Radical Alternatives Think Tank Fall/Winter 2015

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Pedal Power – OWS Sustainability at Zuccotti Park. November 2, 2011. CC BY 3.0 Shankbone

Radical Alternatives Think Tank: Meet-Ups
#1 Thursday, October 22nd, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
#2 Thursday, November 12th, 7:30–9:00 p.m.
#3 Thursday, December 10th, 7:30–9:00 p.m

FACEBOOK INVITE: Radical Alternatives Think Tank @Sunview Luncheonette

Sunview Luncheonette
221 Nassau Ave, Greenpoint Brooklyn | G Train to Nassau Ave – Google Map

This fall and winter, Arts & Labor’s Alternative Economies Working Group will be convening at Sunview Luncheonette to discuss the cultural-political landscape in New York City. We invite artists, activists, cultural workers, community members, and anyone who is interested in joining our “think tank” and brainstorm on how we can work together to find solutions to our current situation.

read more on the Alternative Economies Working group page

Alternative School of Art | CAA 2015 Workshop

Alternative School of Art? CAA 2015 Workshop

Alternatives workshop at Free University NYC, Cooper Union, May 1, 2013. 7 days before the school was occupied.

Time: Wednesday February 11, 9:00 am—1:00 pm
Event: Participatory Workshop & Discussion with invited artists and activists (TBA)

Location: College Art Association Annual Conference 2015
New York Hilton 1335 6th Ave, 2nd Floor,  Media Lounge

The economic and structural realities of art schools as they exist today can often be a source of anxiety and frustration for art students, faculty, and staff alike, so what might an alternative school of art look like? In this workshop the participants will familiarize themselves with over 30 alternative economic models that are in practice throughout the world today.

More info here…

Summer Session #3 Aug 10: Discussion + Potluck!

Hope you can join us this Sunday for our third session. This week we’ll be visiting two radical activist spaces in Brooklyn. First 4-6pm @ The Base, followed by a potluck  at 7pm @ Woodbine 1882 garden.

More info here:
http://artsandlabor.org/alternative-economies/alternative-to-what/imagining-future-models-alternative-to-what-session-3

Alternative Summer Sessions begin July 6

Alternative Summer Sessions start Sunday July 6….

What do we mean by Alternative Art Economies?
And what are we looking to find an alternative to?

MoMa-is-Racist-protest-May2-1970-JanVanRaay

Artist-Organized Alternative Spaces:
Reflections on the 60s–80s

Sunday July 6, 2014 – Walking + Reading Tour
4:00pm – Meet in front of  Carriage Trade**, 62 Walker St.
5:00pm – Meet in front of Artists Space**, 32 Green St., 3rd fl.

** We are making stops at these locations. 
** These locations are NOT affiliated with Arts & Labor or this Summer Series. Sorry for any confusion.

In this first session we will attempt to trace the history of “alternative spaces.” Through various site visits, essays, primary sources, news clippings, chronologies, and personal reflections, we will try to understand the context, possible motors, shifts the landscape, the people involved and their intentions. It’s also important to note that what we know about alternative spaces is still unfolding[...]

read more and download PDF readings:
Artist-Organized Alternative Spaces, July 6

Screening and Discussion: Detroit, a City in Transformation

January 22, 7:30 pm at the Brecht Forum

Brooklyn Commons 388 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn

Join Arts and Labor Alternative Economies for a Screening of Paper Tiger Television‘s Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation followed by round table discussion with
Matt Birkhold
Executive Director at The Brecht Forum, Co-founder at Growing Roots, National Organizing Committee at James and Grace Lee Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
Amaka Okechukwu
Co-founder of Growing Roots, and Doctoral Candidate of Sociology at New York University
Reg Flowers
Actor, Producer, Director, Playwright, Co-learning Facilitator, Grassroots Organizer

Rerooting the Motor City: Notes on a City in Transformation
From food deserts, to the plans to “rightsize” the city, how are Detroiters responding to the localized failures of post-industrial global capitalism? How are they re-mediating the frontier mythologies perpetuated by the mainstream media that complement “creative class” policy promotion? With a critical lens on race and class dynamics, this documentary weaves together segments on Detroit’s labor history, the budding urban agriculture movement, a critical look at philanthro-capitalism and its relationship to redevelopment as well as media (mis)representations of a city in transformation.

