Disruptions: The Political in Art Now

Posted Friday, October 24th, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Student workshop at the University of Chicago with Doug Ashford, Gregg Bordowitz, Carolina Caycedo, Eda Cufer, and Brain Holmes.
Student workshop with Doug Ashford,Gregg Bordowitz, Carolina Caycedo, Eda Cufer, and Brian Holmes              

SYMPOSIUM DISRUPTIONS: THE POLITICAL IN ART NOW, October 24-25, 2008

Disruptions: the political in art now is a two-day symposium that explores the intersections of politics and art in the first decade of the 21st century. Scheduled for October 24 and 25, 2008, at the University of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago, the program brings together influential theorists, artists, curators, and educators to discuss the many ways artists inspire political action and social change as well as the social function of art.

Disruptions: the political in art now opens with the keynote lecture “The Contemporary Paradoxes of Political Art” by esteemed philosopher Jacques Rancière at the University of Chicago on Friday, October 24, at 4 pm (Swift Hall, third floor, 1025 East 58th St). The symposium continues on Saturday, October 25, at the MCA Theater from 11 am to 6 pm (220 E Chicago Ave).

Saturday speakers include: artist and educator Doug Ashford; filmmaker and activist Gregg Bordowitz; artist Carolina Caycedo; performer and writer Salem Collo-Julin; dramaturge, curator, and writer Eda Cufer; cultural critic Brian Holmes; artist Simon Leung; experimental geographer and artist Trevor Paglen; artist and member of Otabenga Jones & Associates Robert Pruitt; and artist and curator Mark Tribe.

Disruptions: the political in art now is part of a series of provocative and stimulating programs presented at the MCA that relate to the theme of “Art and Democracy.” The symposium is collaboratively organized by the MCA and the University of Chicago’s Open Practice Committee/ Department of Visual Arts in cooperation with Critical Inquiry, which presents the keynote lecture. Rancière is the 2008 Critical Inquiry Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago.

Notes from Student Workshop:

* On October 24th, 2008, a group of students from Northwestern University, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Chicago met with five speakers from the symposium Disruptions: The Political in Art Now. The workshop was led by Doug Ashford, Gregg Bordowitz, Carolina Caycedo, Eda Cufer, and Brian Holmes. Students discussions took place under five rubrics: Antagonism(s), Event, Propagation, Re:presentation, and Sustainability and Autonomy. These notes, taken by the students themselves, while at times partial and fragmentary give an accurate sketch of the ferment palpable  here in Chicago at the time.

Sustainability and Autonomy

Workshop leader: Carolina Caycedo

Participants: Hank, Leah, Matt, Anna, Andrew, Eli

CC: If you want to intervene in the public sphere one must straighten out his or her own ethics and reasons for involvement…..

CC: Change is about chance, I-Ching. Containment of potential. With regards to what is in the mind, we have great energy from which to draw from.

H: should we start with the first question? Can a work of art be political without being reduced to base sloganeering?

CC: depends on the context of the work and the forces that drive it…..if you present during an election time, or in a demonstration, in front of a museum…ex. Columbia has been in a civil war for 40 yrs. Its hard for an artist to step out (die, censor) Artists in Columbia that talk about politics…..must recognize the multi faceted sides of a situation.

L: is this group meeting to talk about art and politics in relationship to sustainability and autonomy? ….versus what? dependency on the system?

CC: sustainability is a concept where one can exist without depleting resources. There is currently an installation at the Tate Modern, made by artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, that consists of monumental sculptures, rows and rows of iron bunk beds, video, sound of unceasing rain…..the concept is an apocalyptic vision of London in the future, and museums have become a refuge for the people. Meanwhile, there are very real problems in London today…the economy is flailing, people are struggling, …

A lot of art mirrors the materialism that it is critiquing……produces more waste.

L: it doesn’t work because it is rhetorical?

CC: because it is worried about what is going to happen not what is happening. Political art should at least be worried about what is happening.

