At the And So Forth conference last weekend, Molly talked a little bit about some of the past projects that have inspired us in our work on the No RNC Poster Project, and in our reincarnation as Visual Resistance. I'd like to expand on that discussion with some background information on some of the main projects that we take immediate inspiration from --- sort of our guiding lights.
First on the list has got to be Your House Is Mine. Put together in 1992 at Bullet Space, an anarchist squat in the Lower East Side, Your House is Mine had three components: a newsprint publication about housing rights and the squatters' movement, street posters, and a metal-bound book of writing and silkscreened posters by Eric Drooker, Anton Van Dalen, Andrew Castrucci, Stash Two, Sabrina Jones, Seth Tobocman, Lee Quinones, Lady Pink, David Wojnarowicz, James Romberger & Marguerite Van Cook, Missing Foundation and many, many more.
Through sheer luck, some of us got a chance to look at the book last spring, and as an artifact, it's a monster. It's 19 x 25 inches, with 40 screenprints on heavyweight paper, bound with lead, and weighs 16 pounds. But what was most exciting about seeing the book was imagining these same posters covering the walls of a neighborhood in struggle.
The collective production of the publication and posters, the direct connection of the artwork to a grassroots political movement, the audacity of the squatters (and the artists), and the diversity of techniques and forms used in a common project --- just about everything about Your House Is Mine amazed me.
I will try to post on other inspirational projects as well, and hopefully this series could become a somewhat regular feature on the site. I also created a new category (see the right sidebar) called "Inspirations" to which other collective members can add their own posts.
In the meantime, I'd love to hear from folks who know about Bullet Space or the Your House Is Mine projects, or the squatters movement more generally..... Check out the links above, and let us know what you think --- about this, or about your own inspirations --- in the comments.
Arofish is a stencilist currently residing in London. He promised to greet our "intelligent, subtle, carefully thought out questions . . . with a load of boorish, superficial, irrelevant, conceited self-promotionism (well, I am a graffiti artist after all...)," but actually ended up giving us one of our best interviews yet.
How did you first get involved with street art? How did you find your way to stencils?
I came to London a couple of years ago and the stencil graffiti I saw just blew me away. I've always had a little bit of skill for drawing but rarely ever had the urge to produce anything. Until I came here, graffiti to me just meant the wildstyle, new york hip-hop stuff you see. That's often incredibly beautiful and skilled but it still just comes down to writing your name and I wouldn't personally bother trying to get good at it. Ironically, a lot of those artists piss on me in terms of technical skill. What limited drawing skill I have (and I draw everything I do ) is with pen and pencil, hence stencils. (And of course the exposure time is minimised too)
I came to graffiti from a background of political activism, which is why doing art in Palestine and Iraq was a sort of natural extension of both elements.
How long does it take you to put up a piece? Do you have any technical tips for those interested in large-scale stenciling work?
How long is a piece of string? Seriously, there are so many factors involved. The tips below may elucidate some.
Tips, in no particular order:
--- If it's a high risk area, recce it first a week before, on the same night (same time) you're gonna do it. If it's pigged out, pick another night or another spot.
--While you're there, CHECK THAT THE SURFACE WILL HOLD YOUR TAPE, or whatever you're using to stick up your stencil. Some paint can soak into some porous surfaces with barely a trace; also worth testing.
--- Plan absolutely everything you can beforehand; chances are it WON'T just sort itself out when you get there (you'll have enough to worry about)- and your hard work could go for naught. Taking the time to section out your large stencil into smaller jigsaw pieces is worth it; you can fit them into a folder instead of walking around with a huge rolled up package. It's also easier to keep them flat (essential). And to get them away again. Smaller pieces are easier to work with if it's blowing a fucking gale. A drawback is they can take longer to match up and there's more of them to stick.
