Paper Politics makes its next stop in Portland. Over 175 political prints by artists from around the world. The work will be on display May 3rd-June 16th, 2006 at the Food For Thought Gallery at the Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway, Portland, OR. Opening event will be May 11th, 7-11 PM.
Version fest held annually in Chicago focuses on emerging discourses and practices evolving between art, technology, social critique and activism. Version Fest examines local systems and external networks that use visual and conceptual art strategies, innovative social practices, creative uses of new technologies, effective organizing structures, emerging activist/artist initiatives, campaigns, public interventions and DIY projects. This year Version Fest runs from April 20th through May 7th.
The Version Festival presents a diverse program of activities featuring an experimental art exposition, artistic disturbances, exhibitions, networked urban events, screenings, interactive applications, performances, street art, presentations, talks, workshops, an art rendezvous and action. Alternative spaces will be open for staging actions. Public spaces and corporate places will be terrains of intervention. Version is a seventeen-day open laboratory to activate our communities and amplify ideas and practices.
For more information on the projects, program, artists, and venues involved in this year's Version fest visit their website. http://versionfest.com/version06/festival/
NOTE: DATE CHANGE! EXTENDED DEADLINE!
The benefit gallery show for Daniel McGowan has been moved to July 27-28 at ABC No Rio. We’ve already got Armsrock, Arofish, Borf, GoreB, Peter Kuper, Josh MacPhee, RB827, Nicole Schulman, Chris Stain, Swoon, Seth Tobocman, and lots of other great artists involved, and we’re still seeking donations for the show.
Call for Artwork: Benefit Gallery Show for Daniel McGowan
Thursday, July 27 & Friday, July 28, 2006 at ABC No Rio
Co-sponsored by Visual Resistance and Family and Friends of Daniel McGowan
Deadline: June 20, 2006
On December 7th, my friend was arrested at his workplace by federal marshals. The friend I know as a tireless activist and a funny, generous, caring person was ripped from his friends and family without warning and held without bail in federal prison, facing multiple felony charges and life in prison.
I met Daniel McGowan during the buildup to the protests against the Republican National Convention in New York. The Visual Resistance crew was organizing the No RNC Poster Project and Daniel was our first ally. In the time since, Daniel has been a personal friend to all of us in VR and to many more in the larger New York activist community. His constant smile and good humor belied his selfless devotion to making this world a better place.
And on December 7th, he was disappeared. Daniel was extradited to Oregon and held without bail for two months on charges whose statute of limitations were close to expiring. His arrest came as part of a massive government crackdown on the radical environmentalist movement which many are referring to as the “Green Scare.” His arrest left the community in shock.
Daniel has pled not guilty to all charges. Although he is currently out on bail, he faces a lengthy and extremely expensive trial. His family and friends have been scrambling to raise funds and organize a defense team.
Simply put, he needs our help, and we need yours.
We are planning a two-night gallery show and art auction on July 27-28 at ABC No Rio to help pay for Daniel’s legal defense. We are asking artists who are committed to social justice and political activism to contribute artwork. Some art will also be sold through our website. All proceeds will go to help pay Daniel’s legal costs.
Any artwork you can contribute will be a huge help, and we appreciate your generosity in advance. The work in the show will encompass a myriad of themes, styles, and techniques. Work that deals with the issues involved in the Green Scare are appreciated, but not required.
Please contact us if you are interested in donating artwork! We are more than happy to work with you on your terms and can cover incidental costs such as shipping. We can pick up artwork in the New York City area – email email@example.com for a mailing address.
Specs: While there is no strict size limit, we prefer smaller artwork (less than 18x24). All work should be ready to hang. Print multiples are very, very welcome.
