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Dancing Revolution: ’90s Protests Used Rave Culture To Reclaim The Streets

Thousands gathered on May 16, 1998 in Birmingham’s famous Bullring district, located in the city center. They were instructed to meet by the New Street Station subway stop and make their way towards the Bullring’s roundabout. The mood soon became nothing short of intoxicating as a roaring sound system hidden inside an ordinary car blasted techno to the masses. Fire eaters, drag queens, and clowns were normal amongst a crowd of lamppost climbers and stilt-tripod walkers filling up the streets, creating a gridlock of traffic that purged vehicles from the area and prevented drivers from coming in.

In Revolutionary Times, Are Art And Music Falling Short?

James Kennedy is a highly-regarded and accomplished Welsh singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who is best known for his political activism through his music. With a career spanning more than two decades, he has made a name for himself as a powerful voice in the music industry, using his platform to raise awareness about important issues and to advocate for social justice. James joins “Behind The Headlines” host Lee Camp for a full, hour-long interview today. James takes us on a journey through his musical career, discussing the ways in which politics has influenced his music, the challenges of being a political musician in today’s world, and the reasons behind his decision to use music as a tool for change. His music career began with a strong focus on political issues, with songs that explored topics such as inequality, social justice, and human rights.

Binna Choi Of The Casco Art Institute: Curating Art Through Commoning

Many years ago I was intrigued to learn of an art institute in the Netherlands, that formally declares its mission to be "working for the commons." That's how the Casco Art Institute in Utrecht presents itself to the world. Their tagline immediately raises questions about how exactly arts and commoning are related, and how an art institute might enter into the world of commoning. I decided to learn more by inviting Binna Choi, Director at the Casco Art Institute, to join me in a podcast conversation for Frontiers of Commoning (Episode #35). Binna, a native of South Korea who has led Casco since 2008, curates artistic work for major exhibitions and was a faculty member of the Dutch Art Institute. She has been a curator or artistic director for the Singapore Biennale 2022, the Gwangju Biennale 2016, and the upcoming Hawai'i Triennial 2025. Choi has brought the ethic and practices of commoning to the creation of art and its exhibition.

In 2022, Art Workers Continued To Unionize And Strike For Their Rights

Momentum for unions and unionization efforts in art museums, art institutions, and art schools continued in 2022, as workers bargained for better conditions, held strikes, and even ratified contracts. In the past decade, workers at large institutions like the New Museum, the Guggenheim Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, have formed unions. They’ve often sought higher wages, better job security, and a voice in institutional policies like safety protocols, and have typically joined groups like the Local 2110 Union of Auto Workers (UAW) and local councils of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). The continued unionization movement now includes non-tenure track arts faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Global South Artists Are Upending 72 Years Of CIA Influence On Art

His mouth is frozen in anguish, an infinite scream. His eyes bulge upward, overcome by horror, hands clutching his head. I cannot look away. His face is too forlorn, his backdrop too wretched. I inch toward the banner, dated 2005, which spans the full gallery wall. With my phone’s translation app, I make out some Indonesian text: “Iapa yang peduli dengan kejadian damai dan perang” — “who cares about the events of peace and war.” Surrounding these words are a contented crowd of children swinging from trees, farmers working fields, and musicians serenading their community. As I make my way across the drawing, people’s eyes deaden and hands rise to shield their faces. Behind them hangs a poster of George W. Bush with the words “remember weapons of mass destruction” and a string of skulls. Military tanks roll alongside UN vehicles. Bodies litter the ground.

Death Of An Oracle

The poet Gerald Stern, who died last Friday at the age of 97, spent his life thundering against the mendacity and abuse of power; rebelling against all forms of authority, big and small; defying social conventions; and wielding his finely honed writing on behalf of the demonized, forgotten and oppressed. He was one of our great political poets. Poetry, he believed, had to speak to the grand and minute issues that define our lives. He was outrageous and profane, often in choice Yiddish, French and German. He was incredibly funny, but most of all brave. Rules were there, in his mind, to be broken. Power, no matter who held it, was an evil to be fought. Artists should be eternal heretics and rebels. He strung together obscenities to describe poets and artists who diluted their talent and sold out for status, grants, prizes, the blandness demanded by poetry journals and magazines like The New Yorker, and the death trap of tenured professorships.

Climate Protestors Throw Tomato Soup On Iconic Van Gogh Painting

In perhaps their most controversial protest yet, two Just Stop Oil activists poured tomato soup on Vincent van Gogh’s famous “Sunflowers” painting in London’s National Gallery.  The gallery said the painting itself was not damaged because the canvass was protected by glass. The action comes as Just Stop Oil has been protesting in London for two weeks with a demand that the UK government stop all new oil and gas exploration.  “What is worth more, art or life?” 21-year-old demonstrator Phoebe Plummer said as she glued her hand to the wall below the painting. “Is it worth more than food? More than justice? Are you more concerned about the protection of a painting or the protection of our planet and people?”

