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Museum as Hub: Projects for a Revolution in New York - Experiments in Collective Research and Action: Some Proposals

Public Programs

Museum as Hub: Projects for a Revolution in New York - Experiments in Collective Research and Action: Some Proposals

July 10 2010

PART I 12:45-3:15 p.m.
Benj Gerdes, Jennifer Hayashida, Dara Greenwald, Ona Mirkinson, Susan Rosenberg, Jesal Kapadia, Amin Husain, Nitasha Dhillon, and Patricia González

INTERMISSION 3:15-3:45 p.m.

PART II 3:45-5:30 p.m.
Karen Hakobian, Harout Simonian, Ignacio Rivera, Dacia Ray, Peppermint, Edgar Rivera, Emily Forman


PART III 5:45-7 p.m.
Lower East Side Squat And Land Reclamation Tour with Frank Morales
What do we mean by the word revolution today? Where are its potential arenas of explosion and suppression? Where to place New York in a context of revolutionary discourse, thought, or practice? How to begin to dismantle the blockages of our own imagination and the material blockages preventing social, political, body, and economic experimentation?

This program will span multiple formats of performance, lecture, conversation, screening, and a walk, providing an opportunity to collectively consider the contemporary political circumstances in which we find ourselves, while looking at specific contexts of research or work done by a group of artists, activists, and researchers over the last few months.

On April 15, a group of artists, agitators, and thinkers gathered at the New Museum to discuss the political challenges each foresaw in our contemporary context and the lived city. Moreover, they addressed the possibility of each engaging in some kind of militant research, locating a problem, finding a group of individuals to engage with in the city, and attempting to understand a situation more profoundly.

Organized by Programs for Research and Outreach (PRO) as part of the exhibition “Museum as Hub: In and Out of Context: REDUX,” this event shifts between elements of a seminar, performance, screening, lecture, discussion, spoken-word event, conversation, and encounter. Those involved include Ayreen Anastas, Emily Forman, Dara Greenwald, Jesal Kapadia, Rene Gabri, Benj Gerdes, Jennifer Hayashida, Karen Hakobian, and Harout Simonian, along with their collaborators and guests. The event migrates around issues such as immigration and work, political suppression and political prisoners, homelessness and housing, sex and transgender politics, and issues of political agency, autonomy, and education in contemporary New York.

Under the title “I am the Revolution? Desires, fears, and body politics,” Karen Hakobian and Harout Simonian attempt to challenge the boundaries of revolution and the revolutionary, both as process and as practice, and on a collective and individual level. They do so by bringing in those who act, think, talk, and appear revolutionary through sexuality, gender-transfer, and body analysis. For this they have invited Ignacio Rivera, a transgender activist and sex educator; Peppermint, a renowned drag queen; Dacia Ray, a sex worker and activist; and Edgar Rivera, an anthropologist at Columbia University.

Dara Greenwald and Ona Mirkinson explore questions concerning political repression in New York by looking at the activity of militant care as expressed through writing, visiting, and advocating for political prisoners. Through discussions on the links between the repression of today with the repression of the movements of the ’60s and ’70s, they examine its influence on current feelings of fear surrounding political speech and action. Former political prisoner and writer Susan Rosenberg will participate in the discussion.

Jesal Kapadia collaborated with her students Amin Husain, Nitasha Dhillon, and Patricia González, and together they have invited MTL, a new organization in New York City to speak about its work and vision for the future. On the cusp of a truly interconnected global world, where rapid change is the norm, MTL is actively engaged in the business of radical reeducation and proliferation of an infinite platform of ideas to facilitate change.

Benj Gerdes and Jennifer Hayashida will discuss immigration struggles in light of the Lower East Side’s history and present anti-immigration legislation in Arizona and elsewhere. They will address immigrants’ rights struggles in relationship to the creation of cross-ethnic solidarity networks, as well as the generation of new tactics attuned to transnational flows of people and capital in border as well as non-border states. This research and discussion will culminate in their project “Postcards to AZ,” to launch at the New Museum Block Party on July 24 between 12 and 5 p.m.

Emily Forman will lead a discussion about post-capitalist urban transformation strategies. Ideas generated collectively will inform her design for a landscape chest tattoo that envisions the reclamation of an LA freeway overpass. After the event at the museum, we will continue the discussion around urban reclamation, abandoned infrastructure, and relative autonomy with a special tour of the Lower East Side squats, led by Frank Morales of Picture the Homeless. For those who will be unable to join the Lower East Side Squat And Land Reclamation Tour on Saturday, there will be an additional tour scheduled for Sunday, July 18, at 3 p.m.

Ayreen Anastas and Rene Gabri and a few guests will intervene between each session and involve the public in narrating and thinking through some of the questions brought up over the course of the day.