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<nettime> The Messy, Dirty, Silly Interplay of Art and Activism: Artivis
lotu5 on Mon, 12 Nov 2007 03:20:19 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> The Messy, Dirty, Silly Interplay of Art and Activism: Artivistic 2007

The best part of Artivistic 2007 [http://artivistic.org] was being 
together with so many people who are serious (and seriously silly) about 
the interPlay of art and activism. The discussions that arose reflected 
a wide variety of practices and experiences and the interdisciplinary, 
cross-cultural nature of the event was always in the forefront. It could 
have been improved by having more rigorous discussions as well as more 
local community involvement, but still, I learned a great deal at this 
conference and made some long lasting connections with people excited 
about blending art and activism.

Overall I feel like there were good questions asked to frame the 
conference, but some more nuanced questions might have been more 
fruitful. The three questions took the form "what is...". I think that 
this setup a situation for dialog centered around definition instead of 
analysis, which is often a tool of domination and control. Many 
contemporary approaches favor play and process to definition. 
Personally, I find Deleuze's process ontology useful and might find 
questions dealing with an analysis of process and assemblage to yield 
more detailed responses. Questions like "how is indigenousness produced 
and maintained?" or "What is our relationship to natural space?" or 
"What are the parts or types of occupation?" might be more fruitful. 
Still, I recognize that the simplicity of the questions may produce a 
broader interdisciplinary space by avoiding academic jargon, like the 
kind I am using right now. Some people doing political organizing might 
stop listening after the word Deleuze, because they feel that the jargon 
is not relevant to their everyday work.

Which leads to my main critique. A large part of why I came to 
Artivistic was because I thought that No One Is Illegal (NOII) Montreal 
was going be a large part of the three day Imaginary Border Academy, and 
I wanted to work with local organizers, bridge our common struggles, 
discuss differences and share stories. Unfortunately, NOII formally 
pulled out of the conference at the last minute. They felt that they 
were not included enough in the planning process. I know that 
negotiating the demands of social movements and "the art world" is 
difficult. Still, I feel that the organizers of Artivistic needed to 
make it more of a priority to respond to the concerns of NOII and work 
more closely with them so that they would be involved, especially after 
advertising a three day workshop that included NOII. For a conference on 
art/activism with hopes of participants engaging in local action, I feel 
like it is critical to engage the local activist community to help 
provide context, direction and ongoing commitment instead of weekend 
actions. Also, the critique NOII gave of being included late in the 
process is a common mistake that political organizers make again and 
again, trying to be inclusive after the fact, inviting people into a 
project already well formed gives them less say over the form as well as 
less ownership of the process.

Read the rest, with links and photos, at http://technotrannyslut.com


blog: http://technotrannyslut.com
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