The Natural History Museum Grand Opening

THE NATURAL HISTORY MUSEUM--GRAND OPENING
September 13 - October 4 @ The Queens Museum

The Natural History Museum is a new museum that does exhibitions, expeditions, educational workshops and public programming, but includes the social and political forces that shape nature, yet are left out of traditional natural history museums.

The Natural History Museum borrows from the legitimating aesthetics, pedagogical models, and presentation forms of natural history museums in order to support a perspective on nature as a commons. From this perspective, it lifts up the work of socially engaged artists and climate activists so that their interconnections appear.

The museum is a new ongoing project initiated by arts collective Not An Alternative. Members of the collective perform as anthropologists in the museum and as museum anthropologists, interrogating the influences that affect both the atmospheric climate on Earth and the political climate within natural history museums.

Like many of the collective’s previous projects, this one will employ the strategy of mimicry—originally a scientific process among animal species, now powerfully deployed by activists to exert pressure on predatorial actors. In this case, they will mimic traditional natural history museums with an aim to politicize the aesthetics of the re-presentation of nature.

The Natural History Museum will have its grand opening at the Queens Museum September 13th - October 4th. It is timed to coincide with the People’s Climate March, an historic march through the streets of New York City, with an anticipated hundreds of thousands of people calling for climate justice.

To celebrate the launch, a series of panels, workshops, and performances with artists, activists, scientists, anthropologists, historians, and theorists will introduce the public to the historical and theoretical framework that informs The Natural History Museum’s programs. Presenters include authors Christian Parenti and Astra Taylor, scientist Michael Mann, artists Mark Dion and Liberate Tate, historians Fred Turner and Stuart Ewen, media/political theorist Jodi Dean, activists Eddie Bautista and Elizabeth Yeampierre, and others.

In tandem with the museum’s opening will be the launch of The Natural History Museum’s online museum, (to be found at http://thenaturalhistorymuseum.org), and The Natural History Museum’s mobile museum, a 15-passenger tour, expedition, and action bus.

http://thenaturalhistorymuseum.org
http://facebook.com/thenaturalhistorymuseum
http://twitter.com/The_NHM

ABOUT NOT AN ALTERNATIVE
Not An Alternative is a ten year-old Brooklyn-based arts collective and artist-run non-profit organization with a mission to affect popular understandings of events, symbols, and history. Through engaged critical research and design, the group curates and produces interventions on material and immaterial space, bringing together tools from architecture, theory, exhibition design, and political organizing.

All of these efforts are enacted with an eye toward social change and strategies for creative political intervention that involve creating participatory points of entry for arts audiences and everyday citizens alike—not through a typical head-on (or head-butt) approach, but through the co-optation of popular vernacular, semiotics, and memes.

Not An Alternative's creative actions, installations, and presentations have been featured within art institutions such as Guggenheim (NY), PS1/MOMA (NY), Tate Modern (London), Victoria & Albert Museum (London), and Museo Del Arte Moderno (Mexico City), and in the public sphere, where they collaborate with community groups and activist mobilizations.

Exhibition Program

Exhibition made possible thanks to the support of Voqal Foundation, A Blade of Grass Foundation, Chorus Foundation, Eyebeam, and the Queens Museum.

Curation: Not An Alternative
Exhibition Design: Not An Alternative
Design: Not An Alternative and The Public Society
Event Production: Paul Amitai

Note: all programs to take place in the Queens Museum unless otherwise indicated.

September 13: Opening Party (5pm-8pm)
5:00-6:00 Ribbon-cutting ceremony + cocktail reception
6:00-7:00 Presentation by Not An Alternative
7:00-8:00 Reception continues

September 14: Panel (3pm-5pm)

The Museum Divide: Beyond Institutional Critique
With Mark Dion, Gavin Grindon, and Steve Lyons
Institutional critique expresses and comes up against the limits of the institution. How are activist artists borrowing the vocabulary of the museum and in so doing extending the political potential already dividing the institution from within. We will consider projects such as Liberate Tate and Art Not Oil.

September 16: Press Conference & Performance (time tbd)

The Natural History Museum and Science Stands co-present a press conference and creative action with scientists calling out the attack on science. Location: outside of Hayden Planetarium on the steps of the American Museum of Natural History.

September 20: Panel (3pm-5pm)

Words from our Sponsors: The Genealogy of Patronage in Museums
With Dr. Alice Bell and Wayne Modest
Corporate sponsorship of museums and science education can compromise the basic idea of museums as reliable sources of common knowledge. By considering historical as well as contemporary examples of museum funding, we look at the power structures embedded in practices of collecting and display.

