Monday Night — 04.16.12 — Occupation and Institutions — An open discussion with members of Occupy Museums

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Monday Night — 04.16.12 — Occupation and Institutions — An open discussion with members of Occupy Museums

1. Short Introduction
2. Text from Occupy Museums (About Monday Night)

1. Short Introduction

What: Open Meeting and Discussion
When: Monday April 16th, 7PM
Where: 16 Beaver St. 4 floor
Who: Free and open to all

This event is organized with individuals involved with Occupy Museums, some of which have also been contributors to the space. Over the course of the occupations over the last years starting in 2009, different questions emerged, each with their specific contexts, but containing generalized components.

This discussion also emerges out of a specific need from one of the working groups of Occupy Wall Street to have an open forum and space to consider with others their participation an international art event. For this, their written introduction to the event begins with the question:

Is effective political protest possible inside arts institutions?

Of course, the word protest could be replaced by struggle, speech, direct action, or simply action. But the question remains attached to what, if anything, could or should be done at this moment within existing art institutions, especially when so many artists and those working within the spheres of culture have been experimenting with extending or abandoning their practices into the streets. And more importantly, when those existing art institutions become ever more illegitimate in their increasing dependance to corporate sponsorship.

Below, the invitation text from Occupy Museums.

2. Text from Occupy Museums (About Monday Night)

In Fall of 2011, Occupy Museums and several occupy groups from Europe were invited by the curators of the 7th Berlin Biennale (BB7) to use the KunstWerke hall in the city center for the Occupy movement. Those who chose to take part, decided to create an open and participatory international exchange forum for the movement. Since then, hundreds of activists from Germany, Spain, Holland, United States and Egypt, among many others, have been working together to plan for the BB7 and have issued an open call for all occupiers to participate. The hope is to reach a new public who are curious to learn more about our movement, and open up new ideas and possibilities for working together for change on a global scale.

Occupy Museums will be one of the groups attending BB7. We see this as a risky experiment between activists, governments, and cultural institutions which offer exposure and connectivity. The risk is co-optation of our movement’s grassroots power, the potential reward is international collective actions and solidarity. In preparation for BB7, we feel that input from the wider movement is essential. We want to collaborate, combine the collective knowledge of Occupy Wall Street and local artists, to create a platform for both meaningful critique and participation.

Please join us for an open forum to explore some of the following questions:
Is effective political protest possible inside the arts institution?
How does co-optation work, and can its dynamics be flipped in our favor?
Is political art neither political nor art?
What are the pros and cons of international mobility within the arts?
Is Occupy Museums, or other arts groups, co-opting Occupy Wall Street?
Who are our role models, those who have engaged in effective institutional change? What are the historical precedents can we look to as we approach this event?
What are some of the ways other Occupy groups are effectively working with institutions?

We hope you will join us.
Contact or questions: occupymuseums [at] gmail.com

Open Call From Berlin Biennale
Invitation to visitors – Join us! – Even before the Biennale starts!
We call on all people who are outraged by current social global conditions, struggling, hoping for change, to take part in our actions and meetings. Let’s organize ourselves and shape our own future, decide about our destiny.
Help our logistics team with physical support and donations of materials. Submit ideas for actions, presentations or workshops. http://berlin.theglobalsquare.org/

Contact: Join the Berlin Biennale mailing list by writing an email to berlinbiennale@lists.takethesquare.net

Groupware is being used for sharing of info, dates, news and tasks regarding the organisation of the BB7. You can add yourself as a user here: http://biennale.theoccupyproject.org/user/register

The Living Theater:
The Living Theater will also be participating in the BB7 and they have offered to assist OWS groups to develop videos for Berlin. From May to June the Living Theater in NYC will provide theater space for the creation of videos that document OWS performances, process and who we are. The goal is to have these videos be part of BB7 and projected in the Occupied ghetto of the KunstWerke.