Arts and Labor Minutes 3/20/12

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Arts & Labor minutes, March 20, 2012

facilitator: BR

stack/time: CK

minutes: BY



Announcements/Report Backs.

Agenda items:

1. Saturday, March 24, anti-police-violence march

2. outreach materials for weekend events: Gran Fury Teach-In (Fri), Occupy Town Square (Sun)

3. possible invitation to Tensta Kunsthalle, Sweden [proposal PASSED to express interest, follow up with questions]

4. other upcoming events: WS2MS/Catskill, Take the Square/Berlin Biennial

5. A&L protocol document

6. May Day planning



announcements & report backs


ASe: ES presented idea of being part of commons coaltion, consensed. Commons Coalition event this sat, march 24. “Building the Culture of the Commons in Queens.” 2 locations: Jackson Hts, 37th Road Plaza btw 73rd & 74th Sts, noon-2PM; then 111th/Roosevelt Ave 2-4PM social assembly with Immigrant Movement Intl.


Arts cluster moving fwd w/Apr 1 date. No flyers yet. Clarify diff’t event from art assembly/occupy town square this Sunday. Cluster is for OWS arts groups to communicate & collaborate. MP will work w/arts assembly. Need point person for art cluster, and if you have contacts for other arts groups, please see me after.


BY: WhiBi text and photos ready to post, still trying to get video, but that can be added later.


BR: Update on actions retreat/debrief. talked to oustide facilitator, who was part of Think Tank, seemed good option and will go with him. Want to start forming an agenda, want to get feedback for approach to day, have been reaching out individually. Thinking a conversation and then have some fun at the same time. Dinner/conversation. Would like input: give to me, ND, ASh.


Went to occuprint event, don’t think it was open event, but collaborative poster designing for M1. Process was inspiring, awesome, could learn from for our group. Put up historical posters, critiqued them, had conversation on differences from then & now. Then people were going to come back w/difft visual ideas for M1. Seemed positive, constructive way, process, to bring to A&L. Think about employing that later on.


ASh: Maybe you can bring that up to the radical art group. The meeting tends to be long, so good for these kind of things.


CK: March this Sat, noon, from Zucotti to Union Sq, organized by OWS people of color and “Muslims who have been harassed by police.” Also appeal from DA for labor support, partly b/c not so many at Zucotti during recent eviction.


ASh: radical art meeting two weeks ago, another scheduled for Sat, March 31, probably AG’s studio (Sunset Park?). Next week, Material for the Arts appt for next Thursday. Will confirm and post on GG. Can get 4 people in, but ASh can’t go myself. Has a truck someone can drive, but manual transmission.


CK: Giles Clark, photojournalist, along w/ friend, having OWS photo exhibition at Yippie Café, all proceeds go to bail fund.


Q: What is radical arts group? ASh: it’s been shifted from what it was before, and now become a way to make stuff for M1 and talk.


TB: event tomorrow at Flux Factory, with Bill Powhida, Hrag Vartanian, Paddy Johnson, John Powers. panel format is a little weird, but would be good to get OWS in there to represent. [8PM, March 21]


ASh: Tomorrow is also unpaid intern meeting.



agenda items

1. Saturday [Mar 24] march

CK: Anti-police violence march. Can A&L affect the tone. On Sat, bad tactic of crowd on wall chanting “fuck the police.” Share the sentiment, but bad tactic. Instead, share candies, flowers, establish diff’t vibe.

TB: Options: little gestures like that. Or big sign, “we don’t hate the police, but. . .” can do something big or little, should do both.

Lynn: reading GG, if it’s flowers, white flowers. not so sure about surrender flag. white for peace, but not just giving up. white balloons.

ASh: Just venting, I was at march after raid on 17th, there were a lot people trying to disrupt small business. Not paying attention to what kind of noise they were making, things getting shaken up, businesses in Chinatown. Upsetting b/c just to instigate conflict. Today there were people there, and was great. Don’t know how to defuse this. Some kind of performative action? No doubt police were assholes on site. But there were some instances of restraint?

