about the active role of design and art for social change
To kick off our new talk series DESIGN ART ACTIVISM, Gavin Grindon, co-curator of the current exhibition DISOBEDIENT OBJECTS at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, and Artúr van Balen, co-founder of the activist artist group TOOLS FOR ACTION, which is featured in the exhibition, will talk about activist art and design objects of the past 100 years.
Talks and discussion: 12 November 2014, 7pm
Gavin Grindon is lecturer in contemporary art and curating at the University of Essex. He is currently preparing a history of activist art, and has published academic articles in Art History, Oxford Art Journal and Third Text. He has also been a participant in the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination and co-authored “A User‘s Guide to Demanding the Impossible“ (2011). In his talk, he will discuss the process of creating the exhibition DISOBEDIENT OBJECTS – many of the objects on display have never been in a museum before and will return to active use afterwards – and its critical engagement with the current vogue for activist art exhibitions.
Artúr van Balen co-founded the art-activist group formally known as Eclectic Electric Collective (E.E.C.), currently operating under the name TOOLS FOR ACTION. Working in collaboration with environmental, civil rights, and art groups on different continents, he creates bulky inflatable sculptures at the intersection of art and activism, thereby generating absurdist media spectacles. The exhibition DISOBEDIENT OBJECTS features an inflatable brick by E.E.C., created in 2012 for a general strike in Barcelona and the May Day marches in Berlin. In his presentation, Artúr van Balen will show examples of collectively produced work and historically contextualise this practice with documentary footage, ranging from parades and celebrations in the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1920ies and 1930ies to protest groups from the Italian ‘68 movement.
The talks will be given in English. Free admission.
More information and further dates of the talk series can be found on our website.
DESIGN ART ACTIVISM #2 – Co-Designing disobedience
Talks and discussion: 14 Januar 2014, 7pm
John Jordan merges the imagination of art and the radical engagement of activism, creating new forms of resistance rather than representations of politics. A magician of rebellion” is how French newspaper Liberation described him, whilst the British Government uses the label: “Domestic Extremist“. He prefers what Scotland yard said when trying to persuade an arts manager to cancel a show she had booked by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (the collective he now facilitates with Isabelle Fremeaux): “This” the police said “is not a normal travelling theatre company.” Infamous for launching a rebel raft regatta to shut down a coal fired power station, turning bikes into machines of disobedience during the Copenhagen climate summit and being censored by the BP sponsored Tate gallery, The Labofii is now setting up a commune, farm and school for creative resistance in Brittany.
Co-director of social art group Platform (1987-1995) he went on to co-found the direct action collective “Reclaim the Streets” (1995-2000). Senior lecturer in fine art at Sheffield Hallam University (1994 – 2003), he abandoned academia to work on the film The Take with Naomi Klein. In 2004 he co-founded the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, which became a global protest meme from which he soon went AWOL.
He is the co-author of We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism (2003, Verso), A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible (Autonomedia, 2010) and the film-book, Les Sentiers de l’Utopies, (2011, La découverte).