Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Free Land / Ariel Luckey

Free Land / Ariel Luckey

Free Land is a dynamic hip hop theater solo show written and performed by Ariel Luckey, directed by Margo Hall and scored by Ryan Luckey. The show follows a young white man’s search for his roots as it takes him from the streets of Oakland to the prairies of Wyoming on an unforgettable journey into the heart of American history. During an interview with his grandfather he learns that their beloved family ranch was actually a Homestead, a free land grant from the government. Haunted by the past, he’s compelled to dig deeper into the history of the land, only to come face to face with the legacy of theft and genocide in the Wild Wild West. Caught between the romantic cowboy tales of his childhood and the devastating reality of what he learns, he grapples with the contradictions in his own life and the possibility for justice and reconciliation. Free Land weaves spoken word poetry, acting, dance and hip hop music into a compelling performance that challenges us to take an unflinching look at the truth buried in the land beneath our feet.

"50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World" / Utne Reader

In the 19th century, U.S. forces displaced American Indian populations, often violently, before white homesteaders moved in to claim “free” land. “If you look at who owns land in this country, the pattern that’s here today was established in the 1860s,” says Oakland-based hip-hop artist and activist Ariel Luckey. To get people seeing the roots of that privilege, he created Free Land, a candid solo show about coming to terms with homesteading in his family’s history. With dance and song, Free Land cuts to the heart of inherited privilege with more resonance than 10,000 self-conscious liberal arts students could ever muster—and in doing so, opens the door for genuine national introspection.

Thangs Taken / Ariel Luckey

Thangs Taken rethinking thanksgiving is an annual cultural event that brings artists, activists, and communities together to explore the complex history of Thanksgiving and to acknowledge the legacy of US colonialism and genocide against Native Americans. Produced by the Free Land Project, Thangs Taken features live music, dance, film, spoken word poetry, hip hop theater, and visual art installations from Native and non-Native artists. Grounded in grassroots activism, Thangs Taken also features leaders from local social and environmental justice organizations to provide information on current campaigns and concrete ways to take action in the community. With the arts at the center, people from diverse backgrounds gather to engage in a critical dialogue about the impact of Thanksgiving and the history it represents on our communities and to stand in the power of our collective ability to create a world based in peace and justice that we can truly be thankful for.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Autonomous Geographies

Autonomous Geographies is a two year action research project run jointly by geographers at the University of Leeds and the University of Leicester, and funded by the Economic and Social Research Council.

We use the term autonomous geographies to define those spaces where there is a desire to constitute non-capitalist, collective forms of politics, identity and citizenship, which are created through a combination of resistance and creation, and the questioning and challenging of dominant laws and social norms.

The project looks at how activists make and remake these types of spaces in their everyday lives by exploring their core ideas, beliefs and visions, how they are translated into action, what kinds of spaces for participation and identity are created and what it means to live in-between the overlapping spaces. We are currently participating in three UK-based case studies and are guided by an advisory group. By engaging in such research, our aim is to critically explore and support autonomous spaces in the UK and the ideas, struggles and practices that bring them to life, as well as help to introduce them to new audiences.

Who Runs Leeds?

An Action Research Project run by the School of Geography and Corporate Watch with financial and research support from local trade unions.

The emergence of Leeds as an economic powerhouse in Britain in the past decade has been nothing short of spectacular. The second largest metropolitan district in England, Leeds is now the leading financial and law centre outside London. In the last 20 years, more jobs have been created in Leeds than in any other UK city outside London, and it is expected to provide 45% of employment growth in the region over the next 10 years. But beneath this comprehensive transformation of Leeds from industrial town to thriving metropolis, a dramatic restructuring of power, ownership and wealth is taking place prompting citizens to ask: who is really running Leeds?

The Common Place - Leeds' autonomous, radical social centre

DO IT YOURSELF: A Handbook for Changing Our World / Edited by The Trapese Collective

A Radical Guide to Ethical and Sustainable Living

Climate change, resource wars, privatisation, the growing gap between rich and poor, politicians that don't listen. Massive issues, but how can we make any difference?