BY: This is a much larger issue in the movement, can’t fall to us alone to resolve it. Don’t have to counter their message necessarily or direct it at cops, concentrate getting out our own message instead, what signs, slogans, do we want?

W: At police violence march five months ago, there was a feeling of shame in police. thinking of that tactic, serial signage: you hit me b/c of my sign, or my press badge, or I was standing there. Hesitant to relive yippie stuff with flowers, 1960s historical thing. More for shame than love.

ASe: I think it’s important these thoughts on this. echo BY and take it one step further. There are nonviolent groups in the movement who need support, how can we reach out and support them? Work symbiotically with them?

CK: I also wanted to see if people from A&L were interested in meeting up to go?

BR: like W’s idea, but take out the “you” addressed to police, instead: provocation that is absurd: hit me b/c I have a sign. Don’t want to acknowledge the police, enough that we’re showing up, they can’t get rid of us. Don’t want to focus too much on them.

TB: How do we encourage other people to take a tactic that is better? Difficult convo.

BR: Meeting, rendezvous?

CK: 11:30 somewhere in Zucotti? And some way to identify each other, maybe white flowers?

BR: Let’s say we’ll meet 11:30 in Zucotti, and people can be in more contact on GG.


2. outreach materials for the weekend: Occupy Town Square & Gran Fury

IE: can we track down the other stuff from Spring Break

LS: I have 20 NYFA letters & 20 Whibi letters. Didn’t have any A&L info on its own at Spring Break, now have mockup of these flyers with basic A&L info all grabbed from website. [Passes flyers]

BY: A&L info flyers should have google group address, sign up info, so we don’t have to collect email addresses. People can sign themselves up.

R: I went to the ACT UP meeting on Monday. They are planning a big action on Apr 25, anniversary of TKTK. [Passes flyers]

ASh: Have Xerox machine to self this week, work on Thu, so let me know by then what we need & I can make them.

IE: will post link to account for originals of all the docs.

ASh: 1) NYFA, 2) Whitney, 3) open letter to labor, 4) then perhaps A&L info sheet.

B: Tabloid-size list of every group under A&L? The project list was really helpful and everybody I showed it to wanted a copy.

AS: That’s the OWS projects list, not us.

BR: Need point people, those w/photocopiers, for people to take flyers. I can add links to all relevant docs to website.

LS: Okay, basic info sheet, text already consensed, will add friendly amendments that it includes google group info, A&L website address.


3. Sweden invitation

GS: Letter from curator Maria Lind, wanted him to come to Stockholm and talk about A&L. Wants to bring it to the group. Raises question, how to respond to these kinds of things.

BR: first question, do you want to go?

GS: I could do it, but there are maybe people here more invested and appropriate.

BR: You could go and we could do a skype session. you could facilitate it.

CK: Invite for just one person?

GS: Was vague, maybe two. . .

CK: What are dates

GS: In Sept.

CK: We could whittle it down by people who would want to go and be available. That could be first step.

ASh: I like the idea of this being a fluid thing. Virtual representation that can encompass as many members as possible. Larger question of how to represent ourselves.  Would trust anyone here to speak as a member or a participant. But like idea of virtual representation where anyone free that day can show up, no financial obligations, speak openly, difft opinions.

W: Also Q of how to talk to press. Happy to let them happen, not close down opportunities through process. Can judge context. Also as long as people present themselves as one among many.

BR: I agree but appreciate GS bringing this as not feeling that he should necessarily be the one, that we should be open to others.

ASe: Are we speaking talking about this event? Or open discussion up to others? Not sure on process, commons coalition events also?

BR: Let’s stick to this one for now.

AG: Open to specifics, also seems like it’s distant. Should first verify others agree to general idea of these panels. Sort of did w/spring break, but that wasn’t formally representing A&L.

