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"Get Reay for Changing" German Pirate party. Photo: Clemens Bilan / dapd

"Get Ready for Change" German Pirate Party vote during their party convention in Neumuenster, northern Germany, Saturday, April 28, 2012. Photo: Clemens Bilan / dapd

It’s quite simple, but I never thought of it like that before. The pirate is basically the direct action arm of the Commons. They liberate items in corporate enclosures and share it with the people. They do not profit from it, they just simply ask that you inturn do the same and ‘seed it‘. It is up to the public to manage it and safe guard it from further enclosures. Currently, it should be noted, that in capitalist countries where “intellectual property” is guarded by the law, the pirates practice is still illegal.

So, how to make this legal? How to find a system that will be based on community trust, mutual aid, and reciprocity that would allow the sharing of knowledge and culture within a community? In a recent article Aljazeera’s Michael Bowens suggest the next step is the forming of a new coalition of sorts between commoners, pirates, and others like the green party, citing Germany as the place where this coalition is evolving:

However, a third moment in the evolution of a new social movement and culture is always inevitable. It is the moment when of discovery: in order to ensure their survival and development, political power is vital. It’s not enough to create new institutions on the margins of society; more effective defence mechanisms against the constant attacks of the dominant powers are a vital necessity. - A German Pirate Party could bring a European coalition by Michael Bowens

I guess vying for political power to eventually legalize the releasing of knowledge and cultural commons is one way to get things done, and for a society that sees politics as the center of social organization, this makes sense. But for others it is perhaps the opposite, the withdraw from politics and a move back to the idea of community and individual responsibility. No political proxies. That’s at least the another tactic that isn’t discussed in this article.

Going down the list of organizations that according to Michael Bowen are forming a part of this new ‘coalition of the commons.’ I find it refreshing that he recognizes the thread of the commons within each group: pirates for intellectual & cultural commons, the green party for environmental commons, labor and social justice groups for an freedoms/labor commons. The final and fourth player in this coalition for Bowen is the Social Liberal parties, this again backs up my argument that this politically centric tactic that I’d hope we could do with out, but I guess some people still think we are still dependent on lobbyist,  liberals entrepreneurs, together with a dash of technocrats and bureaucrats to test and check things off.

Read the full article on Aljazeera:
A German Pirate Party could bring a European coalition by Michael Bowens April 19, 2012.
[Last retrieved April 30, 2012]

Image above from:
Pirate party makes a raid on German politics by Juergen Baetz/Associated Press April 28. 2012
[Last retrieved April 30, 2012]

People who occupy - a video by Kristyan Geyr, October 2011

Back in October 2011, about 20 days into the the occupation down on Wall Street, The Arts & Culture working group and Loft in The Red Zone of the NYC General Assembly held a pop-up exhibition called “No Comment” in the heart of Wall Street. This is a video shot by Kristyan Geyr, an artist who flew over from Berlin to capture the moment. I link to this video because it gives more emotional space to the interviewees, a space where different emotions can surface without having to compete with the noise and visuals around them. People start to be real again, breaking the cartoon-like distortion that tv news clips have on the occupiers.

PostScript:
I found this link to the still images of occupiers taken by Kristyan Geyr during this period.. See anyone familiar?

Truama 1-11: Stories About the Copenhagen Free University and the surrounding society in the last ten years

front cover: Truama 1-11: Stories About the Copenhagen Free University and the surrounding society in the last ten years

“In 2010 the Heise and Jakobsen received a letter from the Ministry of Science noting them that if they ever wanted to conduct educational activities under name the Copenhagen Free University it would be breach a new law outlawing self-organised universities.”

Rare little booklets containing intimate stories like these are usually very valuable. This one Trauma 1-11  about the Copenhagen Free University looks particularly interesting especially with the word trauma in the title, and not bad for $2 from Half Letter Press. I am assuming there are some personal perspectives in here that might help balance the hear-say about the Copenhagen Free University. Actually, I don’t know many people who even speak about this University, besides what I read online. The last time I had a chance to read stories from the inside of a progressive art school was when I was reading Kunst Lehren/Teaching Art from the Stadschile Frankfurt/Main in 2008. During this time there was a whole explosion in discussions, panels, presentations, etc re-examining Art Academies. Which now, looking back at that moment, there was much talk but very little action, most people involved actually clung to their pay-per-knowledge colleges and universities, and now it is business as usual, even the more radical artists are teaching at the most expensive MFA programs to make matters worse. Since then Universities have realized that radical art teachers, once a nuisance to deal with, can actually increase enrollment $$, and as desperate as they are to stay afloat in NYC, they are really only radical in theory.

