At times close to science-fiction, these artists imagine new stories which pay witness to the curiosity and fears derived from this changing reality
The audio file of a lecture by Prof. Wendy Brown who explains how the building of walls around the world today is so starkly at odds with images of a world that is ever more connected & unbordered. Bonus! Videos of Shooting Back, the project of an Isreali NGO that gives Palestinian families across the West Bank video cameras to document how they are treated by Israeli soldiers and settlers
Just found out that the utterly brilliant and fascinating thesis that Otto von Busch presented last year at the University of Gothenburg is available as an online PDF. So leave Dan Brown on the shelves and take this one on the beach this Summer, ok?
Knowbotic Research is looking for new zones of intransparency in which people can fully experiment and circulate, where one is neither representable nor identifiable. What would happen if we fight surveillance society with transparency?