BR: other Qs?

AG: who funds it?

GS: Two points. Maria Lind and the space holds an enormous amount of cultural capital, that will accrue to the group and to the persons who go. You become visible in relation to that. Should be conscious of that. There are some problematic political issues. There are some not clear sponsorship arrangements possibly coming from oil companies in Africa, worth looking into.

AS: Curious how other groups have done this.

BR: Point of info w/Occupy Museums.

TB: We have clear protocol on dealing with press.

BR: We try to use progressive stack with all of the things that come to the forefront. Ask who’s already up there, and who wants to be up there, so that’s part of the negotiation. And we already had consensus that we want to go into the institution and have these conversations.

GS: How does it work?

BR: If you get email/contact, bring it to the group/meeting, poll who’s available, who’s visible, who has knowledge of the issues involved. Basic thing is we don’t answer, bring it to group, before anyone acts on it. Also a smaller group.

CK: Q, do you have to give her answer already?

GS: She’s not breaking door down, but needs to hear soon for Sept.

TB: Ought to consense that we want to do it. Then ask to included skype component, ask about capabilities of the space. then judging by type of event, people with already visible careers, who have published on the issues, maybe better to go.

LS: does GS have any ideas about what’s being presented/talked about there?

GS: I think there’s some political chess-playing going on. I also think someone who hasn’t had a lot of exposure could be good, I don’t have to go.

LS: the context?

GS: Hard to tell.

AG: Tricky, need interested people to step up. But can’t consense on it until we know what we’re going to do. Presentations are hard, can’t throw together an outline in 5 min. Should come up a coherent proposal before consenting on it. No platform yet.

CK: re: content, problematic funding. Brought this up w/Gran Fury teach-in, got shut down, but: if we find out there is problematic sponsorship, then we can mention it in the presentation. Addresses problem of not fully knowing what we’re going into, but allows us to address what comes up.

AS: could also reach out to art collectives similarly pressuring their DL on it.

W: seconding AG’s point, consensing on interest but not a content is a problem. Careerist aspect? The more people to go, the more defused it is. Two already defuses it. An art historian and CK, who is always fucking shit up? [laughter]

IE: Comment on CK, seems obvious they want us to bring institutional critique, in line with whitney action.

BY: Seems like website, consensed actions are basis for content. Not worried that we won’t have enough to talk about for presentation.

BR: If we could get hands of team of people to work on this? Then consensus that we have questions: can they do skype? can we do more than one person?

AG: how long do we have?

GS: could maybe spin it out a week.

AG: could we put investigative committee, come up for a proposal to consensus for next week?

TB: what is problem?

AG: not worried that we’ll be coopted, or not having content, just want to be conscious about how to bring it bear before deciding rather than after the fact.

ASh: delayed reponse on the institutional critique side of things. this is our moment to do things differently. these kinds of communication are important. how these things take place is the first step to change. how to create a difft way of having these conversations. saying yes to engaging in these conversations, but how to engage difftly.

ASe: problems of repeating old way of working vs. giving cultural capital to grassroots organizations, like community center in Stockholm instead of the big museum, how can we give cultural capital to those who need it, not museum who’s not thinking about their place in this economy.

GS: think you guys have great conversation going. everyone at these meetings could do this. I think ASh’s point is doing things diff’tly is important. this will start to come on more and more, having a way to deal with it now, even if this slips away, is impt.

BR: propose we empower people to move fwd with this?

AG: want to know what I’m consenting to. can’t consent to people going w/o knowing the presentation.

CK: if I’m going to give a talk in Sept, I don’t know the content of the talk, but I could agree to it, and figure it out in the intervening 9 mos.

AG: I just don’t have enough info to consent.

B: maybe we start saying yes to these things, maybe need to come to agreement to process. whether people are free agents and you give them trust. or there is a highly focused message consensed on in advance.

