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The Way Out

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Categories: Forthcoming Publications, Genealogies, Kasper Opstrup, Militant Research

The Way Out

The Way Out. Invisible Insurrections and Radical Imaginaries in the UK Underground 1961-1991
Kasper Opstrup

A counterculture history of art and experimental politics that turns the world inside out

The Way Out examines the radical political and hedonist imaginaries of the experimental fringes of the UK Underground from 1961 to 1991 By examining the relations between collective and collaborative practices with an explicit agenda of cultural revolution, Kasper Opstrup charts a hidden history of experiments with cultural engineering, expanding current discussions of art, medias, politics, radical education and the occult revival. Even though the theatres of operation have changed with the rise of the Internet and a globalised finance economy, these imaginaries still raise questions that speak directly to the present.

Here we encounter a series of figures – including Alexander Trocchi, R. D. Laing, Joseph Berke, Brion Gysin, William Burroughs and Genesis P-Orridge – that blurred the lines between inner and outer, the invisible and the material. Four singular forms of speculative techniques for igniting an invisible insurrection with cultural means make up the central case studies: the sigma project, London Anti-University, Academy 23 and thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

Contained within these imaginaries is a new type of action university: a communal affair that would improvise a new type of social relation into existence by de-programming and de-conditioning us without any blueprints for the future besides to make it happen. Instead of being turned upside down, the world was to be changed from the inside out. Continue reading →

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#WorldsUpsideDown Exhibition

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Categories: Events

David Mabb, Elegy to the Third International XII

#WorldsUpsideDown
11 March – 2 April @ Firstsite, Colchester

Riots. Revolts. Revolution. All flashing moments which throw the world – and our relationship with it – in question. From the uprising against the Russian Czar one hundred years ago to the Arab spring and protests against war, austerity and the continuing failure of politics as usual, people have pinned their hopes on radical political change, on turning worlds upside down. But all too often the ever-renewed dream of changing the world for the better has ended either in failure or has been crushed.

This pop up exhibition, for three weeks only, explores these moments of destabilization, crisis, and renewal. Included are Cairo based Mosa’ab Elshamy’s photographs from the 2011 – 2013 revolt in Egypt, the Justseeds’ Celebrate People’s History poster series, and David Mabb’s ‘Long Live the New! Morris & Co, Hand Printed Wallpapers and K. Malevich’s, Suprematism’. Each communicates or represents moments of upheaval. How do these histories resonate with each other? What can we learn from them? What might they say to each other? And how might they say it today, as political communication shifts from print materials to digital and social media? Continue reading →

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Gee Vaucher. Introspective Catalogue

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Categories: Forthcoming Publications, Gee Vaucher, Stevphen Shukaitis

Oh America

Gee Vaucher. Introspective
Edited by Stevphen Shukaitis

Gee Vaucher is an internationally renowned political artist, known for her ‘radical creativity’, montages, and iconic record sleeve artwork for the famous anarchist-pacifist band Crass. Vaucher has always seen her work as a tool for social change, using surrealist styles and methods, and a DIY aesthetic to create powerful images exploring political and personal issues.

Gee Vaucher has been working as an artist in the UK since the 1960’s but is yet to have a major retrospective of her work in a UK public institution. In Autumn 2016 Firstsite, located in Colchester (UK), will host a retrospective her work, co-curated by Marie-France Kittler and Stevphen Shukaitis. This exhibition will re-affirm her position as a counter-cultural artistic force whose influence on local, national and international visual art and cross-disciplinary contexts deserves to be explored. Gee Vaucher: Introspective will celebrate the rich history of art and activism both on a local and national level. It will not only look back to the radical spirit of the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s, but is also an opportunity to engage audiences in important social debates taking place today.

This catalog will be the first in-depth publication examining the vast range of her work including painting, collage, video, performance art, design, and installation works.

Contributors: Gee Vaucher, Penny Rimbaud, Patricia Allmer, John Sears, Rebecca Binns, George McKay, Yuval Etgar, Martina Groß, and Stevphen Shukaitis.

Gee Vaucher. Introspective

Continue reading →

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Gee Vaucher – Introspective Exhibition

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Categories: Anarchivism, Events, Forthcoming Publications, Gee Vaucher, Genealogies

Gee Vaucher

Gee Vaucher – Introspective Exhibition
12 November, 2016 – 19 February, 2017
Firstsite, Colchester, UK

Gee Vaucher (1945) is an internationally renowned political artist living outside Epping, Essex. She is best known for her radical creativity, montages and iconic artwork for the infamous anarcho-pacifist band Crass. Employing an eclectic range of styles and techniques, coupled with an essentially DIY aesthetic, she creates powerful images exploring political, cultural and personal issues. She sees her work as a tool for social change.

This retrospective survey of Vaucher’s work is her premiere in the UK, bringing together for the first time a comprehensive collection of her paintings, collages, prints, photographs, videos and sculptures plus installation work and rare archive material. Continue reading →

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The Aesthetic of Our Anger

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Categories: Forthcoming Publications, Genealogies, Mike Dines & Matthew Worley

The Aesthetic of Our Anger

The Aesthetic of Our Anger. Anarcho-Punk, Politics and Music
Edited by Mike Dines & Matthew Worley

Punk is one of the most fiercely debated post-war subcultures. Despite the attention surrounding the movement’s origins, analyses of punk have been drawn predominantly from a now well-trodden historical narrative. This simplification of punk’s histories erases its breadth and vibrancy, leaving out bands from Crass to the Subhumans who took the call for anarchy in the UK seriously.

