The Voice of Art team (including Justseeds friend John Carr) spent the month of May filming members of the Chicago IVAW chapter as they carried out protest actions against the NATO summit. Featured are Aaron Hughes, Iris Feliciano, Greg Broseus and Alejandro Villatoro. Readers of the Justseeds blog will be familiar with the long history of collaboration between IVAW and Justseeds from mud stencil actions (featured at the start of the video) to street art actions to the War is Trauma portfolio.
I will post part 2-4 of the IVAW videos from the Voice of Art series when they are released.
Part 1: 6/29, Part 2: 7/6, Part 3: 7/13, Part 4: 7/20
I just finished the first sketch of the image for the Lomami National Park Bandanas! What are those, I hear you cry. Well, they're going to be a pile of brightly colored bandanas with a refined version of the above image screenprinted on them. I'm making them to take with me to DR Congo this fall, where I'll be volunteering with a group that is working to set up a new national park in the east of the country, in one of the last patches of unbroken forest left in the country. What's really great about this project is that the idea of the park is being promoted from the ground up, agreed upon by the people who actually live there, instead of being decreed from on high by those with political clout. The bandanas are intended to be useful objects that also carry information about some of the species the park will protect. It's my hope that people will see a lot more of these than they would of a poster hung in an office somewhere. Something that occurred to me while drawing this is that I seem to be designing a logo for a national park. In Congo. The mind boggles slightly. I'll be running a Kickstarter campaign in July to help fund the project, please do stay tuned for that. Also, below the jump: the cover for the Justseeds/ Culture Strike "Migration Now" portfolio, which should be done in mid-July. Busy times!
Josh Fox (dir. Gasland) has a new video on hydrofracking and media/industry propaganda, "The Sky is Pink" (18:34). It's certainly worth watching and spreading far and wide. Annotated Documents featured in the film can be found here.
Couldn't resist posting this radical patch by Lauren Jurysta, a former teen of mine super active in Pittsburgh queer/dyke community. Lauren co-organized this year's Dyke/Trans March as well as Rhinestone Steel, an all-day queer music festival this past weekend, featuring Katey Red, Silky Shoemaker, Nicky Click, and many more amazing queer performers. I picked up this patch there. Lauren was in the riot grrrl influenced teen punk band Smells Like Gina, an active participant in Warhol teen programs such as The F Word and TTYL (Totally Teens Youth Lounge), and is currently in Slag Womb. Now in her mid-20's (no longer even a post-teen really!), she does a lot in Pittsburgh to bring people together and create community.
Pussy Riot, in case you haven't heard, is a feminist punk band from Russia who have been arrested for their punk anti-Putin prayer at Moscow's Christ the Savior cathedral. For more info on Pussy Riot, check here: http://freepussyriot.org/
This week we're going to look at the Wisconsin Workers' Uprising poster created by Milwaukee-based artist Sue Simensky Bietila. Sue has long been creating art for social movements, starting in the 1960s working with the underground newspaper The Rat, up through the recent recount struggle in Wisconsin. Here's what she has to say about her work and her poster:
Many of you may have seen some of my activist artwork, which I've been creating since the late 1960s, but to earn a living, I have worked as an Registered Nurse since 1972. For the past 7 years I have had the most worthwhile job in my 40-year career, as a School Nurse in Milwaukee high schools. I am in the union with the Milwaukee Public School teachers. In February 2011, when Gov. Walker implemented union-busting against public employees and class war against Wisconsin’s 99%, Milwaukee’s Public Schools were shut down and we all rushed with a passion to the demonstration at the Capitol in Madison.
Now that I've gone through all the Fanon titles proper, here is a collection of strange odds and ends, books that contain Fanon's writing, but aren't standard editions. To start with is this great catalog produced by Presence Africaine for a memorial conference on Fanon in 1982 (although I believe the book didn't come out until 1984). The central graphic leans on the same African mask trope on so many Fanon covers, but flips the script a bit, but piling the masks on top of each other to make a new sculptural form, and arming that form with a rifle. In addition, the arched figures at the bottom are reminiscent of some of the post-Independence, utopian Modernist architecture that was built in major African cities like Nairobi and Lagos.
For the past eight months I have been doing art workshops with Jovenes Sin Nombres (youth without names), a Latino youth and allies arts-activism group here in Pittsburgh.
I featured some of the jovenes on my poster design for the upcoming Justseeds Culture Strike Immigration Portfolio, and adapted that design for this event poster.
If you happen to be in Pittsburgh, you can pick up my Queer Scout Badges and Merit Badges from the Upcycla Craft-o-Tron vending machine at the East End Food Co-op. These repurposed cigarette vending machines are similar to the Art-o-Mat vending machine you may have seen a few years ago, but these feature crafts by Pittsburgh area artists. Each item in the machine is $5, and is wee enough to fit into a cool little box the size of a cigarette box. The papercut on the machine and design on the box is by papercut artist Kathryn Carr, a cohort of Justseeds member Bec Young.
File under quick rant.