This book shows how. It's not a book about what's wrong with the world, but a collection of dynamic ideas which explore how we can build radical and meaningful social change, ourselves, here and now. Covering nine themes, the book weaves together analysis, stories and experiences. It combines in-depth analytical chapters followed by easy to follow "How to Guides" with practical ideas for organising collectively for change.

Download a Sample Chapter (PDF)

Trapese Collective

Trapese is a Popular Education Collective who offers workshops and training aimed at inspiring and promoting action for changing our world.

TRAPESE stands for ‘Taking Radical Action through Popular Education and Sustainable Everything!’ Our work involves interactive workshops, games, films, trainings, and action/campaign planning sessions. We aim to provide opportunities for children, young people and adults to explore the big issues of our time. Our work focuses on practical steps to inspire, inform and enable action, and how to develop workable alternatives. We are a not for profit collective motivated by a passionate belief in the power of learning together.

The Rocky Road to Transition: The Transition Towns movement and what it means for social change / Download Book (PDF)

Misc. Essays

Paul Chatterton / Jenny Pickerill

Chatterton, P (2008) "Demand the Possible: Journeys in Changing ourWorld as a Public Activist-Scholar".

Chatterton, P (2006) "'Give up Activism' and Change the World in Unknown Ways: Or, Learning to Walk with Others on Uncommon Ground", Antipode. Vol.38, No.2.

Pickerill, J & Chatterton, P (2006) "Notes towards autonomous geographies: creation, resistance and self-management as survival tactics", Progress in Human Geography. Vol.30, No.6.

Pickerill, J (2008) "A surprising sense of hope", Antipode. Vol.40, No.3.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Beehive Design Collective's Coal Campaign

Beehive Design Collective / Coal Campaign

Understanding the devastation of Mountaintop Removal is perhaps primarily a visual undertaking - the vastness of the altered landscape cannot be conveyed with words alone. And while the Beehive Collective is known for graphics that speak in pictures across the cultural and language barriers of North and South Americas, it is our hope through this campaign to use our image-based storytelling methods to cross domestic class, geographical, and literacy barriers very close to home. We intend to produce a learning tool that artfully captures the human and ecological scale of totalitarian resource extraction while reinforcing and participating in the rich storytelling tradition of Appalachia.

Coal Graphic Campaign / In Process Gallery

Halfway through our drawing process, the Beehive is beginning to share the Story of Coal with diverse audiences through two banners: one explaining our research trip and one outlining the upcoming graphic.

The Beehive Design Collective is a 100% volunteer driven non-profit political organization that uses graphical media as educational tools to communicate stories of resistance to corporate globalization. The group, based in Machias, Maine, has a mission objective to "Cross-pollinate the grassroots by using imagery as an effective organizing tool". The Beehive Collective is most renowned for its large format pen and ink posters which seek to provide a visual alternative to deconstruction of complicated social and political issues ranging from globalization, free trade, militarism, resource extraction, and biotechnology.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Eating in Public & Historic Waikiki

EATING IN PUBLIC / Gaye Chan + Nandita Sharma

In November of 2003 we planted twenty papaya seedlings on public land near our house in Kailua, Hawai'i. In doing so, we broke the existing laws of the state that delineate this space as 'public' and thereby set the terms for its use. Our act has two major purposes: one is to grow and share food; the other is to problematize the concept of 'public' within public space....

{ Part 1 : Autumn }
{ Part 2 : Winter }
{ Part 3 : Spring }
{ Part 4 : Summer }
{ Part 5 : Spring/Summer/Autumn }
{ Part 6 : Winter }

Eating in Public is an anti-capitalism project in Hawai'i nudging a little space outside of the commodity system. Unlike Santa and the State, they give equally to the naughty and the nice. They do not exploit anyone's labor. And they do not offer tax-deductions. They are, in all the word's various definitions, free. Following the path of pirates and nomads, hunters and gathers, diggers and levelers, they gather at people's homes and plant food on public land. They currently have two ongoing free_stores and a website.