--- A word on sectioning- don't just take your big, (already cut out) stencil and hack it to smaller bits. You'll probably fuck it. Get your artwork (on paper) and cut it into measured pieces first. Number/letter them and make a note of how they fit. Now cut the stencil card, which is separate, into individual pieces, for your paper "jigsaw pieces" to be glued onto. The pieces of card should be bigger than those of paper, perhaps an inch margin on every side. Depends. Take the time to cut little "register" holes in (or develop your own system, so you'll be able to match them up accurately when you're working by streetlight and worrying about cops.) The margin overlap means you'll have to take one piece off before you start the adjoining one. That's where the register holes come in; you should be able to spray through them and match up your next section on the spots, crosses or what ever they leave. Paint them out at the end.
---Too much tape is better than too little.
---You can sometimes use the lines of bricks for your verticals and horizantals.
---A nervous lookout can be a bigger curse than no lookout at all.
---When you arrive at your spot, take the time to "smell" the air. Spend 5, 10 mins wandering about, talking to yourself on your mobile, looking around and seeing how it sounds and feels. If at the end of that time you feel that there's a troll under the bridge, it may not be worth starting a big piece.
---If it's gonna take a while, and you're a repeat offender, hide your "tag" stencil (if you use one) elsewhere till the end. That way if you get pigged, they can't tie it to everything else you've done.
--The more intricate and detailed your artwork is, the more of a fucker the stencil will probably be; you'll see what I mean. There's no one ideal material though. A lot depends on the picture itself. Thinner stuff (like acetate) allows more (knife) detail and a sharper spray but the floppiness can make for a nightmare.
--- Take a cloth to wipe wet surfaces before sticking.
--- Smoother surfaces give better detail.
--- Use street furniture like bins, milk crates, etc. to stand on.
--- Spraying your work on big paper will be a good test of how it looks, and you can always use it to remake the stencil if you have to abandon your stencil and run.
--- If you're pigged and there's a chance to run, never hesitate on behalf of your stencil; precious it may be, but you've already lost it.
---Don't be afraid to touch up your work afterwards with a marker; the best of us do it.
--You know the distance you have to spray from; it even tells you on the can. SO STOP MOVING IT CLOSER.
---Once I was painting a huge piece in central London at 5 in the morning. 4 cops came up to me. the 1st was plain clothes and I didn't see the rest immediately. He asked me, jovially if I was cleaning the wall. Thinking this a joke, and he just some random guy, I replied, laughing, that I was. Then I saw the radio in his hand and the 3 uniform behind him. "Oh, no problem," he says, "someone thought you was graffiti-ing, that's all". I pull a rag out of my pocket and pretend to wipe the wall. "No mate, contract cleaner, " I say. It was raining lightly, so it was not suspicious that I had my hood up. I was also wearing a high-vis vest. I continue my sad charade, expecting the joke to be over any moment. After a few seconds I turn round and see them walking away, back to their van. I stayed another 10 minutes and finshed off...
When a piece of graffiti actually interacts with its surroundings, you've achieved something higher than just a picture on a wall.
What was it like to travel through and put art up in war-zones? Did you approach the work differently than you would in London?
I get a bit uneasy by the description of this place or that as a war zone. The notion of wars and war zones is something which ought to be thought through more thoroughly; if you ask Bush, the war finished long ago and the rest of it since then (Fallujah et al) has been a matter of winning the peace. These are dangerously loaded words; like terrorism, freedom, etc. Shimon Tzabar's book "the white flag principle" discusses minutely the conventional notions of conflict, victory and defeat and points out the very real advantages to losing and the enormous potential burdens incumbent upon a supposedly victorious nation. In Ireland, one person's war was another's "high level of crime". The situation there bore almost no relation whatsoever to Bosnia in 1992. There are times when you can spend weeks in parts of Palestine without the slightest sense that you're in the middle of a war. Sorry if all this seems a bit tangential to the question but I have a concern that a certain alien status is conferred upon places of "war" by all kinds of different people which can have so many negative ramifications, even when those people might think they mean well. Many people go to Palestine every year to engage with the ISM or similar, and some are attracted by the idea of an adventure in a war zone, which label, besides being a plain insult to people who live there, enforces difference and otherness.
