Remember the Past --- Organize for the Future
Picnic and educational entertainment Saturday June 4th, from 2-5 pm at Fort Greene Park, followed by an evening of music, refreshments and entertainment 8pm-midnight, at Dumba Space at 57 Jay Street in Dumbo, 2 blocks from the York Street F train stop. The picnic is free and open to the public. For the evening events we are asking for a suggested $5 donation. In case of rain the afternoon, entertainment will be added to the evening program.
The days events will be part of the commemorations of the gathering of top labor organizers from across the continent that met to expand the labor movement to include all working people skilled or unskilled, male or female, regardless of race, religion or any other distinctions. This lead to the formation of the Industrial Workers of the World in 1905, we are celebrating their centennial. These labor organizers brought creative energy, free speech, new strategies, and lots of music, jokes and art, to the labor movements.
At Ft Green Park music will be provided by John Pietro, actors will present the words of labor leaders Big Bill Haywood, Lucy Parsons, and Mother Jones.
The evening events at Dumba will include more music and multi media presentations by Brooklyn labor artists commemorating the achievements of the past such as the 8 hour day and helping with the today's drive to organize in the sweat shops and fast food shops. Graphic artist Nicole Schulman will present a biography of labor martyr Frank Little. Tom Keough will give a presentation of art about coal miners and sweatshop workers.
This is being organized by the New York City IWW Centennial Committee.
For more information please contact David at 718- 769-3837
A friend in Chicago emails us with news of an audacious action by a group of street artists against the Chicago Housing Authority:
Yesterday a group of cunning criminals who wanted to correct the record about Chicago's public housing changed out over 12 large size bus shelter ads, put up hundreds of advertisements on the trains, released a newspaper of information and reproductions of the bus shelter designs, and launched a mock/mirror site about public housing at chicagohousingauthority.net
The action was in response to a sinister and cynical ad campaign the real Chicago Housing Authority launched with the help of corporate ad scum Leo Burnett and public space privatizers JC Decauex (who own all the ad-laden bus shelters).
The public intervention they pulled off is impressive as hell, and the website has a ton of great information. In addition to the posters themselves, definitely check out Resident Voices and the list of resources directing the site's visitors to grassroots organizations working on housing issues in Chicago.
We've been working hard this week to set up a new website for our Critical Mass campaign. Today feels like this city's first summer day --- just the right time to kick-start a good project and go for a nice bike ride with a thousand of our closest friends.
If you want to help support Critical Mass this is the site to share ideas and inspire fellow riders (and pedestrians). Whatever your medium or interest, check out the site, give us feedback --- and some new designs! --- get out of the house, and hit the streets.
The link: http://visualresistance.org/criticalmass.
This weekend is chock-full of wonderful events for the two-wheeled among us:
STILL WE SPEAK! A rally to support free speech and freedom of assembly
Friday, May 27, 6:00 p.m.
Union Square South, 14th St & Broadway, Manhattan
Come join us as we speak out against NYC's suppression of our rights to free speech and assembly. The NYPD continues to harass and arrest cyclists during group rides like Critical Mass and has recently revoked or denied permits for peaceful rallies, such as those of the anti-war demonstrators. Speakers include City Councilmember Gail Brewer, Civil Rights Attorney Norman Siegel and other distinguished speakers. Performers include Rude Mechanical Orchestra. For more information please visit stillwespeak.org
CRITICAL MASS (Manhattan)
Friday, May 27, 7 p.m.
Union Square North (or anywhere else)
Link up! Find other bikers and ride together for safety and strength. The most recent flier lists at least four starting spots. Choose one that appeals to you.
Lots, lots more after the jump:
Friday, May 27, 8:30 p.m.
St. Mark's Church, Corner 10th St. & 2nd Ave.
$10+ (nobody turned away)
Reverend Billy and the Stop Shopping Gospel Choir will raise money for TIME'S UP!, which is being sued by the City. The show will include a re-enactment in cardboard of the fateful night of April 27th, when cyclists threw their bikes over the St. Mark's fence. There'll also be food, music, silent auction and free valet bike parking.
BICYCLE FETISH DAY
Sat., May 28, noon --- 6:00 p.m.