September 21: Climate March (11:30am-5pm)

People’s Climate March, NYC
Join The Natural History Museum at the largest climate march in history. It kicks off at 11:30am at Columbus Circle, and ends with music, food, art, and organizing in the streets at 11th Ave and 34th St.

September 27: Tours, Talks & Screenings (1pm-3pm)

Climate Change in an Urban Panorama
Juan Camilo Osorio of the NYC-Environmental Justice Alliance guides visitors through a tour of the Queen's Museum's famous Panorama of the City of New York. Models can be inspiring as they change the scale of people’s encounter with their environment. By looking at the vast architectural model of New York City from the perspective of climate justice, visitors see directly the challenges and opportunities faced by urban planning for a changing climate. The tour is followed by the projection on the panorama's back wall of photos and videos from Sandy Storyline, a participatory documentary project initiated by Housing is Human Right and the MIT Center for Civic Media.

What the Frack are You Drinking?
Matt Malina, Director of NY H20, uses the Watershed Model, a 540 square foot relief map built by the Department of Water Supply, Gas, and Electricity for the 1939 World’s Fair, to illustrate the potential impact of fracking of NYC’s water supply. Following the tour is an emergency short film detailing the public relations strategies and misinformation campaign perpetuated by the gas industry. “The Sky is Pink,” directed by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Josh Fox, looks at the gas industry’s flagrant disregard for the health and safety of the communities it ravages and the historic decision New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is poised to make.

September 27: Panel (3:30pm-5:30pm)

Climate Wars: Propaganda, Debate, and the Propaganda of Debate
With Stuart Ewen, Michael Mann, and James Hoggan
Shifting strategies--from denialism to obfuscation, advertising, and public relations--mislead the public. People become cynical and uncertain, mistrusting of any and all efforts to confront the changing climate. With science under attack, what is to be done? How might we break through the propaganda fog and into collective action?

September 28: Panel (3pm-5pm)

Seeing the Display: Environmentalism’s Ideological Habitat
With Peder Anker, Fred Turner, and Jodi Dean
This panel looks at the ways the structure of exhibitions, design and communication influences how we see what is natural in the autopoietic habitats of the contemporary.

October 2: Workshop (all day)

Anthropological Workshop and Guided Museum Tour
The Natural History Museum presents a day-long anthropological workshop for students from the Hemispheric Institute at New York University. Topics covered include institutional critique, interventionism, and the politics of display. Includes a guided tour of and exercises within the American Museum of Natural History.

October 3: Workshop (all day)

Anthropological Workshop and Guided Museum Tour
The Natural History Museum presents a day-long anthropological workshop for students from the Center for Artistic Activism at New York University. Topics covered include institutional critique, interventionism, and the politics of display. Includes a guided tour of and exercises within the American Museum of Natural History.

October 4: Closing Panels (1pm-3pm and 3:30pm-5:30pm)

Anthropocene, Capitalocene or Ecology For All
With Christian Parenti, Jason Moore, and Razmig Keucheyan
Edward Abbey compares capitalism with cancer: growth for the sake of growth. This panel considers the violent legacies of capitalism’s exploitation and appropriation of nature. It inquires into how views of natural systems as separate from human systems--political, social, and economic-- may be part of the problem we face in confronting climate change.

Counter-Power for Climate Justice
With Gopal Dayaneni, Eddie Bautista, and Elizabeth Yeampierre
To build a global climate movement, we have to address the asymmetries in the burden of responsibility and the burden of impact. This requires that we acknowledge the ways inequalities are deeply embedded in the systems that continue to produce and deny climate change, hindering our abilities to mobilize against it. In the wake of the People’s Climate March, climate justice activists are shifting the discourse and building a movement.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

PRESENTER BIOS

Peder Anker is a historian of environmental sciences, specializing in the history of ecology and ecological architecture and design. Anker is currently an associate professor at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study and the Environmental Studies Program at New York University. Anker has received research fellowships from the Fulbright Program, the Dibner Institute and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, and been a visiting scholar at both Columbia University and University of Oslo. He is the author of From Bauhaus to Eco-House: A History of Ecological Design (Louisiana State University Press 2010), which explores the intersection of architecture and ecological science, and Imperial Ecology: Environmental Order in the British Empire, 1895-1945 (Harvard University Press, 2001), which investigates how the promising new science of ecology flourished in the British Empire.

