Visual Resistance made a banner for last weekend's street party against the city's plan to line the Williamsburg waterfront with luxury hi-rise apartment buildings. The banner went up in an empty billboard frame in a lot on N. 7th st. Our photolog has pictures of the banner going up, as well as the the work-in-progress stages. It took two days to paint the banner on a windy rooftop in Manhattan --- the stencil was cut out of an abandoned window advertisement panel K. pulled from the trash. More pictures of the larger event are coming soon --- Fred Askew also has a gallery up on his site.
--- No Rezone!
Last weekend, Los Angeles art collective Heavy Trash installed giant orange "viewing platforms" near the entrances to gated communities:
On April 24, 2005, Heavy Trash volunteers deposited bright orange viewing platforms in front of three Los Angeles gated communities; Brentwood Circle, Park La Brea and Laughlin Park. The purpose of these viewing platforms is to draw attention to the phenomenon of gated communities --- the fastest growing form of housing in the United States. "There are now more than 1 million homes behind such walls in the greater Los Angeles area alone," according to Setha Low, a professor at the City University of New York....
WHY VIEWING PLATFORMS?
Like the historic viewing platforms at the Berlin Wall that allowed Westerners to see into East Berlin, the Heavy Trash viewing platforms call attention to the walls of gated communities and provide visual access to parts of the city that have been cut off from the public domain.
Check out their site here. Their past projects are equally smart and impressive, and the bibliography they've compiled on gated communities is super useful for people nervous about the mall-ing of Brooklyn (and beyond). (Thanks to Zack for the tip).
Speaking of public art and gated communities, VR members rancor & gravel wrote a wonderful short essay on The Gates that touched on similar themes a while back, tying these threads together better than I could do justice to in a short summary. Check it out here.
On Tuesday I came across an anti-war activist standing on traffic signal pole in Astor Place. A sign attached to the pole read, "WAR?" and on his chest was written "All American." The "ONE WAY" signs were changed to read, "NO WAR."
I haven't been able to find any more information on the action or the artist. Anyone with info --- especially regarding charges and legal support --- drop a line in the comments below. UPDATE: Emilio has more pictures on Flickr. Thanks!
Critical Mass is tonight --- for folks in NYC, remember that there are now four meeting spots: Union Square Park, Washington Square Park, Tompkins Square Park, and Madison Square Park, all at 7pm. Hopefully we can divide and conquer the cops!
VR folks will be giving out our new, free stickers, just in from the printers last night. Still we ride!
Some of the Time's Up organizers who were sued by the city have posted a fundraising appeal on NYC Indymedia:
As you may have heard, four TIME'S UP! volunteers --- and TIME'S UP! itself --- are being sued by the City of New York. Why are the City of New York and its Parks Department suing a group of environmentalists? For riding bikes, talking about riding bikes to the press, and encouraging other people to use this sustainable, environmentally-sound form of transportation.
Despite police threats, we keep riding every single month. And the police keep arresting. At every Critical Mass since the RNC -- except for December -- the police have arrested bike riders. In March alone, 37 people were arrested simply for riding bikes in a group...
[I]n March, the City of New York, the NYPD, and the Parks Department took the next step. Now they're suing us. They have requested an injunction, which, if granted, would make it illegal for us to talk about or participate in the Critical Mass bike ride. In fact, it would also make it illegal for YOU to talk about or participate in Critical Mass.
This suit is an obvious limitation of our First Amendment rights. We've amassed an incredible legal team, including renowned civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, to defend us and prove that we're right and that this time the city has gone too far. But our defense costs money. Although our attorneys will defend us pro bono, we must raise a significant amount of money to pay for legal expenses. The bottom line: we have until May 5 to raise $30,000.
As stillweride over at Bikeblog wrote a few days back:
If you are at all troubled by this growing attack on free speech and civil liberties…if you fear NYC will be a giant mall within 2 years…it is time to take action.... It is all related. We are losing our rights daily. Are we just going to elect Mayor Bloomberg again for 4 more years of development and his silence on attacks of our constitutional rights?
