October 23, 2012

Report backs and announcements:

  • Entrepreneurship and Exploitation in the Music Industry (October 18)
  • Occupy Museums talk at Momenta
  • Art Writing as Craft, Labor, and Art: A&L roundtable (October 25)
  • Organizer training at ALIGN (October 30)
  • Mapping the Workplace
  • Intern Group


  • Book Club
  • SF curator request to develop the Five Ways to Act project
  • Weekly A&L meeting schedule

A&L Minutes: October 23, 2012

BR facilitating. YA minutes.
Report backs and announcements:
Entrepreneurship and Exploitation in the Music Industry (October 18)

BR: Musician solidarity council, 99 pickets and A&L hosted a panel at Judson Memorial Church about the labor conditions of musicians and other workers. There were over 60 people – not the typical A&L crowd. Felt a bit like organizers talking to organizers. If anything – people wanted just a lot more time to talk so there were a lot of questions and discussions.

There were ice skaters, taxi alliance representatives, people from the Justice for Jazz Campaign. After the event they went to the protest of Justice for Jazz campaign at Blue Note. It is highly recommend to check out their marches.

YA: will there be a follow up event?
BR: a follow up needs to happen but didn’t feel like A&L are the ones who should do it. A more music-based group should do it.
There was a guy who is a fashion student trying to organize a similar event for the fashion industry. He is already working with people on it.
YA: he should get in touch with the intern group.
BR: the model of venting and then discussing solutions worked – it felt lie it was a catalyst for something more.

Occupy Museums talk at Momenta
TJ: there was a panel about ‘what is value?’ The panel included an artist, art advisor, and writer.  It was very interesting. Was difficult to determine what value is. It was observed from the viewpoints of rhetoric/language, the role of context, and the art market.
LP: the event it was recorded, not sure where it will be published.

Art Writing as Craft, Labor, and Art: A&L roundtable (October 25)
BR: Will be on Thursday at Housing Works Bookstore Café in SoHo.

Organizer training at ALIGN (October 30)
BR: Will be on Tuesday 10/30 at the offices of ALIGN at 50 Broadway. Will be basic, just so we have some framework to work around. RSVP to BR if interested in attending.

Mapping the Workplace
BR: There is a Doodle poll (http://doodle.com/digumteaf96gph7p) to work on mapping art workers – who and where are they? Who is invisible and visible. The brunch meeting is proposed for either Nov 11 or Nov 18.
There’s also a proposal to organize a two-day event at the Murphy Institute that will explore these issues (in addition to the mapping project).

Intern Group

YA: ILR is working on how unpaid labor limits diversity in the art world with
the ultimate goal of organizing an event at a cultural institution to discuss
unpaid internships in the arts. We’re at the research stage – reaching out to
immigrant organizations to collect data on the career advancement
possibilities available and/or utilized by their communities. If anyone has
information or resources that could be relevant, or is interested in partaking
– contact YA.

A&L Party
BR: hosting a birthday party may set up a milestone that could be weird. Maybe should just be a party.
S: if you want to pull people together, just do that.
LP:  one-year is worth reflecting. Currently organizing a project at Tensta (Sweden) of interviews with different (artworld?) people who are organizing. Wanted to propose to do a collective interview with A&L to reflect on the one-year of the group. Honorarium is approx. $375 – could be used for the party.

YA: it’s really important to have in-person interviews with a variety of people from the group because the multitude of voices is something often absent from our collective writing.
TJ: location?
BR: MP’s rehearsal space on Douglass St is an option.
TJ: can approach The Oracle Club but may not be good for a dance party.
BR: we were thinking of doing this in November.
We have $500 from EFA and we got an extra $150 from the Denmark event, but people still need to be reimbursed before we spend it on the party.
TJ: Cabinet? Will contact.
White Horse?
YA: Gowanus Studio Space?
BR: propose Nov 17 or Nov 30. We have to decide by the next A&L meeting on Nov 7.
Would be nice to have a slide show in the background of images from the events we’ve held.