Eddie Bautista is the Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance (NYC-EJA), a network of community-based organizations advocating for the empowerment and just treatment of environmentally overburdened neighborhoods. Previously, Eddie served as Director of the NYC Mayor’s Office of City Legislative Affairs – where he spearheaded efforts to pass several landmark laws, including NYC’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan – and Director of Community Planning for NY Lawyers for the Public Interest, where he organized coalitions blocking the siting of polluting infrastructure in overburdened communities, while revising public waste and energy policies. An award winning urban planner and community organizer, Eddie has been interviewed by local and national media outlets. Several books feature Eddie’s work, including The Battle for Gotham: New York in the Shadow of Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs, by Roberta Brandes Gratz (2010); Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice, by Julie Sze (2006), and We Won’t Move: Community Planning in “The Real Estate Capital of the World” by Tom Angotti (2008). Eddie is also a Visiting Professor at Pratt Institute’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development.

Dr. Alice Bell is a freelance journalist and editor The Guardian's science section. She has written extensively about the links between industry and science education. Dr. Bell has worked in academia as a Lecturer in Science Communication at Imperial College. She has a background in the social studies of science and education, and a PhD in science communication (Imperial). Alice’s research interests largely surround children's science books, but she is also interested in public engagement with science policy and the impact of the web on the science media. She has worked widely in science communication, for groups or institutions such as the Science Museum, NESTA, the British Council, CoPUS, the BSA and the Wellcome Trust.

Gopal Dayaneni has been involved in fighting for social, economic, environmental and racial justice through organizing and campaigning, teaching, writing, speaking and direct action since the late 1980's. He currently serves on the Staff Collective of Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project, which brings a strategic understanding of ecological crisis and transition to racial and economic justice organizing. Gopal is an active trainer with and serves on the boards of The Ruckus Society and the Center for Story-based Strategy. He also serves on the advisory boards of The Working World and Catalyst Project. Gopal works at the intersection of ecology, economy and empire.
He has been a campaigner for Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition on human rights and environmental justice in the high-tech industry and the Oil Campaigner for Project Underground, a human rights and environmental rights organization which supported communities resisting oil and mining exploitation around the world. Gopal has been active in many people powered direct action movements, including the Global Justice /Anti-Globalization Movement, Direct Action to Stop the War, Mobilization for Climate Justice, Take Back the Land, and Occupy.

Jodi Dean teaches media and political theory and is the Donald R. Harter '39 Professor of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. She is currently a Fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University. She has written 7 books, including: Solidarity of Strangers (1996), Aliens in America (1998), Publicity's Secret (2002), Zizek's Politics (2006), Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (2009), Blog Theory: Feedback and Capture in the Circuits of Drive (2010), and The Communist Horizon (2013). She edited Feminism and the New Democracy (1997), Cultural Studies and Political Theory (2000), with Paul A. Passavant, Empire's New Clothes: Reading Hardt and Negri (2004), with Jon Anderson and Geert Lovink, Reformatting Politics: Information Technology and Global Civil Society (2006).

Mark Dion is known for making art out of fieldwork, incorporating elements of biology, archaeology, ethnography, and the history of science, and applying to his artwork methodologies generally used for pure science. His art uncovers the structures that govern the natural world, dissolving the boundary between nature and culture; in his view, ‘nature is one of the most sophisticated arenas for the production of ideology'. Traveling the world and collaborating with a wide range of scientists, artists, and museums, Dion has excavated ancient and modern artifacts from the banks of the Thames in London, established a marine life laboratory using specimens from New York’s Chinatown, and created a contemporary cabinet of curiosities exploring natural and philosophical hierarchies. Dion has a longstanding interest in exploring how ideas about natural history are visualized and how they circulate in society. Dion’s work has been presented at many U.S. and international museums and galleries.

Stuart Ewen is Distinguished Professor in the Department of Film & Media Studies at Hunter College, and in the Ph.D. Programs in History, Sociology and American Studies at The CUNY Graduate Center (City University of New York). He is generally considered one of the originators of the field of Media Studies, and his writings have continued to shape debates in the field. He is the author of a number of influential books, including PR! A Social History of Spin (1996) and All Consuming images: The Politics of Style in Contemporary Culture (1987; 1999). The latter provided the foundation for Bill Moyers’ 4-part, Peabody, Emmy, and National Education Association Awards winning PBS series, “The Public Mind.” PR! was a finalist for The Financial Times Global Business Book Award in 1997, and provided the basis for a 4-part BBC Television Series, “The Century of the Self.” Ewen’s other books include Captains of Consciousness: Advertising and the Social Roots of the Consumer Culture (1976) and Channels of Desire: Mass /images and the Shaping of American Consciousness (also with Elizabeth Ewen. 1982; 1992). In the spring of 2001, Basic Books published a twenty-fifth anniversary edition of Captains of Consciousness. His writings appear in French, Italian, Spanish, Finnish, German, Norwegian, Russian, Swedish, Korean and Japanese translation.

