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Occupy Wall Street Journal - January, 2013  Hurricane Sandy (Front)

A limited edition of The Occupy Wall Street Journal by vizKult is one of many zines being donated to The Way the Lights Went Out: A Hurricane Sandy Zine Benefit for The Ali Forney Center, a New York based organization which provides housing to homeless LGBT youth. Some of  Ali Forney Center’s facilities were damaged when Hurricane Sandy touched down in the New York City area on October 29th, 2012. More info about the benefit below.

The Occupy Wall Street Journal - (back) Arts & Kulture section with Alternative Economies

The back-page of new edition of The Occupy Wall Street Journal is a call to invigorate Alternative Economies in the face of rebuilding of communities affected by Sandy. The issue also puts a shout out to all the art related groups doing alternative economies work, including Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies  subgroup and their new guide What Do We Do Now? to be distributed in 2013.

The Way the Lights Went Out: A Hurricane Sandy Zine Benefit (Facebook Invite)
Zine Reading and Sale Benefit
Wednesday January 9, 7pm
Blue Stockings Bookstore
172 Allen Street, NYC

READERS:
Kate Angell (My Feminist Friends, A Thousand Times Yes)
Jamie Varriale Vélez (Sinvergüenza)
Jenna Freedman (Lower East Side Librarian, Barnard Zine Library)
James Aviaz (Everything is Fucked, Everything is OK)

ZINE DONORS:
Stranger Danger Zine Distro, Kathleen McIntyre (The Worst), Lauren Denitzio (Get it Together), Kate Wadkins (International Girl Gang Underground), For the Birds Collective, Kate Angell, Amber Dearest (Fight Boredom Distro, The Triumph of our Tired Eyes), Maranda Elizabeth (Telegram), PonyBoy Press, Aimee Lusty (Booklyn, Pen15 Press), Amanda Stefanski, Jami Sailor (Your Secretary), Jordan Alam (The Cowation), Alycia Sellie (Brooklyn College Zine Library), Cindy Crabb (Doris), Natty Koper & Sivan Sabach (Bangarang This), Chella Quint (Adventures in Menstruating), Shawn Smith (Black Lesbians in the 70s Zine), Elvis Bakaitis (Homos in Herstory), Sarah Rose (Tazewell’s Favorite Eccentric, Once Upon a Distro), Maud Pryor (Marmalade Umlaut), vizKult.

Facebook Invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/138515892968167

PS. Another group devastated by Hurricane Sandy was the immigrant community of New York, who in some cases did not qualify for aid despite being valuable members of our communities. Sandy Relief for Immigrants, a online donation page has be made by La Union, OWS Making Worlds and others, please spread the word and donate here.

vizKult has proposed the initiative of publishing “The Occupy Wall Street Journal” at the occupation of Wall Street which began Sept 17.  The proposal was presented to the Arts & Culture committee  on September 26th. That meeting was an interesting,  power players and cultural gate keepers like Creative Time and The Yes Men have flocked to the fest… The announcement of the “The Occupy Wall Street Journal” was quickly picked up by the press. I wondered if anyone sent out press releases? So far the  New York Times, New York Magazine, The Village Voice , The New York Observer have all covering the story, albeit incorrectly crediting many journalistic renegades and even looping The Yes Men into this.

If you are interested in participating in this initiative please contact x_vizkult.org

I picked up a couple of books to donate tonight to the people at Books Through Bars. I rummaged through a couple of dollar bins at Strand for these… After doing a quick search for book reviews on these titles it turns out that these are decent selections, I actually wanted to keep a couple of these for myself and had to reason myself out of it. I’ve access to so much literature via the New York Public Library System that is shouldn’t hold back from donating anything I come across.

Books through Bars is an organization that helps to fill prisoner request for books. There are splinters of this core idea throughout the US. I actually thought they were connected to the Books Through Bars branch in Philadelphia… But it turns out the Books Through Bars organization here in New York is only related through concept and nothing else. I meet some of the people from the NY group, some of who were also connected with the Prisoner Reading Encouragement Program and I plan to eventually learn more into how they function.