For more information on Daniel’s case and the Green Scare, see:
Contact Visual Resistance:
Contact Family & Friends of Daniel McGowan:
PO Box 106, NY, NY 10156
Via the invaluable Eyeteeth comes word of a great billboard liberation in California:
Following the momentum of massive March 25th mobilizations, student walkouts, and April 10th's historic day of action for immigrant rights, comes the call for El Gran Paro Americano (The Great American Boycott). May 1st is a day for global action against upcoming anti-immigrant legislation and in favor of universal amnesty. Across the country, a broad network of immigrant rights groups, labor unions, workers associations, student groups, and collectives of all sorts have announced calls for a general strike, boycott, no sales or purchases, walkouts, marches, and actions in financial centers and at anti-immigrant corporations throughout the country. Groups throughout Latin America, such as Mujeres Creando and La Otra Campaña, have called for a boycott of all American products as well as actions in solidarity with the North American immigrants movement. Here is a selection from a call by a California based organization, ActionLA.org
On May 1, we are calling No Work, No School, No Sales, and No Buying, and also to have rallies around symbols of economic trade in your areas (stock exchanges, anti-immigrant corporations, etc.) to protest the anti-immigrant movements across the country.
We believe that increased enforcement is a step in the wrong direction and will only serve to facilitate more tragedies along the Mexican-U.S. border in terms of deaths and family separation. We will settle for nothing less than full amnesty and dignity for the millions of undocumented workers presently in the U.S.
Visual Resistance would like to offer our own call. A call for artwork to promote and support the actions of May 1st. We welcome art by organizations, collectives, or individuals. Whether you are a professional graphic designer, a fine artist, or just someone with a lot of heart and passion that needs expressing, please, SEND US YOUR ART! We will be posting submissions for free download on a separate and more permanent page. Our hope is that this archive of imagery will help contribute to an aesthetic expression of ideas and actions to stop government aggression against immigrant communities.
The graphic above, by schock at riseup d0t net
The Friends of William Blake, a working group of artists and activists who first put out the "The People's Guide to the Republican National Convention" a 33-by-22-inch full-color fold-up map of New York that listed more than 600 points of information- including the locations of RNC events, protest sites, bathrooms, and legal pointers have just released a guide to counter-recruitment in NYC.
The New Yorkers' Guide to Military Recruitment in the 5 Boroughs and it's associated website (www.counterrecruitmentguide.org) is full of practical information and may be freely used, copied, and distributed under the creative commons license. Locations where the guide may be
picked up in New York are listed on the website, and a full PDF version may also be downloaded through the site.
If you'd like to be involved in distribution of the guide, or would like to reserve a bulk order of the guide for your organization, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 1994, the dawn of the North American Free Trade Agreement, indigenous peasants in Chiapas, Mexico took the world by storm by rising up in revolution. The Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN Ejercito Zapatista de Liberacion Nacional) emerged from the mountains and jungles to say NO to corporate globalization, neo-liberal colonialism, and the exploitation of indigenous people, women, the poor, and the oppressed. In 12 years, the EZLN has become a major voice in the international struggle against capitalism and neo-liberalism, and an inspiration and hope to struggles throughout the world.
Estacion Libre, a US based collective of People of Color, has been building with the Zapatista movement for over eight years. Through delegations to Zapatista communities, and a continued presence of a peoples space in Chiapas, hundreds of U.S. based community activists andorganizers from communities of color have visited, shared with, and learned from the Zapatista movement. These lessons are brought home - back to community struggles against gentrification, police brutality, incarceration, racism, sexism, homophobia, and economic exploition. By sharing tactics and dialogues with the Zapatistas, we strive to create sustainability throughout communities of resistance here in the U.S., with hopes that we can defeat the monster of capitalism and corporate globalization here, in the brain of the beast.
- Discussion on the Liberation Struggles of People of Color and intersections with the Zapatista Movement (Ashanti Alston)
- Reflections on the Zapatista Movement, the Sixth Declaration, and What Solidarity Means for US Estacion Libre (Mixpe, Olmeca, etc.)
- Arts and Activism workshops (Spiritchild, Olmeca, Mixpe, etc.)
Tuesday, April 18th: Ashanti at Rethinking Solidarity, NYC, Brecht Forum, 7:30pm.
Thursday, April 20th: UMASS, Amherst.
Saturday, April 22nd: Philadelphia, LAVA (4134 Lancaster Ave.), 12 noon.