Gavin Grindon is a post doctoral researcher at Kingston University and a Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria and Albert Museum. His research is located within the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, with a particular focus on activist-art and its theoretical contexts. He is currently preparing a monograph on this topic, and has previously published in The Oxford Art Journal, Third Text, Art Monthly, Radical Philosophy and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Grindon is a co-curator of the exhibition Disobedient Objects at the Victoria and Albert Museum in 2014. He also organized the conferences The Politics of the Social in Contemporary Art at Tate Modern, 2013; Art…What's the Use at Whitechapel Gallery, 2011; and Revising /Revisiting the Avant-Garde at Kingston University, 2009.

Hans Haacke is a German-American conceptual artist whose controversial works expose the interconnectivity of culture, politics, corruption, and greed. Spanning a range of mediums and drawing upon a variety of contemporary art strategies, from Conceptualism to Land Art, Haacke’s muckraking work often throws back the curtain on the culture industry, probing the shady dealings of museum trustees or other officials who control what is promoted and displayed. As a result of his work, Haacke--who has said he intends his art to "convict" its subject--is regarded as a forefather of an artistic approach known as institutional critique. He has been awarded many prizes, which include the 1993 Golden Lion of the Biennale di Venezia.

Razmig Keucheyan is an assistant professor in sociology at the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He is the author of Le constructivisme. Des origines à nos jours and has recently edited a selection from Antonio Gramsci’s Prison Notebooks in French. He is a member of the editorial board of Contretemps, a critical journal founded by Daniel Bensaïd, and an editor of the "Essais" book series at les Prairies ordinaires. His forthcoming book is Nature is a Battlefield: Test of Political Ecology.

Liberate Tate is an art collective exploring the role of creative intervention in social change. The group aims to "free art from oil" with a primary focus on the art museum Tate ending its corporate sponsorship with BP. Liberate Tate has become internationally renowned for artworks about the relationship of public cultural institutions with oil companies.

Steve Lyons is an artist and researcher based in Montreal, where he is pursuing his PhD in Art History at Concordia University. His dissertation studies the history of alternative art spaces in New York, with a particular focus on the changing use of the term “alternative” since 1979. He has published articles in C Magazine and Border Crossings, and his artwork has been exhibited in Paris, Toronto, and Montreal.

Matt Malina is a NYC native and educator. Having grown up in NYC and studied engineering he was curious about its water system. He looked for some presentations about it but didn't find any so he read up on it and started offering his own. Matt is the creator of NYC H2O, a series of educational tours and lectures about the city’s drinking water system.

Michael Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Penn State University, with joint appointments in the Department of Geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute (EESI). He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC). Dr. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. Dr. Mann was a Lead Author on the Observed Climate Variability and Change chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report in 2001 and was organizing committee chair for the National Academy of Sciences Frontiers of Science in 2003. He has received a number of honors and awards including NOAA's outstanding publication award in 2002 and selection by Scientific American as one of the fifty leading visionaries in science and technology in 2002. He contributed, with other IPCC authors, to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the Hans Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union in 2012 and was awarded the National Conservation Achievement Award for science by the National Wildlife Federation in 2013. He made Bloomberg News' list of fifty most influential people in 2013. In 2014, he was named Highly Cited Researcher by the Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) and received the Friend of the Planet Award from the National Center for Science Education. He is a Fellow of both the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Mann is author of more than 170 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming in 2008 and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines in 2012. He is also a co-founder and avid contributor to the award-winning science website RealClimate.org.

Wayne Modest is the director of the Research Centre for Material Culture at the National Museum of Ethnography and the Head of the Curatorial Department at the Tropenmuseum in Amsterdam. Previously he was the Head of Anthropology at the Horniman Museum in London and Director of the Museums of History and Ethnography at the Institute of Jamaica. Recent publications include 'Slavery and the (Symbolic) Politics of Memory in Jamaica: Rethinking the Bicentenary' in Laurajane Smith et al. (ed) Representing Enslavement and Abolition in Museums: Ambiguous Engagements.