I've never met a Palestinian who had a good thing to say about the occupation there. In Iraq, I met many, which was one of the biggest surprises. I could say that everyone was univocal against the occupation and my work went down a storm, but the truth is it got mixed reactions in Iraq for various reasons; ultimately beyond the scope of an interview like this. it's a very complex, divided society where paranoia and suspicion operate in all sorts of ways. You become very conscious of your own ousiderness, even when you're made very welcome. I don't pretend to a deep understanding from my short visit and I'm still figuring out the significance of certain things now. However, enough people liked enough of the work there for me to carry on with it. In Palestine, I only painted in the West bank as Gaza was closed to pretty much everybody for hunting season. I've lived there before and the insularity, being far more acute than in the West Bank, gives rise to a suspicion of outsiders more comparable with that of Iraq. As to the general conditions of Iraq, fucking miserable on the best day for most people. All I can say is I would be very reticent to go back there now. Those pictures that came out of Abu Ghraib are worse than bombs in some ways.
Blek le Rat is a Parisian artist from way back who I like very much, and I've just discovered an artist (I think American) called Swoon. And I like a lot of Banksy's work, but mainly the older stuff. Sadly, there doesn't seem to be much "perlitickul" stuff out there which also makes good art. A lot of people got on board for "No War" but most of what came out of it was pretty crap.
For those who enjoyed the Icarus Project Art Show, here's their next event...
What: A meeting to talk about the near future of The Icarus Project in NYC and across the world where we hang out and eat good food and brainstorm exciting plans
When: This Sunday January 30th, 2005 1:00pm --?? (we have the space for the whole day)
Where: The Silvia Rivera Law Project 322 8th Avenue (Next to Duane Reade) 3rd Floor Manhattan, NYC
Who: For Anyone interested in talking about the near and far future of the Icarus Project in New York City and beyond. People who’ve talked about coming include members of Fountain House, the Freedom Center, the Icarus Project NYC Support Group, the NYU Students For Social Equality, The ABC No Rio Visual Arts Collective, Visual Resistance Collective, the New York Rat, the Teenage Lobotomy kids, Nsumi, the Curious George Brigade, David M. who presented about Hellerwork the other week, a bunch of other interesting folks.
This Sunday members of the Icarus Project and the Freedom Center and Fountain House are going to be coming to New York City to meet from as far away as California and Western Mass with the intention of figuring out ways we can all work together in the coming Spring. Beginning in April, the Icarus Project is going to be officially based out of the Fountain House building on 47th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues in Manhattan. What this means is still a little amorphous and what we’re hoping to do this weekend is figure some of it out.
Some things we already know: The Icarus Project is a new exciting visionary project with lots of
energy. Fountain House is an old established project with lots of resources. The Freedom Center is a growing project that does lots of grassroots radical mental health organizing.
Sascha will be there to talk about the work he and Ashley are doing this winter on a piece of writing which they hope will help to inspire a network of radical mental health support groups. He’s also going to present some visionary writings of Icarus members that have be posted
on the website for the general community. Will and Caty and others are going to talk about the exciting local community organizing work they’ve been doing with the Freedom Center. Alison and Elliot and some of the members of Fountain House are going to talk about the general philosophy and history of the place and how it’s put into practice on a day to day basis, the youth program at the House and the changes it’s going through, and the kind of things they’re hoping to see happen with the Icarus Project partnership. Folks from a number of colleges and universities and radical groups are going to talk about the work they do and how they want to get involved come the Springtime.
Basically we’re all going to hang out and eat a bunch of good food and talk about our visions for the future and do a bunch a brainstorming onhow we might make those dreams happen together. Come join us!
sascha (917) 733 9316
Now Teenage Lobotomy has a new project to creatively empower youth! Check it out . . .
