*Horizontal Art and Action* Free University / *Arte y acción horizontales* Free University
Saturday, October 11, 11:30am-4pm
Pedro Albizu Campos Plaza
East 13th St & East 14th St between Avenues B & C
East Village, Manhattan
20 fantastic workshops scheduled for this Saturday! In case of rain, we will relocate to Campos Plaza Gym, right next door. Full schedule with course descriptions below:
11:30am – Welcome, Opening Remarks, Statement of Intentions
Ongoing: Portable Writing Center
– Visualizing Solidarity from Ferguson to Gaza to Hong Kong
– Organización y reproducción de la cultura (arte) como una forma de resistencia dentro de las comunidades indígenas migrantes en Nueva York.
– Anti-Gentrification Rap
– Exploring the Gentrification (k)NOT
– Open Source Public Space: Creating and Reclaiming
– Performative Documentary for Youth Organizing
– DOCUMENTS OF RESISTANCE, part 2
– Free Money Movement
– I Hear You
– Drawing Towards Cairo
– Visualizing Our Network: Radical Spaces for Building Counter-Power
– B to C: Before Campos – Walking Tour
– Empowering community and everyday through art practice
– Would You Like A Letter For A Rainy Day?
– Action Art and Intervention Behind the Iron Curtain
Susan Naomi Bernstein
“Portable Writing Center”
To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.
*Gloria Anzaldúa, Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza
In the middle second decade of the 21st century, we struggle with a critical contradiction in making art. We feel still desire to create with/for the deep collectivity of community. Yet in our current context— in which Supreme Court law defines corporations as people—we experience the disappearance of all that sustained us in the past: time to create, funding, public space.
We can mourn these losses—and we can assess these new realities as the late Chicana poet Gloria Anzaldúa suggests: As “borderlands,” liminal, transitional, transformative spaces. As we become “crossroads” ourselves, we can begin to imagine a world free of constraint for making art, for creating new possibilities from the lessons of the old—and moving forward to a world “sin fronteras,” without borders.
As we write, let us move forward. Consider these questions: What hope might we find from memories of vanished spaces? How might these memories move as toward the future? What opportunities do the crossroads offer us? What possibilities might we imagine? What if time, money, and space were not obstacles, but instead points of resistance—places of struggle and resilience? What steps might we take? How can we involve the collectivity of our communities—youth, elders, those in the middle, those in the margins— in our yearnings for the future? Write with the prompt above—and/or create your own questions for writing. Begin in an appropriate moment—begin now—in peace, compassion, and love.
*Gloria Anzaldúa (1942-2004), “chicana dyke-feminist, tejana patlache poet, writer, and cultural theorist,” grew up in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas, at the border of Texas and Mexico. Grappling with the material realities of this site, Anzaldúa worked all her life to create art in the multiple languages and contradictions of Borderlands struggle and resistance. (“Gloria Anzaldúa: Voices from the Gap.” 3 December 2012. Web. 6 October 2014.)
NYC Solidarity with Palestine / Direct Action Front for Palestine
“Visualizing Solidarity from Ferguson to Gaza to Hong Kong”
This presentation and dialogue will work through visualizing solidarity by looking at the connections–and the practice of connecting struggles for liberation–from Ferguson to Gaza to Hong Kong, while weaving climate justice and colonization into these examples.
“Organización y reproducción de la cultura (arte) como una forma de resistencia dentro de las comunidades indígenas migrantes en Nueva York”
Dialogo a través del “periodismo antropológico” y la fotografía documental para conocer y entender la organización y la reproducción de la cultura como una manera de resistencia identitaria, a través de la música tradicional y, celebraciones como el carnaval dentro las comunidades indígenas migrantes -otomíes, nahuas y tepehuas- en Nueva York.
Dialogue through “anthropological journalism” and documentary photography in order to learn and understand the organization and reproduction of culture as a means of identity and resistance through the performance of traditional music and celebrations like the carnival and other fiestas among indigenous migrants communities–otomíes, nahuas and tepehuas–in New York.