Time's Up and their legal team have been doing amazing work since the RNC to protect all of our rights to free assembly. You can give back at their legal newswire. Come out to the Speak Out and the ride if you can, and check out our new gallery of Critical Mass art, and help spread the word.
The good people at NYC's best anarchist newspaper --- the New York RAT --- have put together a special issue of the paper just in time for Mayday:
Our special Mayday issue is full of info about local groups and issues, including the Street Harassment Project, The Greenpoint/ Williamsburg rezoning fight, RNC Legal Victories, the Long Island Freespace plus much more. The RAT also has a special pull out schedule of events for the upcoming "A New World In Our Hearts" Mayday Festival. We have 3,000 copies. We would like to get the majority of them distro-ed before the conference this weekend. Let us know if you can take a few stacks to drop off, hand out, or give away.
They'll need a lot of help with distro, so if you've got some free time, drop them a line at newyorkrat [at] riseup.net. Be sure to check out the schedule for this weekend's Mayday Festival. In additon to presentations from Beehive Collective and Seth Tobocman, there'll be film screenings, concerts, and a wide range of discussions. Oh, and we'll be there too.
A few weeks back he sent us an announcement for an ambitious and urgently necessary project: a collection of new, relevant radical graphics to be published by Soft Skull Press. We're reproducing the call in full below:
Reproduce and Revolt!: Radical Graphics for the 21st Century
Edited by Josh MacPhee
Soft Skull Press
Reproduce and Revolt! is a graphic toolbox to be launched into the hands of political activists. The book will contain over 300 new and exciting high-quality illustrations and graphics about social justice and political activism for activists to use on flyers, posters, t-shirts, brochures, stencils or any other graphic aspects of political campaigns. All the graphics will be bold and easy to reproduce, in addition to being open source/anti-copyright. The book will come with clear instructions on how to best utilize the images so as to improve the graphic qualities of political campaigns. It will also contain a short history of political graphics, an archive of political flyers and posters throughout history, as well as information about and a bibliography of further reading for all of the social justice issues the art will cover.
I am now collecting submissions of graphics, illustrations and art for the book, which will be published by Soft Skull Press in late 2006. I will chose for the book according quality of the image, reproducibility, and how well they convey the issues. Not everyone's submissions will be included. I will also be attempting to craft the book to represent the output of as diverse a group of artists as possible, across gender, race, nationality, sexuality, ability, etc. Reproduce & Revolt! is not intended to be a who's who of well known and successful political artists, this call is open to all levels of artists.
This is my second book with Soft Skull Press. My first, Stencil Pirates: A Global Survey of Street Stenciling, was released in July 2004. Stencil Pirates has gotten great reviews and is currently in it's third printing.
Here are the specifications for the images:
--- Black and White/Greyscale.
--- High Resolution: either original artwork on paper or high res digital images, minimum 600 dpi for greyscale, 1200 dpi for line art.
--- A minimum of 6 inches x 6 inches.
--- All mediums are accepted (various forms of printmaking, drawing,
digital design, collages, etc.). The main factor is reproducibility.