A TEENAGE LOBOTOMY PROJECT
Those who lock up youth know that they cannot thrive without communication. That’s why the first thing behavior modification programs do is sever kids’ ties to the outside world. (Prisons do the same thing with unaffordable phone calls, psych wards use Plexiglas and isolation chambers.) Not only are youth denied contact with the outside world, they are strongly discouraged from making friends with other locked-up kids. In this situation, communication becomes rebellion. The Hope Confetti project directly counters the only form of communication used by behavior modification programs – brainwashing through repetition. Instead of a single, massed produced message, hundreds of unique, hand written or drawn messages will be scattered on the grounds of a behavior modification program during a direct action. Like a mother fish who knows that only a few of the hundreds of eggs she lays will become adults, we are aware that many of these messages will never reach the hands of youth. However, with direct action we have the element of surprise in a facility that draws its power from monotony. The possibilities are multiplied by the number of messages from caring hearts on the other side. Any sign of hope will spread through the silent halls like wildfire. So grab a pen and take a moment to take a chance.
For more information or for a Hope Confetti kit, write to:
Or send your messages to:
37-06 72nd street #5H
Jackson Heights, NY 11372
Teenage Lobotomy: A Zine about the Institutionalization of Youth
Will be available by mid-March 2005
Had a great time at the AI Firefly conference yesterday. Met a lot of great artists and activists and listened on some great panels. At our discussion, we talked a little bit about our experiences working on the No RNC Poster Project and our inspirations for doing political street art and poster campaigns. The back-and-forth afterwards was interesting and useful, but we ran up against out time limit far too soon.
So, whether you were there or not, some of the questions that are still swirling in around my head are: Does political art change people's minds? Or is it meant more to create/strengthen communities? Who is the intended audience? How do you avoid preaching to the choir? Should artists try to "bomb the suburbs" or at least the red states?
For those of you who were at the conference and are coming to the site for the first time, take a look around, add your comments, and drop us a line at email@example.com.
Oh, and we'll try to get version of our zine up on the site sometime this week.
Just a brief reminder about this weekend's And So Forth conference at Office Ops:
You can register for the conference in advance for $10, or at the door for $12. The comlete schedule is pretty damn impressive. Check out the whole site and stop by our panel for what should be an informal, fun discussion.
From the New York Post:
Miguel Camacho, 29, of Forest Hills — who uses the graffiti tag "VAMP" — was given 60 reasons why scribbling on public property is still categorized as vandalism.
Police accused him of that many acts of criminal mischief after a six-month investigation, although Camacho was charged with six counts.
The graffiti caused approximately $10,000 to $15,000 in damage, cops said. Camacho faces a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.
The arrest comes on the heels of a larger crackdown announced last week by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, echoed by Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, who put graffiti artists "on notice."
During the questioning, investigators showed Camacho an array of more than 100 photographs they took as evidence of his tags.
Camacho seemed impressed with his body of work, Conforti said, and asked if he could get copies of the photographs as a personal keepsake.
"We respectfully declined his request," Conforti said.
During the investigation, Conforti assumed VAMP was shorthand for a vampire since the tagger struck almost exclusively at night.
"He corrected us," Conforti said. "He said he meant the word as a burst of energy, that 'vamps out' when he gets in the mood."
Police arrested the other alleged members of the WRB crew last summer: Khoi Le, 18, who went by the tag CORE; and a boy who was 15 at the time of arrest who used the tag NEPS.
The cruel absurdity of Bush's November triumph will be hitting overdrive this Thursday. With military-grade security preparations and a series of celebrations with decidedly Orwellian themes, it's seems appropriate that the two artists whose posters we feature here are both experts in dark humor.
The first set of posters are not specifically related to the inauguration, but they might as well be. The good folks at Un Mundo Feliz / A Happy World sent these to us a while back:
The second set of posters is from D.C.-based Mike Flugennock:
For more information on counterinaugural protests, check out counter-inaugural.org, Turn Your Back On Bush, and Anarchist Resistance. For breaking news during the inauguration, keep your eye on DC Indymedia.
Posting this on behalf of the author, Michele Zackheim.