"Sowing the seeds of awareness" / Honolulu Star Bulletin

"Store's open — and free" / Honolulu Advertiser

"Eating in Public" in Constituent Imagination: Militant Investigations, Collective Theorization

Historic Waikiki

Historic Waikiki is a project by DownWind Productions, a collaborative of artists, writers, teachers and activists who examine the impact of colonialism, capitalism, and tourism in Hawai'i. We distribute information and agitprop commodities through the marketplace and e-commerce to help tourists and locals alike understand our complicity in the decimation of Hawaii's land and people, and to imagine different relationships with each other and with our own desires and longings.

DownWind is subjected to everything that happens and happened upwind. When hunting, it is recommended that you position yourself downwind of the hunted.

Waikiki: A History of Forgetting and Remembering is a work of art, critical history, and investigative journalism that assumes the unlikely form of a coffee table book. Written in an accessible style, the book creatively draws from historical text and images to tell the story of Waikîkî’s transformation from a self-sustaining community to one of the world’s most popular and overdeveloped vacation destinations.

The result is an innovative collaboration between an art historian and an artist. Written by Andrea Feeser, the text is carefully researched and masterfully woven, using literary metaphors alongside documentary evidence and historical narrative. Artist Gaye Chan contributes lush and haunting imagery that at once serves to illustrate the text and questions the veracity of photographic evidence.

Equally satisfying for a Hawaiiana enthusiast or a cultural studies scholar, a visitor or a long-time Hawai‘i resident, the book offers little-known facts about Waikîkî as well as theoretical and poetic reflections on the very process of memory and history making.

Download Table of Contents (PDF)
Download an excerpt from the book, Chapter 3 - Ala Wai (PDF)

Gaye Chan @ Creative Capital

"Where Spouting Waters Ebb" / Honolulu Weekly

"Room for a View: Projects influence how we see Waikiki" / Malamalama

"Real-time and Digital Communication in and about Contested Hawai'i: The Public Art Project Historic Waikiki" / Andrea Feeser

THERE THERE / Gaye Chan + Nandita Sharma

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Right to the City

Battle of the Bailout: The Fight For The City 2008

The Right to the City, David Harvey, New Left Review, September-October 2008

Examining the link between urbanization and capitalism, David Harvey suggests we view Haussmann’s reshaping of Paris and today’s explosive growth of cities as responses to systemic crises of accumulation—and issues a call to democratize the power to shape the urban experience.

Download PDF

David Harvey: The Right to the City / Sustainable Cities

The question of what kind of city we want cannot be separated from what kind of people we want to be. David Harvey invites all manner of social movements to assert their 'right to the city' - the right to re-make the city in a different image.

Theory Talk #20: David Harvey

David Harvey on the Geography of Capitalism, Understanding Cities as Polities and Shifting Imperialisms

Right to the City Alliance

Right to the City (RTTC) is a newly formed alliance of base building organizations from cities across the country as well as researchers, academics, lawyers, and other allies. We came together in January of 2007 to build a united response to gentrification and the drastic changes imposed on our cities. We stand together under the notion of a Right to the City for all.

Right to the City offers a framework for resistance and a vision for a city that meets the needs of working class people. It connects our fights against gentrification and displacement to other local and international struggles for human rights, land, and democracy.

We are coming together under a common framework to increase the strength of our community organizations and our collective power. Our goal is to build a national urban movement for housing, education, health, racial justice and democracy.

Principles of Unity for the Right to the City Alliance

1. Land for People vs. Land for Speculation
2. Land Ownership
3. Economic Justice
4. Indigenous Justice
5. Environmental Justice
6. Freedom from Police & State Harassment
7. Immigrant Justice
8. Services and Community Institutions
9. Democracy and Participation
10. Reparations
11. Internationalism
12. Rural Justice

Building Power in the City: Reflections on the Emergence of the Right to the City Alliance and the National Domestic Worker’s Alliance / Harmony Goldberg / In the Middle of a Whirlwind

Citizenship and the Right to the Global City: Reimagining the Capitalist World Order (PDF) / Mark Purcell

Excavating Lefebvre: The right to the city and its urban politics of the inhabitant (PDF) / Mark Purcell

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

In the Middle of a Whirlwind

Will you join us in the middle of a whirlwind?