H: I will play devils advocate. I think Ranciere would say that art that is a political statement doesn’t allow for a space for play. …if it’s a democratic space, if the meaning isn’t interdependent on a particular political statement then it’s free from being prescriptive. Seems almost an idealistic wish, if its political one wants the audience to be motivated…

CC: all art is political because it produces. It is a product, or an idea. ….several degrees of responsibility in relationship to producing. How do you as an artist integrate your values with what you make.

CC: I did a project where I lived in a van for two weeks and during that time I lived without money bartering my way through the city in order to eat, bath, have a place to sleep and socialize. A website extended the swapping throughout my everyday in London and later in San Juan. I am willing to barter, give, receive and redistribute knowledge, commodities and services as part of a daily exercise of anarchy, a development of a personal and alternative economy and a constant search for freedom.

http://whitney.org/biennial2006/projects/day2day/

L: ideally for me, it seems necessary to reach as many people as possible, to work within a gallery, museum, or forum that pulls in or connects to a broad audience.

CC: What is it that you do?

L: I collaborate with others to collect and distribute seeds. We have a website: http://siteware.wordpress.com/. Save your Seeds, it’s a conversation between the seeds, the land and the people. We send out packets to collect seeds…but there are many layers to this project…designed to start conversations about what foods have seeds, what we eat, what foods do not have seeds,

Did you know that 90% of soy is genetically modified? Our idea is to bring the project into people’s home, so that they are personally engaged in a dialogue.

H: are they blogging? How are you recording this?

L: Yes. We are still trying to generate an audience, the less information there is the less likely that it will be propagated.

H: I’m not an artist. I am a grad student in the English dep. I want my work to be polemic. I want people to be involved. I’m not interested in the objective. I’m not interested in continuing the debate. My ethics are about redistribution. I’m interested in how people reform things, how people put things back together.

I’m also interested in early 20th century avant agarde cinema and images of water within these films. I am trying to revive these films and re show them in a new context.

A: I am an art therapy graduate student at the art institute. I work with people who are socially marginalized and struggling to survive. I am interested in art’s relationship to politics and awareness. In some ways I think Ranciere’s ideas are appropriate for academia, but I’m not sure how they apply to social action.

M: it’s inextricable from your life. You can’t create a form that is purely autonomous from everything else. My lifestyle choices are refined so that they express my ideas.

CC: Art can influence people’s ethics. I think art is more than a tool for expressing. First, it can be a tool for learning but it also can be a way of viewing and living.

E: I’m interested in portraying the cycles of life. I work with a lot of different materials. Stains, natural materials that provoke decay. I’m in an experimental phase right now. My work explores the theatrical side of life and death. I use costumes.

L: The individual vs. the collective is being brought up now more than before. Both political parties are using ideas of sustainability and autonomy but mean totally different things. The “green” movement is being run by the richest people in the world. It only works if everyone gains. The rich are the only ones that have access to design the infrastructure. How can we begin to be more engaged with politics?

M: Change will not happen through governmental politics.

Event

Workshop leader: Gregg Bordowitz

Participants: Alicia, David,Nicole, Marissa , Erik, Danielle

Why did the participants choose “event” as their workshop?

Responses: Not an object; interested in performance; the event of watching/observing; how does something that happens become an event?

Structuring Questions for Discussion

What is an event? (A happening with significance?)

What is an object?

How is an event an object? (Through framing?)

How is an object an event?

What is the necessary level of participation of the viewer in events and in objects?

How do you produce something that is tangible, with borders, from the ephemeral?

Mind: thoughts and movement.

Events become objects in mind via memory (Bergson, Matter and Memory).

What is the difference between an event and an object?

Pragmatists: An object is defined by its use.

Is an event defined by time?

What is an object? Take an example: coffee cup. How do you know the cup?

By language, experience, senses (tactility, sight, etc.)

You touch the cup and become one with it. Your constantly moving molecules touch.

