animating democracy

my favorite source material for my comparative analysis paper.

Socially Engaged Contemporary Art: Tactical and Strategic Manifestations
By Nato Thompson

Artists who are committed to social justice through their work must navigate a complex contemporary art world characterized by numerous political positions and aesthetic expectations. In this paper, Nato Thompson observes two overarching approaches taken by artists—strategic and tactical—that operate against a political and economical infrastructure. Thompson describes successful examples in both categories, including sustained place-based work; culturally engaged radical pedagogy; engaged museums; engaged academic institutions; and a variety of work that raises questions rather than resolving them. Among the organizations highlighted as doing strategic socially engaged art are the Center for Urban Pedagogy and the Queens Museum; their efforts are infrastructural and sustained in a place over time. Artists highlighted as working through tactical and often guerrilla-style forms of intervention include Critical Art Ensemble and its Free Range Grain project and Paul Ramirez Jonas’ Key to the City implemented in partnership with Creative Time.

read it. its nice. i mean bourriand and bishop were good too. just different.


"young money" by myla dalbesio

you know who, recently put me on to Myla DalBesio, who according to her website is: an American multi-disciplinary visual artist, specializing in photography, performance, video, and sculpture. Born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania in 1987 [dang, what am i doing w/my life???], she studied Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and is currently based in New York City. Her work is greatly influenced by religion and ritualistic practices, the mystic patterns of the natural world, and the underlying sexual perversions within all humans.

super interesting stuff.

In the hyperallergic interview about her piece "young money", and her work in general she says: "I have been signed to Ford as a model for years, and after spending so much time on that side of the fashion industry, one kind of starts to view the body as a commodity. Personality and talent certainly play a role in the successes of a model, but when it comes down to brass tacks, it’s only your appearance and what you can do with your body that matters. In theory, it’s not unlike the position of a stripper. In both situations you are selling an image, an idea of yourself, and that’s how you have to work it, regardless of your true, internal identity. That’s where the first ideas for the performance originated."

"I own my body, it is mine and I refuse to allow people to dictate what I can and cannot do with it. I have the courage and conviction to use it as a tool in provoking a greater thought process in the minds of individuals, and there is nothing anti-feminist about that sentiment at all. It would be naive to ignore the fact that some attendees didn’t pick up on the deeper meaning. Were there viewers who only cared to stare at my breasts and who left thinking of it as nothing but a good time? Certainly. And yes, that does make me feel taken advantage of. But it was my choice to put myself in that situation, no one forced me into it. I am willing to give of myself for the growth of others, and that is sacrifice, not exploitation."

sooo...idk about this piece in particular, having not been there to experience the performance i reserve comment on the photos. to me if its performance, its hard to 'evaluate' it based on a flat image. what i do really appreciate is what she has to say about her work. that is what resonates with me. besides the fact that professionally, i am everyday immersed in thinking through the healthy construction, preservation and expression of sexual self, artistically i'm interested in exploring some of this in my work but less as such a dramatic spectacle in a gallery but uncovering all of the ways that we [insert (not just sexually) marginalized group here] experience the spectacle of exploitation on a regular/every-day basis in regular places (work, school, street) 'under' the radar of majority culture and the secret society-ness of those who not only experience, recognize and critique, subvert, re-purpose/power these identities as such. unfortunately i don't think the body/appearance as a commodity and what you can do with your body being the only thing that matters is unique to strippers and models. its something i'm painfully aware of as i move through the world at all times.


afro-surreal:::i mentally dabble in this but its intricately woven through my ethos

check it. took the words outta my mouth (or brain. or heart). if only i had time and opportunity to play in this sandbox. one day. its coming. on pause for now but ooooooh hearts...

YESSSSS to all this:

(image from the tumblr, source??)

"2. Afro-Surreal presupposes that beyond this visible world, there is an invisible world striving to manifest, and it is our job to uncover it.

“3. Afro-Surrealists restore the cult of the past. We revisit old ways with new eyes. We appropriate 19th century slavery symbols like Kara Walker, and 18th century colonial ones like Yinka Shonibare. We re-introduce “madness” as visitations from the gods, and acknowledge the possibility of magic. We take up the obsessions of the ancients and kindle the dis-ease, clearing the murk of the collective unconsciousness as it manifests in these dreams called culture.”

3. Afro-Surrealists restore the cult of the past. We re-introduce “madness” as visitations from the gods, and acknowledge the possibility of magic. We take up the obsessions of the ancients and kindle the dis-ease, clearing the murk of the collective unconsciousness as it manifests in these dreams called culture.

