Monday, March 2, 2009

Back to the Books

I'm back in NYC, after a week in LA for the CAA conference. I bounced there straight after Amsterdam, and talked about mapping projects I did with classes in Atlanta and Tampa. Re. occuprop, Atlanta is home to the long-lived group Mad Housers, centered around Georgia Tech, which builds shanty-style houses for homeless people where they are encamped. I also talked at the Public School, a very cool place for meeting and discussion. It is in a basement in Chinatown, off Chung King Road, where many art galleries are located. You reach it by going down an alley off a closed street, with restaurant staff at the back doors blowing reefer on their breaks -- very mysterious. The circle of politically engaged artists in California has greatly enlarged since the days of the “Cool School” of Pop artists. There was a party for Dara and Josh, who curated the great poster show "Signs of Change," which is now on tour. (Here it is in Pittsburgh, likely an ephemeral link.) There I ran into Ava Bromberg, who put together the swell “Just Spaces” show in LA in ‘07. The network of participants and bibliography of readings on that website remain an inspiration for anyone trying to work through cultural institutions to address these kinds of social justice issues.
Now begins the process of going over notes, and sorting through the materials brought back from Europe. Gradually the shape of the ABC show will emerge... now it is only something in mind, although it is already taking place in my dreams. (I bought a book on Belgian Surrealism at CAA, and find interesting Paul Nouge's theorization of absences -- that is exactly what this project is about, the absences or aporias of contemporary activism, the things not being done.) As I do this I will add those materials and reflections to this blog. But I am moving out of the realm of direct, on-site observation and conversation into a zone of more mediated considerations.
[image: Andrew Becraft's "Lego revolutionaries" series, Marx & Engels; it should be Hegel, for his "Philosophy of Right," but hey, they're just so cute!]

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