On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Dee Hibbert-Jones, Associate Professor of Art & Digital Arts New Media, UC Santa Cruz.
On Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactic
“.. all talk of hope is idle unless it is pulled out of the jaws of the brutality which globalization has produced.”*
As the anniversary of the start of the Occupy movement rolls around and becomes historicized in exhibitions (at least at YBCA, San Francisco) a feeling of overwhelm overcomes me, which is almost, but not quite hopelessness. There is something overwhelming about the idea of shifting past the initial enthusiasm of utopian possibilities, the desires to increase freedoms. And I start to wonder as a good idea gets older how do we push on through inertia, the uphill struggle to sustain, establish and forge possibilities? How exactly do gestures of resistance so powerful and empowering translate into ideas of universal healthcare, social equality, fair-minded tax policies and equitable banking polices, or even shift to become key issues that last in the minds and hearts of a public?
The fact that a certain group of artists have been turning their attention to notions of infrastructure, self care, utopian visions for change or repair of public space, social space and environmental space has been a source of incredible excitement to me, and hope. How long the art word will focus to any extent on this work is questionable, of course. Tactics for dissolving the inequities of “we” and “they” do demand creative solutions, especially in a global economy and a country in economic decline. As transnational and transurban activist movements emerge whose cellular qualities , outsider character and lack of clear cut mandate will possibly help us pursue visions of equity and access. Maybe the possibilities for collectivism within creative practices hold keys to our future, in ways that will help sustain us as Occupy ages?
* Arjun Apadurau
Fear of Small Numbers; an essay on the Geography of Anger, Duke University Press 2006