Here are the catagories the images should be about (there will inevitably be overlap between the categories, these are simply guidelines and suggestions to help clarify and spark inspiration). In addition, the book will contain graphics in support of positive activities and graphics in opposition to negative aspects of the world, these are both included below (in alphabetical order, not order of importance!):
--- Anti-Authoritarianism (including anarchism, hierarchy, direct action, mutual aid and more)
--- Anti-Racism (including racial equality, institutional racism, attacks on youth of color, white privilege and more)
--- Counter-Globalization (including corporate control, IMF, World Bank, WTO, capitalism, austerity, world debt, alternative economies and more)
--- Education (including privatization, self-education, free schools, liberatory pedagogy, urban inequalities, military recruitment and more)
--- Environment (including environmental justice, environmental racism, endangered species, animal rights, earth liberation, deforestation, strip mining, water rights, bio-tech, organics, community gardens and more)
--- Feminism (including women's struggles, wages for housework, equal pay for equal work, equal rights, gender discrimination, women's liberation movement, sexual assault, men against sexism and more)
--- Government (including bureaucracy, taxes, anti-cop, police brutality, elections and more)
--- Health Care (including disability, mental health, AIDS, access, abortion, aging and more)
--- Housing (including public housing, gentrification, private ownership, abandonment, homelessness and more)
--- International Solidarity (including connections with movements around the world, borders, mutual aid, national liberation, Zapatista support, indigenous solidarity and more)
--- Labor (including unions, work slowdowns/stoppages/sabotage, strikes, bosses, anti-work, economics, maquiladoras, sweatshops and more)
--- Media (including media control, media consolidation, independent media, pirate radio and more)
--- Prisons (including prison reform, prison abolition, racism in the criminal justice system, the death penalty, political prisoners, stopping the construction of prisons, torture, sentencing discrepancies and more)
--- Protest (including marches, protests, direct action, pickets, plowshares, armed actions and more)
--- Queer Liberation (including gay, lesbian, trans, intersex, and bisexual struggle, gender binaries, queer bashing, sexual liberation and more)
--- War (including anti-war, imperialism, militarism, state terrorism, war tax resistance, nuclear weapons, "collateral damage" and more)
I will craft about a dozen chapters out of these categories, and each chapters will be filled with 30-40 new and exciting illustrations and graphics created by dozens of political artists, hopefully including you.
A website of high resolution copies of a large number of the images in the book will also be created, and ideally I will include some of the graphics that don't make the cut into the published volume. People will be able to either photocopy the images or pull them directly into digital files via the website.
I hope this project will both help radical activist projects, but also help boost radical artists by getting our work further out into the world.
I hope to be able to pay a nominal fee for each piece published as well as give each artist access to books at 50% off the cover price.
All material must be submitted by October 31st, 2005. THIS IS THE FINAL DEADLINE. There is no limit to the number of images you can submit.
All images need to be emailed to "reproduce [at] justseeds [dot] org"
or mailed to:
Chicago, IL 60647
If you have any additional questions, feel free to write or email the
Come one, come all: Visual Resistance is hosting a dinner this Sunday in Brooklyn. Toyshop Collective and friends kicked this thing off two weeks ago with the first in an ongoing series of free dinner gatherings at Rubulad, and challenged us to cook for the follow-up. There will be vegetarian & vegan food for about 40 people, first come, first served. Here's the details:
Sunday, April 24
Rubulad --- 338 Flushing, at Classon, Brooklyn (Map)
G train to Flushing or Classon stations, J,M,Z to Marcy, B61 bus to Flushing
7:00pm doors, 7:30pm dinner
Free (donations appreciated)
Now that you know where and when, you're probably wondering who and why. Find out after the jump:
A cheap, simple dinner for strangers and co-conspirators.
We are a small group of people who do a lot of other things in New York, like decorate subways and throw parties in the streets. We work with several collectives and art groups, like Toyshop, Madagascar Institute, Visual Resistance and Rubulad. At Grub we're just offering dinner.
Whether you are active in other collectives, your neighborhood, your backyard garden, or just new to town, we invite you to our table. To get a little squishy, we are looking for practical ways to build community. We are particularly inspired by weekly dinners served at squats in Amsterdam and Berlin, where you can get a cheap, tasty meal and catch up with friends in a cozy room. We like parties as much as anyone, but we think there should be places to talk without a pounding sound system.
We are not gourmands nor fancy cooks; we offer simple food simply prepared. We will only be able to serve 40 people, first come first serve. There will be plates for vegans and vegetarians alike. Please come early and hang out.
A reminder and update about Visual Resistance's Art for Critical Mass call: we've got 5,000 stickers coming next week, just in time for the April ride. We've got a half dozen posters in our gallery ready to be downloaded, printed, and posted. And we're just getting started.
We need more poster and stencil designs, and we need to hear from you folks about getting this out --- and up! We will be distributing our stickers at the next ride, and are starting to print posters and get them distributed. But we'd like this to be an ongoing effort over the spring and summer, using the images you design to help support Critical Mass rides and speak out for the right to free assembly.