In case anyone is thinking about donating to a local books for prisoners program, it’s good to know what is on top of the request list. Photos of my used book selections that I felt met most of the requirements are beneath this list:

* African-American history, especially 20th century
* Native American history
* Latin American history
* Radical politics
* Social sciences and psychology
* Dictionaries, thesauruses, and Spanish-English dictionaries
* Learning world languages
* How-to (drawing, chess, sign language…)
* Mayan and Aztec history
* Memoirs and fiction by people of color
* Mythology
* Poetry anthologies



Red Power: The American Indian’ Fight for Freedom by Alvin M. Josephy, Jr. Published by McGraw-Hill Paperback. This is an earlier addition published in 1971. There is a newer expanded addition.

Kara Walker, An Army Train, 2005

The first task of the colonizer is to map out the land. To cut it up, make it easier to negotiate.

It’s a curious thing that the idea of the colonizer popped into my head yet again at the New Museums’ lecture series. The first time was when Kara Walker made a proposition about the painter as the colonizer, the painting the colonized. I didn’t contribute to the discussion, but I had very strong feelings about her presentation, specifically because in evolving from the metaphor of a painting as being colonized, nobody brought up, or had the courage to bring up the idea of history, specifically in her work, as what is being colonized -the body that is bought and sold. This makes Walker the colonizer, claiming so boldly what is “hers”. Why didn’t anyone put this question forward?

And now today I am reminded again, of the colonizers and their “maps” when Hans Ulrich Obrist spoke about “Maps for the 21st Century”, spoke about his latest project. Though the idea of the colonizer isn’t as heavy and as direct as in Kara’s predicament, it’s still an interesting angle to see it from. First of all the “Maps” project is customary of Hans Ulrich’s process, that is to say it has been mapped-out before, most recently with his “Formulas for Now” book. It all begins with one idea, a minimal idea, this sets off a whole chain of events: idea/minimal guideline -> a call to the top artist -> artist respond -> eventually a show -> then a book, next project. It’s seems very complete and contained, which, despite the fact that he did mention some ideas never make it that far an others go on, has a life span and follows a well known route, it is mapped. But does it have to be? (…more on the map, what is a map and what is not, later)

The first map showing the Americas by Martin Waldseemuller, 1507

According to Hans Ulrich Obrist the initial idea for these projects does come from an unmapped terrain, in his introduction he spoke about the Oulipo Group and how their experiments in writing were an inspiration for the way he sets up his curatorial projects. And that he was also interested in this element chance, that sometimes these experiments can fail, see his “Experiment Marathons” project. So why is it starting to feel very mapped out? I wonder if it has anything to do with the “colonizer” aspect. That value is a big part of this picture, that creating culture, or converting culture to value has a lot to do with how far his projects get. So everything has to be mapped out, no unpredictable names in his books. Chance was a lie, it’s getting harder for his projects to fail. Museums and publishers bank on this. It all get’s checked off rather methodically.

Before I go on I have to say that -if you don’t know this already- Hans Ulrich Obrist uber-prolific, it is beyond human the amount of books, projects, shows, events, that he has put-out or helped with or whatever. I heard a rumor that he only sleeps 4 hrs a night- yeah, that kind of a guy. And of this output, I really only know of about a sliver of it. I probably can’t even imagine all that has worked on, both realized and unrealized, (see his “Unbuilt Roads” project). I can almost bet that there must be a handful of his projects that shatter my “colonizer/map” thesis here.

None the less, I have to say, that if a curator of the 21st century wants to take the role of the instigator -as if artists no longer have the capacity and power to do so- then he/she should be willing to go as far as an artist to see that these ideas get pushed beyond their expected life, beyond what is on the map. Just as the world asks the artist to be brave and stand outside of their comfort zone-even if it means starvation, so then too an artist can ask the same of curators, critics, and museums. Much like we found the work of Henry Darger – pages and pages of exploration into his world- so should we find of a curator of the 21st century.(Alright, I’ve already been getting comments that Darger isn’t the best example for what I’m trying to say, if there is a better one let me know. Or if it comes to me later, I’ll revise this post.)

