Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Show & Tell

I stumbled across this incredible talk by Guillermo Gomez-Peña morning and had to share it with you all. He discusses so many of the things we've been mulling over this term in such a poetic/performative/humorous/powerful manner.

I posted a few quotes below because I know everyone is busy, but I do so recommend listening if you get a chance.

Here is the link:

Radical art, radical communities, and radical dreams: Guillermo Gómez-Peña at TEDxCalArts

Here are some moments:

"I think democracy cannot thrive without the critical voice of the artists constantly testing its limits and possibilities, without the ethical mirror of art reflecting the distorted features of power."

"Since 9/11, I became obsessed with hope, with finding its spiritual source and location. Is hope a deep feeling of expansion located on the chest, the abdomen? Is it a distant marker in the horizon that directs our actions or a mysterious spiritual energy that propels you into the unknown? Is hope a matter of quantum fury? A form of poetic will? Is hope by definition illogical and unreasonable? Can hope be nurtured through education? Does hope put you at odds with the state? Will I vote in the next elections? Did you vote last week?

Unlike the presidential candidates, my hope is not connected to god, country, or economy. My hope is located somewhere else, in obscure books, films, and performances. In the small communities that exist under the radar of the media. In the political streets of our cities. In the eyes of my students. In late night conversations in a bar full of outsiders. In animal species I have never seen. In the wisdom of indigenous cultures. My hope is always located on the other side of the border, or the mirror, and in this very moment, my hope is located in your arms.”

“Is love still an option? Love in times of war, disease and global warming?  Love amidst earthquakes and floods? Under red alerts and a suspicious purple moon colored by smog and chemical waste? Is it possible to love as if 9/11, the invasion of Iraq and New Town never happened? As if America was a true democracy and an active member of the world community? Can we love as if the Patriot Act didn’t exist? As if the earth is not mortally wounded? As if we had open borders and open hearts? I think we can. Love can certainly help us continue.”

Wednesday, March 1, 2017


Peter Morin's Cultural Graffiti in London

"Buckingham palace. thousands of people. set up the blanket. put on your armor. sing the song. the song that is a Tahltan river rushing inside of me. the drum speaks. it says 'this drum supports indigenous voice.' the drum beats are bullets. does anyone know this? (only me.) sing the song. fall down and sing the song into the land. drum and sing around the monument. overheard conversations: 1. I think he thinks he's an Indian. 2. shhhh. this is an indigenous performance. i also hear applause." Peter Morin, 2013

"We are alive, we remain, we are vibrant, you did not win." Morin, 2013

"Peter Morin produces art that honors his home and the stories, words and songs of his people from the traditional territory of the Tahltan Nation. His work animates the histories of indigenous objects and connects with the ancestors of these objects through different modes of performance: song, stand-up comedy and oration. His art is a record of his ongoing process of understanding and practicing his culture and language. His voice is Tahltan. It comes from the land." (Bio as it appears in Cultural Graffiti in London: Singing life into exhibitions and embodying the digital document by Helen Gilbert)

In his 2013 project Cultural Graffiti in London, Morin performed Tahltan songs in semi-traditional clothing directly into the land and architecture of various monuments in London, such as Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, Princess Diana's Memorial Fountain and the alleged grave of Pocahontas.

"Monuments perform, provoking viewers to think about the past and often involving the audience in a social bond intended to instill historical consciousness." Mechtild Wildrich (from aforementioned manuscript)

His belief is that these songs leave their mark on the monuments in the same way as graffiti, but perhaps even more subversively so, because they cannot be removed. "This sonic rebellion against the hegemonic exercise of colonial power involved an assertion of cultural resistance that often ended with the statement 'we are still here.'" (Gilbert)

The Artist Sings: Peter Morin in Conversation  (Video)

For more info:

Cultural Graffiti in London: Singing Life Into Exhibitions

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Show & tell

Ricardo Dominguez - Floodnet - Electronic Disturbance Theatre

Electronic Disturbance Theatre
An electronic company of cyber activists, critical theorists, and performance artists 
organize and program computer software to show their views against anti-propagandist and military actions. They believe that the internet should not be used purely as a means for communication and data exchange. Instead it is also a forum for direct action.

Why Electronic Disturbance THEATRE?