A year before the Iron Curtain finally rusted and disintegrated into the dirt, I was in East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary. In the United States, there had been rumors floating in the air about the possibility of freedom and I wanted to experience that part of Europe before it changed. It was the winter of 1988 when I traveled with a backpack, notebook, and camera. Through a chain of like-minded people, I met other artists and writers; I stayed in their homes or rented rooms with strangers they recommended. Other than experiencing difficult times with sexually perverse aging Nazis in East Berlin and armed soldiers threatening to search me, I had a wonderful time!
Today reminds me of then. Repression. Fear. Certainly not so bad, I agree. But under the Bush regime, we are faced with four years of anxiety and the possibility of losing those rights spelled out so clearly in the Constitution. However, there is another side to this threat -- a nuanced side, a side shaded with positive and hopeful tones.
Surprisingly, Eastern Europe before 1989 produced some of the most exciting work of the century. I was dazzled by what I saw. It was work that took chances. Work that challenged the regimes. Work that wormed its way through idiotic censors – or was blackballed and then published as clandestine pamphlets. And I heard amazing experimental music and saw innovative theatre; some actors had to mime because they were in fear of opening their mouths. In underground cafés, while drinking cheap vodka or ersatz coffee, I listened to endless conversations about freedom and art.
The only color I remember seeing in the streets was a vase of yellow daffodils in a shop window in East Berlin. Otherwise, everything was drab, without vividness. Except for the visual arts. Rather than drearily reflecting the state of their world, the painters and sculptors that I saw were engaged in work that was innovative and thrilling. It was as if their ideas had been born in a part of their imagination that I knew nothing about. I felt off kilter, almost as if I had been on a Ferris wheel and could not find my balance. I was struck with their lack of competition for money and fame. Of course, there was some, but I did not see it.
There were a few galleries in the major cities, but essentially no money to run them. It was freezing. The museums were staffed with women in kerchiefs, wearing their winter coats with slippers. They sat on hard chairs in the corners of each gallery. Every time a viewer walked in, they would rise and turn on the lowest-kilowatt light bulbs. When the viewer left, they turned them off. Every art venue was on a strict budget.
Once Eastern Europe joined the rest of the West, much of its art became Western European and American. The artists lost the dust in their corners, the furtive thrust of rage against repression. It is understandable that artists want food and shelter like everyone else. And it is also understandable that they are continuing to reflect their culture in this time in new ways. But we can learn from their history.
What can artists do in the United States? We are fortunate. We have only two years before another set of important elections. So far, we do not have to worry about the endlessness of a regime. I encourage artists to take advantage of this time. Fight the good fight in the outside world. But at the same time, explore that part of yourselves that has been lying dormant, apprehensive about tyranny . . . anxious about repression. Dig into those artistic dark corners that have nothing to do with money -- those corners that have been covered up because of the need to compete for gallery space and fame. I hope this will be the only time in your life when you have this opportunity. See what happens. You may be surprised.
--- Michele Zackheim
Lots of press on Bloomberg's scare-mongering, scapegoating new campaign tactic:
From CBS News: "On the theory that people can and will judge a book by its cover, Mayor Bloomberg is taking a page out of the Rudy Giuliani playbook and mounting a new war on graffiti." The Staten Island Advocate reports that schoolkids will learn all about "the evils of graffiti" as a "major part" of the new anti-graf crusade. And the New York Times notes that "the Police Department is singling out the city's 100 most frequently arrested vandals for extra monitoring as part of a renewed push to reduce graffiti, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday. (emphasis mine)
By way of the Wooster Collective, I found a short post on the crackdown over at Gothamist, which is critical but up this false dichotomy --- Street Art vs. Graffiti --- that I think lets Bloomberg off the hook. Several commenters walk the same road ("there is a huge difference between graffiti and street art") on their way to supporting the mayor.
This kind of shit bugs me. Really bugs me. Know why? Because the police are not art critics. Your favorite artist is a toy to the cops. All street art is the same to the cops because it's all illegal. Unless you're installing a charming cow sculpture in City Hall Park or designing the new Diesel ads, public art is illegal. Period.