Send your designs, plus any ideas, suggestions, or tips to us at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com. Feel free to spread the word, print some posters, cut stencils, and let us know what you think.
4 new People's History Posters have been created by artists Aprille, Brandon Bauer, Beith Pucinella, and Swoon. Don't just hang them on your walls at home. If you're feeling motivated, make photocopies and put them up in public places. They look amazing lined up on construction walls.
Ever since I became aware of the All City Council campaign, and our "6 Questions for Fi5e", I've been a frequent visitor of Fi5e's blog. Fi5e has been busy making videos and mixed media for their Graffiti Analysis:
The Graffiti Analysis project digitally captures the motions used to make a tag. Once recorded, the data is analyzed and used to create visualizations based on the speed and direction of the original movements. Fluid strokes of ink are augmented with digital pixels. Algorithmically generated prints are placed within the urban environment as a new form of street art. Relationships are created between analogue and digital graffiti styles, forming a link between traditional graffiti, experimental street art, and new media.
Hell creating a really amazing look at tags and their creation. I'm usually left feeling dumb and unintelligent when I see productions so clean and "tech-heavy". (I'm still learning how to post on this site!) The use and incorporation of this technology is nothing short of inspiring and clever.
The second artist Fi5e worked with was Jesus
If you are interested:
fi5e is seeking active writers interested in contributing their tags into this digital system. Please pass on this URL to any writers who may be interested. Of specific interest are the writers in these images. Interested artists should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, while at his blog check out the Explicit versions of NWA's album Straight Outta Compton, quite humorous.
The New York release party for the great new book Wobblies!, co-edited by Nicole Schulman, is set for next Friday at the new(ish) Vox Pop bookstore & coffeehouse in Flatbush, Brooklyn. Featuring multi-media presentations by: Mac McGill, Sabrina Jones, Tom Keough, Nicole Schulman and Seth Tobocman, it's sure to be a great event. Come out, buy a book, and say hello:
Friday April 29th, 8pm --- Free!
Release party for Wobblies! @ Vox Pop
1022 Cortelyou Road, Flatbush, Brooklyn (Map)
Directions: “Q” Train to Cortelyou Road --- exit to the Left, walk a few blocks.
Two of the deservedly famous REVS sculptures recently featured on Untitled Name and Wooster Collective are gone. Rode through DUMBO on my bike this afternoon and the two best pieces are just fucking gone. Someone sawed through the bases of both scultures and removed them.
And so Bloomberg's Buff marches on. The mayor who made such a big show out of some too-expensive Ikea curtains puts a machine into place that steals two of the best, longest-standing, joyous public artworks in the entire city. Maybe now the snobs who like to look at pretty pictures online but get the vapors at the thought of a tag on their door will finally fucking get it: the cops will destroy all the fucking art they can find. All of it. From the simplest tag to the greatest shit you've ever seen. All gone. Anything unsanctioned, anything sponsorless, --- anything that's proof of the free creativity of regular people --- well, the city's for sale, everything must go!
Back in October I wrote on my old fotolog:
I always get mixed feelings riding around Dumbo on my bike looking for street art. There's a ton of work up, mostly east of the Manhattan Bridge but also in a few spots between the two bridges. There's a fair amount of intricate, time-intensive work, and some "classic" stuff that's escaped the buff, such as some early Swoon pieces, and these REVS installations. And the way the work fits in with the gritty, industrial & cobblestones vibe of the area is just awesome.
But further southwest, over by Main St or Washington, where the big developments and condos are, it`s absolutely clean, as devoid of art as Park Slope or the Upper East Side. When they opened the Brooklyn Bridge park, a lot of "cleanup" happened, most notably the painting-over of a great brick wall that had a half-dozen Swoon pasteups. So I wonder when I'm wandering around down there how long this all will last --- when does the neighborhood get so developed that they start to destroy great pieces like this one?
Anyway. I don't suppose graffiti qualifies for historical preservation status, but maybe it should....
Maybe it's time to revisit that last idea. Or does anyone out there have a better one?