Saturday, April 22nd: Estacion Libre fundraiser in East Harlem, 9:30 pm.
Monday, April 24th: Smith College. Workshops at noon and 4pm. Performance at night.
Wednesday, April 26th: Rethinking Solidarity, NYC, Blue Stockings Bookstore, 7pm.
Thursday, April 27th: Brown University, Third World Center, Informal Lounge (68 Brown St.), 9pm -12am.
The first image above was created by Gina Szeto. The second image was created by Canek Pena-Vargas. Both are available to download and edit as needed to promote the tour.
Bios for Event Participants:
Ashanti Alston has devoted his life to struggling against racism and
oppression, and to building and participating in multigenerational,
multiracial, grassroots movements of resistance. Born in Plainfield, NJ in
1954, Ashanti saw and experienced what most black youth did then and still
see today: poor-quality housing, unemployment and lack of job
opportunities, and schools that squelched students desire to learn. He
became politicized at an early age and was one of the founding members of
the Plainfield, NJ chapter of the Black Panther Party. He was also a
member of the Black Liberation Army.
Through intensive studying with the Panthers, Ashanti began a career in
self-teaching, popular education, and grassroots organizing through direct
engagement with people about their experiences. He has continued this work
during the 12 years he spent as a political prisoner, and living in
Brooklyn in the years since his release. Through published writing, formal
teaching jobs, participation in conferences and lectures, and membership
in grassroots organizations, Ashanti has developed his scholarship and
shared his critical analysis with young and old organizers, activists, and
students around the country. He has spoken throughout North America on the
past, present, and future of liberation struggles and the role of
Ashanti has served as the Northeast Regional Coordinator for Critical
Resistance, a national organization working for the abolition of the
prison-industrial complex. Currently, Ashanti is a member of Estacion
Libre, a National people of color collective inspired by and in dialogue
with the Zapatista movement of Chiapas Mexico. Ashanti is also a board
member for the Institute for Anarchist Studies. He authors the zine
Jo Anna Mixpe Ley
Poet, storyteller, popular educator, artist, dancer, spiritual advisor to
the stars, and revolutionary warrior Mixpe has been a lecturer in
Chican@ Studies at UCLA, and a teacher of culturally empowering,
politically inspiring words and movements to young people throughout Los
Angeles and the Western Hemisphere. She is currently one of the
co-coordinators for Estacion Libre in Chiapas Mexico - whose objective is
to open a space of dialogue between people of color struggles in the U.S.
and the Zapatista communities.
In her time in Chiapas, Mixpe has covered the political situation through
written and radio commentary, documenting activities of the military and
policing during the Red Alert. She has built relationships with the
autonomous Zapatista communities and shared art, music, movement, and
struggles. Recently, Mixpe has served as a support for the Otra Campana of
the Zapatista movement, and has coordinated the first delegation between
U.S. based Women of Color activists and the revolutionary women of the
Through her work, she struggles for continued solidarity with autonomous
communities, collectives, and minds. Her poetry and prose engages
narratives and oral histories of borders, the colonization and liberation
of bodies, always connected to the experiences of her communities and her
families. She can breakdown the intersection of racism, classism, sexism
and homophobia inside and outside of movements, without breaking you in
Artist, teacher, organizer, vagabond, traveler, and revolutionary - Olmeca
has been the co-coordinator of Estacion Libre in Chiapas, Mexico since May
2005. During his time in Chiapas, Olmeca worked with Zapatista communities
reporting on military and police incursions during the summer 2005 Red
Alert, teaching arts and skill sharing workshops, sharing the struggles
of People of Color in the US with Zapatista communities, and supporting
and observing the discussions around the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandon
Jungle and the Otra Campana of the EZLN.
In the occupied territory of the United States, Olmeca is a driving force
in the fusion of music and community organizing. He worked to establish
APC the Autonomous Peoples Collective a collective of community
organizers. Artists, and musicians in East LA, and has engaged with
countless grassroots struggles for community liberation through his voice
and his music, including the Coalition of Imokalee Workers.