Henry Darger's Studio, photo by Lerner, 1972

An example of a Hans Ulrich Obrist project that I thought broke the mold was a project that sounded courageous, but not in an overly heroic way like his marathons, but rather courageous in it’s simple gesture. His Brutally Early Club is a salon style event that happens all over London- simple as that, the brutal aspect is that it happens at 6:30AM -which I think is great, not because I’m a wanna be morning person, but because I think it’s important to get that out of the way, just before going into the studio, not after. Night events have the tendency to drag on, or morph into some dunken dance party. So what of the night artist? Guston and all those Ab-Ex-Men? Simple, they can stay up working all night and come to The Brutally Early club afterward, go home sleep, repeat. Another big plus is the sunrise, when was the last time you saw the sun rise?

“I always have coffee and porridge for breakfast. My breakfast happens very early, at 6.30am, because I wake up early. I founded a club, which is called the Brutally Early Club. It’s basically a breakfast salon for the 21st century where art meets science meets architecture meets literature. The reason why I decided to do my club at 6.30am in different cafés, which are open so early, is because in 21st-century cities it’s become very difficult to improvise. Everybody has a schedule and it becomes really difficult to decide from one day to the next to gather for a meeting. You have to plan it weeks and weeks in advance. It’s so important to have improvisation in cities. Most people are free at 6.30, so that’s the idea of the Brutally Early Club and I have done it ever since I moved to London.” -from The Q&A: Hans Urich Obrist at MoreIntelligentLife.com.

I noticed on The Brutally Early Club website that they have one in New York City. Anyone know where that is? Or want to establish a New York chapter with me?

Consumed,Repurpose-Driven Life – NYTimes.com
“America’s shopping infrastructure is vast and abundant. That’s the problem.”

The above is an article in the New York Times about the shopping mall crisis in the USA mentions the photography of Julia Christensen (above) which documents the conversions of big-box stores in the Big Box Reuse book and BigBoxReuse website and a new book with research on the phenomenon called “Retrofitting Suburbia,” by Ellen Dunham-Jones…

A similar book worth mentioning is Rem Koolhaas and his students’ work at Harvard called “The Harvard Guide to Shopping” …if you can get your hands on a copy. $112 and up on Amazon. [We happened to read the intro to Koolhass' "S, M, L, XL" in Vito Acconci's "Aesthetics of Information class" (Spring 08) and we also read a criticism of his books by Hal Foster in Siebren Versteeg's "Workshop in Design History" (Spring 08)]

In regards to re-purposing and mix-use space, here is a film by an artist friend of mine Hatuey Ramos-Fermin, which documents a special mix-use space in Holland.

Coexistence: “Since the year 2000 this Latin American migrants pentecostal church shares their worship space with a ping pong club in Amsterdam. Each weekend they transform the space.”

Finally, this is a great little guide book from architects Atelier Bow-Wow in Japan called “Made in Tokyo“… It’s an index of all the uniqueness of Tokyo’s architectural condition: very little space…

This CBS news clip I found on the site of Sanford L. Smith’s website got me thinking about the future, the year 2013 to be exact. I was wondering what shape the New York Armory Art Fair will be like when it turns 100. The clip is a 1988 report on the 75th Anniversary of the Armory Art Fair. In the clip is another older clip of the 50th Anniversary with a few words from Marcel Duchamp (seen below as the fuzzy gray figure in front of the Nude Decending a Staircase No.2).

The Armoury Show 1988- CBS segment
left: 50th Anniversary of the Armory Art fair, and right, it’s 75th Anniversary.

By the way, there is also an interview with the 75th anniversary event organizer Sanford L. Smith, who is also the organizer of the Art20, Modernism, The Outsider Art Fair (mentioned below), Works on Paper, and The New York Antiquarian Book Fair.

Dexter Sinister site If you missed Ryan Gander and Stuart Bailey’s events in this month’s Performa 07 (“Loose Associations Lecture v.1.1″ reading at Drawing Center, or the radio performance of “Appendix Appendix” on WFMU) You’ll be happy to know that their radio performance is online now as a mp3 from the Dexter Sinister site. We attended the radio listening party at Home Sweet Home but it was hard to concentrate with the noise from the bar, not to mention they had what looked like very retro radio’s and small speakers.

“Appendix Appendix” is an exploration of many things, art, design, philosophy, and more within the format of a TV series via a TV script. The radio performance for Performa is the 1st Pilot episode in the series. I think they are really shopping the script around for possibly actually producing the show.

“Appendix Appendix” mp3 page on Dexter Sinister