Havemeyer Street between Grand and Hope Streets
(just over the Willamsburg bridge)
How HOT is your bike? Come to Williamsburg this Saturday and show it off! BICYCLE FETISH DAY is a chance for all of us celebrate our babies. The block will be closed to car traffic and open to all people who fetishize their beloved bicycles. There will be contests, jousting, food, music and prizes by local bicycle friendly vendors. TIME'S UP! will be rocking the tunes on our sound bike and whipping out some serious smoothies on our latest creation, Sweet Blenda, the Bike Blender.
Representing their unique styles will be clubs such as; The Civic Riders Bicycle Club, The Moustache Riders, Classic Riders Bicycle Club, Puerto Rico Schwinn Club, Black Label Bicycle Club, Bicycle Works NYC, Bicycle Cherry, Foodswings, NYC Bikes.
AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST:::
Black Label's Banana Hammock party
Saturday, March 28th
The Chicken Hut (169 spencer and willoughby, bklyn)
$3/complimentary slim jims, hot dogs, baby carrots
djs porkchop, andersonic, dirty fingers
You MUST wear spandex. All you unisex uniform participants have your outfits already, everyone else find your old swim team speedos, bike shorts, tubetops, or get to the dollar store now.
The fourth issue of Peel Zine is available. This issue covers artists like: ABOVE, Klutch, and 20mg. It contains articles about the StickerThrow04, StickyArt, the top entries in the Sticker Nation/Sticker Robot Sticker Design competition. and a review of Public Discourse, a documentary about "illegal street installations". The issue also comes with an assortment of stickers of the artists contained inside.
Peel is a zine focusing specifically on stickers, looking closely at one medium used on the street, much like Overspray magazine focuses on stencils. (Overspray three should be on the streets soon!) This is a slick zine with good layout and production that accepts submissions of photos and art, so check them out and get your copy at PeelZine
Last Friday, May 20th, members of Visual Resistance and the Teenage Lobotomy zine project facilitated a stencil making workshop at the Renaissance Charter School in Jackson Heights, Queens.
Our workshop was just one among many great activities offered at the first Annual NYC Youth Activist Conference. The conference was organized by a local student group called Young Eclectic Liberation Leaders (YELL!) and included workshops by other youth based groups such as the Youth Activist Youth Allies Network (YAYA), the League of Young Voters and Teens for Racial and Ethnic Awakening.
We made sure to supply a large table's worth of inspiration. These flyers, posters, books and comics got our imaginations going and sparked an interesting discussion on style, and the difference between "high" and "low" art.
At first, we were a little nervous with the idea of promoting street art in a public school. However, we were pleasantly surprised by the level of openness, understanding and sensitivity that administrators and faculty demonstrated by allowing students to create a safe and supportive environment for self-expression.
Later, we walked out to the school's garden to try out our stencils on some pieces of cardboard. Students were able to practice their spray can techniques and discuss health precautions such as respirators to avoid overexposure to harmful fumes.
The MTA and NYPD are officially dropping the proposed ban on subway photography. MTA officials are saying that citizens' outrage during the public comments period played a significant role in shutting down the ban --- a great victory for the activists and phtographers who protested against the ban.
Last week, some repulsive homophobic graffiti was spray-painted at a Michigan high school. Four righteous kids there decided to get proactive, and spray-painted the word "LOVE" over the slur --- and about 25 other places! For this wonderfully open-hearted act of community service, they've been suspended for the rest of the year:
The school initially suspended the three and a sophomore for vandalism for 10 days on May 9, one day after they used spray paint to cover the words "God hates fags" scrawled on a rock near the high school entrance. Although the rock is frequently painted by students, the four also spray-painted "Love" more than 25 times around the flagpole and more than 25 times on sidewalks on the north side of the building.
But the students said they believed the anti-gay message was an attack on their openly gay friend, and they wanted to make a statement.
"We did it because it upset us that somebody could be that rude to our friend, that they could say something that close-minded. We were very insulted," 18-year-old Shayna Kamilar, one of the suspended students, told the Detroit Free Press for a Thursday story.
Vinnie Mascola, 17, said "our goal was that every single student who walked into Howell High School would have one word on their minds, and that word would be love."
Outraged by the students' suspension, about 375 other students skipped class and protested in front of the school. A few of the suspended students and others from the same high school have been discussing the whole affair in the comments section of Zero Intelligence, a blog devoted to criticizing "zero tolerance" rules in schools:
Ask the school board why the students promoting love recieved a code of conduct outlined punishment and why the hateful people recieved a small punishment even though they deserve expulsion...