In the Middle of a Whirlwind: 2008 Convention Protests, Movement and Movements

A one-off online journal of theory, art, activism and organizing out now!

Coordinated by: Team Colors Collective

Published by: The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest Press

In the Middle of a Whirlwind (Whirlwinds) inquires into current organizing efforts in the United States, and through that process, assembles a strategic analysis of current political composition as a tool for building political power.

Whirlwinds' strategic context is this summer's RNC and DNC protests; through these documents and the discussions that erupt from them we hope to directly impact the anti-Convention organizing. In a larger sense, and in the long-term, Whirlwinds is intended to provide a set of useful documents for contemporary radical organizing. Each essay and interview addresses the issues of movement, working class power and composition, and/or gives strategic insight into organizing, and the strengths and weaknesses of current movement/s in the U.S.

A Letter Among Friends: A Whirlwinds Introduction / Conor Cash, Craig Hughes & Kevin Van Meter/ Team Colors Collective

Team Colors News & Events

Team Colors @ MySpace

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making Policy Public

Making Policy Public / The Center for Urban Pedagogy

CUP's new series of fold-out posters uses innovative graphic design to explore and explain public policy. Making Policy Public is published twice a year, and each poster is the product of a commissioned collaboration between a designer and an advocate.

How It Works

While the effects of public policy are widespread, the discussions around these policies are anything but. This series aims to make information on public policy truly public: accessible, meaningful, and shared. By calling on designers to work with advocates to find new ways to make policy public, CUP aims to add vitality to crucial debates about our future. Making Policy Public facilitates new collaborations across the fields of design, education, and public policy by creating opportunities for designers to engage social issues without sacrificing experimentation and for organizations to better reach their constituencies through design.

Download 2008 Policy Briefs

The Cargo Chain

The Cargo Chain is an organizing tool for longshore workers that shows the players and pressure points in today’s globalized shipping network. How do commodities get from factory to shopping mall? Who really has the power to move today’s global economy? This pamphlet was produced through a collaboration between the Longshore Workers Coalition, Labor Notes (a quarterly journal of labor journalism and research), cartographer Bill Rankin, and the graphic design office Thumb.

Social Security Risk Machine

Social Security Risk Machine explains the mechanics of this “social machine”: how it works, why it was created, where the money comes from and where it goes. Most importantly, the poster shows the many adjustments that can be made to keep the machine running. This poster was written by Sam Stark and designed by David Reinfurt and Damon Rich.


Understanding the Farm Bill / Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP)

The U.S. Farm Bill leaves a huge footprint on the U.S. and the world. As Washington gears up for the debate, IATP analyzes what's at stake.

Via Social Design Notes and IATP's Ag Observatory

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A Call To Farms / Midwest Radical Culture Corridor

A CALL TO FARMS: Continental Drift through the Midwest Radical Culture Corridor

Featuring the words of Claire Pentecost, Jessica Lawless and Sarah Ross, Lisa Bralts-Kelly, Brett Bloom and Bonnie Fortune, Ryan Griffis, Mike Wolf, Martha Boyd and Naomi Davis, Rebecca Zorach, Nicolas Lampert, The Langby Family, Eric Haas, Sarah Holm, Brian Holmes, Dan S. Wang, mIEKAL aND, and Sarah Kanouse

FREE Download (PDF)

Designed by The Heavy Duty Press, offset printed at Bookmobile
8.5 x 6.75", 60 pages plus cover, first printing: 500 copies, $10
Available soon at the Heavy Duty Etsy Store.

MRCC & Continental Drift Resources


MRCC Drift @ Flickr

"The Midwest Radical Cultural Corridor in the Recent Past and the Distant Futures" / Brian Holmes

"Finding, Being the Radical Midwest" / Dan S. Wang

The MRCC Schedule

Continental Drift & 16Beaver

"Songs of Returning, Both Silent and Aloud" (The Domestic Struggle Part Threee) @ Art of This
Minneapolis, Minnesota
August 23 - September 7, 2008

"The Audacity Of Desperation"
Urbana, Illinois
May 7 - June 15, 2008

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Missing Plaque Project

History can be a tool for social change. It is often said that the victors of history write the history books in their favor. Some stories are promoted, and others are left to dwindle in obscurity. The Missing Plaque Project tries to stand as a force to stop this from happening, by shedding light on the hidden histories.

