This is the first-ever post by IminentDisaster, who's been working on an incredible installation in Red Hook for the last few weeks:
This site-specific intervention in Red Hook, Brooklyn provides a point of entry to explore the forces affecting a community’s evolution of identity over time. By looking at the tensions between historical record and individual memory, we can reflect upon on the role of our imaginations and come to a deeper awareness of our potential to shape the identity of our communities through our lived experiences within them.
Red Hook has been at the center of many discourses about gentrification, but during these expositions, the identity of the community is most often quantified through property values and business development. By shifting the emphasis of identity to lived experience instead of economic productivity, the average person acquires a position capable of challenging the dominant power structures, even with limited economic means.
The first layer of this project is constructed from wheat pastes of every New York Times article since 1851 with “Red Hook” in the title. There were about 200 articles that fulfilled this query. The content of the articles was otherwise unaltered.
The next layer of the installation is a series of illustrations based on the content of the New York Times articles. The full text of the articles was run through a web-based Tag Cloud generator to visualize the frequency of word usage for 3 different time periods (1851-1929, 1930-1969, 1970-2007). Each bubble in the vignette is sized proportionally based on how often it was used. Since words like “housing” and “authority” are too broad and undefined used alone, the imagery within the bubbles is based on the context in which the word was used within the articles.
The last layer is an interactive component that will come together during the project’s opening. Participants will ask to write down specific and meaningful memories they have about Red Hook. These will be added to the installation on Saturday, March 31st.
Red Hook Project Opening:
Saturday, March 31st, 6 P.M. – 9 P.M.
@ The Art Lot, Corner of Columbia and Sackett Streets
Red Hook, Brooklyn
More Information: http://a.parsons.edu/~rhasty
Everyone's favorite freshwater pirates, The Miss Rockaway Armada, are holding a benefit art show to raise funds for their second annual voyage down the Mississippi. Won't you please attend?
AK Press just released Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland survey of anarchist art, Realizing the Impossible. I got a copy yesterday and it's a sprawling, exhilarating look at an under-examined subject. From the book description:
There has always been a close relationship between aesthetics and politics in anti-authoritarian social movements. And those movements have in turn influenced many of the last century's most important art movements, including cubism, Dada, post-impressionism, abstract expressionism, surrealism, Fluxus, Situationism, and punk. Today, the movement against corporate globalization, with its creative acts of resistance, colorful puppets and posters, inflammatory actions and interventions, has brought anarchist and anti-authoritarian politics into the forefront of the global consciousness.
Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority explores this vibrant history. It's a sprawling and inclusive collection bursting with ideas and images. With topics ranging from turn-of-the-century French cartoonists to modern-day Indonesian printmaking, from people rolling giant balls of trash down Chicago streets to massive squatted urban villages and renegade playgrounds in Denmark, from the stencil artists of Argentina to the radical video collectives of the US and Mexico—as well as conversations with pioneering anarchist artists like Clifford Harper, Carlos Cortéz, Gee Vaucher, and members of Black Mask—Realizing the Impossible is a richly illustrated history of art and anarchism.
The title comes from a quote by Max Blechman: "It is said that an anarchist society is impossible. Artistic activity is the process of realizing the impossible."
The book covers little-known history -- Dara Greenwald's profile of Videofreex and Morgan Andrew's history of political puppetry are particularly illuminating -- and also looks at the present through profiles of current projects and interviews with active artists. Meredith Stern's interview with contemporary printmakers (including Chris Stain, Swoon, Icky A., Pete Yahnke, Miriam Klein Stahl, Shaun Slifer, and others) is worth the price of the book. The third section, dealing with aesthetic and political theory, is refreshingly free of academic jargon.
Realizing the Impossible joins a very short list of books on anarchist art, and is essential reading for anyone interested in creative resistance and the political imagination.