Saturday, February 27, 2010

Watching TV online

The snow in New York is heavy and persistent. The zine “House Magic” #2 is in the hands of the designer. I called it for “winter,” but now maybe better call it “Spring 2010” since it will not be PDF’d until next month. I am hopeful, but uncertain where the project goes from here. As a traveling exhibition, it is much to bear, and my resources are thinning. Still, I have been digging, digging in the subject, and will start more to present my findings here.
I watched another part of “In Between the Movements,” the video project by Martin Krenn, which is online. This was the discussion between Gerald Raunig and Krenn at WUK in Vienna, 2008, in German subtitled in English. (From the WUK website: “The autonomous cultural center WUK (short for Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus) in Vienna,” one of the biggest in Europe, “is rooted in the ideas and demands of the ‘70s for spaces to enable contemporary cultural activities.”) It begins with the a primer on Félix Guattari’s idea of transversality, which arose out of his observations on the structure of power in his mental clinic. Specifically, the concept seeks to identify a flow of power outside of vertical hierarchies and horizontal forces. (Are those charismas? Let’s face it, I still don’t get it.) Then Gerald and Martin trot through the free school of WUK, talking about the way that school worked democratically between the interests of teachers, parents and students.
From the contradictions of this school, Raunig talks then of the “rule of forced self-administration” – in order to participate, one must attend the meetings where decisions are made. This is a key part of “instituent practice,” the arising of movement-based institutions. He notes the divide between two Vienna squats, the autonomous Ernst Kirchweger Haus and the institutionalized WUK. These two are antagonists: one is “good” since it accords with revolutionary principles, whereas the other is “bad” since it accords with neo-liberal civic transformations. (And, in other contexts, e.g., Zurich, one is “good” because it plays by the rules, and the other is “bad” because it’s illegal, and therefore subject to state repression.)
Raunig wants to dissolve this dichotomy, to reconcile the two positions, so that both are seen as movements, as part of the “machinization” of Deleuze and Guattari. Good luck. The radical anarchist “position,” that “a movement without institutionalization exists,” is not really at odds with the position that small scale “civil society institutions” could exist, and then create the “big Other of institutions.” Rebels will always need lawyers. And without direct action, we wouldn’t have any autonomous spaces to embrace or resist institutionalization.
In other news, I learned via Krax of the Ljubljana OSC Metelkova Mesto, which is thoroughly integrated into the youth tourist infrastructure of clubs and hostels. (City Mine(d) plans a conference there.) Rozbrat in Poznan, Poland is facing mid-March sale of the land their OSC stands on after 16 years renovating and enlivening “wasteland” in that gentrifying city. And I stumbled upon the first 2007 issue of a Canadian e-zine called “Affinities: A Journal of Radical Theory, Culture, and Action,” which has articles on queer autonomous spaces, radical world building, Italy's Social Centers (by Steve Wright), Argentina’s worker-recovered enterprises movement, Zapatistismo in the U.S., and much more.

Martin Krenn, “In Between the Movements”


Rozbrat stays!

Affinities: Theory Culture and Action

Friday, February 19, 2010

Continental Drift jibber-jabber in L.A.

