The Visual Resistance collective will be participating in a panel at the upcoming And So Forth conference --- our panel is called In the Eye of the Passerby: A Discussion on Street Art. The conference looks fantastic, and will be held January 22-23 at the Office Ops space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Here's more information from the release:
ASF was conceived as a response to the incredible profusion of engaged artistic projects, performances, and events that have been created in New York City this past year. The election is over, but our underlying social justice concerns in the US and elsewhere haven't disappeared?we've still got work to do. ASF is an opportunity for artists and activists of all sorts to come together to teach and discuss innovative, creative methods for raising social and political consciousness and effecting change. Please join us in celebrating past successes, evaluating past failures, and discussing what's next.
+ two days of panels, workshops and interactive discussions
+ a gallery exhibition juried by Aspara DiQuinzio and Christina Kukielski of the Whitney Museum
+ a film and video festival
+ a free post-conference resource guide featuring panel transcripts, artist bios, and activist resources
Here are some of the artists and organizations who will be present: Peter Kuper, Circus Amok, Mariam Ghani, Chitra Ganesh, Yury Gitman, UnionDocs, Blackkat, The Onion, David Rees, The Civilians, Gigantic Art Space, Andrea Liu, Marc Lepson, Dread Scott, Najla Said, Sophia Skiles, Music for America, Stephan Smith, Jazz Against War, Promotheus Radio Project, Paper Tiger Television, Soft Skull Press, Barbara Hammer, Globalvision, WITNESS, Apsara DiQuinzio, Tina Kukielski, and many more.
Check out the And So Forth site and take a look at the panels, workshops, discussions, films, performances, parties and exhibits that will be taking place on January 22nd + 23rd at OfficeOps in East Williamsburg.
Register! (Only $10 in advance or $12 at the door.) Sign up to volunteer! Sign up for workshops!
Got this in the mailbox from Josh MacPhee --- the full call for artwork is after the jump, if you're interested in submitting your artwork work to what sounds like a great show, please reply to Josh or Joseph (contact info at the bottom). The original call is here.
Paper Politics (West)
A Show of Socially Engaged Printmaking
to be held in April 2005 at Phinney Neighborhood Community Center
In April 2005, Seattle Print Arts will hold a juried exhibit of socially engaged printmaking at Seattle's Phinney Neighborhood Community Center. The exhibit will showcase print art which uses themes of social justice and global equity to engage community members in political conversation. Because of its accessibility and reproducibility, print art has long been used by activists as a communication tool in struggles for freedom and social equality. The bold graphic qualities made possible by printmaking techniques are used to communicate with and educate broad audiences all over the world.
Artists of all experience levels and backgrounds are encouraged to submit work. We hope to showcase work by over one hundred artists, and we look forward to your participation.
JUROR: The exhibit will be juried by Josh MacPhee, an artist and activist based in Chicago. MacPhee recently curated "Paper Politics," an extremely successful political printmaking show in Chicago which showcased over 250 prints from over 60 artists. He is the author of the recently published "Stencil Pirates: A Global Study of the Street Stencil on Soft Skull Press.
MEDIA INCLUDED:"Print art" featured in this exhibit can include monotypes, silkscreen, letterpress, stenciling, etching, block prints, hand-processed photo prints, or any kind of printing on paper that retains some evidence of the human hand. Digital prints will be accepted if the medium is used in combination with a traditional technique.
SIZE: The maximum size of prints for this exhibition is 24" x 36".
HOW TO SUBMIT WORK: By email: Submit images of your prints via email to both josh(at)justseeds.org and to Seattle Print Arts at paperpolitics(at)seattleprintarts.org. Jpeg files are preferable; please make sure that the image is high enough quality that we can get a good idea of what the actual print looks like.
By mail: If you do not have access to a means of sending digital images, you can send prints or slides to: Josh MacPhee, P O Box 476971, Chicago, IL 60647 USA
Please include your name and contact information, and indicate the title, medium, and size of the print(s) submitted. Only one print per artist selected will be included; however, feel free to submit several images for us to choose from. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you would like your prints or slides returned.