4. Afro-Surrealists use excess as the only legitimate means of subversion, and hybridization as a form of disobedience” ~fiona foley

5. Afro-Surrealists strive for rococo: the beautiful, the sensuous, and the whimsical. We turn to Sun Ra, Toni Morrison, and Ghostface Killa. We look to Kehinde Wiley, whose observation about the black male body applies to all art and culture: “There is no objective image. And there is no way to objectively view the image itself.”

7. The Afro-Surrealist wears a mask while reading Leopold Senghor

10. Afro-Surrealists create sensuous gods to hunt down beautiful collapsed icons."



i'm having a good day and feeling like i should not give up. gonna make a push to salvage this semester. there's still 2 months so i feel like if i just.try.really.hard. i can make significant progress. this piece by letha wilson
seems really interesting to me both aesthetically and conceptually in the sense that she's "framing" something that "we" the viewer usually take for granted. this is interesting if you think about it from a resistance lense in the sense that like the "occupy" events, they are calling attention to a group of people, set of conditions etc. that are taken for granted and/or over looked. i am thinking of doing something simple like this to simply "frame" an injustice or a set of conditions that i think are over-looked. i may also think of this where light is concerned..."shedding"/shining light on things that are normally over-looked or invisible. i'm going to attend a solar workshop with my artist mentor this weekend and hopefully that will glean some practical skill that could assist in doing something light related. slowly...(as hell) but surely...


occupy all things

Storefront for Art and Architecture is making a call for submissions for projects and strategies that offer a new, creative and productive way of spatial occupation for public demonstrations and actions in cities throughout the world. Gathering expertise from the various acts of civil occupation throughout the world during the last months, we ask architects, artists and citizens at large to offer their ideas for enabling acts of communication and action between the civil society and the structures of economic and political power.

Submission requirements:
1 image [plan, diagram, photograph, code...] 11x11 inches, 300dpi jpg format
A title and a text of 200 words maximum.
Name or Pseudonim

As soon as possible . December 1st, 2011.

Please send your files to occupy@storefrontnews.org

1st Prize: The possibility of a new world order

Submissions will be exhibited in a pop up installation at Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York in December and in the ongoing Storefront Strategies for Public Occupation Archive.

though i am currently failing miserably at school stuff and using all of my brain power for running a NPO I have to admit. I'm ALL about this. once again, i thank my muse of 16 years for always putting me on to the new new.


subversion of everyday situations for extraordinary experiences

i ran across this "situation" in my alley.

to some it seems like a pile of trash. for me, i stopped and pondered b/c it seemed strangely composed and like something if you tried to put it together it would never be as beautiful. immediately i started thinking of ways to use this moment...these objects...this place. as a site. i imagined the spaces and structure of the mattress serving as a framework for a speaker box/projector of things and people that happen there. besides a place of rest, the most immediate activity and purpose i think of is of sex, but so many other intimate domestic moments there and now discarded. what happens if i fabricate a memory and then project it at night for all to see and remember. i will try to collage something and post what i was imagining.

guerilla girls do hull house

last week, i made it out to see the guerilla girls give a lecture in honor of the birthday of Jane Adams.

seeing them in person i was definitely inspired by the interventionist concepts and ideas that they represent but also i got into a provocative discussion afterward with some other audience members that raised some critical questions about them and their work as well. a lot of the work seemed dated and i wondered what they are currently working on or how to tackle current issues, whether their media change or stay the same as a calling card of sorts and lastly how they are ensuring/continuing the legacy of the guerilla girls. being anonymous, it seems like such a tremendous opportunity to create a whole new masked crop of guerilla girls to continue the work. i don't think any of these questions were answered but it definitely gave me some things to chew on where medium/style etc. are concerned, as they definitely have a "calling card" style of sorts...which is especially interesting in this whole robin-hood of the art world concept. this is a conversation has come up for me a couple times, from the residency to a conversation that i recently had with my new mentor. e.g. how important is style in communicating your message and how do you manipulate/subvert existing popular culture/styles to mobilize people around an issue area? and is using popular culture iconography from the 80's effective today? not so much i don't think but all really interesting questions to adapt to 2011.


"hand in glove"

right up my alley. don't mind if i do...register that is.

"Join threewalls for a national convergence of artists and independent organizers working at the crossroads of creative administration and studio practice. This four-day event includes the Hand-in-Glove Conference on grassroots creative activity and innovative organizing models across the country and the release of PHONEBOOK 3, a directory of independent art spaces, programming, and projects throughout the United States and a collection of critical essays written by the people who run them." more here