How do you distinguish yourself from the cup?

An object is always three things: itself, its negation, and a symbol.

The coffee cup is a coffee cup, it is ephemeral and so it is its negation, and it is a symbol through all of its attached associations (vessel, morning coffee, $2, etc.)

All objects are processes, relations, etc.

So, how do we now define events?

Object and event exist in relation, not as opposites but on a continuum.

Example: “The morning cup of coffee”

Coffee is an object. Having your morning coffee is an event. “The morning cup of coffee” has become a locution (linguistic object) and a symbol (attached associations). This all produces an image in your mind. You must have your morning coffee.

Example of producing an image in your mind: “shouting in a room”

The locution produces image in your mind, even without an event.

Narratives become objects, capturing ongoing events from the continuous flow.

What is not an event? An event can be a bounded object.

Clock: representation of time as quantity.

But, real time is a quality, not a quantity: the durée (Bergson, Matter and Memory)

Further example of time: “the event starts at 8.” When does the event really start?

When you start dressing? When the preparations begin?

We can make choices precisely because time is qualitative.

We experience our free will when we experience time as a quality (free, no purpose).

Ø Revolutionary time

This is problematic if you do not believe in free will. Rancière’s argument is based on free will. So far we have been sketching a philosophical genealogy.

Absolute freedom from time is madness. That is why we have practice: meditation, drawing, etc. Practice turns freedom from time into experience.

The media as an event: question of history and the speed of events.

We are in an event here and now, in this room. Outside this room there are no politics. Politics are only inside this room, among us.

People decide to change the world for each other when they cease to see a future. Qualitative time is thus disrupted. This change is not necessarily “good”; it may be fascist. So, how to bring ethics to bear on an event?

The form of an object is its ethics. The form contains its potential.

What is ethics? Is it morals? For many general purposes, they may be interchangeable.

How do you have ethics in a world without God?

Ethics and aesthetics are the same (Wichtenstein, Vienna)

Ethics: judgments. Do good and bad exist or not?

An object conducts itself because we conduct it.

Does an object embody the ethics of its maker? Is the object an archive of ethics?

What is an author/maker? What are his/her responsibilities?

In Modernist aesthetics, form and content are inseparable. Rancière’s article concentrates on form.Does form dictate content? Is content inherent to the form? Are form and content inseparable?

In an object, such as a door in a room, are the ethics rendered invisible?

Does the door embody the ethics of its maker; is it an archive of ethics?

Is the content (ethics, means of production) invisible, with only the form (the surface of the door) visible? Are form and content thus analogous to surface (as form) and depth (as content)?

In Gregg’s film and video work, ethics are played out in editing (form), not in the images (content). Linda Nochlin, Michael Fried, and Clement Greenberg were conscious of this relationship of form and ethics.

There is a viable argument for art for art’s sake. It can be dangerous to politicize art. Example: Nazi Germany

Postmodernism: Can you unyoke yourself from the burdens described by “form is content and content is form”?

Notes from open discussion session of all groups together

What if freedom is not defined as a negative? Is the experience of unburdened duration (the durée) a positive form of freedom?

Protection of property rights is derived from the body (John Stuart Mill)

Ambition and desire are two sides of the same coin

Questions of affect and feeling: the law arises out of sensation (e.g. murder is illegal out of survival and out of empathy with other human beings)

Bibliographic references:

Henri Bergson. Matter and Memory

John Dewey, Art in Experience

William James, stream of consciousness

Linda Nochlin

Michael Fried

Clement Greenberg

Virginia Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway

John Stuart Mill

Antagonism(s)

Workshop leader: Eda Cufer

Participants: Andre, Kris, Michelle M., Marilyn, Aaron, David

-growing up in a different world, being made for another world

-Hamlet and Antigone: classic stories of confrontation of individual with State or system.

But different types of antagonism here:

-Antigone: direct confrontation of State/Creon, with own body, own conviction (sacrificial)

-Ranciere: democracy as bringing new / one’s own voice into space of politics. Effect of enlargement.