R: I feel comfortable people moving fwd with this, and trust people to make decisions on what to present. Separate proposal to adopt OM standard for how to deal with this?

BR: I’m confused.

TB: here it is, here’s how we can move fwd. I think we ought to, in terms of protocol, get OM to circulate policy on speaking engagements, press, interviews, so people can see it and possibly consense on it next week. Other proposal: send GS back saying we’re interested, need to know a little more about the event, and need to get consensus for next week.

W: was going to say what TB said. Friendly amendment, some other points: 1) does it have to be GS who goes? 2) how many can go (more than one)? 3) is skype a possibility? 4) what is the context for the talk?

ASh: are we speaking with other people?

GS: didn’t sound like it, but shd ask. Cd also ask is there an occupy Stockholm, should they be a part of the conversation?

AS: would like to ask how much is the funding to bring us over?

CK: since dwindling on time, can we distil W’s questions as proposal?

W: TB’s proposal w/amendments. Say we’re interested, but Qs: how many people, does it have to be GS who goes, who else is talking, what is the funding?

BR: clarifying Qs? Concerns? Blocks? [CONSENSUS.]

ASh: let’s not forget questioning the source of funding. requires investigation.

BY: what’s name of venue so people can look into it?

GS: Tensta Kunsthalle, Stockholm.


4. other events: WS2MS/Catskill, Take the Square/Berlin Biennial

ASe: April 21-22, proposed event to cultural commons. Alt econ presentations at Buckminster Fuller Institute, in Catskill, part of Wall Street to Main Street. Gino Rodriguez from Alternative Museum is partnering with WS2MS. Open it up to other alt econ people. Also, Arts & Culture got invite from Berlin Biennial/Take the Square, int’l call to occupy people. Emailed them but haven’t heard anything. Others have passed the deadline.

BR: Point of info, some from OM are going to Biennial. So we will have members there. I think the Biennial is all about protest, many diff’t groups converging. Hosting an occupy inside the Kunsthalle.

AG: Was talking with german financier at moma last night, he was very concerned about how the biennial was turning out this year. Good job guys. His name was Andreas something.

TB: There is an open invitation for Occupy people to come, OM was asked to do a particular project in Berlin. There will be an interior occupy thing that people can access before paying money to enter the biennial. Will be a strange, troubling thing for the occupiers to deal with.

5. protocol doc

LS: has been out since last week. also on GG. just want to focus on one section now. the part about saying you’re “just a participant” in A&L autonomously perhaps too limited. question of where to put this doc. “get involved” page of A&L website? could be a link toward bottom. some things up for discussion: asked that if you’re new, attend a few meetings to get a sense of the meeting before you talk. if you want feedback on idea, present it during agenda. if you’re presenting a proposal, it’s formulated. AG was addressing this earlier, how do we consent to unformed proposals. need point person. contacts for proposal so it doesn’t get dropped. once something consensed, those working on it are empowered to carry it out without further tweaking, tho reportbacks are expected.

BR: I like the sentiment behind #1. Dislike being asked to be protest for hire, people show up and have “great idea” and want others to carry it out.

ASe: I can see a newcomer bringing proposals, and we’re just not interested. But if they keep trying to do it, they will learn. Other thing: it talks specifically about actions. I came into the group thinking about workshops, making new things, alternative economies presenting other things. Is it the same thing, diff’t?

LS: can say “actions and proposals”?

ASe: proposal fits, we’re not just an action group.

BR: I like the specificity of actions tho. Newcomers might not know what a proprosal is.

CK: the first point seems antithetical to many OWS things I’ve been involved in. it’s frustrating process, but open, democratic process. a pain in the ass to listen to people sometimes, important to listen to them. would block # 1.

LS: sure, come at this, I’m not the writer, just transcribed. Listening is related to quaker thing. Think of this, if you were new, would it help you come in and figure out how to make a proposal.