I have to post this. I am a fan... And this looks like a hardcore egghead slam jam on the Left Coast.
Continental Drift; Control Society/Metamorphosis with Brian Holmes
at the Public School in Los Angeles February 27 and 28th
Come down and participate in a two-day theory convergence, a “Continental Drift” seminar with the Paris and Chicago based theorist, Brian Holmes.
Though this Drift is situated on the West Coast in a time of University of California occupations and walkouts, it is connected to the budget cuts and "crisis" brought on by changing economies around the world and the emergence of a neoliberal control society over the past few decades. This drift aims to trace these situation and find ways for liberatory culture to supercede the moment.
1. The Continental Drift; Control Society/Metamorphosis
2. On Brian Holmes and the Drift
3. UC Strikes and Beyond
1. The Continental Drift; Control Society/Metamorphosis
Saturday, February 27 –Sunday, Feb. 28
@The Public School 951 Chung King Rd., Chinatown, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Join us for a mostly horizontal seminar conversation with Brian Holmes, UC strike Organizers and Academics and independent intellectuals.
day 1. 2/27- control society
12 pm: disassociation (psychological effects/desire)
facilitators: Liz Glynn and Marc Herbst
2 pm: financialization & the UC crisis
facilitators: Aaron Benanav and Zen Dochterman
4 pm occupation/ collective speech
facilitators: Cara Baldwin, Nathan Brown, Maya Gonzalez, Evan Calder Williams
7 pm: discussion day one
facilitators: Brian Holmes, Solomon Bothwell
day 2. 2/28- metamorphosis
12pm: Autonomous Space
facilitators: Hector Gallegos, Robby Herbst
2 pm:. Precarity
facilitators: Christina Ulke, Sean Dockray
4 pm: Brian Holmes Lecture
7pm: Sharable Territories/ Bifurcation
facilitators: Jason Smith, Ava Bromberg
Note: This is a collaboratively organized event. Organizers include Zen Doctherman, Cara Baldwin, Jason Smith, Sean Dockray, Liz Glynn, Solomon Bothwell, Christina Ulke, Marc Herbst, Robby Herbst.
2. On Brian Holmes and the Drift
Brian Holmes is an art critic, cultural theorist and activist, particularly involved with the mapping of contemporary capitalism.
An article Brian wrote that he asked to read in preparation for the drift:
Holmes on the UC Strikes:
Journal interview we did with him from issue 4:
Some publications by or with Brian Holmes:
The Drift has taken a variety of forms in its manifestations at 16 Beaver (2004-2006) in New York, through the Midwest’s Radical Culture Corridor (2008) and in Zagreb Croatia (2008)
Here is An interview with Brian Holmes from the first continental drift in NYC in 2004.
3. UC Strikes and Beyond
The Drift was independently organized though occurs in coordination with the
Beyond the UC Strikes working group.
The working group occured when folks who were participating in the strikes and talking about them
decided to meet up the the Los Angeles Public School to see what could be done.
We are promoting these linked events.
These are not specifically Journal events. The working group includes Organizers include Cara Baldwin, Solomon Bothwell, Micha Cardenas/Adzel Slade, Zen Dochterman, Sean Dockray, Ben Ehrenreich, Ken Ehrlich, Liz Glynn, Marc Herbst, Robby Herbst, Elle Mehrmand, Marko Peljhan, Kenneth Rogers, Jason Smith, Cybelle Tondu, Christina Ulke, Caleb Waldorf, Michael Wilson and Kim Yasuda.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Chicago Town

I am writing in the palatial Hostel International in Chicago,and the annual College Art Association conference is over. This is a great city, but the conference was strange. It is, as always, a heterodox assembly of artists and art historians, from the reddest revolutionary (intellectual, to be sure), to the most unreflexive treasurers of cultural capital. The latter have the upper hand, since those who honor the legacy of 19th and early 20th century scholar-dealer Bernard Berenson have all the money. (Berenson was an assiduous student of the Morellian method. Evolved as a means of identifying criminals and criminal “types,” Berenson used it to recognize the authorship of medieval and Renaissance painters. [I'm wrong on this: thinking of Cesare Lombroso; but the very adaptable Morellian method was linked to detective work.]) So we all wander around the Hyatt Hotel here, a giant, incomprehensibly mazelike, interconnected complex.
Chicago, though, is the locus of numerous significant political cultural projects, and the gang rallied around this year, producing a number of talking events inside and outside the convention. At the thick of it was the group Temporary Services, and the north Chicago space Mess Hall.
I was snowed into New York and so missed the “shadow session” In fact, I missed my own session on autonomous education initiatives and their relation to art institutions. My co-chair had to fill in. Everything went well, they say. I hope so. It was arduous getting here (late), and I have been basically exhausted for days… But for me these conventions are always fun. And, since I am teaching art history again, they are a source of renewal of that basic disciplinary intelligence, such as it is.
Meanwhile, the “House Magic” zine catalogue is in proof – although we bound it backwards, so the first run is pretty unimpressive! Maybe it will be a collectible someday.
The table of contents is as follows: 1) Introduction – More “House Magic” Tricks; 2) Reflecting on the “House Magic” Project; 3) Barcelona: Fighting for “Thousands of Homes”; 4) Michel Chevalier at ABC No Rio, 2; 5) Last Call Hamburg in New York (Frise Kunsthaus); 6) Vincent Boschma, The Autonomous Zone/de Vrije Ruimte (Amsterdam); 7) Bullet Space: “The Perfect Crime” (NYC); 8) Telestreet: Pirate Proxivision (Italy); 9) El Patio Maravillas Turns a Corner (Madrid); 10) Christiania: Survival of the Interesting; 11) Christiania: How They Do It and for How Long; 12) Scandinavian Bulletins; 13) NYC’s Picture the Homeless Goes to Budapest; 14) AK57, Budapest; 15) The Story of Villa Milada, Prague; 16) Rozbrat Squat, Poland; 17) Greek Bulletins; 18) rampART, London; 19) SQEK: Squatting Europe Research Agenda; 20) Andre Mesquita, Real-Time Action in Brazil.
I hope to have it printed by the end of the month. It may still happen – there is nothing much more to do but pay for it. Pretty much the same day it goes to press, the PDF will go online at the HM:BFC website. The archive show remains up at Basekamp in Philadephia (see previous post). No events are yet scheduled.
picture: the "key" in the Reuben Kincaid Realty office window, Bridgeport, Chicago, 5/09 (pic by me)