ENTRY FEE: Only artists selected for the show will be asked to pay a fee. Entry for the show is free, but artists whose work is chosen will pay $15 to help produce a catalog and defray other expenses.
FRAMING: Work will be presented unframed; please do not submit framed work if your work is selected.
SALE OF PRINTS/PRICING: Artists who wish to offer their work for sale may send one or more prints from an edition of the work selected to be sold at the exhibition. In keeping with our theme of accessibility of the work, we ask that the price of prints for sale not exceed $200.
ABOUT SEATTLE PRINT ARTS:
Seattle Print Arts is the Northwest's most active association of artists, arts professionals, and collectors with an interest in print arts. Founded in 1999 and currently numbering over 200 members, Seattle Print Arts has organized several local and international exhibits and exchanges, as well as symposia, lectures and printmaking demonstrations. The organization sponsors two printmaking scholarships as well as a Visiting Artist series at Seattle's Pratt Fine Arts Center. Seattle Print Arts is a
member organization of the American Print Alliance.
Entry Deadline: January 15th, 2005
Notification of Acceptance: Early February 2005
Work Sent By: March 1st, 2005
Opening Reception: Friday, April 1st, 2005, 7-9 PM
Exhibit Dates: April 1st - 29th, 2005
Seattle Print Arts
3405 S Dearborn
Seattle WA 98144 USA
P O Box 476971
Chicago IL 60647 USA
"Think globally, act locally. With this mantra in mind and living in a city that's mostly supported by resources from every other corner of the world, I find it difficult to live well, work well, and help bring justice. As if those things weren't enough, add to this a dependacy on money to survive. Sometimes the conflicts come to a head and make absurd moments like these. But we all gotta start somewhere..."
Click thumbnails for 8.5x11 posters in JPG format.
Here is a poster that might come in handy for organizing against the inauguration.
This poster was featured in the last issue of the Radical Anarchist Tabloid (RAT), a great new publication. The RAT is free and available at radical bookstores, info-shops and community centers around the city.
If you are interested in learning more about protests, actions and events against the inauguration, a good place to start is www.counter-inaugural.org
Check out the New York Rat's site to download their current issue.
A loose coalition of phototographers and activists are calling for a protest this Saturday, December 18 at 1pm at Grand Central Station against the MTA's proposed ban on taking photos in the subways. Like so many "security" measures enacted since September 11, this seems to have more to do with social control than safety. Here's a clip from a press release by the Committe for a Free New York:
The MTA has proposed banning all photography within the subway system. This ban, first proposed in May 2004, was reported in September to have been shelved and forgotten, or at least that is what the MTA would have liked us to believe. Just before thanksgiving (timed when they no doubt believed no one would notice) the proposed ban was published into the state register, starting a 45 day 'comment period' for the public to give their opinion before this proposed ban becomes law....
This rule also does not address the fact that there are already many books and websites that document, in photographs and even blueprints, nearly every aspect of the NYC subway system. Simply stated, terrorists don't need to take photos of the subway system if they desire to attack it. The information is already out there. The horse has left the barn. If we allow the MTA to ban photography, what is next? Book burning?
The only people this proposed ban will affect are average New Yorkers, and tourists, whom will more likely than not have zero knowledge of this rule - and (if) caught and fined, will surely have nothing good to say about NYC when they go home. As even Mayor Michael Bloomberg stated in May, the MTA should 'Get real'.
By slipping the proposed rule into the state register just before Thanksgiving, the MTA clearly was hoping no one would notice. Unfortunately for the MTA, an out of control agency with no public accountability and a drastic need for reform, we did not take our eye off the ball and we will comment in the most vocal and visual terms possible.
Join us for a Photographers' 'Flash Mob' subway ride, Dec. 18th, 2004. Meet time is 1PM at Grand Central Station.
Bring your camera and a flash, ride the trains, and exercise your rights. The group's website, cfny.org is still being developed, but they look promising.
For background information on this issue, check out the Village Voice's article, Forbidden Photos, Anyone? as well as photo coverage of a previous protest by Satan's Laundromat, Joe's NYC, and Unrelated News.