CK: still not comfortable w/#1, can make it more of a suggestion?

ASh: I think the tone needs to be friendlier, and whole thing shorter. Applies to 1 certainly. Shouldn’t be a set of demands. Instead a welcome guide and navigation tool.

Wrote something briefly, that’s what will happen to you: I have this project! and no one may show up the next day. People get discouraged. How to develop language to get people to be patient w/ the process. Helping people create connections. This is a learned experience: reflection of last few months, some of these things don’t really work.

TB: I want to see ASh’s sentiments as intro graph, everything else shorter. “Suggested protocol.” If you want members of the group to participate in action, most effective to get people in; or invite people directly, get people to come in autonomously.

LS: It’s in there, but later.

TB: Then maybe as prologue, explain perks of consensed event. Should be “suggested” way to bring proposal. But GS arrived with announcement today, and it organically became a proposal. Line on private communication for organizing, need to stress of importance of bringing it to meeting, getting hands raised, point person. A few misspellings.

AG: #3 is really important. Addressed properly will address your concerns w/#1. Would like to see a requirement for consensus that there are point people; and we consent on who those point people are.

R: I agree w/CK concerns on #1. Raises issue of physical presence, we meet face to face. #1 comes out of that concern of people dropping in & using labor of others. Friendly amendment: talking about diff of GG and meeting face to face. Stress latter is way to get involved. To clarify that we don’t make decisions online.

TB: “consider attending a few meetings. . .”

W: agree w/ #1, but see sentiment. tweak it: move from “attending” to “participating in a meeting”. #6 on once consensed it’s finished, too parliamentary.

BR: convinced #1 should go. instead, example of a good proposal. link to one?

AG: I’ve found the most simple proposals have hardest time or fall through the cracks b/c they have no responsible party. Bigger proposals require point people, sustained engagement, etc.

ASe: in info/tech proposal, working flow, that had a section where you put proposals online to track their process. a way to follow things online.

BR: those are in minutes.

LS: okay, working groups have sections on website, can post their proposals there to track. back to R, it is okay to communicate via email?

R: yes.


6. May Day planning

CK: I work in Chelsea, and don’t see any M1 posters. Went to post office, talked to postal worker, asked if she was going to strike that day. She hadn’t heard about the call, but was super into it, said they couldn’t strike, but would totally call in sick. Didn’t have anything to show her.

BR: Point of Interference archive has 2 occuprint posters ready to go.

TB: have we consensed anything for M1?

CK: no, but Arts Assembly, Ft Greene Park this Sunday, 2PM to discuss.

ASh: open doc for slogans, what to make, for M1. started by radical art but open to everyone on list to edit. make a proposal in a week have a main message and start making images?

CK: I’ve seen so many msgs, take a sick/vacation day, general strike, etc. It’s all good as long as it’s not calling for breaking windows n shit.

BR: excited that as many as possible go this Sunday and hear what others are planning, working in coalition more formally w/them. also excited about feeder marches, thinking about where art workers are and collecting a feeder march.

TB: yeah, could be areally nice video, people coming from all difft streets into 10th ave. also need to consider writing a letter. that’s what this group is really at writing letters. like the words you put together. letter as open call. invited to join us, take a vacation day, quit your job.

ASe: was there an idea floating around to make next event LES antigentrification group (moving from Chelsea)?

ASh: antigentrification group is planning Occupy Brunch, moved from apr 8 to april 22, that would be day to focus on messaging, getting people out on mayday. but perhaps a little late. nice to do some pamphleteering.

CK: whenever we work on stuff it’s really goddamn fun.

ASh: and when we get to things it’s really fast.

TB: Occupy Brunch good, Radical Art Group good for brainstorming. RAG, Mar 31, usally noon-6, AG studio.

BR: tons of posters from Occuprint, will bring some tomorrow. Propose to end meeting. [CONSENSUS.]

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