The project is based in Toronto, and has dedicated itself to changing the way we think about Toronto's history. The city's history is often portrayed as being conservative, British and boring. However, that is only part of the truth. People have lived in the area for thousands of years, but most people think of it as a young city with very little history. It is not that nothing is known of life here before the British set up shop, in 1793; rather those stories are not given the attention they deserve.

Another element to how Toronto's history is portrayed is that anything bad that happened in the city took place long in the past and that since multiculturalism was "invented" in the 1970's everything has been "honky dory". To cast this image many stories have been ignored, including the Bathhouse Raids (1981), the Yonge Street Riot (1992), and the treatment of homeless people.

But why are some histories overlooked? Racism and other biases are partly to blame. Another part of it is the result of efforts to always portray Toronto in a good light, or efforts to use history as a tool to promote tourism or to increase property values. Another part is that many of the people who do work around the city's history come from a narrow background and happy to focus on the history of the British and the rich. Many of them are interested in what most people find banal. Often are happy to look at the history of buildings in the city rather than the people who lived here, and the social turmoil of the past.

Most Torontonians don't find the history of their city relevant to their lives. The Missing Plaque Project attempts to show how our history is relevant to us today. The project does all it can to get people interested and thinking about our cities history. Although the project has began to use a variety of mediums, it started as a project to put up posters about little-known histories.

The project started on a freezing cold December night in 2002. After spending the evening at Kinko's, the founder of the project, Tim Groves, set out for Christie Pits with a steaming bucket of wheat paste and a roll of posters on the Christie Pits Riot. The idea of putting up posters had come to him as soon as he had learned the story of this riot. Before long, ideas for other posters sprang to mind. Slowly new posters were made.

One of the ideas behind putting up the posters is that they can be up right on the street in the areas where people live. Instead of having to go out of your way to learn about the history it can be stumbled on by anyone in the neighbourhood that the history took place.

One dilemma of using posters is that people have to stand in order to read them. They can not take it with them to sit down somewhere comfortable. This would suggest that the posters need to be as short and as easy to read as possible. However, we have been resistant to this, because so many historic plaques mark only that an event happened, but not why it is relevant. The content of our posters is a constant struggle between these two extremes.

In 2006, it was decided to move the project in more ambitious directions. Not only is the number of posters being expanded, but plans are underway to incorporate a variety of other mediums, to seek funding, and to find collaborators to work on various projects.

The Missing Plaque Project Blog

List of posters that may be released in the future

Guided Tours

The poster's potential / Tim Groves

Via Just Seeds

Monday, June 23, 2008

David Harvey

Reading Marx’s Capital with David Harvey

David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, has been teaching Karl Marx’s Capital, Volume I for nearly 40 years, and his lectures are now available online for the first time. This open course consists of 13 two-hour video lectures of Professor Harvey’s close chapter by chapter reading of Capital, Volume I.

Reading Marx’s Capital - Class 1, Introduction

Reading Marx’s Capital - Class 2, Chapters 1-2

The Right to the City (Part I)
Lecture by Professor David Harvey
Department of Geograhy / Lund University
May 28, 2008

The Right to the City (Part II)

Spaces of Global Capitalism: Towards a Theory of Uneven Geographical Development

Lecture by Professor David Harvey
Department of City & Regional Planning / Cornell University
March 13, 2008

(Part 1/10) / (Part 2/10) / (Part 3/10) / (Part 4/10) / (Part 5/10) / (Part 6/10) / (Part 7/10) / (Part 8/10) / (Part 9/10) / (Part 10/10)

Introduction to Continental Drift
16beaver / New York, Fall 2005

David Harvey on Neoliberalism (Quicktime)/ (Part 1/2) / (Part 2/2)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Spectres of Liberty

Photo: Chris Harvey

Spectres of Liberty is a public memory, site-specific art project. Beginning with a sense of loss about the changing built environment of Troy, New York, we set out imagining ghosts of demolished buildings and structures. Through imagining inflatable sculptural extensions to buildings whose facades have been destroyed to thinking about recreating vanished historic sites, we decided on creating a ghost of the Liberty Street Church.