-Hamlet: confronts different type of political system. Claudius is a criminal, murderer. Hamlet’s tactics are encompassing: draw people into spying, surveillance. Written at time when capitalism was nascent. And only 2 centuries after America discovered. Great deal of shaping of economic order at this time. Hamlet, in this context, is m odel of confrontation with distributed power (not in person of one king, but a kind of state apparatus). This is closer to our current world.

- mousetrap as model for antagonistic confrontation: e.g. Hamlet’s play within a play.

-YesMen as example: how connected to Hamlet’s tactics? Specifically: the play within a play structure.

-Re-presentation (play within a play): doesn’t just reveal but exaggerate the existing logic of the scene they inhabit/infiltrate.

-e.g. by connecting accepted contemporary practices to a tainted history (e.g. of slavery). Turning fact into crime, or the appearance of a crime.

-authority and obedience: YesMen test people’s capacity to be obedient to the system they are aligned with. But also their invents get remediated by the media (e.g. Dow and CNN).

-Hamlet: a drama of the voice of authority. Of which authority to listen to?

-What forms does authority present itself in YesMen case? E.g. they bought the GATT website, which is a kind of authority that got them invited to specialized conference.

-The power of self-congratulation: when people gather in closed society (corporation, conference), they reproduce the values that characterize their own world. So YesMen can slip into those situations because there is an assumption that when that group is being addressed, it will be in the address/idiom of their own world. YesMen use, very concertedly, the language of those groups.

-Schlingers (sp?): in Austria, using idiom of ultra-right-wing politics. Also used form of Big Brother tv show.

-So there are exaggerated tactics present in art, overheated rhetoric, but in everyday political discourse, this form of rhetoric gets aired every day (e.g. the claim of terrorism so easily deployed).

-Misogyny as a form of antagonism (e.g. in Shakespeare). Is the source of the antagonism towards women in the writing of the play, or in the performances? And to what extent can a performance now change the thought/antagonism of a play? What latitude is there in form for re-mediating antagonism?

-Free speech in America: because it’s possible to say more in the U.S., does this give critical artists more latitude?

-e.g. YesMen speech on French TV, played as ridiculously conservative. But did people notice? What does it take to make people recognize the seriousness/dissent of a message?

-Humor: e.g. Colbert Report. Exists in common/conventionalized system of entertainment.

-Humor as post-facto effect of YesMen.

-Colbert at White House Press dinner: doing a bit as conservative pundit. Not at all funny to the immediate audience. But funny to the intended audience of the event’s remediation.

-Permission: as something that undercuts dissent. The frame for Colbert AS comedy: does this undercut his dissenting acts?

-Comedy marginalizes itself?

-Presentation of culture and politics as disconnected from daily life, the everyday. Produces power of dissociation from own life, or from truth?

-TV: under guise of information, tv presents carefully scripted theater.

-What’s the role of first-hand experience of events v. mediated experience of events. Mediation erodes the connection/response potentials for events?

-Is the Web a different sort of mediation than TV? How optimistic or cynical should we feel about the appearance of interactivity of the Web? Or of “user-driven” systems?

[a lot of the conversation towards the end was about the conditions for antagonism—e.g. structures of mediation, consumption, participation, but also, optimism and cynicism as internally-held or psychological mediators. We bridged from conditions to actual forms of dissent when talking about “mousetraps,” or plays within plays as in Hamlet. Antagonism TBA.]