Anyhow, it’s summer vacation now for all students in America. Time to think about the student loans and the reality of the economy. I hope that the Fall brings some new ideas to the never ending want of a free university system, with MFAs in NYC averaging about $65,oooUSD, we’re along way from that reality. Occupy Student Debt Campaign, anyone?

——

Post Script: Anyone heard about a similar Free University of New York, held in a 14th Street loft in the East Village (1965) ? According to this personal account from Roy Licker (scroll to bottom for FUNY), it lasted only a couple of years, citing hidden Marxist motives from a very controlling management team among other things,  I’m still looking for some intimate accounts, like these.

 

 

“The crisis of urbanism is worsening. The construction of neighborhoods, old and new, is obviously at variance with established modes of behavior, and all the more so with the new ways of life we seek. As a result, we are surrounded by a dull and sterile environment.

“In old neighborhoods, the streets have degenerated into highways, and the leisure is commercialized and adulterated by tourism. Social relations there become impossible. Newly built neighborhoods have only two themes, which govern everything: traffic circulation and household comfort. They are the meager expressions of bourgeois happiness and lack any concern for play” – Constant Nieuwenhuis, International situationiste 3 (December 1959) pp. 37-40

RE-INSCRIBING THE CITY:

Unitary Urbanism today.

A vizKult panel discussion held In conjunction with The 5th Annual NYC Anarchist Book Fair

Saturday April 9th 4:15-5:45pm

Judson Memorial Church (balcony)
55 Washington Square South
New York City, NY

In the late 50s up until about the end of the 60s a group of artist known as the Lettrist/Situationist International (LI/SI) made a desperate attempt to re-inscribe the city so that it’s inhabitants could break free from the bleak urban routine of work and consumption. During this period several strategies were developed under the name of Unitary Urbanism. This panel reflects on the historical importance of these strategies in order to critically examine how they relate to their own work and the possible uses within society today.

MODERATOR: Antonio Serna
PANELIST: Ethan Spiglan, Adeola Enigbokan, Dillon De Give, Blake Morris, The Walk Study Group, and Wilfried Hou Je Bek (via skype)

 

BIOGRAPHIES

Ethan Spigland received an M.F.A. from the Graduate Film Program at New York University, and a maitrise from the University of Paris VIII under the supervision of Jean-Francois Lyotard and Gilles Deleuze. He has made numerous films and media works including: Luminosity Porosity, based on the work of architect Steven Holl, Elevator Moods, featured in the Sundance Film Festival, and The Strange Case of Balthazar Hyppolite, which won the Gold Medal in the Student Academy Awards.

Adeola Enigbokan. Artist, researcher, writer and teacher based in New York City. Her work is about the experience of living in cities today. Her work has been presented in several diverse venues: at the ConfluxCity Festival, Anthology Film Archive in New York, The Royal Institute for British Architects, London and the Van Leer Institute, Jerusalem. She teaches courses in Urban Studies, Media Studies, Sociology and Anthropology at several universities in New York City. Currently she is completing a doctorate in Environmental Psychology at the City University of New York. Website: http://archivingthecity.com

Dillon de Give started Lah an annual walking project that commemorates the spirit of Hal, a coyote who appeared in Central Park in 2006 and died shortly after being captured by authorities. Lah illustrates how a coyote might find its way into Manhattan with a reverse human journey out of the city: a hike retracing a potential coyote-like path through greenspaces. Citing examples of juvenile coyotes that have made long dispersal trips, the walk averages around 50-60 miles. Website: implausibot.com

Blake Morris uses walking as a core way to engage ideas and space, and also to create community. His last project was a yearlong exploration of the public works of Robert Moses, called The [Robert Moses] Walk Project, which resulted in over 50 walks throughout the NYC area. He also created the [untitled] Walk Project, and is working on Walking up an Appetite, an exploration of walking, food and technology. Currently his work can be seen at the Superfront gallery in LA, as part of Detroit: A Brooklyn Case Study.