Elizabeth Adams & Vita Wallace
Over the past four years we have helped over 60 neighbors write songs about their blocks, documenting, archiving, and singing the results on singing walks. We will be available to help you write a song about your block, and also to sing and share some of the existing 60.
Sean P O’Connell
Rap performance about gentrification in Rockaway Queens https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_vIiOjvJ2E
seun adewale adelowo
“Exploring the Gentrification (k)NOT”
The Gentrification (k)NOT Movie is a consequence of the Gentrification (k)NOT Project. The Gentrification (k)NOT Movie clarifies the meaning of the term gentrification, explores its dynamics as elements of a system that displaces people from their communities. It also examines what (we) might do to prevent gentrification from happening during the revitalization of an urban neighborhood.
“Open Source Public Space: Creating and Reclaiming”
In this workshop about producing and reclaiming public space, participants will create user manuals on how to produce public space.
“Performative Documentary for Youth Organizing”
Last summer I worked at a Christian youth camp and conference center producing a kid-powered performative documentary–that is to say, eight campers volunteered to carry small cameras with them throughout their week at camp and film whatever they thought was important. I compiled their footage and contextualized selections with interviews I took with other campers, counselors, and administrative staff. For this activity, I will show a bit of the final product (given audio/visual media equipment or just my laptop if the group is small enough and the space allows.) I can also talk through the point of performative documentary as it relates to participatory action research and horizontal education, and engage participants in a discussion on how, when, and where to implement these strategies.
Art Workers of Color
“DOCUMENTS OF RESISTANCE, part 2”
Uncovering histories. Amplifying voices. An informal discussion with Art Workers of Color Initiative on race, class, and gender in art institutions. In this discussion we will look closely at various documents of protest by artist of color from 1960s to the present. Afterwards, artist Kenneth Pietrobono will discuss his artwork as it relate to class, race, and gender.
“Free Money Movement”
The Aaron Burr Society launched the Free Money Movement on April Fool’s Day 2009. We distributed 100 $1 bills on Wall Street stamped with Free Money on one side with Slave of New York on the other. The Federal Reserve Bank was authorized to bailout Wall Street Banks with tax dollars from the 1% that was given as Free Money after the 2008 crash. This resulted in people losing their jobs and homes because of government deregulation and the subsequent corporate fraud. In 2013 the Society added another stamp: Common Good/Commonwealth. We now have two choices: either we have Free Money for the Common Good of the 99% paid for by the nation’s Commonwealth; or we can continue to be Slaves of Wall Street with unending bailouts for the 1%. Today the Common Good would include environmental sustainability based on economic and social justice.
Ari Marcantonio and Jaime Knight
“I Hear You”
Our interest lies in the potential to found paths to community and collaboration through an examination of individualism and the competitive nature of market capitalism. How difference (in upbringing, race, sexuality, language, class, gender, politics, etc…) allows us to be in solidarity or not, and how an exploration of difference may produce mutually supportive structures invested in the heterogeneity of a diverse world. We will organize a participatory performance that examines communication across difference. Using the simple technology of a cup phone, we create a metaphor that depicts the direct lines of communication that connect individuals while highlighting the difficulty of navigating those lines. Before making the first contributions ourselves, we will ask participants to share ways in which their identity has brought them closer to or separated them from those around them, how it has aided or impaired their ability to relate to and communicate with others.
Two groups will form at either end separated by a distance that requires communication through the phone. Individual participants will speak into the phone to give some account or anecdote, or to communicate a feeling about how their identity and subjectivity affect their ability to communicate with others. Their counterpart at the other end will then attempt to relate what was said to their own group. In this way, the action parallels the content of the dialogue as the participants, in order to communicate what their counterparts have said, must filter the speech through their own subjectivity. The action will proceed naturally as participants who are satisfied with their contributions pass the cup along giving others an opportunity to share. The resulting image not only depicts the difficulty of relating across lines of difference but actualizes the commitment necessary to make one another feel heard by a heterogeneous group of others.