Book Club
YA: set up doodle poll, no responses
BR: is the problem the reading?
YA: would like to read something more current
S: what’s the common knowledge that you’re trying to get through the book club?
BR: the books have had practical application to our work.
S: go for info on organizing, and then go to the law.
How does a young movement move beyond spontaneity?
LP: Declaration by Negri and Hardt?
BR: read it and got a lot out of it. It may be interesting for us to talk about it.
TJ: another option – The Coming Insurrection by the Invisible Committee

Consensus: the group is  not interested in reading Mutual Aid. YA will post
those two books to the thread and ask which people prefer.

SF curator request to develop the Five Ways to Act project
LP read to the group the email from the curator (“Invisible Venue”) who is requesting the reproduction of the art worker card, Five Ways We Can Act and development of the project into a kind of interactive contract.
BR: this is a version of what we ended up deciding on doing for Smack Mellon in order to reach art workers. We don’t have to give the SF curator a definite answer, but just need to let her know if we’re interested. No timeline from her yet.
The curator wants to create a kind of personal contract – on a website.
TJ: this sounds a bit odd.
S: not a fan of pledges.
TJ: the moment you make the vow you begin transgressing it.
LP: why not ask her to just distribute the ‘five ways’ text?
S: do we just become content providers? Is her distribution in our best interest?
BR: so we’re not agreeing with the contract idea?
Consensus: the group is not supportive of the contract idea.
S: maybe we can suggest that she turn this into a survey?
BR: if A&L will come out with a survey, we would really benefit from collaboration with the Murphy Institute.
S: having a narrative behind these “Five Ways” may really draw people. Letting people tell their story. It would be interesting to develop this from a personal narrative standpoint.
TJ: once you give people an outlet, they may realize how problematic the way they act is…
S: it would be content-producing-content.
YA: this kind of a project would best be started in a city like SF, more manageable size.
BR: will send the curator these notes.
LP: can take over communicating with her.
Weekly A&L meeting schedule
BR: beginning to feel that weekly meetings aren’t sustainable at this point.
If we meet less frequently we could probably get more people.
Can we meet every few weeks to exchange report backs from subgroups and events and make decisions?
YA: We can set dates for the next few months and that way people pencil these
in advance and plan around them.
Concerned that if we hold monthly meetings – if someone misses one, then a lot of time goes by before they see others again and their sense of connection to the group may quickly get untied.
LP: are there other ways to have meetings? Specifically, how do we build trust in meetings? The meetings are very tedious – how can we bring other things into the meeting structure that emulates the exchanges at the bar after meetings or quilting session.
TJ: we need to figure out how to bring play and work into the meetings.
LP: would like to have theoretical discussions in meetings.
YA: the original meeting model of A&L is not all that bad – “play” is built into the meeting structure with the end at the bar.
TJ: perhaps we should invert this model? Make the “play” the focus where the free discussion happens. People are desperate for that space to discuss other types of experiences in the art world.

BR: the OWS process is no longer proper for what we’re trying to do, but we have to come up with a different model.
S: should have different types of meetings and different people will come to each one – organizational, brainstorming, theoretical meetings etc.
Why have people drifted away?
BR: there is no discursive space anymore.
S: how do you make this a discursive space again?
BR: people that do the work, will do it anyway.
LP: that goes back to the trust issue – if you build this, more people will be inclined to actively participate.
TJ: if we had more discursive space, our ideas will percolate and bleed into
our day to day lives.
YA: what if we go to the extreme and envision that our meeting was really just a gathering where everything was informal? We will be able to talk, but would that really allow us to produce events, etc.?
S: ‘Artists Meeting for Cultural Change’ could be a model – it’s a discussion group. They decide on a topic and then meet to discuss it one evening. If someone is interested in planning around a certain aspect – they form a group and it either succeeds in going further, or not. You build upon natural affinities.
YA: what if there are meetings that are just report backs – can we trust that
those report backs lead to new focuses and actions?
YA: seems like we’ve agreed that the meeting focus should be discursive. We should be consistent about dates and venues.
S: recommend that we set dates for separate organizational meeting and discursive meeting.
TJ: we can have different venues for different meetings.
BR: we should revisit this online and set the meeting in two weeks (Nov 7) as when we make a decision on a new model and frequency of meetings.
TJ: we should state that it is a model for a few months, not make it sound permanent.
YA will post it to the group online.
YA will announce that next meeting (Halloween) is canceled. The next meeting
will be Wednesday, Nov 7 (Nov 6 is election night).

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