UPDATE, 4/17: Coming over the bridge today, I noticed that the huge REVS/PEEK mural has been painted over in the same gray used to buff the rooftop under the Manhattan Bridge. By creepy coincidence, the New York Times has an article about these very sculptures on their front page right now. What the hell's going on?
Over in photo-land, rancor & k.see have posted reports from last weekend's Grassroots Media Conference, where VR hosted a stencil-making workshop. The whol conference was pretty great, especially the panel on culture-jamming hosted by Will of Complacent.org, Reverend Billy, and Swoon. After the panel, Swoon pasted up a new piece on 13th st, and the good Reverend led the crowd in some mass shop-lifting. Thanks to those who came out --- and to the GMC for hosting us!
Melina Rodrigo just released issue 10 of her zine, AW. You can view it on her website risewithus.com This issue examines life from the point of view from an American woman. It is written as a poetic journal entry, describing frustration and stress experienced on a daily basis. But like Melina says, we can find comfort in the little things like our red shoes or Emma Goldman's autobiography! Melina's zines address issues war and terror, to debate on political and social issues, to the postal service in a playful manner. Reading them definitely helps me get through the day.
The long-awaited Wobblies! is finally here, and it's even better than I could have expected. It's easily the best recent book on the connection between art and radical politics, not only because of the history it explores, but also by the sheer force of its example.
Co-edited by Nicole Schulman, the book is a collection of comics and very short essays on the history and spirit of the Industrial Workers of the World. Featuring new work by Nicole, Peter Kuper, Josh MacPhee, Fly, Mac McGill, Ryan Inzana, Sabrina Jones, Sue Coe, Seth Tobocman, and many, many more, as well as Wobbly classics from Carlos Cortez, Ralph Chaplin, and Joe Hill, the book is a remarkable testament to the living spirit of the IWW and its remarkable influence. From the introduction:
[Their] way of looking at freedom makes the IWW seem like a lot more than a labor organization, or bigger than all the other labor organizations combined. It looks, for instance, like the grassroots of the ecological/environmental movement. It looks like the Mexicans and Americans who welcomed the Zapatistas taking back the land that had been stolen from their people. It looks like every antiwar movement. It even looks a little like the world John Lennon summed up in the song "Imagine": no distant god, no country, just us humans, all of us, and our world.
Unlike most books on the subject, Wobblies! doesn't end on a tragic note --- on the contrary, it makes a uniquely convincing case that the IWW lives on, not as some shadow of past greatness, but as a subterranean source of inspiration, a model of joyous, liberatory radicalism. The pieces on 60s comix, surrealism, and Judi Bari, weave threads between seemingly disconnected miracles of history.
The highlight for me is the final essay, The Art and Music of the IWW:
The IWW... was no organization of trained artists.... Yet it inspired dozens of talented artists, before 1920 some of the nation's most experimental and talented, and the IWW generated its own fabulous "school" of cartoonists. Next to songs, cartoons probably brought more workers around that any other expression of Wob creativity.... These rank-and-file artists appear to have received little or no pay for their work, choosing to go "on the bum" with their fellow Wobs, organize where possible, and take odd jobs to stay alive. Some of them signed their art only with the "red card number" on their Wobbly ID, or didn't sign cartoons at all....
We look back upon the Wobbly cartoonists, then, as we do upon the Ash Can art of the Masses magazine: a century ahead of their time in their discoveries, but just ripe for our time --- not to copy but to learn and grow from, amid the tasks of art and revolution ahead.
I'm posting this in the category "Inspirations," because it is. For bringing together some of my favorite artists to do unique and necessary work, and for bringing a new focus to the legacy of the IWW itself, I can't recommend this book highly enough. I would like to feature further looks at the book in the next few weeks. In the meantime, support the artists who made it happen, and do yourself a favor: get it.
Copies of the 3rd issue of NYC Rat, the Radical Anarchist Tabloid, are available at locations around NYC or through the collective. (Email newyorkrat[at]riseup.net)
The newest issue includes a wonderful cover illustration by Cristy Road and a centerfold poster for the upcoming Mayday festivities. Articles include Teenage Lobotomy, a piece on AntiRacistAction, the Libertad School Collective, a great "Know Your Rights" comic strip,
and a wealth of resources troughout and in their Anarchist Black pages.
