San Francisco, California
“The transformations in work and social life wrought by the neoliberal counter-revolution that has gathered pace throughout the advanced capitalist world since the late 1970s has had devastating effects on large segments of the population that have been left behind and rendered disposable and dispensable by a combination of technological changes and offshoring. Lost in a world of long-term unemployment and decay of social infrastructures and loss of communal solidarities, large segments of the population are deeply alienated, largely given to passive resentments punctuated by occasional eruptions of sometimes violent and seemingly irrational protest. All it will take is for the volcanic protests from the Swedish suburbs to Istanbul and Sao Paulo to coalesce to reveal the vast magma of alienation bubbling underneath. Capital will then be confronted with a political crisis that will be almost impossible to manage without draconian autocratic repressions that will in turn exasperate rather that assuage the discontent. Uneven geographical developments in the division of labour and the parallel increase in social inequality in life chances are exasperating that sense of alienation, which, if it becomes active rather than passive, will surely pose a major threat to the reproduction of capital as it is currently constituted. Society will then have to face the stark choice between an impossible reform and an improbable revolution.”
— David Harvey
"In aesthetic terms the corporate state seeks to crush beauty, truth, and imagination, and this is the war waged by all totalitarian systems. Culture, real culture, is radical and transformative. It is capable of expressing what lies deep within us. It gives words to our reality. It makes us feel, as well as see. It allows us to empathize with those who are different or oppressed, and it reveals what is happening around us. It honors mystery.
The role of the artist then precisely is to illuminate darkness. "Blaze roads through the vast forest,” James Baldwin wrote. “So that we will not in all our doing lose sight of its purpose, which is after-all to make the world a more humane dwelling place.”
“Ultimately, the artist and the revolutionary function as they function, and pay whatever dues they must pay behind it because they are both possessed by a vision, and they do not so much follow this vision as find themselves driven by it,” Baldwin wrote. “Otherwise, they could never endure, much less embrace, the lives they are compelled to lead.”
I do not know if we can build a better society. I do not even know if we will survive as a species. But I know these corporate forces have us by the throat. And they have my children by the throat. I do not fight fascists because I will win. I fight fascists because they are fascists. And this is a fight which in the face of the overwhelming forces against us requires us to embrace this sublime madness, to find in acts of rebellion the embers of life, an intrinsic meaning that lies outside of certain success. It is to at once grasp reality and then refuse to allow this reality to paralyze us. It is, and I say this to people of all creeds or no creeds, to make an absurd leap of faith, to believe, despite all empirical evidence around us, that good always draws to it the good, that the fight for life always goes somewhere—we do not know where; the Buddhists call it karma—and in these acts we sustain our belief in a better world, even if we cannot see one emerging around us."
FACTSHEET FIVE: EXAMINING ALTERNATIVE NARRATIVES AND POLITICAL DISSENT
"In order to fully comprehend the motivations behind zine culture, one needs to be willing to contemplate the cultural confrontations that accompany capitalism. Zines, like Factsheet Five and the publications that it reviewed, arose from discontent with American hegemony. Duncombe described this alternative rendition of American democracy in Notes from Underground:
“They are the fruits of their creator’s discontent with the nature of personal interaction and communication, the eclipse of community by mass society, and the separation of people like themselves from the process of cultural creation and consumption. Zines are their attempt to fill in the gaps between the quality of these things as they’ve experienced them in the dominant society and their ideals of what they could and should be like.”
These voices of mass dissent are closer to traditional American principles than most would assume. Qualities such as competitive individuality and practical self-sufficiency resonate deeply with the communities that disseminate alternative ideologies." @KarlaAnnCote
The Iron Triangle, Queens
"Willets Point was still doing brisk business in the middle of October, a week after the City Council had approved its demise, making way for a planned, decades-long redevelopment anchored by a large shopping mall on the park across the street."
TEMPE BEACH PARK, ARIZONA
Washington Square Park, Manhattan
"They say we speak treasonable when we declare that human life is plastic, that human nature is malleable, that men possess the dignity and meaning of the environmental and institutional forms through which they are lucky or unlucky enough to express themselves. They solemnly assert that we seek to overthrow the government by violence when we say that we live in this manner because the Black Belt which cradles our lives is created by the hand and brains of men who have decreed that we must live differently. They brand us as revolutionists when we say that we are not allowed to react to life with an honest and frontal vision."
Washington Square Park, Manhattan
'From Invisible Theatre to Thai Soup.' Catherine Wood.
"They propose a paranoid cityscape laced with a pervasive mistrust of perception, and, therefore, of many of the assumptions upon which one's social and economic navigation of the city - and of these institutional spaces of art - depend... in different ways, these artworks register the uncomfortable nature of this environment, pointing to the hysterical eruptions of theatre in every facet of interaction - from the casual encounter on the street, to a view of the passing crowd, to the figure of authority."
BROOKLYN, New York
"The internet has supposedly changed everything about commercial sex. Reporters have (again and again) that "prostitutes" are among the 288 million people usingTwitter. Web-based ads, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have all been blamed for making paid sex too easy to find. We can't know for certain if the web has expanded the sex industry, or—more likely—simply made it more visible. But the digitally-networked age of commercial sex has inspired at least one new form of sexual entertainment: the internet escort rescue fantasy video.
Set in the hotel rooms, apartments, and private homes where escorts and other sex workers see legitimate customers, these videos are secretly recorded. The men who stage them—police, pastors, television personalities—together are engaged in something not unlike the men who pay for sex: a fantasy, starring them.
Call it soft-core law enforcement."
Pershing Square, New York City
"Letter from a Man." John Menlove Edwards.
"I grew up exuberant in body but with a nervy, craving mind. It was wanting something more, something tangible. It sought for reality intensely, always as if it were not there..."