Basic idea taken from street theater practices/political rallies/protest/sit-ins but present it on a much larger and international stage, with the facilitation of macro-networks and non-digital forms of action

Electronic Civil Disobedience (ECD)
Term coined by Critical Art Ensemble - seeks to continue the practices of non violent, yet disruptive protest in electronic means

Ricardo Dominguez
Member of Critical Art Ensemble --> founded EDT --> principal investigator at Calit2 (California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology) at UC San Diego --> Associate professor of visual arts at UC San Diego (now)

The Flood Net 
- A computer-based program (available for download) and participatory website-jamming network, which allowed anyone with an internet connection to gum up the official sites of the US Border Patrol, White House, G8, Mexican embassy, and others, rendering them inaccessible.
- Works on the same basis as a real sit-in, where the protesters block the entrance to a public building of their oppressors and preventing access to the building.

Virtual Sit-In against Zapatista's oppressors
(Zapatista: a Mexican revolutionary leftist political and militant group)
Distributed Denial-Of-Service attack (DDOS)- during a virtual sit-in, hundreds of activists attempt to access a target website simultaneously and repetitively. If performed correctly, this will cause the target website to run slowly or even collapse entirely, preventing anyone from accessing it.

In response to the political assassination of Zapatista teacher Jose Luis Solís López, EDT's web browsers sent mass amounts of page requests to the server of the Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, filling their error logs with lines of text drawn from Don Quixote, communiques from the Zapatista Communities, as well as from texts authored by the Critical Art Ensemble

Transborder Immigrant Tool
- By augmenting a low-cost Motorola phone with GPS and a battery of applications, EDT's goal is to help illegal immigrants complete safe border crossings by directing heavy-footed immigrants to safe routes, shelter, food, water, and friendly sympathizers. 
- "There's another teacher here at UCSD, Brett Stalbaum, who really enjoys traveling in the desert, but he has no sense of direction, so he developed what we call a Virtual Hiker Tool—a GPS you can wear on your wrist that always coordinates the most beautiful view, the most beautiful way to go, on the day you're traveling."

- Pay phone connected to a free Skype system - when Homeland Security drops Mexican laborers back over the Mexican border, the pay phone is right there for them to call home or wherever they want

"It's all interconnected—from the Critical Art Ensemble, to electronic disturbance, to the work I'm doing at BANG Lab today. It's all a single matrix of investigation and performance, which is quite fruitful in its horizons in an unexpected way."

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Critical Art Ensemble

Critical Art Ensemble is a collective of five tactical media artists formed in 1985 in Tallahassee, Florida. Tactical Media is a form of interventionist media art that engages and critiques the dominant political and economic order.

They have authored seven books that have been translated in 18 languages and have been active internationally through Museums like Whitney Museum and The New Museum in NYC; The Corcoran Museum in Washington D.C.; The ICA, London; The MCA, Chicago; Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; The London Museum of Natural History and Documenta.

Interested in Biotechnology, they have done a lot performances dressed up as scientists, usind basic high school lab equipment and household supplys to make their experiments understandable for a larger public.

Their work has focused on different social issues like U.S. policy on HIV, agricultural labour relations, the global food trade system and more recently the US defense policy.


Monday, February 20, 2017

Message to employers- Salty

Uploading this as it relates to one of my three ideas to talk about in class. Will be easier for all of you to visualise when I talk about it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

I've been thinking a lot about this quote and formulating ways to bring this to the public through social practice: 
"Do you want to help the world? Read the poetry of the people we're bombing." 
Sherman Alexie Oct, 10, 2011 at Rutgers University

Of the seven countries expected to be named in Trump's executive order, the US is currently bombing five of them: Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. In 2016 alone, the country dropped an estimated 26,172 bombs in seven countries, (including Pakistan and Afghanistan), according to the Council of Foreign Relations.Jan 26, 2017



Monday, February 13, 2017

Bread & Puppet

"It's the freedom that you get when you can do things because of America's garbage and the freedom of doing gigantic things for almost nothing, with just collaboration, with just people power." Peter Schumann

https://youtu.be/TkFzR8l5_Gs?t=543 - Peter Schumann (founder) discusses B&P
https://youtu.be/9_JSDnGJzpk?t=468 - Peter Schumann, story about Mother Earth puppet

"Cheap Art" poster
One of the many posters & banners printed by B&P

"Radicality of the puppet theatre" (Zine): http://breadandpuppet.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Radicality-of-the-Puppet-Theater.pdf

In 1944, the Detroit chapter of the NAACP held a mock-funeral for him. In 1963, participants in the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom symbolically buried him. I was thinking about this act in relation to Black Panther gun act. but I didn't find much reference to this performance or about the people.