The Liberty Street Church is not only significant as a vanished part of Troy's architectural history, but also for its value as a historic site in the fight to abolish slavery. From old photos of the site provided by the Rensselaer Historical Society, we created an inflatable 1:1 scale reproduction of the church and will install it at the former site of the church, which is now a parking lot. We will be animating this ghost church through video projections that call forth the history of the site, as well as through the social context of a cultural event that will bring community members to the site to think more deeply about the space and its history.

Through our research we learned more about Henry Highland Garnet, the pastor of Liberty Street Church from 1843-1848. He was known around the world for his militant orations and publications calling on people to actively participate in the fight to end slavery. When we read Henry Highland Garnet's words from the 1840's: "Let your motto be resistance! resistance! resistance! No oppressed people have ever secured their liberty without resistance," we do not think they are dead words from a forgotten time - but a call, an urging, to participate in transforming our world now.

Spectres of Liberty is a project by Olivia Robinson, Josh MacPhee, and Dara Greenwald.

History / Pamphlet / Photos

Photo: Olivia Robinson

Thursday, April 24, 2008

La geografia esborrada de la Barceloneta

La Geografía esborrada de la Barceloneta



Passeja’t pel barri amb els teus auriculars, i deixa’t portar per les històries, imbueixe’t…

L’audio tour, és una saborosa barreja de veus, peces d’antigues cançons… el mar, les gavines… I explicacions obtingudes a través de la història oral del barri, acompanyades de deliciosos ar-pegis flamencs especialment composats per a l’ocasió. Tots els sons s’han obtingut, cuidadosament a la Barceloneta

VIDEO > Ruta por la Barceloneta desaparecida

La geografia esborrada, és un tour a través dels espais desapareguts del barri de la Barceloneta. Aquells que han estat emblemàtics, que han creat xarxes de solidaritat veïnals. És 1 projecte melancòlic, és un estat de turbulència i rebel.lió transitori, però no és 1 projecte purament regressiu i estancat en el passat. Vol saber sobre les seves arrels, vol llegir-les i sentir-les, vol explorar per reinventar, no pretèn idealitzar, vol obrir camins, portes….vol recordar, reimaginar…. Llegeix la història en diagonal, de principi a final, de final a principi, d’enmig cap amunt o cap avall. Cada espai que descobreix, és 1 nova font de circulació d’idees, formes i estructures que van connectant-se amb el reste de nuclis descoberts.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Public Space & Experimental Geography

Creative Time Presents: Interrogating Public Space

Interrogating Public Space is an ongoing series of interviews by Creative Time Curator Nato Thompson with artists, theorists, policy makers, and community organizers about the issues surrounding public space. These questions serve to complicate and broaden the notion of what constitutes a public practice and what mechanisms are available to increase social justice. As the study of space has grown to include multiple discourses, this investigation anticipates finding connecting issues that bring together disparate forms of analysis—from public housing to theme parks to public art to community organizing to interventions.

Ava Bromberg, February 2008

Fritz Haeg, July 2007

Experimental Geography: Interview with Nato Thompson (Lauren Cornell)

The term "Experimental Geography" was coined by artist Trevor Paglen in 2002 and has become an umbrella term for a diverse and quickly multiplying range of art practices. Fittingly, Experimental Geography was selected as the title for a new exhibition, curated by Nato Thompson, that explores "the distinctions between geographical study and artistic experience of the earth, as well as the juncture where the two realms collide (and possibly make a new field altogether)." The traveling show, supported by the organization Independent Curators International, features an international group of artists, all of whom have made important strides in this new field.

You Are Here

A two-day conference featuring contemporary artists and researchers working with mapping and tactical media

November 30 - December 1, 2007, Houston, Texas

Performances and lectures by Center for Land Use Interpretation, Matt McCormick, Institute for Applied Autonomy and Nato Thompson.

You Are Here- Nato Thompson from bree edwards on Vimeo.