Email Margaret Hamill, the principal of Howell HS, at email@example.com to ask her to lift the suspensions.
On Arbor Day, April 29th, a group of artists in Brooklyn placed some "bling" vanity necklaces around 50 or more trees, on Bedford Ave,from N4th-N10th St. The project is called Carbon Based Forms and is and attempt to get city folk to acknowledge the surrounding natural elements. Trees are a necessary and vital component in any community, especially cities. Im not a born and raised city kid. I grew up with a great appreciation for nature, living amongst it, in the Hudson Valley. So this project struck a chord with me.
In corresponding with the artists they reminded me of an observation, found in a recent issue of Adbusters; "kids can immediately identify 50 different brand logos, but not 5 different types of trees."
I firmly believe that it is that kind of disconnection to natural living creatures that provides humyns with the mental capability to destroy various forms of life on the planet. There is hardly an outcry when mountaintops are blown off in Appalachia, old-growth forests clear-cut, and even in urban settings, waterfront and open spaces "developed." Do we expect these things to regenerate? Mother nature has an amazing potential to heal, but how can she when the most influential creatures on the planet aren't even aware of other species?
It may not save the rainforest, but it's inspiring to see folks engage pedestrians with the most apparent forms we come into contact on the street! The artists are asking folks to sponsor a tree, I imagine to support their endeavors with this project.
Our friends from Not An Alternative / The Change You Want To See are making props this weekend to help Reverend Billy throw a post-Critical Mass benefit for Time's Up. UPDATE: Note date change at bottom of the post!
ART-MAKING: CRITICAL MASS + REV BILLY TIME'S UP! BENEFIT
It's bike month and summer's almost here. Critical Mass will be a big one...even bigger with an ARMY OF CARDBOARD BIKES! Join the Not an Alternative collective and Time's Up! for cardboard prop production and set construction for next week's Critical Mass and Reverend Billy AFTERPARTY show and TIME'S UP! benefit.
Cardboard bikes will process from Union Square to St. Mark's church where we'll celebrate bike power and reenact that fateful RNC ride at the show later that evening. A cardboard set will include streets, traffic lights, more. No experience necessary...we'll have patterns and materials. Just bring yourself, your friends, and extra cardboard if you can.
They got cops, we got a cardboard army.
Where and When:
Sunday, May 22. 12-7 pm --- Time's Up! space (Houston & Mulberry)
Tuesday, May 24. 6:30-10pm --- Time's Up! space (Houston & Mulberry).
A few weeks ago the Beehive Collective visited NYC. They were invited to Washington Square Park during the May Day weekend when the New World in Our Hearts Conference was happening. The Beehive members gave a narrative explanation of their Plan Colombia poster, after unfurling it out on the bricks of the park, in front the large crowd that assembled.
The Beehive Collective is a group of artists that create graphic posters about the intense web of effects from corporate globalization, the resistance in culture and the impacts of deregulation. The "bees" also create elaborate stone mosaic murals, one being created for MOFGA, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association, about agriculture and biodiversity.
The Beehive's Biodevastation poster was the first image of theirs I came across, in 2000. And ever since I have been amazed by their capability of representing the different aspects of globalization, in sort of a "food-web" poster mural, creating posters on the Free Trade Area of the Americas(F.T.A.A), the Latin American Solidarity Network, and currently the Plan Puebla Panama.They have traveled all over the Western hemisphere (North and South) gathering first-hand accounts from people most directly affected by these political and economic initiatives to place them in their imagery. And they do not forget to include the social movements and resistance amidst all of these overwhelming issues. Being sensitive to forms of cultural appropriation they are committed to using animal and insect metaphors to represent the struggles going on around the world. Which works out very well when they are doing "field research." I can remember a few different stories told to me by a "bee" about traveling in Colombia and Mexico, where indigenous communities would tell them about the different symbolic meanings that the regional creatures have for them. These aspects have been worked into the imagery and allow for the representation of ethnicity and culture without being "racial."
This is a super busy group of folks, and its necessary to note that they have distributed tens of thousands of posters and given hundreds of "narrative picture-lectures" thru grassroots and independant organizing! They are always looking for a hand in disseminating the fruits of their labor and for help with their various projects, so contact them through their website or email: pollinators(at)beehivecollective.org
If you happen to be in Maine in August visit the Collective's "beehive" for their ceremony celebrating the completion of renovations on their, soon-to-be, 100 year old Grange hall!