“Drawing Towards Cairo”
We need to communicate directly with our neighbors, free from the intervention of governments, corporations, and other large organizations. Participants in this workshop will be introduced to “But a Shadow of Myself”, an intercultural project in which artists from New York and Cairo use silhouettes to explore themes of identity and collaboration. Participants will get the chance to draw and write in response to art by Cairo participants, and make a collaborative drawing. The workshop will end with a discussion of ways to participate further, including exhibiting artwork in Cairo, drawing collaboratively with Egyptian artists, and videoconferencing with Egyptian artists.
Raquel de Anda
“Visualizing Our Network – Radical Spaces For Building Counter-Power”
Where do artists and activists gather? How do we support infrastructures that generates social change? Is physical space needed to support practices that push forth a new social structure? This meeting of minds will discuss the importance of alternative artist and activist led spaces. Through discussion and play we’ll work together to visualize our network and come up with ways of keeping it alive. Information from this workshop will inform a online map of the spaces where artists and activists gather to support each others practice, and is part of a larger project of making our network visible.
“B to C: Before Campos”
A one-hour walking tour of the streets surrounding Campos Plaza Community Center, highlighting the history of the Latin@ activists who fought to build Campos Plaza and other affordable housing in the area.
Abramovićian Burden performance, perhaps.
“Empowering community and everyday through art practice”
I am an artist from Barcelona living in Helsinki making my PhD about art, community and public space. I will discuss different tools and projects that I have develop in Finland, Spain, and Peru, which could be used to empower the community and the perception of the people about the problems we face everyday in relation to public space, inequality, and gentrification.
“Would You Like A Letter For A Rainy Day?”
Quick! You are having a very extra-ordinary bad day. Everything is going wrong and even the things that went right…kind of sucked.
A. Take it out on your spouse.
B. Drive recklessly on the freeway.
C. Vote republican.
D. MAKE ART!
Would You Like A Letter For A Rainy Day? (WYLALFARD?) is a community art project that enlists perfect, superhuman strangers to assemble modest, yet potent arts toolkits, place them in an envelopes made from recycled paper, attach that envelope to a biodegradable balloon, and send said toolkit off into the New York sky for another lovely stranger to find, reflect on, and create from. Labelled only “open in case of rain”, these mobile, serendipitous toolkits serve as a reminder to their finders. We all share rainy days, and what better way to deal with stress, anxiety, pain, and the damn blues than a gift from someone who has felt the same, made you something, and asked you to join in?
“Action Art and Intervention Behind the Iron Curtain”
This presentation will primarily examine action art and interventionist works primarily from post-68 Czechoslovakia, but also will include works from Hungary, Poland and Russia. Partly an exercise in exposure, this lecture is designed to release this region and period of art history from its relative obscurity, and to encourage intellectual comparisons to struggles against oppression across political ideologies. A brief history of central European nations will be provided, providing germane information to the presentation’s talking points.
Following the Soviet invasion of Prague, which signaled the end of the short lived freedoms of the Prague Spring of 1968, artists, dissidents and intellectuals faced harsh retribution for their works from the state. This continued for over 20 years, until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1989. Abstract performance art continued, but often via private or covert means. Artists utilized both urban and rural spaces to enact dérives or other forms of reclaiming space. Some performances were radically confrontational against the state, other acts sought to explore internal reflection. Many performances were purposefully apolitical, neither for the communist state nor for its opposing enemy of western capitalism. Yet under the highly politicized nature of Soviet rhetoric, even apolitical acts were read as resistance to state control, and were thus heavily censored.
How do these works explore anxiety, personal and political? Work and labor? Surveillance? Liberties of the individual? What did performance art during the Cold War actually look like? And what does it mean to make a subversive work of art? Taking the violent self-immolation of Jan Palach as a starting point for resistance acts of this region and time period (his death being undoubtedly a desperate act of dissidence rather than “performance art” in the institutional sense), this presentation will look at the tensions of public performance under oppressive regimes, exemplified in this case by the Kremlin’s control over central and eastern European nations.