Video documentation from Occupy Their Desire, a research discussion in conjunction with the exhibition Our Haus at the Austrian Cultural Forum with art/activism collective Not An Alternative, political theorist Jodi Dean, and Occupy Wall Street organizer Matthew Smucker.
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This Saturday, May 12 we're hosting props production hours from 2pm - 6pm at Exit Art. We've built our production studio inside the gallery, and will be making sleeping bag socks for sidewalk occupations. They are waterproof and breathable "socks" that slide over sleeping bags, with stenciled lettering that says Occupy Wall Street and We Are the 99%. The aim is to make our sleeping occupations more legible as collective protest. Please feel free to come join, get your hands dirty, make stuff!
Earlier in the day from 12-2pm there will be a couple of presentations pertaining to anonymous interventions on public/private space, one with artist John Hawke and the other with Daniel Latorre from Occupy Town Square.
John Hawke’s work began in on-site landscape painting practice. The performative nature of the artist in public space and the insufficiency of an optical approach in representing the landscape led to a practice that instead sees landscape as a snarled network of vectors of interest with the artist having an special capability in rupturing existing spatial conditions.
Using the principle of productive confusion developed through the collaborative platform Orange Work, for the past seven years he has made architecture and sign interventions into urban environments as well as maintaining a studio practice in painting attempting to create pictorial metaphors for the restriction and partition of public spaces.
Hawke studied classics in college, and went to Pratt for graduate school in 2002, writing his art history Master’s thesis on Robert Smithson’s anti-environmentalism. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2006, and is currently a resident in the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: Art and Law Residency Program. His work has been widely exhibited, presented and reviewed.
Self Organizing in The Commons
with Occupy Town Square collaborator Daniel Latorre
In the U.S. public space, the commons, has been increasingly encapsulated by entities and ideas of privatization. At the same time social movements have become highly networked and decentralized. How does an autonomous network of protest visually represent worthiness, unity, numbers, and its claims in public space? How does public space work as a platform to shape and ground the performance of new modes of association? What are the social and symbolic challenges in activist event management in public space?
Since the eviction from Liberty Park, Occupy Town Square formed and began organizing an iterative series of pop-up events in public spaces with an aim to make its strategy and tactics replicable. Daniel Latorre, an Occupy Town Square collaborator and public space advocate, will talk about the process and experiences to date and suggest visions of where collaboration can go in this context.
Not An Alternative is pleased to participate in Collective/Performative, the final exhibition of Exit Art’s influential 30 years as a non-profit gallery and cultural center. Please join us May 8th -12th for Occupied Real Estate, an installation and series of workshops.
Occupied Real Estate
Tuesday May 8 - Saturday May 12
@ Exit Art
475 10th Avenue
New York, New York
* Installation: 10am - 6pm daily
* Workshops: 2pm - 6pm daily
Production hours with Occupied Real Estate agents
* Presentations: 12pm - 2pm Saturday
With artist John Hawke and Occupy Town Square organizer Daniel Latorre
OCCUPIED REAL ESTATE
The contemporary city is contested: the boundaries of public and private are blurred; the interests of the 99% and 1% in conflict. The battleground of contestation takes place in the streets, in the media and in public consciousness. As Occupiers capture imaginations and attention around the world, they enter the battleground in a forceful way, destabilizing ideas about ownership and use of space. This new class of ‘real estate agents’ comes equipped with the tools of their trade: those of media production and material construction. From foreclosed homes to public/private parks, to warehoused buildings and bank-owned lots, the movement reveals invisible spaces, exposing exclusions and power relations. Through anonymous acts, interventions and appropriations, they activate these spaces, building a new world in the shell of the old.
The Occupied Real Estate workshop is an architectural set that puts the production of this world on display. It is both a workshop and a studio set. Agents converge at assembly-line workstations to manufacture tools for the movement and document their practice along the way. In turning the lens on themselves, they perform a material function with an awareness of its immaterial implications.
Not An Alternative joins Jodi Dean, Marco Deseriis, and Jack Bratich as presenters in the Opening Panel at the Critical Themes in Media Studies 2012 conference at The New School.
Occupy the Media or Occupy as Medium?
This panel asks the simple question of whether the variety of media invented and adopted by Occupy Wall Street should be seen as extensions of the movement or whether the movement can be seen as a medium in its own right. It does so by approaching this problem from three different perspectives: Occupy as a meme, meme-generator, operation, and platform; Occupy as a collective practice through which bodies affect and amplify each other by acting together; and Occupy as a movement that concerns the struggle for symbolic power and against symbolic domination in the urban space.
Occupy as Meme: Socially Mediated Spectatorship, Jokes, and Affective Contagion
Presenter: Jack Z. Bratich
This presentation examines Occupy Wall Street as meme, meme-generator, operation and platform. From the initial call by Adbusters to Pepper Spray Cop to the press roundup of 2011’s top examples, OWS has been infused with meme-making. I explore OWS as itself a meme around a number of dimensions: Paolo Virno’s analysis of jokes as public action via repetition and difference; Michel Foucault’s assessment of Kant’s notion of revolutionary “enthusiasm” by spectators (now merged with participants); and the move from online to offline action via what Anna Gibbs calls “affective contagion.” Ultimately, I argue that OWS has mutated from meme to something like a platform or image-board (like 4chan) as well as to one recent result from platforms: an Operation and its collective actor (e.g. Anonymous).