We'd love to get more designs in our gallery, so if you've got some in the works, we'd really love to hear from you --- drop us a line at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com. Stencil design by Nino.
Some Visual Resistance members put together a zine a few months back on the "how-to's" of street art techniques. The zine is meant to provide folks with basic information on posters, stickers, and stencils. So if you're a street art fan who thinks "I could never do that" or wonders, "How's that done?" just click here for some tips, tricks, and ideas.
The zine is not an encyclopedia or a forum for experts. It's just a few individuals experiences and ideas --- and it's very much a work in progress. If you have additional advice or find errors or incomplete info, drop us a line at visual.resistance [at] gmail.com. Oh, and a disclaimer: all information in the zine is presented for informational/entertainment purposes only, and is not meant to encourage vandalism, which is illegal and wrong.
Tonight is the beginning of the Bicycle Film Festival, a long weekend full of pro-bike movies at Anthology Film Archives. Two highlights from tomorrow's listings are a short about Josh Kinberg's Bikes Against Bush project, a brilliant project from last summer (think sky-writing, but with a bike), and the much-anticipated Still We Ride, a documentary about the Bloomberg/NYPD crackdown against Critical Mass. From the advance:
On Friday August 27, 2004 just days before the start of the Republican National Convention, a massive police operation was underway. By the end of the night 264 people were arrested. It marked one of the largest mass arrests in New York City's history - and the arrested had done nothing illegal.
For many New Yorkers, August was the first time they heard of what has become a monthly ritual for New York City’s bike community – a free-forming ride called Critical Mass.
Still We Ride is a documentary that captures the joyous atmosphere of this August ride before the arrests began and the chaos that followed. It recounts how this ride first started in San Francisco over 10 years ago and chronicles the police crackdown and resulting court battles in New York over the last seven months. The movie takes on issues of civil liberties, surveillance, the power of mainstream media, and the benefits of alternative means of transportation.
Check the full schedule here. Here's the essential info:
Thurs., May 12 - Sun. May 15
Anthology Film Archives, 32 2nd Avenue (at 2nd Street)
Janna from Style in Progress sent us a link to a fascinating article in Toronto's NOW Magazine about the Vancouver city government's plan to send out "clean teams" to buff out all graffiti in the city --- including permission walls and commissioned pieces:
The targets Any and all public spaces, including spaces already transformed by city-sponsored graffiti projects and privately owned buildings on which the owner has given artists permission to paint. Talk about a whitewash....
Who's to say what's art anyway? City politicians. They'll have the final say should business owners refuse to comply with cleanup orders - yes, the same politicians more interested in pacifying residents concerned about property values than in the cultural and social significance of graffiti.
Why it all smells like coercion The city is threatening to fine businesses that refuse to take part in the cleanup, or do the cleanup itself and then add the costs to business owners' property tax bill. In other words, you can pay now or you can pay later.
What makes the article great is that the reporter asked local workers and residents for their opinions on the graf and their responses are mostly positive. For example, a store manager says: "I wouldn’t consider it an eyesore. In fact, it brings people to the area. If the city ordered us to remove it, I’d have a problem with that." Big difference from the usual discussions about buffing graffiti in NYC.
What a waste of resources to go after kids with markers while companies like Viacom and Pattison Outdoor Advertising are erecting massive illegal billboards and murals all across Toronto. The rule seems to be that defacement is a crime unless you're wearing a suit and work for an ad firm.
Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Read the full article here. Check out Style in Progress for a great look at graffiti north of the border, and check out the Toronto Public Space Committee, a group that's new to me and is doing wonderfully admirable work.
Via Art for a Change, we learn that police in Los Angeles raided an art gallery and closed down the show due to the "agressive and offensive" nature of the show's content. The show, called Mark of the Beast, at Transport Gallery in L.A., used altered corporate logos to investigate globalization and consumerism. From the advance:
Capitalist Globalization is no longer an evil threat but a dark reality in the 21st century. Multinational companies condition the consuming masses with lies, deception and manipulation in the form of advertising tricks and fetishized logos.... For one night in downtown Los Angeles, we will hold a conscious happening, aimed directly at the issues of consumerism and alternative globalization. Please come out and support in hopes that together we can find truth amongst the many lies. To further carry our messages to the everyday world, there will be live silk-screening throughout the evening, "arming" guests with protest statements in the form of logo spoofs.