Propagation

Workshop Leader: Doug Ashford

Participants: Michael, Adrian, Victoria, Jorge, Amber, Nozomi, Joel

  1. Male 2 minutes: Propagation as plants-institutions-political frameworks-politics
  1. Male 2 minutes: Hybrids and dissensus opposite of consensus-nodes of disagreement
  1. Male 1 minute: dissensus creates context for propagation. Need TIME to propagate
  1. Male 1 minute: Propagation is cloning/copying. Looking for widening- Want dis-consensus/ propagation with internal and external criticism of capitalism.
  1. Male 1 minute: Common ground-finer notions of modeling political movement-What forms?
  1. Female 30 seconds: Need slowness for direct democracy.
  1. Male 30 seconds: Not a top down approach-cultivation of action and how to spread action.
  1. Female 1 minutes 5 seconds: Tomatoes-Monsanto owns patents-they are sterile. Alternative view of ownership and prorogation-
  1. Male 1 minute: Monsanto owns genetic material-copyright-we need propagation as a mistake.

Switch secretaries

Method of propagation is [ ]

Imposing an IDEA is coercive

From 16th century propagation originated from propaganda

Seduction [ ]

What is the source?

Clearly define the source.

Is [ ] always good propagation?

If art is always political? Then how is it different?

Artist’s interventions-All viewers are not passive.

Dissensus- work coming from people other then the power.

Propagation is the world-comes to you.

Top down-education is propagation

PROPAGATION AS A MISTATKE-More fruitful

Next secretary

History of def. of propaganda- resistant to (something) that it’s always from the top.

Depends on how you define it. Commercials teach us to be consumer drones.

Very specific way of communicating/commercials not an example.

Ideally a self-propagating system

Slippery category in (something)

Burden on citizenry to be skeptical (something)

If it is an all in one system, we need to clarify the genealogy of knowledge/historical frameworks/we need to debate these categories.

Still in the modern notion of the spectacle (?) than the exhibition-Something WOA-something everyday life.

We need to create a different language. If not we xxx delegate to function (e.g. art s/a/b “good” just b/c it do s/t.

Art has possibility of creating an environment of dissensus.

What’s at stake for art this is political?

Appreciate beauty (?) more than function

Cannot read

Elitism in art skew notion of what an artist is/purpose of (something) creativity/artists can manifest the (something)

New secretary

Lack of cultural empathy

Problematic in cultural propagation.

Propagation/propaganda – What is really top-down?

Art as functional or aesthetic object?

This is more of the role of the designed object.

Art and accidental propagation

Political art is ironic

Functional art as a ‘bad aesthetic” brings us back to the concept of autonomous art

Does form and function have to be at odds?

Must a commercial industry loose the subject (advertising and responsibility)

Separation of art and commerce

Cannot have it without

Idea of artistic ethics

Culture as ethic instrument or kept separate?

Who can be involved in the autonomy of art?

The unspecialized teacher, does this allow for a wide field of cultural consideration?

Beauty

As the context of freedom, for the contemplation of

Difficult in commodity art

Still room for ethical artist

Function vs. Utility

Propagation vs. propaganda as a form with this practical utility

Kant-purposefulness

Utility in life creates intentionality

Protected commerce as a shaded area to protect the artist –University as protective area

(Many protests) Ironically universities are supported by high capital

New secretary

When does the content really start?

Freewill is found in the quality or quantity

Events and objects – both experiences

Qualitative experience in time

Need and politics – home + ? = purity?

Fail again/ Fail better

Political TRACTIONS

Freedom – unburdened relationship to burden/time

Freedom of rights

Freedom – unburdened relationship to burden/time

Freedom of rights

Freedom of categories of living.

 

Re: Presentation

Workshop Leader: Brian Holmes

Participants: Alison, Sophia, Amy, Tara, Gonzalo, David, and Annabel

The idea is to deal with the theme of re:presentation, in the sense of relations, contradictions, complementarities and latencies between the event and the artistic image whatever the medium. On the one hand, political art is the creation of the event: the rupture of consensus, the transformation of a situation, the act that changes the intimate map of all those involved a leaves a different social territory in its wake. On the other hand, political art is the prolongation of this act, its refraction in memory, its discursive and material re-elaboration, its inscription in a field of intellectual and affective debate. This structure is easy to grasp if you think of this sequence: a decisive public gesture becomes an artistic image, But what about those cases where it’s the unveiling of the image that produces the rupture? And how to measure the relation between the dramatic moment in the streets or the theaters and the slower revolution that takes place through the circulation and use of artistic ideas and affects? Does the word “representation” mark the process of institutional control, the legalism of acceptable interpretations, overcoding in short? Is “presentation” the upsurge of expression, the moment that makes history and language anew, the decoding of a programmed society? Or would we need a different vocabulary to talk about these relations to set them into motion?