Letter in Support of Embros from Arts & Labor Alternative Economies November 12, 2013, New York

We stand in solidarity with the Embros Theater community and condemn the persecution of the two performers arrested for rehearsing in the theater on October 31, 2013.  All charges brought against these individuals should be dropped and their court cases should be dismissed. [1]

The work that is currently being done at Embros embodies some of the most fundamental aspects of fostering a creative and responsive cultural space in which alternatives to the current system can be explored [2]. In this time of urgency and economic crisis around the world, Embros is forging new directions that should be enthusiastically supported and celebrated by the local and national government rather than aggressively repressed and threatened.

Culture is a basic sign of being alive, a space of reflection and growth, and most importantly it is the place where the processes that define democracy such as freedom of speech, expression, and criticality, is apparent in more ways than a set of law books can ever describe.  Governments from Russia to China, United States and Europe [3] seek to crush within its citizens the freedom of cultural expression. It has become apparent that the democratic, life-expressing aspects of art are being systematically repressed and commodified into pure spectacle and entertainment by these governments, institutional bureaucrats, and their capitalist cohorts. We will not stand-by as they reduce culture to an admission fee, VIP bonus, or something you can buy at the gift shop. We wish to dance, to perform, to visualize, to speak, all without being restricted by the amount of money we have or the so-called credentials and permits that these institutions have invented. Because for us, this is true freedom, this is true a democracy that no currency can equate.

Embros provides much needed free and open community space and brings people from all walks of life together to learn, engage, and create. Therefore, we ask artists and communities around the world to look closely and continue to follow these events as you would a canary in a coal mine, so that we may provide support for artists and cultural spaces when similar events that arise. Furthermore, these instances should provide a lens to reflect on the situation in our cities and to better understand the mechanisms of cultural control, repression, cooptation, and exploitation so that we can continue, through this solidarity network, to expose and ultimately overcome this political, economic, and cultural crises that has become the marker of our times.

Arts and Labor Alternative Economies Members

Maria Juliana Byck, Emily Baierl, Antonio Serna and Laurel Ptak
- – - -

[1] Communique from Embros on the Arrest of 2 performers. October 30, 2013

[2] On October 19, 2013, as part of ‘What Do We Do Now?’ the first annual Alternatives Fair in New York City, we invited members of Embros Theater to participate in an international panel on autonomous spaces. Through this panel we hoped to learn how autonomously run cultural spaces function to provide a more horizontal way to operate while remaining inclusive to all members in the community. From this exchange we learned how Embros’ organizing by way of a weekly general assembly has become a dynamic and invaluable community-run space in which creativity and innovation is encouraged to thrive.

‘What Do We Do Now? Alternative Fair’ was organized by Alternative Economies, a subgroup of OWS Arts and Labor. Alternative Economies working group explores alternative methods of sustaining the livelihood of artists, art-workers, and other communities interested in alternatives to the current system. We view the concept of labor through the lenses of time, choice, and value, and we research the ways that ideas like the commons, solidarity economies, precarious worker centers, and participatory budgeting can nurture more sustainable art worlds. Believing that vibrant creative communities come from the bottom up, we encourage relationships based on mutual aid rather than competition, and we advocate for cultural institutions rooted in a framework of social, economic, and environmental justice.

[3] Links to similar crack down on autonomous cultural spaces and artists:

ZAM is Culture, Eviction of ZAM by Milan Police, May 2013

Footage of Police Eviction of ZAM w/ minute by minute account, May 2013

Extreme show of force by of Swiss police at Basel, May 2013

“Art Makes Money” Communique from ‘Basel Will Be Occupied’ after the Art Basel raid

NY Police Arrest of artist in Brooklyn for Decorating the Street  “I (heart)nyc” bags, May 2012

Save the Date: Alternatives Fair Oct 18th & 19th

Alternative Economies What Do We Do Now? Alternative Fair Oct 18-19

Save the date!

What Do We Do Now?
Arts & Labor Alternatives Fair

October 18th & 19th
Friday 6-9PM – OPENING EVENTS
Saturday 12-4PM – TABLES + MORE…

EYEBEAM 540 W 21st St, NYC
Free / Wheelchair accessible / Childcare available (please inquire for details)

We are accepting:
-  table reservations for alternative economies related groups
- proposals for workshops, skillshares, presentations, discussions, panels
- facilitators & organizers for an artists/artworker assembly
- & other experimental formats that compliment the fair are welcomed

Email us to get involved! al.altecon@gmail.com 
website: WhatDoWeDoNow.info
facebook invite: What Do We Do Now? Oct 18-19