LETTER OF INVITE to Participants

First and foremost, this is a secret.  In sending this letter to you, we ask that you keep whatever information contained herein between you and us.  It is crucial that no one knows about it until it happens, even close friends.

We are writing to ask your participation in a forthcoming project which will be linked to our show at White Box (Six Feet Under) this September.

3. What is the project?
Ok, the project we are working on is in relation to the infamous Office of Homeland Security.

"National Gallery-Washington (July 22) - With Congress headed into summer recess, President Bush called on lawmakers Monday to make the Homeland Security Department -Cultural Bureau a reality as he showcased new anti-terrorism strategies at the right wing in the national Art Gallery in Washington.

This Cultural Bureau is not a good Republican idea, it's not a good Democratic idea, it's simply an American idea, and they need to get their work done,'' Bush told hundreds of art goers."

In short, the Office of Homeland Security has set up a Cultural Bureau (our fictional element).  This Bureau will act as a supervising organization which polices culture.  The scenario is a "what if" situation, but only slightly more absurd than the one we currently face.  It is a framework for expressing our larger concerns about the Office of Homeland Security itself, and it implicates in a direct way the cultural politics that took place during the McCarthy era.

4. What will happen at White Box?

From our proposal:
During  a one week period, we propose to fictitiously  close down White Box Gallery.  The action is simple and requires minimal physical intervention.  The work is more concerned with the implications of such an act, rather than the physicality of it.

The intervention will involve some kind of notification to the passersby that White Box has been closed by the Cultural Bureau of Homeland Security (CBHS).  A web URL for additional information will also be provided for those who wish to find out more information about the official reasons behind the closure and about the Bureau in general.

Another group of initiatives will be letters of protest that will be sent/circulated by us and other artists/activists we are currently working with.  We are currently working on a list of possible groups (e.g., 16Beaver, XXXXX, XXXXXX, XXXXXX) as well as friends/associates which will be enlisted in helping generate questions/outrage over the closure.

All of these actions will try to generate a public debate among cultural workers and institutions about the ramifications of "heightened security and policing" of the "Homeland".  Furthermore, they will seek to question the role and responsibility of cultural spaces/workers in contesting and calling into question emerging social/political problems.

5. What is the cover project for White Box?
We need a project that White Box can advertise for that week.  We chose to call this project, "RadioActive":  An audio project using the format of a radio station and directing the programming to address issues related to September 11th and after.

Of course, the subject will be overloaded by that time (the opening is Sept. 11), but our use of it is largely strategic:

a. It serves as a counterpoint to what will actually take place (as the gallery will instead be closed by an Office that was created as a direct result of Sept. 11).
b. Part of the success of this work relies on generating press, before, during, as well as after the closure.  As the opening will be on 9-11, for the press, we will advertise "RadioActive" as a specific project dealing with some aspects of September 11.

6. what we would like you to write?

We would like you to write something specifically or tangentially related to Homeland Security.  It can be theoretical, personal, it can be a story, a letter of outrage that can be sent out during the week of the closure, humorous or satirical , it can also be related to culture and  cultural politics.

The point is that we want this closure to be just the beginning.  Your participation set up some contestation and reveal some critical positions toward homeland security. As well as its relation to culture and cultural workers.

7. How will people access your texts and responses?

We will post your essays and contributions on the RadioActive webpage (most likely on the beaver web site) , which will become the center of resistance to the Homeland Security's Cultural Bureau (HSCB) and the closure of the White Box. We want to have things posted on the website, after we agitate we want to introduce people to some critical positions.

Also, as we alluded to above, some of these contributions can be letters of support, or essays responding to the closure or the Bureau itself… therefore, a selection of these will be sent during the week by us to targeted e-mail lists.
We should stress that we really still need an audience to go to the opening, and also be surprised by the closure.  After all, that is a part of the work, and one we had to sacrifice in relation to you.  We made this decision, because we would really value your contribution and we believe that it is an essential part of the project.

8. Questions & Answers

We want to thank you for your help and we hope you will be interested in participating.


Ayreen Anastas
Rene Gabri
Tanya Leighton


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