There was a similar act that I found interesting which was performed in  2009.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The American Society for Personally Questioning Political Questions





Natasha Marin's Reparations Project

Natasha Marin is a conceptual artist working across disciplines and media to collaborate with People to create opportunities for meaningful IRL and digital engagement.

Reparations began as a social media experiment on Facebook on July 15, 2016. 
What if you actually did something meaningful for someone before the end of the year?

What if a stranger restored your belief in humanity, if only for a moment, by supporting you and allowing you to claim something you need in a material way?

I invite People of Color to ask for what we need to feel better, be happier, be more productive by posting in this space. These may be both material and immaterial requests.

I invite people who identify as White to offer services or contributions to People of Color in need of time, energy, substantive care, and support.


Natasha on the Tavis Smiley Show

Navjot Altaf
Since 1970s she has created an oeuvre which constitutes an ever-growing flow of video, sculptures, installations and site-specific works that negotiate various disciplinary boundaries. The essence of her imagery comes out of her theoretical and methodological innovation, combined with deeply engaged readings of historical and contemporary art, film and cultural theory. The process has helped her address and realize the significance of transdisciplinary work “whose nature is not merely to cross disciplinary boundaries but to rearrange mental landscape”. Since 1997 She has also been working in collaboration with indigenous artists and community members on ongoing ‘Nalpar’ sites and ‘Pilla Gudi’ –‘Art in public space’ projects in Bastar district.

 Nalpar and Pilla Gudi projects in collaboration with indigenous artists Rajkumar Korram, Shantibai, Gessuram, Gangadevi from Bastar, Navjot Altaf from Mumbai and neighboring communities’, Bastar, Chattisgarh State, Central India.

To understand parallel and different modes of art making, art and public space in relation to different disciplines and areas of study and research we got interested in interactive / co-operative / collaborative art making processes. And ‘art’ that evolves from dialogical process, an endeavor that is exploratory, collaborative and dynamic, questioning our visual and cultural literacy, limitations and conditioning. As we come from different cultural backgrounds, to discuss contemporary art practices critically, we have been coining terminology and the language to have deeper dialogue between us. It requires a long term involvement to perceive, formulate or develop visions and work /rework on them. Interaction with community members over period has helped us to understand the workings of the social networks, and issues associated with respect for adivasi culture and human dignity. Issues at stake also included the urgent need to be informed about social rights to enable them to make decisions, however basic they may be.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Shoshana Show and Tell on Sister Corita Kent

Laying the ground rules:

Julie Ault wrote a book about her life and work called: Come Alive! The Spirited Art of Sister Corita

Corita.org houses her life's work.  1964 begins the years of most interest to me.

Anupam's show & tell

Sahmat collective: Art and activism in India since 1989
The influential Delhi-based collective Sahmat has offered a platform for artists, writers, poets, musicians, actors, and activists to create and present works of art that promote artistic freedom and celebrate secular, egalitarian values since 1989.
The collective formed in the weeks after playwright, actor, and activist Safdar Hashmi was fatally attacked by political thugs while performing a street play. In the more than twenty five years since, Sahmat has drawn on India’s secular heritage and an expansive group of collaborators to produce a series of projects that engage in important political and social debates through a mix of high art and street culture.
Animated by the urgent belief that art can propel change and that culture can reach across boundaries, Sahmat has offered a platform for an expansive group of artists and collaborators to present powerful works of art that defend freedom of expression and battle intolerance within India's often divisive political landscape.

Sahmat's projects are defined in part by their consistent stance against the threat of religious fundamentalism and sectarianism—known in South Asia as "communalism"—in public life. Collaborations have cut across class, caste, and religious lines and have involved artists, performers, scholars, and a wide array of other participants, such as the Hindu, Sikh, and Muslim auto-rickshaw drivers in the contest Slogans for Communal Harmony. Projects also have sought to counter political distortions to India's history, most notably in Sahmat's multifaceted response to the demolition of Babri Masjid (Babur's Mosque) in Ayodhya. In other cases, Sahmat has sought to celebrate India's cultural diversity and democratic ideals, engaging artists to create work that responds to ideas of national history and individual identity.