 

BH: Photograph of “Ne Pas Plier” shows a demonstration and art movement happening live. Photos are enlarged faces to show “we have faces.” This is work that is out in the world that effects change over time. Formally and representationally they are represented. These events happen in public spaces which are theaters. In France, in America they happen in the media. Why? America is a repressed society. What is the connection between confrontational space of politics and art practice which can also, but also exist somewhere else.

 

AD: In NYC’s Drill Hall (Armory), the people seemed embarrassed to show activated responses (except Mark Tribe’s performance). The Chicago group Incubate were there giving away soup.

AR: Susan Sontag’s essays about the Abu Ghraib saying that the public didn’t see them as real. Perhaps the media’s presence keeps events at a mediated distance. Its hard for people to imagine a genuine reaction.

DM: It’s mediation of every level. Examples of concert goers holding their cell phones up video-recording. It’s a flip of the practice of holding lighters. This is a disconnect through the entire society.

TH: Some of the protest I’ve been in (in NYC) disguise how many people are actually there. They are “designated protest areas” which is ridiculous.

DM: Paris and New York as sites of protest- How are they the same? How are they different?

BH: Formally the presence of protest needs to be felt. In the far left, there’s an insurrection mentality that veers toward war. Right now a force is being raised during this election cycle, but the state wants us not to do this. Artists are not really involved.

AB: I was sensitive to the police visually at the protests. Are artist encouraged to not make political gestures and instead consider the market.

AD: We Americans are encouraged to consider the market first and foremost. I think MFA’s are not encouraged to make the work they want to make. I think artists should consider what they want their political work to do exactly.

BH: What is autonomy in art? These themes are what the US was founded. These questions are shelved. Is there no use to them?

SD: There is also private resistance, which is more prevalent. There’s a loss of idealism and people like at the armory event want to hope and keep their hope. Does “politics of quietude” mean we are defeated?

BH: This is like Christianity. Imperial law didn’t leave room for people to change. Christianity resulted in two situations. 1) In your head you are free, 2) The ruler dictates the religions of the state. In the politics of religion there is some freedom from capitalism. There is eroticism; sexuality is a part of politics.

SD: Is there a politics of giving up, of interiority? How about a utopian/ dystopian vision with in your own home. Is that a rejection of societal values?

AR: Those idea are co-opted so fast that it becomes fashion/ fetishism. Such as the Green Movement, I don’t like being attacked and spoken to on the street, although I do want to engage.

DM: The return to the self… an alternative to being co-opted by a group movement. Revolt She Said, is about protests in 1968, and even then their ideology was being co-opted. The extremes ascetic practices require a curtailing of our desires. How do we mediate our conventions, desires?

BH: Punk rock was begun as a critique of the co-opting of rock by industry. Punk rock is aesthetic, run by artist in school, working class . It took a confrontational approach, trying other things when their movement was co-opted. The word “ascetic” is a particular point, of difficulties, sharing your attitudes is political now that we are living in a country that could be fascist, if there’s a McCain Administration.

AB: I think its important to have a dialogic relationship with the “ fascists”- And my work is including talking to people.

AR: We are only allowed to protest in certain areas.

AD: In the art world you have a tight control on what things can be seen. We (DB Foundation) made work about ambition. What does an artist mean by ambition? I asked 15 artist thier ambitions, and they created and presented their work. They had museum labels. The artists had only their work their. What does this word mean to an artist? [ambition]

BH: The art system makes it clear what success is. People focus on the art system as if the rest of the country doesn’t exist. What do you think?