Olmeca is a 7-year veteran in the Los Angeles music scene. Olmeca's unique
lyrical style, bilingual rapping skills and unique song writing, has
gained the respect of his peers. He has rocked the mic with the legends of
the LA underground Hip-Hop scene (Freestyle Fellowship, Abstract Rude and
Living Legends) as well as the greats from the Latin Alternative scene,
(Roco from Maldita Vecindad, Fidel Nadal and others).
His redefining and all encompassing song writing skills contain a focused
and undaunted political and cultural message. This calls for the decoding
of genres in music and, with that, the media and the system all together.
Unwilling to separate art with politics, Olmeca has contributed to many
grassroots movements as a participant, organizer and artist. Because of
this, his music has come to be known as, musica de los pobres or peoples
music. Olmeca calls for the niñ@s de la tierra to not only become
the system, but also to begin the process of deconstruction through
reflection and action.
His album, Semillas Rebeldes will be released in March 2006 by Nomadic
Spiritchild, a member of Escation Libre and the Movement in Motion Artists
and Activists Collective was born in Harlem and raised in The Bronx. He is
a founder of Mental Notes - a Hip-Hop Jam Band. Mental Notes has gained a
reputation as a new innovative sound throughout the New York City Night
Club Scene and has performed at such legendary venues as CBGBs, Knitting
Factory and Nuyorican Poets Café. For Spiritchild, Mental Notes is not
just a Hip-Hop Jam band that creates music, it is an outlet for political
During the Anti-War Movement that was re-ignited after September 11, 2001,
Spiritchild collaborated with artists, activists, and students to
establish Movement In Motion Arts Collective - a creative drive in the
struggle for peace, justice and social awareness. In the name of
information, Movement in Motion offers energy and rhythm to the global
peace movement. Prompted by the present threat to civil liberties, they
formulate creative spaces in NYC to share alternative news and information
and by supporting other networks of informed activists. They fight for our
constitutional right to rally and protest. Most importantly, they come out
to help like-minded people dance. Members of Movement in Motion have
traveled to Venezuela, India, Palestine, Mexico, and South Africa to build
music and movement with struggles around the globe.
Spiritchild has also been active in exposing and educating the youth
through Hip-Hop. As a youth educator, Spirichild has worked with kids
throughout New York, teaching them the fundamentals of music, writing and
how to Rap.
WINTER IN AMERICA
WORK BY STAIN / SCOUT / MODE / MACPHEE
FRIDAY, APRIL 21
ONE NIGHT ONLY
327 STATE STREET
The Winter in America series is a knockout --- check out Josh & Stain's contributions on our photolog. If you're around upstate New York or are willing to make the long drive north from NYC, the show promises to be a great one!
Come to the 6th Street Community Center tonight @ 7:30pm to help raise funds for the Loisaida-New Orleans Caravan, sending volunteers to help rebuild New Orleans communities by working with the Common Ground Collective. Live Music, Spoken Word, and Performance, including: Jemeel, Moondoc, Seth Tobocman, Jack Waters and Peter Cramer, Ray Gant, Martha Hyde, Will Sales, Michael Sansonia, Mac McGill, Eric Blitz, Emilio China, Steve Wishnia and others!
Poster at right by Christopher Cardinale
Wooster Collective has been asking various people in the street art world what they would do if they had twenty million dollars to spend on public art. Here's our response:
None of us would be doing this if we didn't believe that public art can be an inspiring form of communication and expression. However, most public art (at least from what we've seen) fails because it divides the public from the art, creating a barrier between what is made and the people who are to view it. Also, the city bureaucracies that run most public art programs select the most non-controversial (bland, sterile, meaningless) designs, and most people end up scratching their heads and thinking art is a waste of money.
To avoid this problem we would take the $20,000,000 and form a non-profit group that would facilitate community-based art projects and programs. The more participatory and hands-on the better. Instead of throwing money at art stars, we'd help community groups and school kids fund raise (writing grants, getting donated materials) and plan projects. We'd set up an office and workspace where people can learn silk-screening and other printing techniques, a computer lab, a design shop, an outdoor graf gallery, the works. We'd focus on building permanent infrastructure for arts production and education.
