Occupy as Form: Thien Lam

The Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley is sponsoring the working session “Occupy as Form” on February 10, 2012. Participants have been invited to post some brief thoughts on the topic in advance of the event. This guest posting is by Thien Lam, Visual Arts Curatorial Assistant at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts.

Keyword: Reversal

Reversal presupposes a stratified society. A clear separation of classes, one enjoying more rights than the other, must have lasted for some time, and made itself felt in men’s daily life before the need for reversal arises. 

– Elias Canetti

With the rise and fall of corporate greed, the 99% collectivize in order to protest social and economic inequality and demand a shift in the distribution of wealth and systems regulating it. The very reversal that they insist upon can also be seen in the form they use to insist. Where the individual who stands, and who obtains the highest physical level, assumes the traditional position of power, in situations of group demonstrations the sit-in becomes a powerful tool of resistance. Further, during the Occupy movements, the act of lying down and setting up encampments rejects any passive connotations and instead conjures up notions of a unified strength.

One thought on “Occupy as Form: Thien Lam

  • Seth Holmes

    I appreciate your focus on the symbolic importance of body position in democracy and resistance and look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this.

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