Some history, on the mid-90s persecution of COST (REVS' partner) at Zephyrgraffiti.com.
“people have to question things, and far too few people do that any more”
– Jonathon Baker
1.Where are you from? Where do you live now? How have these places impacted you as a person and as an artist?
JB: I am from Rugby in England, and still live there now; it’s a very dull, nothing-to-do town, with the dubious honour of having the most pubs per square mile, we only got an art gallery very recently, and that’s not open to artists of the likes of me. Despite such limiting factors, the town has affected myself and some others greatly, in the sense that places like this have a tendency to create some fairly interesting people, and from my personal experiences, Rugby is no exception.
2.Who do you see as your audience? How do you go about getting your work out to people?
JB: I don’t really know who I see as my audience, fellow artists and art-students I guess, as that’s who I get emails from the most. My major method of getting my artwork out to people is my website, I also do a fair amount of magazine work, CD covers for the odd band.
3.Can you discuss collage art. Your first experience with it. The process of constructing a piece. How it comments upon the political and cultural spheres.
JB: My first experience with collage art that really stands out, is from discovering the political punk band the Dead Kennedys. The inserts within the sleeves were so refreshing to me, so biting and absolutely perfect for political satire, it electrified me, setting off a compulsion that has gone on for nine years now, nearly ten. It’s at the point that I get quite upset if I haven’t created anything for a few weeks. As far as constructing pieces go, it’s only ever occasionally that I approach it with a set idea in mind; for the most part I tend to flip through old books and magazines, trying to see if a particular picture will set an idea off. Usually the political work will have a set concept in mind, after that, the hardest work is finding the right pictures.
Collage/montage art is ideal to speak about and reflect upon culture as it takes elements of said culture and puts it among other alien elements, everything is out of place and isolated to show what it is; but it also takes other peoples lies, such as adverts/propaganda, and contrasts them with the truth, it is one of the ways that art for instance, can attempt to help speed up our continuing evolution, which unfortunately seems to be slowing down. For us as a species to grow, people have to question things, and far too few people do that any more, they’re too content to have someone, (the media) to bring them information, that’s if they want it. As Jello Biafra has said, “Don’t hate the media, become the media!” More of us should be spreading information.
4. I was really taken by your Great Dictator piece. It is one of the only posters of Bush that actually makes me feel sympathetic for him...even now after the election and the seemingly countless clip art images of him. At this point how do you feel about using Bush’s image?
JB: Actually I have done many pieces about Bush junior; I sent only that one because I didn’t want to appear obsessed! I am happy with the piece, although, it’s an idea that has occurred to many people, the same goes with my “Don’t mess Texas!” piece. I certainly don’t feel sorry for him, what with the ideas he represents, and the company he keeps. Also politics is the one profession where you are guaranteed an artistic pillorying, he knew that when he ran for governor, let alone president; what was unexpected was the force of the attack, and the united artistic front. Any satirical artist needs a good enemy, and this guy’s the best world leader since Reagan, we artists have never had so much fun.
5. A lot of your work contains religious iconography. How did this interest develop? Is it harder to do this now that religion has seemingly become (or perhaps it always is) such a problematic issue in American politics? Also can you speak about the image of the family in your work, which is another theme that has been granted a new level of purpose by the present American administration?
JB: Actually the religious stuff is partly by accident, as some of my source material comes from old kids bibles, as they have some of the best pictures, but there is an element of trying to subvert what I consider an oppressive institution, that can hamper our development. People can believe what they want to, but it shouldn’t go much further than that, huge institutions with that kind of money and power can’t be good, anybody that thinks too much can a real threat to their orthodoxy. I’ve never had too much of a problem, although the Watchtower bible association have threatened to sue me in the past for copyright infringement.
As far as the image of the family goes, the politicians in America still wish for you to have this 1950’s Norman Rockwell ideal, which of course is a bubble I enjoy to (pop) burst, my piece “I bring you death” is a Rockwell piece, although that’s something that I found out later on. Over here in England, the only people who are so obsessed with trying to preserve some fairy-tale concept of “Britishness” are the far right, and it involves cricket for some bizarre reason.