A great example of how to involve people in an art project--regardless of their artistic background--is through murals. Though murals often rely on a lead muralist who lays out an image and makes it work within a given space, the process of exchange that can occur lets everyone have a voice in shaping the outcome. Everyone helps in the actual painting process. Murals also involve the community in ways that other projects, such as The Gates, simply cannot. Murals invite dialogue; they reflect what is going on in a community, its past and its future. It's a picture of the community talking about where it's been and where it wants to go.
If Bloomberg really wanted to address the "problem" of graffiti in a creative way, he would allocate 10% of the Vandal Squad budget to a public mural program. Philadelphia has done this with great success. Almost all murals in the city are graffiti-free. There is a certain sort of respect for murals, especially ones that involve the community. Its absurd for businesses to pay thousands of dollars to remove graffiti when a mural could just as easily be painted, and probably with a lot less money!
PS: In NYC there are already groups doing similar things, especially El Puente, Groundswell Community Mural Project, and Artmaker's Inc., so maybe we should stop dreaming and just donate some money and time to them...
Read everyone's responses in Wooster's Roundtable archives. What would you do with $20million? Let us know in the comments!
Photo at top courtesy of Artmakers Inc. (c) 2005.
The Gothamist recently posted a story about a festive day of street chalking, which was ruined by a pair of self-righteous snitches and some bored police officers. An eyewitness and participant in the day of chalking describes his experience.
We took a grand old stroll near the cube in Astor Place. On the sidewalk around the cube, we saw a ginormous yin yang drawn in chalk on the sidewalk, and two girls drawing stuff around it. We grabbed some chalk and joined in... Others joined in and left whatever messages they pleased. Eventually, one of the girls started to draw on the cube itself. Verily, this was the trickle that started the flood, as everyone else followed afterwards. Including us. People climbed ontop of the cube to defa-- draw on it. It was a grand old time.
Judging from these pictures, the chalking engaged the interest and participation of many a passer-by. Fun for the whole family. Sadly, a pair of cranky graffiti haters were so disturbed by the chalking that they decided to call the police. The authorities arrived and arrested several chalkers, as well as a group of girls who had protested the arrests by chanting "let them go!" These two girls eventually spent 26 hours in police custody, were tried and eventually their charges were dismissed.
Seth, one of the individuals arrested, posted these comments on the Gothamist, reflecting on his experience in detention.
i spent 26 hours in jail for this shit, was rather ridiculous. it wasnt free speech or defacement, it was us having a little bit of fun that didnt hurt anyone. everything was temporary, but the cops treated us like shit. noone was caught with drugs, though they mistook a bag of maple sugar candy my friend had for crack before they tested it. it was outrageous to waste my weekend like this, and thats not mentioning how many different ways the cops broke the law in processing us. they held us for 12 hours in the precint, denied food, water, or bathroom usage. one of the guys in the cell with me was a diabetic (arrested on a different charge) but his request for medical attention or a sugar level check after he realized he couldnt feel his fingers was delayed for 2 hours while the cops told him to wait. meanwhile, it was 6 hours after we had been taken in before the precint bothered to notify our parents. i resent how some people have made us out to be the villan of this piece, but our having fun was not a justification for how the cops had theirs at our expense.
after spending 26 hours in police custody (2 of them were released after 20 hours) we were released by the judge who basically said: "this is a bullshit charge. chalk is not considered grafitti and therefore the charges pressed against you are unjustified and you should not have been arrested to begin with. stay out of trouble for 6 months and it wont be on your records. get out of my face.
The marshmallow kid's statement is true. Chalking on the sidewalk is technically not a crime because there is no mention of it in any of New York City's graffiti laws. However, many police, who either don't know this or pretend to not know this fact, will arrest and detain you anyway.
For more info on local chalk artists, check out this post about the Ellis G's chalk shadows.