Re-blogged post originally found at Occupy Everything: http://occupyeverything.org/2012/occupation-as-political-form
Note: Jodi Dean presented the following text as a keynote lecture for the 2012 iteration of Transmediale, an annual new media festival in Berlin. The theme of the 2012 festival was “In/compatibility…the condition that arises when things do not work together.” The section of the festival at which the author presented was titled “Incompatible Publics.” 1 The discussion that followed Dean’s lecture was moderated by Krystian Woznicki2 —the text of the discussion is included below. –MW
I’m going to talk today about Occupy Wall Street in light of our theme of incompatible publics. I claim that the occupation is best understood as a political form of the incompatibility between capitalism and the people. To call it a political form is to say that it is configured within a particular social-historical setting. To call it a political form of the incompatibility between capitalism and the people is to say that it has a fundamental content and that this content consists in the failure of capitalism to provide an economic system adequate to the capacities, needs, demands, and general will of the people. More bluntly put, to think about the Occupy movement in light of the idea of incompatible publics is to locate the truth of the movement in class struggle (and thus reject interpretations of the movement that highlight multiplicity, democracy, and anarchism—autonomism). So that’s what I hope to convince you of today.
On March 27-31 Not An Alternative took part in Como Acabar Con El Mal (How to End Evil): 5 Days of Art and Activism in Barcelona, Spain.
After the Arab spring and the summer of mobilizations, after the autumn of Occupy, and a winter full of austerity cuts; after all this: these workshops and gathering will up-skill participants with a toolbox for how to combat crisis with creativity.
This gathering is for students, professors, the employees, the evicted, and the unemployed. For all who are having trouble making ends meet. For those who are tired of so many social cuts, and for all those who suffer every day a dysfunctional system and refuse to give up. This gathering is for the 99%, the people who make the world work, for the fans of Monty Python, and the fans of the Simpsons. And for you – reading this right now, having come this far. If you are looking for new forms of social intervention, new ways of protesting, if you need creative tools for direct action in the street or online don’t miss this. You belong here.
Originally published on the online journal and newspaper publication put out by Chto Delat.
Written by Jason Jones and Jodi Dean of Not An Alternative
September 2011 shattered the ideology of an invincible Wall Street much as September 2001 shattered the illusion of an invulnerable United States. All of a sudden and seemingly out of the blue, people outraged by the fact that “banks got bailed out” and “we got sold out” installed themselves in the financial heart of New York City. Occupying the symbol of capitalist class power, they ruptured it. The ostensible controllers of the global capitalist system, still reeling from the crash of 2008, appeared to have lost control over their own cement neighborhood. Hippies with tents and cops with barricades had turned lower Manhattan into a chaotic mess. Those seeking to combine the people’s work, debts, hopes, and futures into speculative instruments for private profit confronted a visible and actual collective counterforce. There in the power of the people where investment banks and hedge funds had already identified an enormous social surplus, a cadre of the newly active located an inexhaustible political potential. It was like a giant hole had been opened up in the steel and glass citadel of the financial class. Through it, traders, brokers, and market-makers—as well as everybody else, even the whole world—could see the possibility of something new, something more, a world without capitalism, a world where people dance, talk, live, and create in common. Wall Street was occupied—and this occupation was producing a new form of political representation.
What Is Foreclosed? Housing, Suburbanization, and Crisis: A Forum
Saturday, February 18 2012, Rotunda, Low Memorial Library
Columbia University in the City of New York
10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
“What Is Foreclosed?” marks the opening of Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, an exhibition co-organized by the Museum of Modern Art and the Temple Hoyne Buell Center for the Study of American Architecture on view from 15 February to 30 July 2012 at the Museum of Modern Art. The exhibition features innovative architectural projects for five American suburbs in the context of the recent foreclosure crisis. The forum will use these projects as a point of departure to explore issues engaged by architecture and urbanism when considered in a cultural, political, and economic context. The projects respond to The Buell Hypothesis, a research document (available at www.buellcenter.org) that revises the dominant cultural narratives guiding the “American Dream” regarding homeownership by emphasizing the many "public" dimensions of housing.
Materials excerpted from the exhibition Foreclosed: Rehousing the American Dream, will be on view in the Low Library Rotunda during the event.
Reinhold Martin, Director, Buell Center,
From House to Housing
Pier Vittorio Aureli, Berlage Institute
Catherine Fennell, Department of Anthropology, Columbia University
Catherine Ingraham, School of Architecture, Pratt Institute
Ana Miljacki, School of Architecture and
Planning, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Suburbs, Cities, and Crisis
Setha Low, Department of Anthropology, City University of New York