Wednesday, October 1, 2008

CA Conrad's interview of poet Kristen Gallagher at the RNC protests

This is from CA Conrad's interview with poet and artist Kristen Gallagher, on her experience at the "Unconvention," part of the protests of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis a couple months ago.

The basic idea of CAFF [Cheap Art for Freedom] is to

1) defy, ridicule, undermine, and make obsolete the sanctity of affluent-society art
2) create cultural spaces that will be managed by the people who use them
3) explode the myth of scarcity by making beautiful art out of trash and/or super-cheap surplus materials
4) never exchange money with the people who we exchange art with
5) redistribute creativity to the masses
6) function as a collective, never as a hierarchy or out of forced unity
7) collectively share all our personal resources according to the differences in our abilities and incomes, so that we can all take part in CAFF with equal expense/burden

Every year, we get together in a different city for one week and attempt two types of action:

1) to give away cheap art we have made (sometimes together, sometimes separately) or taught others to make (in street education workshops in screen printing, spray paint art, sewing, cardboard sculpture, etc.) over the previous year (and we try to do this either in poor neighborhoods, shelters, or in solidarity with other events like community protests or political street theatre events, etc.)

2) to make a large-scale cardboard-based interactive sculpture in some kind of park or public place. (For example, last year we made a large sculpture in Washington Square in honor of Iraqis who dies from the war—we get the names and photos of as many as we could and built a monument which invited passersby and people from the community to take part in writing the names. After about 12 hours of manning the site, we left it, only to return hours later to find the whole thing still going strong WITHOUT our presence. The people took it over—as we always wanted!)

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