6. Lastly --- how do you pay the bills?
JB: Grudgingly! Unfortunately I’m still tied to the day job, and don’t see my way out of it for a long time.
Just posted some pictures of a Downey installation that was destroyed a few months back. The photolog is a new feature on the site, and will be updated more or less regularly. Go to visualresistance.org/photos or just click the link on the top righthand corner of this site.
Mayor Bloomberg's annual "State of the City" address on Tuesday passed without much comment, but a disturbing highlight for us was his promise to create a new anti-graffiti task force, as if the old one wasn't bad enough. Quote:
"Because whether it’s jumping turnstiles, aggressive panhandling, or other 'broken windows' offenses – some may say they’re petty crimes, but if left unchecked, they permit more serious crimes to flourish. That’s why we’re launching a major new initiative to stop graffiti. It will include an 80-member NYPD anti-graffiti task force, with coordinators in each police precinct." (emphasis ours)
In a press release put out today, Bloomberg and NYPD chief Ray Kelly formally announced the anti-graffiti initiative.
With fame starting to hit a few artists from the new generation of street artists, Bloomberg and Kelly are planning on buffing a lot of art and arresting a lot of kids. The Broken Windows theory has governed policing in this city since the the beginning of Giuliani's tenure, but graffiti has been a scapegoat to explain away the city's problems since it was born.
There's a lot more to say about all this.... While this is in some ways an old story, it's an important one too. Some of my favorite great, unique, city-beautifying pieces have gotten the buff in the last few months and I'd like to post some RIPs on the new photolog. A few of us in the collective are talking about running a little anti-anti-graffiti campaign --- hopefully we'll have details soon. Any ideas or contributions on the subject are welcome.
*Image blatantly stolen from the God Bless Graffiti Coalition.
This is a project by one of the artists in the Icarus Project art show:
Submit to a new reader about the abusive institutions for youth! The reader will constist of:
--- An introduction to the abuses that take plase at theraputic boarding schools, residential treatment facilities, and wilderness programs;
--- Personal stories and interviews from students, parents, and ex-teachers;
--- Discussionof alternative ways to help "troubled" teens, including art therapy, various forms of counseling (such as utilizing A.A. outpatient programs or talking to mentors for help), and other programs that encourage healing in positive ways;
--- Information about mental health, youth emancipation and maneuvering "the system" (such as the prison system and juvenile detention centers)
WE NEED YOUR STORIES! Please submit your experience by late January 2005, and keep it under three pages. This reader is being compiled by two teenage artists and writers --- Nick, who was locked up in the Family foundation School in New York, Second Nature Wilderness Program in Utah, and Paint Paul's Prep School in Arizona, and his close friend Sarah (Ketchup).
What would you do if you were woken up tomorrow at the crack of dawn by two large men, handcuffed, dragged out of your home, and thrown in the back of a van? What would you think as this van takes you hundreds of miles away from your neighborhood and drops you off in an institution of white walls, flourescent lights, and cold linoleum floors? How would you respond to the people in this institution when they force you to stand in a corner for weeks on end, to lift your knees to your waistline when you walk, to be silent when you want to be loud, to be loud when you want to be silent, and to carry buckets of rocks back and forth for twelve hours each day? Would you resist, rebel, run away, kill yourself? What if they locked you in a tiny room that smelled like urine and blasted A.A. tapes until you submit? What if they took your food away? Had someone follow you around all the time, even watching you shit? What if you were completely stuck in a behavior modification program like this for two years without seeing your friends, your home, or anything that might remind you of the real world?