Amazing --- a comic anthology that includes one of Peter Kuper's brilliant Richie Bush pieces has been seized by US Customs for supposedly violating copyright laws. Here's a press release from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund:
On October 27, U.S. Customs sent a letter to Top Shelf Productions notifying them that copies of the anthology Stripburger had been seized, charging that the stories "Richie Bush" by Peter Kuper and "Moj Stub" (translated, "My Pole") by Bojan Redžić, constituted "clearly piratical copies" of registered and recorded copyrights. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has retained counsel to challenge these seizures.
"Richie Bush," appearing in Stripburger (Vol. 12) #37, is a four-page parody of Richie Rich, that also satirizes the Bush Administration by superimposing the personalities of the President’s cabinet on the characters from the comic. "My Pole," appearing in Stripburger (Vol. 3) # 4-5, which was published in 1994, is an eight-page ecology parable in Serbian that makes visual homage to Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Woodstock in three panels. Customs seized five copies of the issue with the Peanuts reference and fourteen copies of the issue containing “Richie Bush.” The stories were both published in the middle of their respective issues and no graphics from either story appeared on the covers.
You can read the whole story on the CBLDF website. Two 4-page "Richie Bush" comics have already been self-published by Peter Kuper, after appearing originally in World War 3 Illustrated. The cover illustration to the first comic (above) was also a poster for our No RNC Poster Project.
Here are some graphics for the counter inaugural. Soy un pocho sin verguenza, notorious for messing up Spanish translations. If you find any mistakes in the bilingual flyer, please let me know and I'll fix it.
Navigating the Space Between Brilliance and Madness: A Collection of Radical Visions from Bipolar Worlds
An Art Show and Community Gathering Sponsored by the Icarus Project
The Icarus Project was created in the beginning of the 21st century by a group of people diagnosed in the contemporary language as Bipolar or Manic-Depressive. Defining ourselves outside convention, we see our condition as a dangerous gift to be cultivated and taken care of rather than as a disease or disorder needing to be "cured" or "eliminated". With this double-edged blessing we have the ability to fly to places of great vision and creativity, but like the mythical boy Icarus, we also have the potential to fly dangerously close to the sun—into realms of delusion and psychosis--and crash in a blaze of fire and confusion.
At our heights we may find ourselves capable of creating music, art, words, and inventions which touch people's souls and shape the course of history. At our depths we may end up alienated and alone, incarcerated in psychiatric institutions, or dead by our own hands. Despite these risks, we recognize the intertwined threads of madness and creativity as tools of inspiration and hope in this repressed and damaged society. We understand that we are members of a group that has been misunderstood and persecuted throughout history, but has also been responsible for some its most brilliant creations. And we are proud.
Icarus will be presenting a spectrum of visions from people with bipolar disorder or related madness. Part of our intention in putting together this show is to educate viewers about the experience of bipolar. The artshow opens on December 16th, 2004 and is located at ABCnoRio on the lower east side of Manhattan at 156 Rivington Street, between Suffolk and Clinton Streets. For more information on ABCnoRio, check out their website at www.abcnorio.org.
Third Colossuss (or Mother of all Exiled)
The phrase, "Give me your poor, your tired, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free," is from a poem called "New Colossus" by Emma Lazarus, and it is inscribed on the Statue of Liberty. The first two lines of the poem read "Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame/With conquering limbs astride from land to land."
This poster represents the third Colossus. It is the victim of our very own "New Colossus." The image represents the ravages of tyranny when ideals of goodness have been twisted by blind self-righteousness. We have come full circle --- from the brazen giant, to the mighty woman, then back to the brazen giant with nothing but its victim to stand in testament.
Lawyers for the Bush administration have suggested that the US does not have to follow the Geneva Convention when dealing with captured Iraqis. Prisoners can be held indefinitely, without the opportunity to speak to anyone, and without ever knowing why they have been detained.
So we sent some questions over to Scott, and here's what he had to say...
1. Where are you from? Where do you live now? How have these places impacted you as a person and as an artist?
I was born in Manhattan, raised in Queens until about 5, then moved to upstate New York--along the Mohawk River in the foothills of the Adirondack Mountains. I came back to New York City for grad school and worked there for over 10 years, then moved to Savannah, GA which is where I presently live.
