Invitation to City-Wide Art and Politics Meeting,

Topic(s): Announcement | No Comments

Date/Time: 02/04/2008 12:00 am

Dear Colleagues and Friends,
In October of 2007 a call was circulated for a meeting amongst art, academic and activist institutions and individuals to discuss the merits of a coordinated strategy that would raise awareness around the multitude of art political discussions and projects in town while having a real impact on the politics of this city, and beyond.  
One month later more than 60 representatives from a range of institutions convened, and the Where We Are Now network was born. Our goal is to demonstrate how powerful critical voices still exist, ones that cry out for global justice, agency and participation. Using the pivotal moment of the 2008 presidential election, we share a sense that the times have changed and are ours to claim. Through activities as diverse as art exhibitions, days of decentralized action, street performances and pedagogical conferences, we seek to gauge the status of the political in contemporary art, and consider how we may act as resources to one another and to other communities within and beyond New York City.
Please join us on Wednesday, April 2nd for a big meeting at Judson Church.
Where We Are Now: Locating Art and Politics in New York City


Network-Wide Meeting*
Wednesday, April 2, 6:30-8:30pm
Judson Memorial Church
by Washington Square Park
239 Thompson Street, cross street W. 3rd
In the assembly hall basement
*Network-wide meetings will be held on the first Wednesday of every month at
the same location and time.
Individuals affiliated with the following institutions:
16Beaver, A.R.T. (Activist Response Team), ABC No Rio, Ad Hoc Arts, Alwan for the Arts, Culture Task Force, Art in General, ArteEast, Artists Against the War, Artists Space, Arts and Democracy Project, August Sound Coalition, Autonomedia, Bard, Billionaires for Bush, Bluestockings, Bronx Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Rail, Cabinet, Canal Chapter, CEA, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Circus Amok, Columbia, Conflux, Cooper Union, Creative Time, dBfoundation, Direct Action Project March, e-flux, El Museo del Barrio, European Courier, Exit Art, Eyebeam, Film Annex, Flux Factory, free103point9, Gallery Aferro, Newark, Global Medical Relief, Glowlab, Groundswell Mural Project, Hip-Hop Theater Festival, Hunter, J. Mandle Performance, Just Seeds, Kitchen, Little Switzerland, LMCC, Location One, Make Films Not War, MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies, MoMA, Museum as Hub, New Museum, Nonsense NYC, Not An Alternative, NYSCA, NYU, NYU Environmental Health Clinic, Opsound, Parsons the New School for Design, People’s Production House, Pond: art, activism, & ideas, Pratt, Precipice Alliance, Printed Matter, PS1, Queens College CUNY, Queens Museum, Queens Museum, Repo-History, Rhizome, Storefront for Art & Architecture, Studio Museum, School of Visual Arts, The Center for Civic Participation: Arts & Democracy Project, The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York, The Queens Council on the Arts, Vera List Center for Art and Politics at the New School, Wesleyan Center for the Arts, Whitney Independent Study Program, Y Gallery, The Yes Men and many independent cultural activists.
The Conference and Pedagogy Working Group seeks to examine how individuals and groups acquire and exercise social and political agency through collective aesthetic practices and—taking its cue from the group’s name—is particularly interested in the situation at this moment in this (porous) city. We probe the interface between theory and practice.
Two public assemblies in the Fall, bracketing the presidential election, to produce four or five distinct incidents of political agency.  They will be structured like charrettes (modeled on design charrettes, an often entertaining and effective combination of concept and mobilization) with specific challenges that call for immediate practical solutions developed within a few hours. It will be required that the outcome of each charrette will find a public platform—provided by the institutional members of Where We Are Now and other organizations—to ensure long-term impact beyond the one-day event.
The Arts in Action Working Group is dedicated to facilitating projects that actively engage the act of voting. We relate to the act of voting as something that happens, not only once in every four years, but as something that could happen more often (perhaps all the time). Voting, as we understand it, can take the form of, but isn’t necessarily limited to, the act of casting a ballot. It is an act that does not represent the end of an electoral narrative but instead is imagined as the beginning.
A distributed city-wide day of action in the early summer, and another in mid-Fall, to take place in galleries, lecture halls, and in the streets.
Regular meetings for artists, activists, writers, curators to promote projects and plug in.
The Communications Working Group aims to create an infrastructure that allows us to deepen our understanding of existing resources, build new ones, collaborate, and impact New York. 
Some of us want to marry art, activism, and critical practices here in New York.
Some of us want pandemonium in the streets.
Some of us want to offer a way to frame and interpret collective art-activist gestures.
Some of us want a bird’s eye view of art and activism in New York City.
Some of us want to engage contemporary art and academic institutions in the service of change.
Some of us want to see New York City step into political discussion with all of the voices that we have at our disposal.
Some of us want art to inform and interrogate activist practices.
Some of us want technology to further art and activism and hurry things up.
Some of us want to broadcast diverse voices.
Listservs and email blast, website, press and publicity, online social platform, radio broadcast and online audio streaming, and printed ephemera.

Questions? Ask us