Artists featured: Alice O’Malley, Dread Scott, Michelle Dizon, Alessandro Gagliardo, David Horvitz & Ed Steck, Loulou d’Aki, Kuba Ryniewicz, Angela S. Beallor, Ruti Sela, Will Steacy, Elaine Angelopoulos, fierce pussy, and Devin Kenny.
In the magazine copy my introduction, "Protest: not a history," also features photographs by Jeremy Ayers, Jessi Bautista, Celeste Dupuy-Spencer, Dara Greenwald, Kate Huh, and Naeem Mohaiemen.
Protest: not a history
October 31, 2011
dedicated to Dara Greenwald (1971-2012)
I am reading this magazine with one foot in Liberty Square and one foot in Zucotti Park. Turning pages on protest past, personal and political, protest past. Turning pages of performance, presence and resistance. These pages flipping between the symbolic of Liberty Square and the real of Zucotti Park. and yes, the real of Liberty and the symbolic of Zucotti (1). Protest doesn't have any fixed signifiers, a tool of all teams, but in this case, I am asking the symbolic of Liberty Square to be the ingenuity in the works and processes of these pages. We made a photography magazine about Protest, but really we are making a document that pages between past and present, because we are making a photography magazine about Protest NOW.
It is happening.
Seneca Women's Peace Encampment 1983, Manila, the Philippines 2008, A Polish forest in 1998, Italy 1991, a performance in Harlem 2010. An AIDS die-in, 1995.
These images were made and collected from disparate moments in history from which we could only imagine, couldn't even imagine, that this era would look like it does right now, in flux. Tahrir Square. Liberty Square.
Tunis, Athens, Madrid, Cairo, London
Cairo and Tel Aviv to Athens, Madison, Madrid, and now New York
Oakland and Boston and Los Angles, Tokyo, Tripoli
Tunis, Tel Aviv, Madison, Madrid, Cairo, all over Syria, and now New York
What took you so long? was echoed into the caverns of Wall Street.
With the submissions in hand and the magazine taking shape I kept thinking about news - reflections of our contemporary moment, photographs from the global uprisings that have been changing the world all year. I had a desire for this historical moment to be included in these pages amongst artists' and photographers' reflections on the many facets of protest. Our world is filled with images of protest, it is the news now, it is what I instinctually want to see. This moment, my urgency. News-ness I was calling it, the networked, circulated, aggregated, forwarded, shared body of images that are a significant part of how I understand what is happening now. My news and news-ness is a kind of foraging, and part of this moment is my voracious looking.
News-ness, in as much as it is about searching and sources, is also a critical palimpsest, and that is the relationship I'd like to draw between the formal body of Capricious Protest and this textual body. Layering the artists' process, historicization, abstracted politics, performance and questions of representation with the gravity of news the gravity of now. This collection, cover to cover, the formal and the form, local and abstract, carries this moment.
Holding the images of protest past, it has weight in my hand.
And when I've turned the last page I will turn on my heels and drop this collection into The People's Library (2).
It is happening.
And now the local, my searching - what brought us to this moment of movement. Has this protest become a movement? There is conflict. There are teams of mediators patrolling the Occupation. OWS is providing services - free food, legal help, direct action training, haircuts as political theatre. Messaging is diverse and coalitions have been formed. Independent groups have been organizing lectures, speeches and teach-ins. The area is being occupied by diverse groups invested in building a movement.
It is happening.
I don't want to hide the jubilation I feel at the hope of a new era. I feel invigorated and inspired. A pleasure of these weeks has been the intensity and frequency of conversations about what's going on. I have been talking sincerely about what I am willing and able to risk. I feel indebted to people and organizations who have been laying the groundwork for a movement to tap into.
These interspersed images are from searching my network. Images shared 1,716 times, un-authored. Photographs taken by protesting artists. Pictures a friend of a friend took with a cell-phone, in that moment grabbing the nearest maker.
You should be here.
1. For those who did not read NEWS in the Fall of 2011, Zucotti Park, in lower Manhattan, was renamed Liberty Square by the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) movement. Zucotti Park is a privately owned space designed for public use, a stipulation of zoning and building permits. This technicality is a significant reason the encampment has not been removed as it has in several other allied occupations.