ARTS AND LABOR MEETING NOTES 1/24/12

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ARTS AND LABOR MEETING 1/24

Blithe and Rachel Co- Facilitating:

Arlen and Aaron Minutes

The Saying of Names

REPORT BACKS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS:

 

Bill:  Went to the gentrification Bushwick Salon.  First part of three-part discussion on gentrification in Bushwick.  Number of good reports on the web.   Two more of these and would be good if there were someone from the gentrification working group there.  One of the artists on the panel works on the community board- very fearful and apprehensive of arts related goings-ons.  Gentrification breakout group should go to their next meeting.

 

Arlen:  Workshop at HENS tomorrow evening. Tom Angotti of Hunter College on process of community based zoning plans.  Focus of lower east side and Atlantic Yards.  NMASS members will present on campaign for affordable housing and small business preservation in neighborhood.  Arts and Labor gentrification breakout will talk about what we are developing , Micael Cataldi talk about air rights project.

 

Yates:  Occupy Museums- plan not fully taken shape yet but their will be something cool at MOMA on Friday.  Basically 2 Fridays ago coalition of arts occupy related people did actions at MOMA.  Banner drop occurred followed by a hostile acquisition of the banner by the museum.  Occupy museums has a set of conditions if the Museum wants to hold on to the banner.  Can find demands listed online.  Will be sent out to A and L

 

Woody:  As to last weeks proposal- things that we are working on will be added to the website.  So many different projects across working groups.    Arts and Culture already has a method of doing this.  If there are proposals they can be listed there.  Activities that are more covert can be vaguely described.

 

Clarifying Question- did Woody just have a kid?

 

Answer:  Not Yet

 

Clarifying Question:  Could you send out a template for contributions to the site?

 

Woody: Yes wants many folks to have access to site so a bunch of folks can input data.

 

Clarifying Question; can we get at least one person to commit to posting?

 

Yates:  Museum thing is on the down low- don’t broadcast too widely.

 

Antonio:  Want to present “Share OWS” website to the group. It is a site for sharing work between working groups.

 

Rachel:  In the interest of using time well can we take a count what agenda items people want to formulate and what breakout groups?

 

 

 

 

AGENDA ITEMS

Stack open

 

Matt:  Can we briefly talk about May 1st issues?

 

Lynn:  Question about ways of joining in with various institutions.  Mentions Not an Alternative conference at Guggenheim.  They were asked to speak on “end of occupy”  and described how it was not over.  Temperature check on having agenda item on issue of working within institutions.

(sparkle fingers)

 

Annie:  Letter for the Baldesarri participants.

 

Tal:  Issue related to Whiteney Biennial conversation happening on the thread.  Shall we have discussion of what activities are and are not for the thread.

 

Blithe:  Can we clarify whether this discussion would be specific to Biennial or related to actions more generally?

 

Woody:  Can we take 5-10 minutes to plan the next two meetings?

 

Chris:  My thing is part proposal and part discussion.  Project with occupy with art. Conducting lots of research on history of slave trade in wall street area.  Working on getting permanent signage addressing this history.  Also working on a map related to slave trade and labor issues.

 

Aaron:  Anyone involved with the NYFA letter?  When will it be sent?

 

DISCUSSION OF BREAKOUT GROUPS 

Stack is Open.

 

Yates:  Breakout group for May 1st.

Antonio: Alt economy teach-in

 

Blithe:  Action Breakout Group.

 

Rachel:  Suggestion-  Lets run through a few of the agenda items that don’t contain proposal and then do break-out groups and report backs and then address those agenda items that do contain proposals.

(sparkle fingers)

 

MAY 1st:

 

Musician:    May 1st is traditional labor day-everywhere except in the states.  Has returned to US mainly due to immigrant rights.  In the DA there is a proposal to do a “general strike” for May Day.  DA breakout group to discuss.  Gonna make a decision about what they are gonna do- a broad range of strategies have been discussed.