Disillusioned by the commercialization of punk, the anarcho-punk scene fought against dependence on large record labels. Anarcho-punk re-ignited the punk ethos, including a return to an ‘anyone-can-do-it’ culture of music production and performance. Anarcho-punk encouraged focused political debate and self-organised subversive activities, from a heightened awareness to issues of personal freedom and animal rights to the development of local cooperatives where musicians, artists and like-minded people could meet.

The anarcho-punk movement helped to reignite a serious anarchist movement in the UK and inspired actions challenging the Thatcher-Reagan axis. The Aesthetic of Our Anger explores the development of the anarcho-punk scene from the late 1970s, raising questions over the origins of the scene, its form, structure and cultural significance examining how anarcho-punk moved away from using ‘anarchy’ as mere connotation and shock value towards an approach that served to make punk a threat again. Continue reading →

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Art & Anarchism Event @ the London Anarchist Bookfair

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Categories: Events

Art & Anarchism Event @ the 2016 London Anarchist Bookfair
2016 London Anarchist Bookfair – Saturday 29th October from 10am to 7pm
London Anarchist Bookfair 2016

Ad busting, cultural subversion, avant garde experimentation, DIY ethics and a wealth of movement propaganda – posters, stickers, zines – all point to the central role that visual and performance art occupies in anarchism … but how flexible is the relationship of art to anarchist and what are its limits? Is art an essential part of anarchist practice or a utopian aspiration linked to social transformations? How is art expressed: Does it have a practical purpose, or is function precisely the thing that that anarchist art denies? Are we/can we all be artists or does art exist in a sphere beyond the everyday?  Can cultural workers inspire social transformations by their activism and/or refusals and what can workers in other spheres learn from their struggles and experiences?

This meeting invites discussion of these themes (and more) with Leah Borromeo, Rebecca Binns, Russell Bestley, and Stevphen Shukaitis.

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Adventures in Sound & Music with John Gruntfest

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Categories: Events, John Gruntfest, Stevphen Shukaitis

photo 5Adventures in Sound & Music Broadcast on Resonance FM with John Gruntfest & Stevphen Shukaitis

Minor Compositions editor Stevphen Shukaitis is hosting a radio show on the work of free jazz saxophonist and poet John Gruntfest. The show will broadcast Thursday April 7 from 9-10:30PM on Adventures in Sound & Music produced by music magazine The Wire, for London-based art and experimental radio station Resonance FM (104.4 FM in London and streaming online).

Gruntfest is a key, but overlooked figure, in the history of free jazz and experimental music. He has been experimenting and creating in multiple mediums since the sixties. He played music and did radical theatre on the streets of New York with such groups as the Pageant Players, the Motherfuckers, Bread and Puppet Theatre, and the Living Theatre. Continue reading →

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Occupation Culture: Art & Squatting in the City from Below

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Categories: Alan W Moore, Forthcoming Publications

Occupation Culture

Occupation Culture: Art & Squatting in the City from Below
Alan W. Moore

Occupation Culture is the story of a journey through the world of recent political squatting in Europe, told by a veteran of the 1970s and ‘80s New York punk art scene. It is also a kind of scholar adventure story. Alan W. Moore sees with the trained eye of a cultural historian, pointing out pasts, connections and futures in the creative direct action of today’s social movements.

Occupation Culture is based on five years of travel and engaged research. It explicates the aims, ideals and gritty realities of squatting. Despite its stature as a leading social movement of the late twentieth century, squatting has only recently received scholarly attention. The rich histories of creative work that this movement enabled are almost entirely unknown. Continue reading →

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Crisis to Insurrection. Notes on the ongoing collapse

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Categories: Forthcoming Publications, Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen

Crisis to Insurrection

Crisis to Insurrection. Notes on the ongoing collapse
Mikkel Bolt Rasmussen

The crisis runs deep. The economies of the US and Europe are in profound crisis and the developing economies are also beginning to feel its effects. Everywhere it is workers who are paying the price. The crisis is being socialized and austerity is the order of the day; the crisis is used as a pretext for further savings and cuts. In other words, capital has intensified the class war. But the proletariat has started moving. The revolts in North Africa and the Middle East have challenged the neoliberal world order and its division of the world, and the ‘movement of the squares’ in Southern Europe and Occupy in the US have picked up the baton and joined the new protest cycle. Even though dictators have been toppled in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, the protests continue. This is also the case in Greece, Spain and Portugal where people reject the austerity programs. There are protests in Bulgaria and Bosnia. In Syria the civil war is raging. In China the number of strikes continue to rise. In Turkey the youth reject Erdogan’s neoliberal ‘success’ and urban restructuring and in Brazil ‘the dangerous classes’ have taken to the streets. There are a variety of protests going on – the ones in the West are defensive, the ones in the rest of the world offensive and reformist – but together they are knocking a hole in the neoliberal world order. The old mole is back. Continue reading →

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Occupation Culture Event London June 26

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Categories: Events, Militant Research, Undercommons

Art Squat

Occupation Culture
12 – 7PM, June 26 @ MAYDAY ROOMS
88 Fleet Street, London EC4Y 1DH, United Kingdom

How has squatting contributed to the production of art and culture? During times where the cost of rent and living rises well beyond the ability of cultural workers to support themselves in the metropolis, squatting has played an important role in making possible the continued existence of autonomous art and culture.

Come and join us for this daylong event that will seek together to bring materials and experiences of how occupations and squatting have contributed to the production of autonomous culture. From social centres to free schools, temporary galleries to combined studios and living spaces, we invite people to bring along materials from your projects that explore these questions and connections.

We will be joined by historian and activist Alan W. Moore, who has been working on setting up and documenting these spaces and practices for almost forty years. We will start with an informal lunch and sharing of food, spending the afternoon working through and discussing materials that are brought, and then in the early evening Alan will present his new book on the subject, Occupation Culture: Art & Squatting in the City from Below, and the recent anthology Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces.

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