Jason W. Moore is assistant professor of sociology at Binghamton University, and coordinator of the World-Ecology Research Network. He writes frequently on the history of capitalism in Europe, Latin America, and the United States, from the long sixteenth century to the neoliberal era. His research has been recognized with the Braverman Award of the Society for the Study of Social Problems (1999); the Bernstein and Byres Prize in Agrarian Studies (2011); the Distinguished Scholarship Award of the American Sociological Association’s Political Economy of the World-System Section (2002, and 2011 honorable mention); and the Alice Hamilton Prize of the American Society for Environmental History (2004). He is presently completing Ecology and the rise of capitalism, an environmental history of the rise of capitalism, for the University of California Press.

Juan Camilo Osorio is the NYC-Environmental Justice Alliance's Director of Research. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Pratt Institute’s Graduate Programs for Sustainable Planning and Development (PSPD), introducing graduate students to qualitative and quantitative urban planning research. Before joining NYC-EJA, he was a Senior Planner and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst at The Municipal Art Society Planning Center, where he used spatial information to support research and advocacy on community-based planning, urban design and historic preservation. Before moving to New York, he worked with the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center, a non-profit agency based in Holyoke, Massachusetts, using GIS to study systematic and procedural impediments to fair housing in the central and western regions of that State. He received a master’s degree in regional planning from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a professional degree in architecture from the National University of Colombia, Bogotá.

Christian Parenti has a PhD in sociology (co-supervised in geography) from the London School of Economics and is a Professor in Sustainable Development at The School for International Training Graduate Institute. His latest book, Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence (2011), explores how climate change is already causing violence as it interacts with the legacies of economic neoliberalism and cold-war militarism. The book involved several years of travel and research in conflict zones of the Global South. Parenti has also reported from Afghanistan, Iraq, Venezuela,Bolivia, Ivory Coast and China.

Astra Taylor is a writer, documentary filmmaker, and activist. Her films include Zizek!, a feature documentary about the world’s most outrageous philosopher, and Examined Life, a series of excursions with contemporary thinkers including Slavoj Zizek, Judith Butler, Cornel West, Peter Singer and others. Both movies premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Taylor’s writing has appeared in The Nation, the London Review of Books, n+1, The Baffler, and other publications. She is the editor of Examined Life, a companion volume to the film, and coeditor of Occupy!: Scenes from Occupied America. She also helped launch the Occupy offshoot Strike Debt and its Rolling Jubilee campaign. Most recently she is the author of the book The People’s Platform: Taking Back Power and Culture in the Digital Age.

Fred Turner is an Associate Professor at Stanford University in the Department of Communication and the author of The Democratic Surround: Multimedia and American Liberalism from World War II to the Psychedelic Sixties (2013),From Counterculture to Cyberculture: Stewart Brand, the Whole Earth Network and the Rise of Digital Utopianism (2006), and Echoes of Combat: Trauma, Memory, and the Vietnam War (Echoes of Combat: The Vietnam War in American Memory in 1996; revised 2nd ed. with new title 2001). Before joining Stanford, Turner taught Communication at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He earned a B.A. in English and American Literature from Brown University an M.A. in English from Columbia University, and a Ph.D.(2002) in Communication from the University of California, San Diego. Before joining academia, Turner worked as a journalist for over ten years writing for the Boston Phoenix and Boston Sunday Globe, among others.

Elizabeth Yeampierre, a Puerto Rican civil rights attorney of African and Indigenous ancestry born and raised in New York City is Executive Director of UPROSE, Brooklyn’s oldest Latino community based organization. Her vision for an inter-generational, multi-cultural and community led organization is the driving force behind UPROSE; she is a long-time advocate and trailblazer for community organizing around sustainable just development in Sunset Park and holds a law degree from Northeastern University along with a Certificate of Non-Profit Management from Columbia University. Elizabeth is part of the New York City environmental justice leadership responsible for getting NY State’s first Brownfield legislation, Article X power plant legislation and NYC’s Solid Waste Management Plan passed. In Sunset Park, Brooklyn she facilitated an aggressive urban forestry initiative, helped double the amount of open space and developed a project that resulted in the retro-fitting and re-powering of 12 diesel trucks for a local business. She successfully organized a community coalition that defeated a 520 mega-watt power plant application. Elizabeth created a community participatory model that resulted in a community led greenway design for the waterfront. $8.4 million dollars have been allocated for the greenway and park and $36 million dollars in Brownfield remediation funds for the waterfront park. (the largest brownfield grant in New York State History) Elizabeth secured $1,000,000 for emission reduction projects that have been distributed throughout the community. Three years ago she initiated a climate adaption /community resilience effort to address local climate justice concerns for the waterfront community she lives and works in. Elizabeth serves on Mayor Bloomberg’s Sustainability and Long Term Planning Advisory Board, and served as a Commissioner on the historic NYS Traffic Congestion Mitigation Commission. Elizabeth is the first Latina chair of the US EPA National Environmental Justice Advisory Council where she initiated the inclusion of a youth forum dedicated to developing youth leadership dedicated to environmental justice.

People's Climate Sporatorium @ Brooklyn Museum


Image credit: event photo graphic uses art by Swoon.

Calling all makers and re-makers, thinkers and rethinkers, composers and decomposers!

Please join us at The Brooklyn Museum this July 31st for the next People's Climate Sporatorium*: a monthly space for artists, curators, cultural producers, technologists, performers, and activists to network, incubate and present works-in-progress in support of the world's largest climate march and mobilization this September. Learn more at http://peoplesclimatemarch.org/

People's Climate Sporatorium*
Thursday, July 31
6:30-9:30pm
@ Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Pkwy
Trains: 2, 3, 4, 5, S
RSVP on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/399987470139353

This month we present the Sporatorium* in two acts:

ACT I: A Collective Journey in a Submerged Unconscious: A Ritual of Alignment with Swoon and Friends
(6:30-7:30pm)

We begin with a special tour and presentation by the artist Swoon. Her monumental site-specific installation, "Submerged Motherlands", on display at the museum currently, engages with climate change as a response to the catastrophic Hurricane Sandy that struck the Atlantic Coast in 2012, and Doggerland, a landmass that once connected Great Britain and Europe and was destroyed by a tsunami 8,000 years ago. These places and events separated by thousands of years and miles form a salient image to draw upon and to explore the numerous and complex results of climate change.

Instructions: Please meet on the steps of the Brooklyn museum at 6:30pm sharp, and look for the oracle. They will show you where to go. This will be a story-journey through the dry waters of the world that will flow on into an alignment of ideas. This ritual will prepare us to cultivate our own capacity to overthrow the narrative that has captured the world. Strongly recommended for all dissidents.

* * * *
ACT II: Plotting, Scheming and Dreaming in the Anthropocene
(7:30-9:30pm)

In this act we continue to form the foundation for a consortium of cultural practitioners engaging anthropogenic climate change and its consequences. From artistic interventions, performances, installations, creative actions, data visualizations, design, and community-based practice, we expand the discourse on the geologic turn to include aesthetic, curatorial, and artistic strategies for confronting, criticizing, and creating.

With the historic People's Climate March fast approaching, climate concerned creatives have been developing projects large and small. From exhibitions to sea-faring flotillas, critical journals to wheat-pasted agit-pop, stroller brigades to beekeeper blocks, come hear from Sporatorium Artists-In-Residence and other participants to learn what's in the works and how you might plug in. Or let us know what you're up to. Or what you'd like to be up to. We'll have time for presentations and for small group break-outs to allow for networking and planning.

Job: Exhibition Events Producer + Volunteer Opps

Hey friends,

Not An Alternative is looking for someone ASAP for a 6-8 week gig to help bottom line logistics and events production for an upcoming exhibition at the Queens Museum this September. The ideal candidate is a kick-ass events producer, on top of logistics, good with managing budgets, possessing strong organizing and communications skills via email and phone. Must be very organized, have fire in the belly, and be comfortable working under pressure. Experience working with museums a plus. Experience anchoring conference logistics a plus. Must be NY-based. Any suggestions or interest please email info@notanalternative.net.

About the exhibition: we're launching a new multi-year project called The Natural History Museum. We do everything natural history museums do--exhibitions, expeditions, educational workshops, public programming--but we include the social and political forces that shape nature, yet are left out of natural history museums.

The Queens Museum show is the curtain-raiser for the project: the exhibition programming--with artists, organizers, historians, media theorists, anthropologists, and scientists--will introduce the theoretical and historical framework. We'll also have workshops, performances, screenings, and creative actions in the context of the historic People's Climate March/ mobilization this September.

Besides this event producer / logistics coordinator role, there's lots of opportunities for volunteers to plug in over the next several months. If you're interested in creative interventions, graphic and architectural design, offline actions, physical production / making stuff, photography, videography, etc. etc...be in touch?! info@notanalternative.net

End The McHunger Games

End The McHunger Games from Not An Alternative on Vimeo.

The Hunger Games are REAL. They are a reality for 3 million New Yorkers exchanging hard work for low wages. Global chains like McDonalds and Walmart make record profits while their workers barely get by on public assistance.

It’s time to end the McHunger Games. We're banding together to change the rules of the game. And we won’t stop until the odds are in EVERYONE'S favor.

Join the resistance.

nyworkersrising.org

Radical Naming Strategies in Art and Politics

Please join us for an evening with Slovenian artist Janez Janša and media theorist Marco Deseriis on the subversion of the proper name in art and politics.  

Thursday, March 13, 7 PM
@ Not An Alternative
67 West Street, #304
Brooklyn, NY 11222

In 2007, three artists joined the conservative Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS) and legally changed their names into the name of the party leader, the Prime Minister of Slovenia at the time, Janez Janša. Was this an act of support for the leader or a subtle attack on his brand? Whenever asked for the reasons for the name change, the artists simply answered that they did it "for personal reasons." Since the change of their legal status, the boundaries between their lives and their art has blurred in numerous unforeseen ways.
 
Janša's presentation will include excerpts from My Name Is Janez Janša (Slovenia, 2012), a film that is a journey through different stages and aspects of the name changing and its consequences--including public, relational and intimate ones. Drawing from history, popular culture, and personal experiences, the movie takes the Janša experience as a departure point for a wider reflection on how the legal name may coincide with (or differ from) notions of personal identity in a Western society.

Following Janša’s presentation, Northeastern University professor Marco Deseriis will present a brief genealogy and theory of the improper name, which he defines as the adoption of the same pseudonym by organized collectives, affinity groups, and individual authors. Linking the pseudonyms shared by nineteenth-century English textile workers (Ned Ludd), Hollywood film directors (Alan Smithee), North American and European mail artists (Monty Cantsin and Karen Eliot), European anti-copyright activists (Luther Blissett), and the global “hacktivist” network Anonymous, Deseriis argues that improper names are assemblages of enunciation that are neither collective nor individual, but rather “condividual” or “transindividual.” In thinking the subject as an unfinished project, the theory of the improper also calls for a new theory of media.
 
* * * * * * * *
  
Janez Janša is a conceptual artist, performer and producer. He is co-founder and artistic director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana.
www.aksioma.org
 
Marco Deseriis is an Assistant Professor in the Program in Media and Screen Studies at Northeastern University. His manuscript Improper Names: Collective Pseudonyms from the Luddites to Anonymous is currently under contract at the University of Minnesota Press.
 
Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša
http://www.janezjansa.si
 
My Name is Janez Janša
www.mynameisjanezjansa.com
  
Marco Deseriis
http://neu.academia.edu/MarcoDeseriis

Summer Update 2013

Hi friends, it’s been a long time since we’ve been in touch with y'all with an update. As you may know in the Fall of 2011 we were “rentrified” out of our Williamsburg storefront, and thanks to the support of you and others in our extended family we relocated to Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

Since then, we’ve been busier than we've ever been in our 9 year history. Here's a sampling from the last 2 years:

* We dialed back public programming and event curation for a spell, and ramped up our work as an arts collective and production company, producing visual communications anonymously in support of the Occupy movement and other mobilizations. Some of that work can be seen here, and here, and even here.

* We’ve written some articles about the politics of representation in social movements, and the idea of organizing around a “name in common”.

* We’ve expanded our team. We birthed a new comrade and collaborator, just 20 inches tall and a real pistol. Occupy Baby (aka Mila Amie Economopoulos Jones) came into this world like a true direct actionista, as evidenced by the lights, sirens and media cameras...this child has a bigger google footprint than most folks we know. We also welcomed new collaborators Jodi Dean, Anjali Cadambi, Lucky Tran, Jonathan King, and Victoria Sobel, as well as interns Mon Ellis and Josh Yoder. Learn more about our team here.

*We’re incubating new projects. We’re excited to be working with Occupy Homes Minnesota and Occupy Homes Atlanta on their anti-foreclosure and eviction defense efforts, and in 2014 we’ll launch the biggest project we’ve worked on to date, relating to climate change and natural history museums.

Amidst all that, we’ve been missing you. And so we’re thrilled to start hosting public events again. As always, our programming lies at the intersection of art, activism, and theory, bringing together filmmakers, artists, activists, and academics, with an aim toward putting theory into practice.