The Walk Study Group is New York City walking group formed by Blake Morris and Dillon De Give. Each week case studies of strategic walking practice and theory in art, politics, ecology, and philosophy, are combined with specific short walks. The course will result in an understanding both theoretical and practical and culminates with a group walk constructed by the class for the public. Website: http://www.implausibot.com/walkstudy

William Hou Je Bek Wilfried is a ‘culture hacker’ who develops generative psychogeography. Inspired by concepts of drift (dérive) from Romanticism and, later, the Situationists around Guy Debord, Wilfried uses algorithmic routes to explore a city in non-intuitive ways. Hou Je Bek organizes dérives, where people walk through a city by taking computer code as a guideline, using the body as a means to perform software. Website: http://cryptoforest.blogspot.com

Antonio Serna is an artist living and working in New York. With art as his tool, he is constantly comparing and contrasting the human construct of progress with the animal instinct of survival. The results of which have been exhibited in New York, Spain, Mexico, The Netherlands, and Texas. Antonio has also taught and lectured at Parsons School of Design, St. Johns University, and at Brooklyn College as a teaching fellow. Outside of his studio, Antonio Serna enjoys rummaging through the social anthropology of art and visual culture. Website: http://www.antonioserna.com

 

Optional Texts:

October issue 79: Guy Debord and the Internationale situationniste [PDF 7.8mb]
A Special Issue. Guest editor, Thomas F McDonough. Winter 1997
table of contents:
Rereading Debord, Rereading the Situationists – Thomas F. McDonough
Why Art Can’t Kill the Situationist International – T.J. Clark and Donald Nicholson-Smith
AsgerJorn’s Avant-Garde Archives – Claire Gilman
Angels of Purity – Vincent Kaufmann
Lefebvre on the Situationists: An Interview – Kristin Ross (1983)
Situationist Texts on Visual Culture and Urbanism: A Selection:
Guy Debord – One More Try If You Want to Be Situationists (The S.I. in and against Decomposition)
Guy Debord – Theses on the Cultural Revolution
Mich̬l Bernstein РIn Praise of Pinot-Gallizio
Constant Nieuwenhuis – Extracts from Letters to the Situationist International
Editorial Notes: Absence and Its Costumers
Editorial Notes: The Sense of Decay in Art
Constant Nieuwenhuis – A Different City for a Different Life
Editorial Notes: Critique of Urbanism
Editorial Notes: Once Again, on Decomposition
Raoul Vaneigem - Comments Against Urbanism
Editorial Notes: The Avant-Garde of Presence
Th̩o Frey РPerspectives for a Generation

In Conversation Raoul Vaneigem – Hans Ulrich Obrist, e-flux article 62, 2009 [PDF 1.1]

 


About vizKlut: This panel is part of vizKult, a loose band of artist and writers exploring the ‘cult of vision’. This group explores the ways in which the visual operates in our society and the mechanism which manufacture, shape, and control the world around us. In this sense VizKult’s emphasis is on the process rather than the products of our contemporary visual condition. http://www.vizkult.org

Additionally, in conjunction with the 5th Annual NYC Anarchist Book Fair, vizKult is presenting DISCRETE POWER, a group exhibition on display during the book fair weekend. Opening reception April 9th, from 6-8pm on the Judson Church balcony. For more info visit: http://www.vizkult.org/propositions/discretepower and http://www.anarchistbookfair.net

 

Jan Gossart, Portrait of a Man

Jan Gossart, Portrait of a Man, ca. 1520–25

I would have thought that the covering of history, whether true of false, was a thing of the past. For a recent exhibition Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance at the Metropolitan Museum, a restoration paints over a coat of arms that is falsely attributed to this Gossart portrait. Not only does it cover a certain history, it also affects the composition of the painting, creating a dense shadow on the right of the painting. But we’ll have to see it in person to be sure.

More info in the video: