Potentials for Collective Research and Action: Activism, Analysis, and Aesthetics at a Crossroads

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Date/Time: 15/04/2010 12:00 am

Potentials for Collective Research and Action: Activism, Analysis, and Aesthetics at a Crossroads
Part of Exhibition Related, Museum as Hub
Thu, Apr 15, 2010
4:00 PM
New Museum Theater
Entrance will be FREE
Organized as part of the exhibition “In and Out of Context” by Programs for Research and Outreach (PRO) in association with Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, this event will shift between elements of a seminar, screening, lecture, and discussion.
Concepts such as minor science, militant research, or extra-disciplinary investigations are related efforts to conceptualize a field of practices that could connect activism, analysis, and aesthetics. For Programs for Praxis, we are interested in instigating a set of collective militant investigations, which do not fear trespassing any perceived borders of art or academic research, and wish instead to connect ideas with lived reality, lived struggles—creating in the process possible new perspectives of the city and potential grounds for emergent solidarities.
This session will attempt to make public some of our analysis of contemporary political developments and open up a discussion with invited participants as well as the public about possible fronts of engagement within the city.
Part 1 | 4-6:30 PM
Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri will outline some of the motivations for their Project for a Revolution in New York and present analytical frameworks for possible group formation/exploration. After their initial introduction, a group of invited artists/researchers will introduce some of their concerns and questions. The invited artists/researchers include: Emily Foreman, Benj Gerdes, Dara Greenwald, Karen Hakobian, Jesal Kapadia, Josh McPhee, Paige Sarlin, Harout Simonian, and others. Subsequent to their interventions, the floor will be opened up to a common discussion about contemporary political questions and their relations to New York City.
Part 2 | 7-9 PM
If the first part of the day is about motivations and analysis, the second part of the day assembles some of the inspiration for Project for a Revolution in New York and possible examples of extra-disciplinary investigations. Though the project’s inspirations are multifold, for this evening, the artists will focus on the 1960s. Through film and video screenings, interrupted by contextualization, and discussion, this session examines past collective practices that attempted to conjoin activism, analysis, and aesthetic experimentation.
This event will mark the initial step in making the process of this project collective. The artists would like to invite anyone who is interested in exploring the intersections of embodied thought, political action, and artistic experimentation to attend. The individuals who wish to take part can be artists, politically engaged individuals, amateur researchers, dormant revolutionaries, unemployed, or inoperative. All are welcome. The shared ground could be an interest to confront and connect contemporary political analysis and questions to the lived city.
Project for a Revolution in New York, or How to arrest a Hurricane is an attempt to assemble one possible diagram for a desiring or revolutionary machine by putting into play three overlapping programs:
Programs for Analysis is a grouping of objects, documents, notations, publications, videos, and events that point towards, and formulate critical questions about, our contemporary moment.
Programs for Praxis will bring together a number of individuals to take up some analytical questions and confront the lived city.
Programs for Poïesis will be comprised of attempts to digest the unfolding analyses and experiences into constructed situations, occurrences, or interventions.
The artists begin this project by asking, “If 1989 marks the great victory of so-called free-market-capitalism over the state- capitalism of the Soviet Union, what exactly does 2009 mark? Can one live through revolutionary times without a revolution?”
Departing from a suspicion that history has not ended, they assert that though the recent financial collapse will not be the last, it does mark a point of no return. Increasingly contracted periods between cycles of boom/bust and the growing awareness that under neoliberalism, the central role of government is to serve the interests of capital, make it difficult to imagine that current political arrangements can continue without increasing conflicts.
For their Museum as Hub commission, Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri, in collaboration with Programs for Research and Outreach (PRO), propose a project that takes up art’s potential place within these struggles and emerging conflicts. The project consists of a concatenation of events, seminars, gestures, and utterances attempting to address and break out of a perceived contemporary malaise, a collective (and thus political) depression accompanied by a palpable catatonia. Given its ambitions, the project involves a pool of artists, agitators, thinkers, and former or aspiring revolutionaries. The ambition of the project is to share a process with a public and create some possibility for involvement.