Download the Mayday poster below...
8.5 x 11 inch JPG (400K)
11 x 17 inch JPG (700K)
Full-sized PDF on NY Rat page (6MB)
I went to critical mass last Friday night and after a lot of initial nervousness, ended up having a great ride with 5... then 10... then 30+ people. Our group was more or less undisturbed by the police until the very end of our ride. By the end of the weekend, NYC Indymedia was reporting 37 arrests, plus 60+ bike seizures --- this on top of last week's lawsuit by the city trying to stop Time's Up from advertising Critical Mass.
Anyone who's been to a Mass since the Republican National Convention knows the brute, stupid force the NYPD uses against each ride (check out reports from February, January, November, August...). Simply put, Bloomberg and the NYPD are trying to end Critical Mass in New York.
I for one don't plan to watch that happen. Critical Mass is important for this city not just as a form of advocacy for environmentally sound transportation, but also as proof that protest can be fun, inclusive, and empowering.
Polls have shown that the public is behind Critical Mass and not the cops. This winter the rides have been pretty small, and haven't gotten a lot of press or public attention. As spring heats up, that'll change, and a smart visual campaign --- in addition to the great legal work being done by Time's Up and the National Lawyers Guild --- could help leverage public opinion and make the police back off.
That's where you all come in. Visual Resistance would like to facilitate a street art campaign in support of Critical Mass, and to do that we need some of the great artists and designers that visit this site to put pen to paper --- or fire up Photoshop, or whatever you do best --- to contibute designs. We can print up stickers and posters, and make sticker, poster, or stencil designs available for download on the site. Some possible themes would be: supporting/promoting Critical Mass; defending the right to free assembly; and promoting bicycling as a form of transportation.
Poster designs should be 8.5x11 or 11x17, sticker and stencil designs can be any logical size. You can e-mail designs to us at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com in JPG, PDF, or Photoshop formats, 300 dpi or greater. If you prefer to send hard copies, drop us a line and we'll give you a mailing address.
We'll set up a downloads page as soon as we get some designs. I don't have a firm deadline in mind, since we can print as we get stuff in, but I would like to have some materials ready for the April 29th ride.
UPDATE 4/10/05: Check out the Critical Mass art we have received so far, and email us at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com to send your own!
Post No Bills is an incredibly prolific street artist whose deceptively simple work explores the dividing line between private and public space. The "Post No Bills" stencil can be found on construction walls across the US, and more recently has been included in several gallery shows. A line of clothing and "urban toys" will appear soon.
First, the most important question in street art: Are you a guy or a girl?
I prefer to leave questions about my identity unanswered in order to preserve the mystery, and so potential employers can't Google me.
How did you get started?
I remember riding my bike to the mall when I was a kid. I would pass all these walls, miles and miles of walls. An empty surface for stretches at a time. Then one day I saw that someone had posted a bill, and it really broke up the rhythm of that wall and really just ruined my day. But, it also inspired me to do something about it.
How do people react to your work?
It really depends on the location. Sometimes people just walk by and don't even bother to look up. Other people disregard the message and post bills, posters, or even write over my design with spraypaint. This really hurts and sometimes I wonder if the work that I am trying to do is worth it. But, when I see a blank wall with a fresh series of "post no bills" in a nice font with very little overspray or drips, its definitely an inspiration to go out.
Can you talk about location and how you put a piece up?
Usually, I work with construction walls and lately its been a fantastic time. Whenever there is an upswing in development I really have a hard time keeping up with all the new walls that go up. With Bloomberg's West Side Stadium plan going through, and the Olympics potentially coming to town, I'm sure I'll be real busy over the next few years.
Here's some more work by Post No Bills:
Post No Bills' Dunny toy is available from VisualResistance.org for $750 plus $19.95 shipping and handling. Email for details.
Top picture from topleftpixel.com.