For one thing, place has always provided me with answers to my questions, or at least teasing glimpses into those answers. New York has answers for everything, of course, but it can be somewhat stingy with the ones you’re actually looking for. Answers are answers, however, and if you’re prone to be happy with answers for questions you never thought to ask, then New York is great. It’s the belly button of my conscience. No matter where I go I feel tethered to the place in an elemental way, as if an umbilical cord were still connecting us. Savannah is very different, of course, but it’s a great town with a strong soul. It’s diverse for it’s size, and it’s got good positive energy. Savannah and New York are like complimentary colors; they are each more alive when juxtaposed against one another.
2. What's the process that goes into making one of your pieces?
Speaking strictly of poster design, the process is usually identifying the core conflict within an issue, then identifying the iconography of that conflict. Symbols and metaphors are the designer’s most powerful tools, but only if used in a way that avoids the hackneyed (or exploits the hackneyed in an unexpected way). The creative process is a lot like the personal process of determining an ethical stance. To feel from the heart is one thing, but it’s important to try to identify where that gut feeling is coming from; is it pure and objective? Or has it been twisted in someway that is still hidden from your own sensibilities? Digging for the core conflicts—-the core concepts, really, with conflicts being a key part of those concepts--and sparing nothing to identify them, is the first step in my process. Then, determining a way to juxtapose these metaphors in a jarring way to reframe and rephrase an argument so that those who are exposed to it rely less on their personal prejudices when attempting to affirm the validity of their side in that argument. In terms of selecting media, it’s simply making sure that the medium does not interfere with the delivery of the key concepts. Sounds simple, but rarely is. Medium comes last.
3. Who do you see as your audience? How do you go about getting your work out to people?
Again, speaking strictly of poster design, I’d say that for the most part I want to speak to an audience I respect; an audience with values I respect. I’m not usually interested in presenting a mediated stance with my posters. Posters are so public---they catch people unaware and by the sheer force of this surprise they have the potential to shift people’s perspectives. But achieving a major shift in the viewer’s attitude is a daunting task, and one that often backfires or fails in unforeseen ways. So, speaking with like minded people---or those who aren’t dead set in their mentality---are those I have in mind. In my other creative pursuits you could say I aim for some form of moderation, but the poster is the designer’s purest art, and I don’t feel the need or desire to moderate my expression in any way.
Having said that, the free-speech poster project a group of us did for the national conventions and the G8 protests was aiming specifically to find common ground between America’s polarized ideologies by highlighting non-violent protest as something all Americans should embrace---eagerly and steadfastly. The non-violent part is appreciated by the majority of both sides, but the more important part is the protest part---the public display of a dissenting voice. At times public dissent is a citizen’s only tool, and it can be a powerful tool as long as it is not successfully demonized by the state or the status quo. By successfully, I mean at a point where a good part of the population somehow buys into the notion that protestors are unpatriotic. Unfortunately, that’s what we’ve seen lately, and it makes it that much more important to engage in dissent. Engage in it as often as possible. But it makes it equally important to engage in non-violence.
In terms of getting the work out, life is great if only for the beautiful web of like-minded individuals you come to meet and converse with in the course of a lifetime. I’ve come to know people I respect who are also engaged in activism of one kind or another. We try to stay connected, and sometimes we work together for different causes. Also, the more I study international poster design, the more I realize that even the most highly acclaimed poster designers fund the printing of their own work in situations where they feel the need for such action as necessary to get the message out. I’m just starting to do that myself. As citizens we can donate in so many ways. We can be dues-paying members of social and environmental groups, we can donate our private time to help in soup kitchens and various grass-roots organizing. But as designers, we have that wonderful extra talent we can donate. Doing the design is one thing---and sometimes enough in its own right---but donating the printing costs is yet another. It’s a matter of determining the best method of donating your resources, and how much you can give. Progressive minded lawyers offer a full array of law services to their causes, why shouldn’t designers?