These places exist, and kids are sent to them everyday. Parents have complete legal control over their children until the age of eighteen, and these institutions prey on parents' frustrations, convincing them to sign away their child's rights. Behavior modification programs reflect our society's attitude towards youth, treating us as less than full human beings. There is a vicious cycle where kids are treated with mistrust and thus don't learn to take responsibility for their actions. Many of us have caught onto the fact that the education system is actually an indoctrination system. School kills our curiousity, by teaching us that learning means sitting in rows for twelve yars, force-fed information by an authority figure. Some of us are even forced into group homes, juvenile detention centers, and spirit-destroying institutions like the one described above.
Why do adults feel the need to exert such rigid control over us? Perhaps it's because youth tend to be more idealistic and less willing to accept the world as it is. It takes years to teach someone to endure the monotony and superficiality that is so many people's lives. Behavior modification programs are part of this cycle of stagnation, so this zine was created to educate people about this little-known atrocity occurring in our own country. It's a first step in the long struggle to shut these types of places down, and to encourage kids everywhere to take control over their own lives.
We need your stories!
These may include :
--- Where you (or your child, or your friend) were sent
--- Specific disciplinary techniques used
--- Reasons for being sent away
--- How the experience affected you (or your child, or your friend)
--- Approximate relapse rate
--- Legal actions taken against the institution (if there ever were any)
These are only guidelines. You may tell your story in words, pictures, or any form of communication that will bring your experience to life.
Contact: Nick's email: mindweller [at] yahoo.com
Sarah's email: orangescum [at] yahoo.com
Or write to: 3706 72nd St. Apt.5H
Jackson Heights, NY
This is happening this weekend, Saturday, in NYC! Sorry for such a short notice.
Teach-in "Aceh: The Epicenter of Disaster"
Featuring; Amy Goodman, of Democracy now!,
Alan Nairn, award-winning journalist and activist,
Warzain, Acehnise activist, and others.
The teach-in will cover the impact of the tsunami on Aceh as well as how the history of Aceh's oppression has affected the present situation. The event is free, but it is also a fundraiser for grassroots Indonesian and Acehnese organizations doing relief work on the ground in Aceh, so donations will be accepted.
Brief Background on Aceh:
Aceh (pronounced "Ah-chayh"), the province on the westernmost tip of the Indonesian island of Sumatra, was right near the epicenter of the largest earthquake and was also impacted by the largest Tsunami waves. The coastline of Aceh was shattered, countless villages were wiped off the map, and much of the capital, Banda Aceh, was flattened. The Indonesian government has confirmed over 100,000 deaths in the country; most of these dead are in Aceh.
Despite this level of devastation, Aceh has been getting proportionately less attention and assistance than most other areas. This is due to a combined set of factors.
First, a longstanding independence struggle by the Acehnese has led to a military invasion and "civil emergency" imposed by the Indonesian government. Up until the disaster struck, Indonesia had banned most journalists from Aceh. Indonesia is now relaxing that ban, but there are still few journalists present.
Second, because of the "civil emergency," there were no Western tourists in Aceh and, consequently, no interest by the Western media in the fate of their "own" people there.
Third, because of its corruption and its repressive attitude toward the Acehnese, the Indonesian government cannot be counted on to provide proper assistance. According to a report from one independent journalist in Banda Aceh, much aid is piling up unused at military bases and airports. He also reports that every night military forces are looting those homes still standing in Banda Aceh.
The event is free
Saturday, Jan 8, 2005
At The Community Church of NY
40 E 35th St. Manhattan
Donations to Aceh can be made through Greengrants
For more information contact:
EMERGENCY ACEH RELIEF
c/o Dhyta Caturani
275 Fort Washington Ave #6C
New York, NY 10032
This was sent to us by a friend:
A new sticker design is needed for stickers to be printed for political prisoner Jeff 'Free' Luers. In the last year, we have printed over 20,000 of the last design donated by Eric Drooker and they brought a lot of people to the site. This sticker design would be black/white, roughly 4.5 x 2.5 with some text that we will supply. You can see the old design on the right.
The design goal is a simple one but we are looking for original art.
Please email freefreenow [at] mutualaid.org if interested.
Friends of Jeff Luers
For more info in Jeff Luers check out freefreenow.org