Mark Vallen from Art For A Change says:
It wasn’t until May 8th that someone told me the Los Angeles Police Department had raided and closed down the exhibit. To my knowledge the raid and closure was not covered by local newspaper, television, or radio news outlets (our free press was no doubt too busy reporting on the Michael Jackson trial and couldn’t be bothered with blatant violations of citizen’s First Amendment rights). Only a few bloggers have caught wind of the story and the LA arts community seems to be blissfully unaware - or unconcerned - that the LAPD has now become the city’s premiere agency for art criticism. Might the police raid have had something to do with the content and objective of the show?
Read the rest of Mark's post here and check out the rest of his site while you're at it, it's a hell of a resource.
Os Gemeos ("the Twins") have been making a mural out in Coney Island the last few days, and a Visual Resistance member has been fortunate enough to get out there to see them work! Check out our photos of the Os Gemeos mural! If anyone knows the name of the mural project,
(Swoon), that brought these two wonderful folks to NYC, mention it in our comments please.
The NY City Council recently closed a "loophole" that allowed over 1,000 illegal advertising billboards to spring up around the city. Closing the loophole is a small (tiny, miniscule) step in the right direction. The New York Press puts it in perspective:
Billboards in Times Square are one thing—they've always been part of the landscape. But in recent years, they've spread like the mange across the rest of the city, adorning every street, the side of every building, blocking the sky with yet one more advertisement for underpants or flavored vodka. You can't look in any direction these days, it seems, without being assaulted by another giant ad.
Over 1000 of those billboards, it turns out, have been put up illegally, without being properly registered with the Buildings Department. But last Thursday, City Council announced that they'd finally closed a massive loophole in a 2001 law, and will now be able to get on with the business of getting these billboards removed.
For just a second there it sounded like good news. At last we'd once again be able to let our eyes drift upward without being told to buy something we didn't need.
Then that second passed, and we remembered where we were, who was mayor, and that when those illegal billboards are removed, they'll be replaced in a matter of minutes by legal billboards, probably for the Olympics.
Photo taken from Billboard Liberation Front.
If you click on only one link today, let it be this one.
This is a few weeks old by now, but fi5e's comments on the city's anti-graffiti campaign are probably the best I've read anywhere:
I was just reading the website for "New York's Finest", and found some interesting stuff on graffiti (I don't want to post a direct link to it, but if you go to www.nyc.gov and put 'graffiti' into the search engine you'll find it). Including this quote, "Calls can be made to 911 for acts of graffiti vandalism that are in progress". On the one hand other people are dieing, but at least that wall will remain solid cinder block with no sign of color!
They also have a .pdf on their site called "Combat Graffiti" which outlines the different kinds of graffiti as "hate graffiti, gang graffiti, satanic graffiti, street graffiti, and generic graffiti". In over a year of photographing graffiti around NYC I've seen hate related graffiti only twice (which was promptly covered in anti-hate graffiti), almost zero gang related graffiti , and unless you consider NECK FACE to be satanic graffiti than I won't even comment on the idiocy of that label, it is all "street graffiti", and none of it is "generic". I have seen "beautiful graffiti" (SWOON), "political graffiti" (just think back to the RNC), "up lifting graffiti" (De La Vega), and "tag based graffiti" (names not of gang members but of creative people that live here). With everything going on in this city it makes me sad that they are putting this much effort into the elimination of an art form that was created here.
The New York Times has a short article in the Metro section today about Darius Jones' street installations, focusing on his kissing street signs in Carroll Gardens. Good quotes from Darius (aka Leon Reid) and Marc from Wooster Collective:
Most street artists distinguish themselves from graffitists, arguing that they are "involved in a very big public statement," in the words of Marc Schiller.... Street artists, Mr. Schiller added, think that "too much of the public space has been sold to big corporations, and they're reclaiming it illegally." [...].
"It's political in the act, in the very act," he said. "Each and every one of these things is done illegally, without any permission. That's a statement in and of itself. It brings up questions of ownership and what the public is allowed to do with things in public space."
You can check out more pictures of Darius' kissing street signs on our photolog. And, for more work by Darius on Visual Resistance check out: Darius and Downey street sign and Darius installation (RIP).