Support Philadelphia Museum Of Art strike

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - Since Sept. 26, almost 200 workers have been on strike — not reporting for work in person or virtually — at one of the oldest and largest art museums in the U.S. with over 240,000 works of art from around the world. Members of the Philadelphia Museum of Art Union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 397, affiliated with AFSCME District Council 47, voted for union representation in a landslide, 89% “yes” vote in August 2020. Since then, the PMA Board of Trustees and executive management have refused to come to an agreement with the PMA Union. After over two years of fruitless talks, after filing a lengthy Unfair Labor Practice charge against museum management, after a strike authorization vote of 99% and after holding a one-day warning strike Sept. 16, workers finally walked off the job Sept. 26.

This Is Not A Drill’: The Music And Politics Of Roger Waters

Roger Waters, the British rock legend and co-founder of Pink Floyd, is in the midst of his “This Is Not A Drill” tour. In his concerts he weds his musical genius to the most pressing social issues of our day, including permanent war, police violence, the crimes of Israeli occupation against the Palestinians, the killing of the Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu Akleh, and the imprisonment of Julian Assange. Waters has been an outspoken opponent of the NATO-fueled war in Ukraine, and a vocal supporter of contemporary social movements such as the Water Protectors at Standing Rock and global protests against police violence from the United States to Brazil and Britain. He joins The Chris Hedges Report for a wide-ranging conversation: from his youth and musical career to the political worldview that undergirds his provocative ‘This Is Not A Drill‘ tour.

Without Culture, Freedom Is Impossible

In 2002, Cuba’s President Fidel Castro Ruz visited the country’s National Ballet School to inaugurate the 18th Havana International Ballet Festival. Founded in 1948 by the prima ballerina assoluta Alicia Alonso (1920–2019), the school struggled financially until the Cuban Revolution decided that ballet – like other art forms – must be available to everyone and so must be socially financed. At the school in 2002, Castro remembered that the first festival, held in 1960, ‘asserted Cuba’s cultural vocation, identity, and nationality, even under the most adverse circumstances, when major dangers and threats loomed over the country’. Ballet, like so many cultural forms, had been stolen from popular participation and enjoyment. The Cuban Revolution wanted to return this artistic practice to the people as part of its determination to advance human dignity. To build a revolution in a country assaulted by colonial barbarism, the new revolutionary process had to both establish the country’s sovereignty and build the dignity of each of its people. This dual task is the work of national liberation. ‘Without culture’, Castro said, ‘freedom is not possible’.

Furtherfield: The Power Of Art And Play In Imagining New Worlds

Here's a fanciful but almost-real scenario: the bees, squirrels, geese, bugs, trees, and other species of your local park have decided that they've had enough of human aggression and abuse. They're not going to take it anymore, and rise up and demand equal rights with humans. Through a series of interspecies assemblies, a treaty is negotiated to ensure that every living being in the local ecosystem can flourish. This scenario is a "live action role-playing" (LARP) game devised by Furtherfield, a London-based arts collective as part of its stewardship of part of the Victorian-era Finsbury Park. Over the next three years, Furtherfield is inviting humans to don masks and play the roles of each of seven species in negotiating "The Treaty of Finsbury Park 2025" -- the name of the project.

Why Activists Need Art To Create Social Change

“The Art of Activism: Your All-Purpose Guide to Making the Impossible Possible” by Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert compiles knowledge the authors have gleaned from training hundreds of activists and artists around the world over the last 12 years. Their main message? Because today’s political terrain is one of signs, symbols, stories and spectacles, activists must learn to operate in that cultural space if they hope to change the world. Although a free companion workbook is available for those looking to sharpen their practical skills, “The Art of Activism” is more than a nuts and bolts “how-to” guide. Duncombe and Lambert also deliver thought-provoking discussions on the theoretical underpinnings of artistic activism, drawing on fields as diverse as marketing, cognitive science and pop culture.

Preserving A People’s History Through Quilts

More than 600,000 people in the United States have died of coronavirus since the pandemic began, a number that is incomprehensible. Few people understand the magnitude of this loss more than 14-year-old Madeleine Fugate. Since April 2020, the eighth grader from California has spent her weekends constructing the Covid Memorial Quilt, a tribute to the casualties of the virus.

Nonprofit Arts, Culture Organizations Have Lost $17.3 Billion In Pandemic

IWhile hundreds of people in the US and 10,000 globally continue to die each day, American media outlets lose no opportunity to assure their viewers and readers that the pandemic is “over.” In fact, the suffering of the population continues, long- and short-term physical and economic suffering. For example, Feeding America reports that more than 50 million people in the US experienced food insecurity in 2020, up from 35 million in 2019, while more than 42 million face the same condition this year. A new study also indicates that one-third of Americans planning to retire now say the pandemic has delayed their retirement. Artists are faring badly, along with other vulnerable and unprotected portions of the population.

Art Against Drones

At the High Line, a popular tourist attraction in New York City, visitors to the West side of Lower Manhattan ascend above street level to what was once an elevated freight train line and is now a tranquil and architecturally intriguing promenade. Here walkers enjoy a park-like openness; with fellow strollers they experience urban beauty, art and the wonder of comradeship.
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