Sahmat Collective: Ways of Resisting

Revitalizing popular culture and personalized ideas of nation. Intervening deep into daily lives of people. Sahmat Collective: Slogans for Communal Harmony

Black book artist statement of Sahmat.

Appropo to Erika's idea about proposing to remove the Statue of Liberty


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Mary Mattingly

Mary Mattingly is a visual artist who's work considers systems, dystopian futures and possible alternative ways of living. Her work is performative, informative, and restorative. 

Much of her early work took the form of wearable sculptures with useful functions geared toward inhabitants of a world wherein systems of energy and resource distribution have collapsed. For example, some of these wearable units provide completely-enveloping cocoons for keeping warm at night but can also be worn as clothing, or collect water and store energy. 

In the Navel of the Moon, 2008

Eventually, Mattingly felt that "The dystopic future was very sad to me, and breaking out of that was necessary at some point. I really started to think about my own life and how outside of this future that I was inventing, we all had to live." 

She began to consider ways in which she could delve into her own life and reevaluate her relationship to her belongings and the systems of production, distribution and consumption through which our modern world currently functions. 

Own It  is an ongoing project in which Mattingly is documenting all of her belongings and exploring the means through which they come to belong to her. 

Screenshots taken from OwnIt.org 

Pull, 2013 

Above: Mattingly, pulling all over her possessions, crosses the bridge through which barges enter NYC's largest Port 

While her earlier work imagined possible ways of surviving as an individual in a dystopian future, environmental and economic events in the earlier 2000s, such as floods and water privatization, turned Mattingly's interests toward more communal units. 

Waterpod, 2009

"The Waterpod demonstrates future pathways for nomadic, mobile shelters and water-based communities, docked and roaming.
It embodies self-sufficiency and resourcefulness, learning and curiosity, human expression and creative exploration. It intends to prepare, inform, and provide an alternative to current and future living spaces.
In preparation for our coming world with an increase in population, a decrease in usable land, and a greater flux in environmental conditions, people will need to rely closely on immediate communities and look for alternative living models; the Waterpod is about cooperation, collaboration, augmentation, and metamorphosis.
As a malleable and autonomous space, the Waterpod is built on a model comprised of multiple collaborations. The Waterpod functions as a singular unit with the possibility to expand into ever-evolving water communities; an archipelagos that has the ability to mutate with the tides.
The Waterpod is mobile and nomadic, and as an application for the future it can historicize the notion of the permanent structure, simultaneously serving as composition, transportation, island, and residence.
As with architecture, art is largely about stories: stories of its inhabitants, its community, its makers and their reflections on the past or expectations of the future.
Based on movement, the Waterpod structure is adaptable, flexible, self-sufficient, and relocatable, responsive to its immediate and shifting environment. 
The Waterpod is an extension of body, of home, and of community, its only permanence being change, flow, and multiplicity. It connects river to visitor, global to local, nature to city, and historic to futuristic ecologies.
With this project, we hope to encourage innovation as we visualize the future fifty to one hundred years from now. This will be the first of many."

Flock, 2012

Flock, 2014

In 2013, Mattingly designed and built a "scalable and amphibious ecosystem" at Pier 42, an area which had been flooded during Hurricane Sandy. 

Triple Island, 2013

House and Universe, 2013 

"For 'House and Universe," I looked at the micro (my personal life and possessions) and the macro (the global supply chain, it's formal and informal sectors.) In a global supply chain, commodity production can be deadly. Extraction of minerals has been known to fuel wars, and it's peoples' desire to consume that is the primary driver of wars like these. I visited different points in the supply chain, from factories to ports and transit points to its end. 

I wanted to turn my useful objects into something very useless so I wrapped them into these big boulder-like forms that really illustrate their mass and obstruction. I made a decision to live my life from now on without them. 

The photographs in "House and Universe" are collages...which are made up of photographs from multiple places and times, re-emphasizing the lack of place-specifity and illustrating their interconnection."

Swale, 2016 and ongoing

Swale is a public space for growing edible plants which are available to the public for harvesting and consumption. It is located on a barge that travels around NYC waterways and docks at different ports to allow for a wide range of public access. 

Sources & Further Information: