Words from Our Sponsors: The Genealogy of Patronage in Museums

What happens when BP, Shell Oil, and the Koch Brothers fund museums of science and natural history? Or when market pressures influence operational and curatorial decisions?

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 ways in which power structures and marketing logic are embedded in practices of collecting and display.

With Dr. Alice Bell and Stephen Duncombe, and a recorded video address on museums and climate change by Robert R. Janes, editor in chief of Museums Management & Curation, and author of "Museums and the Paradox of Change" and "Museums in a Troubled World: Renewal, Irrelevance or Collapse?"

Saturday, September 20th, 3-5pm
@ Queens Museum
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY 11368

RSVP on Facebook

Museums are sources and resources of common knowledge. They function by integrating four distinct operations: collecting, display, self-understanding, and funding. This panel “looks behind the curtain” of the museum, interrogating both the museum’s operations and the interconnections between its operations.

How might funding sources support or undermine the museum’s own self-understanding? How might the museum’s self-understanding come to change or adapt to funding pressures? And how might the museum’s displays work back on its collections, its regime of visibility cutting across and complicating the projects of legitimation the museum ostensibly furthers?

Concerned with the communication of knowledge, journalist and educator Alice Bell interrogates intersections of science, industry, and culture. She draws out the ways corporate funding, particularly from the fossil fuel industry, not only betrays the public trust but undermines scientific education -- and that a time when STEM fields are at the educational forefront.

BIOS
Dr. Alice Bell is a freelance journalist, specializing in the politics of science and technology. She writes about innovation for How We Get to Next and climate change for the Road to Paris. She's a science policy blogger for the Guardian and columnist for Popular Science UK, and is working on a short history of the radical science movement for the Wellcome Trust's Mosaic magazine. She previously worked as an academic, lecturing in science communication at Imperial College, where she also set up an interdisciplinary course on climate change, and acting as Head of Public Engagement at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. Before that, she worked extensively in science education, including at the London Science Museum, and completed a PhD on children's science media.

Robert R. Janes is Editor in Chief of Museum Management and Curatorship. He has worked in and around museums for the past 35 years as a director, consultant, author, editor, archaeologist, board member, teacher and volunteer. He is the past President and CEO of the Glenbow Museum, Art Gallery, Library and Archives in Calgary, Alberta, and was the founding Director of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre and founding Executive Director of the Science Institute of the Northwest Territories. Robert is the author of "Museums and the Paradox of Change", and "Museums in a Troubled World: Renewal, Irrelevance or Collapse?". He has a PhD in Archaeology and he teaches at the University of Calgary.

Stephen Duncombe is an Associate Professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University where he teaches the history and politics of media. He is the author or editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. He is the creator of the Open Utopia, an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, and writes on the intersection of culture and politics for a range of scholarly and popular publications. Duncombe is a life-long political activist, co-founding a community based advocacy group in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and working as an organizer for the NYC chapter of the international direct action group, Reclaim the Streets. In 2009 he was a Research Associate at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City where he helped organize The College of Tactical Culture. He co-created the School for Creative Activism in 2011, and is presently co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism. Duncombe is currently working on a book on the art of propaganda during the New Deal.

The Museum Divide: Beyond Institutional Critique

With Hans Haacke, Mark Dion, and Gavin Grindon
Moderated by Steve Lyons

Institutional critique expresses and comes up against the limits of the institution. When the practice first came to the fore, artists were responding to the institution as a repressive and bureaucratic body. The institution denoted an exclusive, hierarchic, and unaccountable site marked by seemingly intractable power relations. At the same time, its critique indicated that the institution was worth fighting for as a site that both represented and supplied basic societal infrastructure.

More recently, market pressures on a wide array of social and cultural institutions have intensified. Instead of operating through mechanisms of centralized control, contemporary power relations are fragmented, decentered, networked, and privatized. Institutions are crumbling, losing power and resources. This disintegration of collective infrastructure reveals that no institution was ever as unified or total as some of its critics implied, relying instead on fluid and uneasy combinations of ideals, limits, and possibilities.

The panel looks at ways artists and activists borrow the vocabulary of the museum and in so doing extend the political potential already dividing the institution from within. Such artistic practices of political extension may be invited or uninvited, done in collusion with curators or to their chagrin. As they raise the question of who speaks on behalf of the institution, they activate a split, suggesting ways to work within as well as against—affirming the value of the institution as a resource for the production of culture, collectivity and social solidarity.

September 14, 3-5pm
@ Queens Museum
Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Queens, NY 11368

Don't miss the Grand Opening the night before! Reception and Ribbon Cutting, September 13, 5-8pm.

RSVP for the Opening Reception
RSVP for the Museum Divide panel

ABOUT THE PANEL SPEAKERS

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.

Gavin Grindon is Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and lecturer in contemporary art and curating at Essex University. He co-curated the exhibition Disobedient Objects (V&A, 2014-15), and 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. Gavin is currently writing a history of activist-art. He co-authored A User's Guide to Demanding the Impossible, first distributed in 2010 in occupied art schools across London during protests against cuts and fee rises. He has published in Art History, the Oxford Art Journal, Third Text, Radical Philosophy and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

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.

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.

The Natural History Museum Grand Opening

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

Opening Reception & Ribbon-Cutting, September 13, 5pm - 8pm. RSVP here.

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 Hans Haacke, 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
Costume styling: Christine Myers

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 Hans Haacke, Mark Dion, and Gavin Grindon. Moderated by 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 20: Panel (3pm-5pm)

Words from our Sponsors: The Genealogy of Patronage in Museums
With Dr. Alice Bell and Wayne Modes. Moderated by Stephen Duncombe.
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?
Wes Gillingham, Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, 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. Moderated by Jodi Dean.
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. Moderated by Astra Taylor.
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 1: 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.

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. Moderated by Lize Featherstone.
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.

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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, specializing in the politics of science and technology. She writes about innovation for How We Get to Next and climate change for the Road to Paris. She's a science policy blogger for the Guardian and columnist for Popular Science UK, and is working on a short history of the radical science movement for the Wellcome Trust's Mosaic magazine. She previously worked as an academic, lecturing in science communication at Imperial College, where she also set up an interdisciplinary course on climate change, and acting as Head of Public Engagement at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex. Before that, she worked extensively in science education, including at the London Science Museum, and completed a PhD on children's science media.

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.

Stephen Duncombe is an Associate Professor at the Gallatin School and the Department of Media, Culture and Communications of New York University where he teaches the history and politics of media. He is the author or editor of six books, including Dream: Re-Imagining Progressive Politics in an Age of Fantasy. He is the creator of the Open Utopia, an open-access, open-source, web-based edition of Thomas More’s Utopia, and writes on the intersection of culture and politics for a range of scholarly and popular publications. Duncombe is a life-long political activist, co-founding a community based advocacy group in the Lower East Side of Manhattan and working as an organizer for the NYC chapter of the international direct action group, Reclaim the Streets. In 2009 he was a Research Associate at the Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology in New York City where he helped organize The College of Tactical Culture. He co-created the School for Creative Activism in 2011, and is presently co-director of the Center for Artistic Activism. Duncombe is currently working on a book on the art of propaganda during the New Deal.

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.

Liza Featherstone is a journalist based in New York City. Her work on student and youth activism has been published in The Nation, Lingua Franca, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, Left Business Observer, Dissent, The Sydney Morning Herald and Columbia Journalism Review. Featherstone has also written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Newsday, In These Times, Ms., Salon, Nerve, US, Nylon and Rolling Stone. She is the co-author of Students Against Sweatshops: The Making of a Movement (Verso, 2002) and author of Selling Women Short: The Landmark Battle for Worker's Rights at Wal-Mart (Basic, 2004).

Wes Gillingham is a co-founder and the Program Director of Catskill Mountainkeeper, an environmental advocacy organization dedicated to protecting the Catskill Region in New York State. Wes serves on the New York Sate Forest Preserve Advisory Committee providing advice and guidance to the State Department of Environmental Conservation, which manages the 3.4 million acres of the State Forest Preserve. He is on the board of Directors for the Sullivan County Farm Bureau and the legislative policy committee for The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York (NOFA-NY). From 1997 to 2007 Wes with his wife Amy ran a 150 member Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) vegetable operation in Youngsville, NY and during that time he also served on the Board of Directors of NOFA-NY. Prior to farming Wes was an Acting Director of Field Programs for the National Audubon Society Expedition Institute (AEI), a fully accredited, traveling undergraduate and graduate environmental studies program at Lesley University. Wes spent ten years working as a Park Ranger for the National Park Service at the Upper Delaware Scenic and Recreational River where he lead the canoe training for incoming Park Rangers, lead interpretive history and natural history programs, and did canoe patrols along the river. For two years he was a wildlife technician for the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s 3 offices in New Paltz, NY.

Gavin Grindon is Visiting Research Fellow at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and lecturer in contemporary art and curating at Essex University. He co-curated the exhibition Disobedient Objects (V&A, 2014-15), and 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. Gavin is currently writing a history of activist-art. He co-authored A User's Guide to Demanding the Impossible, first distributed in 2010 in occupied art schools across London during protests against cuts and fee rises. He has published in Art History, the Oxford Art Journal, Third Text, Radical Philosophy and the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest.

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.

Jim Hoggan is the co-founder of Stonehouse Standing Circle, an innovative public-engagement and communications think-tank and the influential website DeSmogBlog, chosen as one of Time Magazine’s Best Blogs for 2011 for its work exposing corporate misinformation campaigns. He also serves as a trustee of the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education and is the former chair of Climate Project Canada – the Canadian chapter of Al Gore’s global education and advocacy organization. Jim is the author of three books, Do the Right Thing: PR Tips for Skeptical Public (2009), Climate Cover-Up: The Crusade to Deny Global Warming (2009) and Polluted Public Square (Fall 2013). Jim speaks, writes, and presents widely on public attitudes towards sustainability, climate change, and the environment.

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.

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

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