GAEM: You have to do art work for need, not for another reason.

DM: Leon Golub had anxiety about making works mediated by institutions…Making with a deep sense of conscience.

BH: Let’s talk about need, your films about coca spaying in Columbia.

GAEM: I am in between Columbia and here- spraying people on the streets with water to get them touched by it but not really. I don’t get affected personally, but visited people affected by it. These levels of how you are affected by it.

BH: Some people are in need, some are in want.

Speaker Biographies:

Doug Ashford became a member of the artists collective Group Material in 1981. This collective produced over forty exhibitions and public projects internationally using museum and other public spaces as cultural arenas in which audiences were invited to imagine democratic forms. Since the disbanding of Group Material in 1997, Ashford has gone on to produce exhibitions and publish articles independently, although his primary creative practice has been teaching. He currently serves on the faculty of Cooper Union.

Gregg Bordowitz is a writer, AIDS activist, and film and videomaker. His work, including Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993) and Habit (2001), documents his personal experience of testing positive and living with HIV within the context of a personal and global crisis. His writings are collected in The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings: 1986-2003. He is currently on faculty in the Film, Video, and New Media department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Carolina Caycedo is an artist and member of the Colombian artists’ group Colectivo Cambalache, with whom she helped create the ambulatory Museo de la calle (Museum of the Street) which revolved around a streetcar as a site of exchange. Her street actions, public marches, bartering, and itinerant projects respond to the effects of global capitalism as it impacts communities and the economies of the street. Caycedo lives and works in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

Salem Collo-Julin is a life-long Chicagoan, a writer and artist who has been described as a “poster child” for working in groups. Included in her myriad of activities, she frequently makes work with the group Temporary Services, a collaboration with Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer; in addition, she is responsible for a list-serve called GoChgo, an internet forum for creatives, activists, teachers, performers and other irregular people to share information about what they are up to in Chicago and beyond.

Eda Cufer is a dramaturge, curator, and writer who has collaborated with visual and performing artists; in 1984 she co-founded the art collective NSK, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her essays on theater, dance, visual art, culture, and politics have appeared in many journals and books. With the support of an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Foundation Fellowship, she is currently completing a book, Art as Mousetrap, which examines the interdependency between art practices and global economic and political structures.

Brian Holmes is a cultural critic, activist, and translator who lives in Paris. His interests lie primarily in the intersection of artistic and political practice. He is a member of the editorial committees of the art magazine Springerin and the political-economic journal Multitudes; a regular contributor to the magazine Parachute; a founder of the new journal Autonomie Artistique, and author of the blog, Continental Drift.

Simon Leung is an artist and associate professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches critical theory, art history and new genres. His work in various media is project-based, and inspired by the intersection between ethics/aesthetics, critical theory, politics of sexuality and post-colonialism, public space, and theories of modernism and postmodernism.

Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working at department of geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us. Paglen’s first book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA’s Rendition Flights, received great attention from the media and public.

Robert A. Pruitt is a founding member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. Pruitt creates sculptures, drawings, video, and installations about the dichotomy of the Black American experience, and the impact of Black cultural production on the global landscape. Born in Houston, Texas, Pruitt now lives and works in Chicago, teaching at Northwestern University.

Jacques Rancière is a French philosopher and emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Paris who first came to prominence when he co-authored Reading Capital (1968), with the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser. Today, Rancière is most well known for his aesthetic philosophy and books on democracy. In this keynote address, he examines the role of images in a democracy and how art and politics are intertwined.

Mark Tribe is an artist and curator whose interests include art, technology, and politics. His work has been widely exhibited; he has organized curatorial projects for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, and inSite_05; and is the co-author of New Media Art. In 1996, he founded Rhizome.org, and online resource for new media artists. Tribe is assistant professor of modern culture and media studies at Brown University, where he teaches courses on digital art, curating, open-source culture, radical media, and surveillance.


 


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