I'm really happy that some well-intentioned artists are working on the theme of water. Without clean, potable water, we're screwed. In my opinion most creatures on this planet are screwed right now. Since less than one percent of the planets water is drinkable and industrial society is hell bent on polluting it through fracking, drilling, dumping wastes and agricultural "-cides" and using it to irrigate desert cities and mono-cropped fields the world over.
I recently came across The Water Tank Project and I really hope this project reaches a goal of raising awareness on the immense dangers to a main source of life on this planet, water.
This week lets take a deeper look at Damon Locks' poster" Jamaican Maroons Fend Off the British!" Locks is a Chicago-based artist and musician, and a lot more of his work can be found HERE. This is what he has to say about his poster:
When asked to participate in the Celebrate People's History project, I was eager to get to work and join in the dialogue Justseeds has started (and continues). In our daily lives, we get so many messages thrown at us at every turn. We are constantly encouraged to improve the speed of receiving this information. I for one have looked to slow down this process for clearer and deeper absorption of content.
“If you all stick around long enough today, you’ll start to feel it in your throat. Your nose feels sore, back of your throat feels raw.” Greg Lancaster* is telling us about the new air in his neighborhood in rural Butler County, SouthWestern Pennsylvania. Twelve of us are gathered in their modest living room inside a trailer that he and his wife Susanne have spent most of their lives, and their children’s lives, calling home. We’re a scant 45 minute drive North from Pittsburgh, and we’ve come to meet folks living in one of the epicenters of natural gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale - specifically, folks who no longer have drinking water, bathing water, or clean air to breathe. Gallon water jugs bulwark the front doors of their humble homes.
Commission for Treasonous Strategies is a collaborative exhibit between Justseeds member Shaun Slifer and Tesar Freeman, a presentation of sculptural work which reflects upon the history of the United States and raises questions about the perceived authority of objects and relics when housed in sanctioned museums.
Toward the African Revolution was first published in 1964, after Fanon's death. It is a broad collection of his short essays, many written while he was traveling across Africa as the Ambassador to Ghana for the Provisional Algerian Government. The first English translation was published in a hardback edition by Monthly Review Press (in 1967). Like Studies in A Dying Colonialism, the cover is largely text-based, even more subdued than Studies. A red field is diagonally bisected by a thin black line. Fanon's name floats above the line in all caps, and the title, in larger type, sits below it. The font is simple sans serif, some variation on Franklin Gothic. The entire design is a bit reminiscent of a unbalanced percentage symbol.
Saturday, June 23rd, 12pm
Brecht Forum (in the Rubinstein Reading Room)
451 West St (corner of Bank St)
Despite the cheer-leading you may have seen in the media about the Diamond Jubilee of the British Monarch, a wave of nausea and apathy, rather than nationalism has suffused 'Albion' of late. Echoes of the English Revolution of the 1640s still haunt the British Royals; an historic event which led to the first modern popular Republic and culminated in the decapitation of 'Divine Right'.
Bristol Radical History Group will be recounting some hidden histories from this stormy period, looking at key moments in the levelling of Royal power:
trial of Charles I and the treachery of those turncoats
trans-Atlantic family of the Quaker William Penn
So if you want to find out why the humble son of a tailor, a broken silver cane, a plague of frogs and a falsified Aristocratic Crest were symbolic of the end of the Blue Bloods, then come on down...
This past year I was in Ireland doing an artist in residence and teaching. I had the opportunity to work closely with many students including Arianna, a Mexican grad student who was focused on making work about femicide in Cuidad Juarez. Below are a few images of her large scale wall pieces from her graduation exhibition at the Burren College of Art in Ireland. She is now living in Montreal, and her goal is to work on community based projects and murals.
This one is at least 12x40ft
Today we have a guest blog from Cindy Milstein, who has been spending considerable time up in Montreal participating in the "Maple Spring/Summer" and writing a lot about it. Her blog is Outside the Circle, and can be read HERE.
This entry should be of particular interest to Justseeds readers as it features the printmaking collective Ecole de la Montagne Rouge:
"Last night I joined about 9 people in a casseroles in Montreal; tonight, consecutive evening number 44, there were thousands, boisterous and carnivalesque, overtaking the streets to the cheers of people in houses and bars and cafes as we marched. I also stumbled across the Ecole de la Montagne Rouge crew at the start of the march. They were all wearing red coveralls with their collective name screened on the back, printing big posters on white paper in red ink to connect cuts to the arts to increases to education, as long lines of folks eagerly waited their turn for a fresh print, which many then pinned to their bodies for the march or took home as a revolutionary souvenir. A couple hours later, when the march passed the art students as they were packing up, I asked them if I could stop by their studio sometime in the coming week or so, and they said, “Come with us now!” reaching out a red-ink-stained hand to shake mine but quickly realizing a hello and smile was a better idea, as I trooped after them to their studio.
I've now been organizing the Celebrate People's History poster series for over 15 years, and have printed almost 80 different posters. In order to add another layer of depth to the project, I have been asking the poster artists and designers to send me texts about what inspired them, sketches, and source photos. I hope to post these insights into specific posters of a semi-regular basis.