 

Wants to talk about the labor unions and how they would be involved.  Thinks that general strike would be a disaster.  In terms of using the language of “general strike” would force labor unions to say they are not participating.  Would result in massive repercussions legally for unions to engage in a “general strike” as they are forbidden from doing so under current labor law.  Unions are gonna have to refuse participation.  As opposed to a general day of strike we should perhaps call it a “day of action.”  Which would allow union involvement.

 

Yates:  sense is that people really want to see something huge and beautiful happen that day.  Doesn’t think there is a conflict in terms of actions.  Call for general strike does necessarily alienate people.   Debate is really serious- certain ideological drives to word it as “general strike”

 

Erin:  Occupy Williamsburg meeting (same time as this meeting).  Hipster black block.  Only ones cool enough to call for general strike.  Gonna take over something and call it a general strike.  30 or so people at that meeting.

 

Chris:  Invited via facebook to do the general strike on May 1st.

 

Candida:  Actually question about the word “strike”  something less threatening such as walking out for twenty minutes.  Could there be some sort of stoppage or walking out for a limited time.  Something valuable about making sure that as many potential allies are engaged.  Wants to make sure we are building on momentum.

 

Chris: Might be worthwhile for whoever is involved in concept of general strike to do research on shutting down ports in Oakland-  successful on some levels and failure on some levels.  Union vs non-union ability to “strike”  Learn from example of shutting down the ports.

 

——: Part of reading group that is really excited about general strike.  Not thinking about how they are engaging the labor movement.  Unless people start going to these meetings where people are voting about how this event is going to be presented and worded by the group we risk letting the language of “general strike” go unquestioned.   We need to go to those meetings and express concern.

 

Chris:  Wed and Sat meetings – not clear if you can or can not attend based on if you are in support or not?

 

Woody:  Thinking about November 17th.  A lot around the city going on and great things that arts and labor did.

 

Erin:  Does anyone have any more information about occupy Charus?  Action to retake vacant community center in the east village?

 

QUESTION OF HOW WE WORK WITH INSTITUTIONS.

 

——–:  Using Socrates- apply as a group to use their resources and exhibition space for outreach.  Are people interested?

 

Chris:  Really interesting to try out working with a couple of institutions.  See what happens.  Thinks Socrates would be into it but their might be certain limitations to what we could do there.  Idea of trying to establish an info booth in Socrates or perhaps triple canopy.  Tons of people who work for that institution will be for it but might be unpalatable. We should begin trying to get some answers from institutions.

 

Annie:  thinks it is really project to project.  Depends on the action.   Invite tons of different organizations, see who responds.  Based on context, meaning of action rather than which institution carries it through.

 

Antonio:  doesn’t find a specific place to discuss this issue within the movement.  Labor issues and the problem of getting a critical dialog within institutions. Board of trustees has billionaires- institutions are always compromised.  “Statement of Autonomy”- people who work with us must reflect on how their institutions are sponsored.  More thorough research is needed before we get in touch with specific organizations.

 

Bill:  Chris had mentioned notion of getting a booth at an art fair?  Labor issues, reaching a different audience which might not come to meetings.  Mentioned WAGE’s use of artists space.  Found resistance there but tension had to be dealt with.

 

Antonio:  Clarification about case of WAGE- setting up within institution to critique the institution?

 

Rachel:  Initial reaction is more cynical on multiple levels.  Agrees with Chris always better to ask in good faith and be refused. Through process what we move forward with as a group- could be generative and god conversations to have.  Always gonna be a lot of discussion and backlash- lots of legwork.

 

Chris:  Two issues.   First- we will work on several projects with different institutions- equity fairness, labor policy.   OWS can bring these issues into institutions.  Second- It is important for all of us working with institutions to write.  Important to promulgate our activism with outside organizations in order to clarify our position.

 

Blithe:  In general doesn’t want to go into institutions.  Our power is the ability to stay on the periphery.  The “why” is important to consider.  How the engagement relates to our political goals.  Comes to larger question we are hashing out in subgroups as to where our own goals lie.

 

Tal:  Agree it is contextual.  Different idea about engagement with institutions.  Power and beauty of OWS is the dialog and engagement it brings to communities around issues of consequence.  Spirit of dialog should compel us to dialog with other institutions.  Fear of being absorbed is a cancern.  There might be something concrete about institution which makes it incompatible with our goals but in order to know that and empower people who might want to engage we should perhaps articulate specifically certain lines that A and L does not cross.  Certain images we are not going to retreat from in our engagement with institutions.  Having this defined will empower folks to bring proposals in.

 

Dan:  Likes idea of working with “institutions” –vague term with many different meanings.  Idea of standing “outside” the institution not necessarily very fruitful.  Lots of the folks we are working with will be “nonprofits” with rather vague mission statements relating to “serving the community”  Force the institution to engage those issues that we are engaged in.  Can be fruitful to occupy those institutions by pushing the boundaries that they set. BMW lab as example.

 

Chris:  Working on a project to place permanent signage in Wall Street area: Part of my research has been on history of the slave trade in NYC.  When NYC had population of only 7,000 people one in five were slaves.  History of wallstereet has been one of commodifying everything including people.  You will not see any signage acknowledging the role of slavery in New York.  Project is to petition asking city council to study and place permanent signage at the sites of slave markets.  Gets to root of a lot of what OWS is about in terms of intellectual honesty.  Also wants to make a map that will have important sites in relation to labor and the Atlantic slave trade.   Created within the next month or so.  Setting up a meeting/ talk with different groups.  Wants input from Arts and Labor about significant spots to remap.  Project called “occupypublishing.org”  please go and look at info.  There will be need for art works at events.

 

(laptop is dying)

 

Occupypublishing.org….

 

Erin – Have you talked to Greg Sholette? The sign project.

Chris – Yes, aware. Researched them and their website… Also Martha Rosler..

Erin – Maybe they have content you could pull out.

Chris – Emailed, but no response.

Yates – part of the momentum for the spring will involve lots of mapping projects… Occupy memory, occupy tourism. Re-envisioning city… Work w/ other groups to make a people’s map of New York…. People’s guide to RNC, collaborative mapping. (Not undertaken by one person.)

Annie – Look into Repo History?

Antonio – Open it up to a coalition of groups to support project. Occupy w/ art,  w/in OWS. I’m a little confused whether it’s your project or you want to form a  coalition w/ OWS.

Chris – Main interest publishing. Occupypublishing.org wanted to avoid just talk… the discussion goes wildly off topic, projects don’t get done. So went opposite way, contacted institutions first…  though making connections first then, bringing people in would make sense. Relationships established. 20 people separate w/ inst. Seems like chaos.

Antonio – Is occupy publishing a private entity or a coalition project of OWS?

 

Stack closed

 

Breakout Reportbacks

 

MAY 1

Yates –  May 1, big day, how to build capacity and mobilize resources in the art and cultural field? So many people in city work in culture or creative industry. Should be doing informal outreach in neighborhoods, workplaces, institutions.

Building up momentum in lieu of finite plans.

Woody- get a meme going. Oh shit may first is going to be this awesome big day… Not scary but festive. Target students, education… don’t forget 99%, arts/culture workers who may be unemployed, also other unemployed…

Candida – Second everything. Highlight the opportunity to bring voices of the un or underemployed into conversation. Figuring out how A&L can work with those ideas… the arts as arts, labor as labor… being the bridge between.

Chris – General vibe ???  So many different roles.  Show connections on May 1

Yates – 3 people are musicians. That is cool.

 

ALT ECON

Rachel: Teach in on 2/19 at Cabinet…  Erin has been planning and done a lot of work. Info is online. Meeting on 2/12 for ideas/teach-ins/etc… if you want to  get on the group sign on up.

 

ACTION

Martha – NYFA letter still editing… action to accompany letter:intern march, lunch action silmiar to Occupy Lunch… post on Craigslist or NYFA site, call to interns. Public transport campaign, cover ads. Culture jamming… MoMA action, w/ Occupy Museums, monthly Occupy Lunch events.

Group idea: Action Bloc, so we can know to show up for OWS events. How to get info out to get A&L to show up to OWS events together? Action bloc means you can participate when you’re free, A&L shows up together.

Blithe – Discussed potential protocol…

Annie – A way to think about how to carry out actions. The process of how an action can be done together to get solidarity from a large group of people.

 

Proposals

 

NYFA LETTER

Martha – Nicole wrote letter, it’s been shortened. Should it be short or long? Request NYFA not post unpaid internships.

 

Nevermind, we already have consensus.

 

(retroactive consensus fingers)

 

BALDESSARI LETTER

Annie… It’s to send to participants… if you have problems speak up. If no objections by Friday Annie will send email to 50 participants. Take a look in print.

Rachel – Proposal to send to Baldessari?

Annie – No

Yates – There was an idea to do a detournement … Fake letter from gallery stating collaboration w/ OWS.

Annie – The proposal is to thank participants and say hello.

Woody – I assume we would post this letter on the website as another means of showing the world.

Annie  The action has been posted, language used on site already. The middle part of letter talks about what we thought about the sign. It’s fine to post to the website. What we have right now I think is fine it describes what happened. This letter is more personal, from A&L. If you feel strongly about the language, can still edit. The letter was written by 6 members before the action.

Yates – Friday is the deadline?

Annie – Friday noon

Rachel – Concern: I’m not sure what we would gain by posting it.

Annie – It’s not posting to the website, it’s a thank you letter. It can be an outreach, 1 to 1. Each person gets an email from us.

Claire – The letter was to Baldessari it had a specific thrust. Maybe it is awkward to send to participants?

Annie – The strong language is removed.

 

(temp check: consensus fingers)

 

SHARE OWS

Antonio – Does A&L want to participate in share program? Syndicating content produced by OWS groups.  Solidarity aggregator. There’s a page on A&C… it’s super simple. Opt in or out at any time. Non-commercial purposes. Links to different types of copyright artists can have. Links to lawyer. Responsibility to license is on artist?

Tal – What is it?

Antonio – OWS groups produce content. Maps data, etc. … Content that can be repurposed into newsletter, compiled to send out independently.

Yates. – Sort of like Occuprint?

Antonio – Yes. Including writing, texts, manifestos. We are already sharing… operates symbolically… Some people don’t have content, interested in collaging things. We don’t have a printing co-op… Next phase might be a newsletter….

??? (Candida?) – Does that mean I can go interact w/ this page as an individual? Or that someone representing A&:L ?… who is the agreement between?

Antonio – agreement between groups. This group shares w/ other groups. 4th phase… autonomous artists in nebulous world (??). Easiest step w/in groups.

Ian – Is A&L contributing directly, or will site take all content…

Tal – The huffington post of OWS.

Daniel – What is being shared?

Tal – The stuff on the website. It’s only linking the groups’ website

??? – Copyright and shit…  (?)

 

Concerns

Daniel  – If we take consensus, put on site first. Not directly to archive?

Yates – There was a thing once called the Occupennial, the problems or possibilities of a clearing house.

YAEL- It’s managed by one person, time passes people get distracted.

Antonio – It’s just links, not an archive

 

(temp check : consensus fingers)

 

TIME AND DATE OF MEETINGS

Woody – We need to make meetings  more transparent… Can we meet next 3 weeks at 590 Madison?

Tal – something important about 60 wall. Are we cool w/ moving way from it?

Yates – 60 wall is good for going to multiple meetings. This space (590) is more functional, better acoustics.

Erin – Supposed to have last meeting of month on Wednesday, which would be tomorrow. We should do better about doing what we say.

Woody – We can change and amend

 

BATTERY DIES… consensus on 3  tuesdays at 590 madison followed by a Wednesday at 60 wall.

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