4. When did you decide to merge your political views and your art? What was the catalyst for this change?
I don’t know if it ever was a conscious decision. Art for art’s sake, in other words, was not the catalyst for any of my creativity. Personal expression regarding human concerns was of more interest, and that expression just happened to take the form of writing and designing. In terms of overtly political art, you could say that the year 2000 triggered something in me. Before that I was content to say my piece---and do it in a nuanced, maybe even contradictory fashion---consciously leaving the door open to a critique of my own shortcomings as a way of acknowledging the subjective nature of our existence. In my fiction, especially, I was content in creating non-political narratives with broader social defects serving only as deep, sometimes even intractable, undertones.
The environment was my biggest worry when Bush first came to office, and the fact that we can’t even have a dialogue concerning the environment anymore is upsetting. It’s as if that topic is completely off the table now with our minds on a new bag of worries. So, his election was a first big step towards overt and unapologetic political expression. With the build up to war, I was compelled to react more aggressively. Like so many people now, I worry about this country’s future. The way I see it, we can engage in some good-old fashion non-violent protest now, or we can sit back and wait until protest is not only demonized, but truly threatened to the point of extinction by those who see it as nothing more than a threat to their rise to tyrannical rule. I truly believe our actions now can play a part in preventing any serious imbalances from occurring in the coming future. They say the political pendulum swings back and forth, but that’s assuming the balancing influence of gravity is not fundamentally changed in some way. Systems have a way of suddenly shifting dramatically within the presence of counterbalances. It’s incumbent on the left to provide that counterbalance.
5. How do you balance being a professional designer and teacher with your more political work?
It’s pretty straightforward. As much as many people bemoan the monoculture of America, we’re still a pretty diverse nation. And let’s face it, even the most ideologically fanatic person possesses a certain degree of complexity. As a professor, I get a lot of opportunities to let young designers know that there is a realm beyond consumer culture for them to explore. As designers we can act as responsible contributors to society, even as we make a living. These two things are not diametrically opposed, as some believe. It’s true, too, that even bland commercial work is a political statement in support of the non-sustainable quo. So, as young designers realize this, they’re more open to exploring other forms of expression.
It can be hard when dealing with students who hold strong ideological viewpoints that vary from mine, but not really. I’ll always stress that EVERYONE must be objective and educated in their stance. Only after intensive research into the mindset and rationales of the "enemy camp" can a designer ever assume the role of a responsible communicator. My classes are always open to diverse opinions, and in a way that reveals the promise of diversity within a society, because my most fruitful classes are usually those that have a healthy dose of divergent political and cultural opinion. That provides a catalyst for deeper thought, and a deeper understanding of what it means to exist within a diverse culture as a culture agent.
6. What's next?
Who knows. At the very least, four more years of relentless image making. I’ve got a book that will be out in the next few months as a part of a fellowship grant. It’s a mix of poetry and design, and focuses on issues of global environmental degradation. I’ll send one along once it’s published.
1. Explain to us the creative process that goes into making one of your pieces. Do you collaborate or work alone?
I pretty much work alone. I will usually ask people's opinion on something while I'm working on it, but I do all the work myself.
2. What would you be doing if you weren’t doing art?
I have no idea. What else is there to do?
3. Where are you from? Where do you live now? How have these places impacted you as a person and as an artist?
I'm originally from Knoxville, TN. I now live in Los Angeles, CA. The differences in these places has greatly impacted me as a person and an artist. Just the difference in size and variety of people. You realize there are so many ways of looking at the world.
4. Who’s your audience? What have some of the responses been to your pieces, if there were any you know of?
I'm not exactly sure who my audience is. Besides other street artists and people that are into it. I guess it's pretty random being that anyone can happen upon it. As for responses, I feel most are positive. I run into people on the street that have seen the work and seem excited about it. Some of them even ask for stickers or posters.
5. How important is knowing what and how people feel about your work?
I like to know people see the work and react. I hope it will make them think and have some sort of positive effect. I guess really knowing this isn't that important. But it is interesting to know what people think.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now? 10 years?
Ah the future question. Well in the future I hope to still be making art and I hope it will be on an even larger scale. I would like my work to explore all the tools available to the mass media, like television.
7. What do you do to pay your bills?
I'm a Freelance Art Director.