This first post is about the recently printed Seki Ran Kai poster, designed and written by Keisuke Narita and illustrated by Red Eye. Keisuke, one of the driving forces behind Tokyo's Irregular Rhythm Asylum, sent me the following text about the poster:
This piece is dedicated to our dear comrade Chinami Kondo, who passed away on June 20, 2010.
More attacks on labor rights in Wisconsin - this time on workers at Palermo's Pizza in Milwaukee - a frozen pizza company that ships nationally. A strike is in week one and management refuses to recognize a newly formed union and has retaliated by "blocking an exit at the factory so workers cannot join the strike, threatened termination of people participating, bringing in replacement workers as well as threatening to check workers legal immigration status." Boycott Palermo's and stand in solidarity with the striking workers at Palermo's in their time of need!
The graphic is by Paul Kjelland.
Finding inspiration in IWW Labor organizing and Joe Hill…......while thinking about how the uprising in Wisconsin lost it’s way during the huge protest at the capital when the Wisconsin 14 (14 Wisconsin Democratic Senators) came back. That day the energy shifted from a labor central grassroots movement with capital occupations and growing momentum for strikes to recall efforts and electoral politics.
The Wisconsin Uprising ended with a recall election and the recall election ended with an abrupt thud. Many expected a razor tight contest – one that was sure to end in a recount. Instead it was over by 9:00pm, an hour after the polls had closed. It ended when embattled Republican Governor Scott Walker soundly defeated Democratic challenger Tom Barrett 53%-46%. It ended when a graph of the state pictured Wisconsin bright red, outside of a few blue pockets in Milwaukee County, Dane County, and a handful of other counties, including the far northwest corner.
For all of us who have resisted Walker’s agenda and helped create the Wisconsin Uprising this is a crushing blow. There is no sugar coating it. This is a loss that will be felt for years, if not decades. Walker’s attack on workers, public unions, public education, public health care, women, and the environment created a mass movement, and on June 5th Wisconsin voters voted against that movement.
This was not simply a vote for Walker over Barrett. Nor was it simply a vote against the recall process. It was a vote against public employee unions. This was the dream scenario for the 1%.
Our friend Tom Civil had a great show in Melbourne last month, and there's a bunch of pictures up of it HERE, and a really thoughtful in depth interview with Tom HERE. Take a second and read it, it's good!
This weekend we're picking up everything from our office of the last two years (a shared space with our friends at the workhorse cycling advocacy org BikePGH), and moving our operations into a new space at the Icehouse Studios. It's only about seven blocks East, and we're staying in Pittsburgh, but it's still an exciting shift! If you're not in Pittsburgh, but you still want to help us out, please consider a small donation! We need more shelving, more flat files, and some climate control (we're in an old warehouse, after all). Donations go straight to our PayPal account. Thanks for all your support over the years!
My friend Sandy K., who is regularly producing inspiring work at his design firm Image-Shift, has jumped into a more embodied form of organizing with his neighbors, and they have occupied/squatted the big public courtyard in front of their building at Kottbuser Tor in Kreuzberg, Berlin. They've been out there for awhile now, and plan on staying out there to keep visible the struggle against gentrification and evictions. More info HERE.
Come watch videos of Quebec in revolt!
Thursday, June 7th — 7:30pm
131 8th St, Brooklyn, NY 11205
f/g/r to 4th Ave. & 9th St. stop
On May 22, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators converged in Montreal to protest a rise in university tuition fees, as well as a harsh new law aimed at curbing Quebec's longest ever student strike, now approaching its fifth month. It's a period of unprecedented social upheaval in Canada and one that's produced thousands of hours of video footage. From slick TV spots with high production values, to gritty livestreams, we'll take a look at some key videos that have emerged from the strike.
With translations provided by Translating the printemps érable, the clearing-house for English language strike information, and videos culled from different aspects of the movement, we'll see how the strike began as a response to tuition fees, but has since widened into an anti-austerity movement drawing in a wide base of support throughout Quebec and the rest of Canada.
A group of collectives and individuals recently got to travel to Cheran K'eri, in the state of Michoacan, Mexico. In 2011, the 20,000 residents of Cheran unanimously decided to venture into the seldom sailed waters of Autonomy, expelling all political parties and forming a traditional government according to the Purepecha indigenous customs.
Cheran lies in a highly mountainous area which holds a vast forested ecosystem. A force of loggers, political parties, corrupt government officials and drug traffickers thought they could deplete the forest for their own benefit. The violence, corruption and poverty peaked in early 2011, and it was then that people decided to put it to an end. All over town a community watch was organized in the form of bonfires (fogatas) which started to pop up in a call for self determination, in defense of the forests and Mother Nature, against corrupt governments, political parties, drug lords, loggers and violence.
When we first arrived in Berlin, and were brainstorming about what our installation should look like, we started documenting what was on the streets. I was drawn to the construction and security barriers as emblematic Berlin street visuals, and started snapping pictures. All these barricades, fencing, and markers are red and white striped, throughout the city. Somehow this documentation spun out of control, and all I could see everywhere was red and white, red and white, red and white...