We hope you can join us for our inaugural event in the new(ish) space on Thursday, August 29 at 7pm. Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh from the Global Uprisings team will screen their latest film about Occupy Gezi Park and the Taksim Commune. Event deets on Facebook here.

Taksim Commune: Gezi Park and the Uprising in Turkey

Film Screening and Discussion
Thursday, August 29th @ 7:00 PM
@ No Space, 67 West St, #304

Join us for a night of film and discussion with Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh from the Global Uprisings team. They will screen their latest film about Occupy Gezi Park, the Taksim Commune, and the ongoing uprising in Turkey.

About the Film
In the latest documentary in their Global Uprisings series, Brandon Jourdan and Marianne Maeckelbergh tell the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, its violent eviction, and the mass uprising it sparked.

Since the end of May 2013, political unrest has swept across Turkey. In Istanbul, a large part of the central Beyoğlu district became a battle zone for three consecutive weeks with conflicts continuing afterward. So far five people have died and thousands have been injured.

The protests were initially aimed at rescuing Istanbul’s Gezi Park from being demolished as part of a large scale urban renewal project. The police used extreme force during a series of police attacks that began on May 28th 2013 and which came to a dramatic head in the early morning hours of Friday May 31st when police attacked protesters sleeping in the park.

Over the course of a few days, the police attacks grew to shocking proportions. As the images of the heavy-handed policing spread across the world, the protests quickly transformed into a popular uprising against the Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and his style of authoritarian rule.

This short documentary tells the story of the occupation of Gezi Park, the eviction on July 15, 2013, and the protests that have continued in the aftermath. It includes interviews with many participants and never before seen footage.

About Global Uprisings

Fall Internship: POSITION FILLED

PLEASE NOTE: This position has now been filled. We are no longer reviewing applications.

Not An Alternative (NAA) is seeking a Fall intern to assist with our current and upcoming writing projects. The ideal candidate has strong writing chops and a background in art, media/culture, or political theory (or a bit of all the above). The ability to comprehend theory and translate it for a lay audience is important.

You will work closely with NAA resident theorist and author Jodi Dean, as well as other NAA team members, on the following: packaging case studies for a new website for the organization; writing rapid response articles for publication responding to key political moments; drafting video animation scripts; and researching and writing grant applications for Fall fundraising season.

We’re looking for candidates who are detail-oriented, organized, and motivated. Solid communications skills and an interest in Not An Alternative’s mission are a must.

Compensation: positions are PAID, and academic credit may be possible depending on the institution.
Location: Brooklyn, NY (Greenpoint)
Hours and Duration: Quarterly 2013; 25-30 hours per week
Application Deadline: Rolling until filled. We would love to begin the internship as soon as possible so that there is overlap with our summer team. Applicants are STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY BY AUGUST 9TH.

TO APPLY: Please send cover letter, CV, a minimum of 2 writing samples, and contact information for two references to info@notanalternative.net. Please use the subject line “WRITING INTERN Application FALL 2013”

VOLUNTEERING
Volunteer opportunities are available for a number of Not An Alternative projects. Volunteers can assist with art production, design, research, social media outreach, and more. Interested applicants should send an email to info@notanalternative.net with "VOLUNTEER" in the subject line. Applicants will be contacted as opportunities arise.

ABOUT NOT AN ALTERNATIVE
Not An Alternative is a hybrid arts collective and non-profit organization with a mission to affect popular understandings of events, symbols, and history. The group curates and produces interventions on immaterial and material space, leveraging the tools of architecture, exhibit design, branding, and public relations.

Not An Alternative's actions, installations, and presentations have been featured within art institutions around the world, and in the public sphere, where they collaborate with community organizations and activist mobilizations. They host programs at a variety of venues, including their Brooklyn-based gallery No-Space (formerly known as The Change You Want to See Gallery).

ABOUT WRITING INTERNSHIP SUPERVISOR JODI DEAN
Jodi Dean is a political and media theorist who has been a core collaborator with Not an Alternative since 2010. She has given invited lectures in galleries, universities, and public fora around the world. Her most recent book is The Communist Horizon (Verso 2012). Previous titles include Blog Theory (Polity 2010), Democracy and Other Neoliberal Fantasies (Duke 2009), Zizek's Politics (Routledge 2006), Publicity's Secret (Cornell 2002), Aliens in America (Cornell 1998) and Solidarity of Strangers (California 1996).

Syndicate content