CPCP ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2022: REVOLUTIONARY ARTS

The CPCP presents its annual conference 2022:

REVOLUTIONARY ARTS

Wednesday May 4, 2022 6-9pm Film Screening
Thursday May 5, 2022 1-8:30pm
Conference

The People’s Forum
320 West 37th St. NY, NY 10018

*proof of vaccination is required for entry

 

PROGRAM

(detailed program below)

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022 

6-8:30 film program: CLAMOR OF THE EXCLUDED, curated and presented by Sherry Millner and Ernie Larson

Thursday May 5th, 2022

1-2:45 PANEL 1 Consciousness on edge: Francisca Benítez and Andreas Petrossiants

3-4:45 PANEL 2 After authenticity: Jennifer Ponce de León and Michael Denning 

4:45-6 DINNER by The People’s Cafe

6-7:00 SCREENING Skola di Tarafe (Mangrove School) by Sónia Vaz Borges, Filipa César et al. and selected shorts by kara lynch

7-8:30 KEYNOTE Picturing revolt: Sónia Vaz Borges and kara lynch

*ASL interpretation will be available for Day 2 of this event*

 REVOLUTIONARY ARTS

Wary of making politics an aesthetic in disguise, radical theory and practice have nevertheless embraced all kinds of artistic provocations and traditions in every form and genre. At the same time, the possibility for fundamental change demands a range of interpretive encounters that might elicit meanings for people whom Julius Scott, writing about a different time, described as “disenchanted people casting about for new options.” Such casting about combines both mobility and fixedness, and the multiple scales of experience generally breaching, but sometimes consolidating, existing institutional forms that register the ground or sea of social life. Intellectual and sensual sensibilities combine — whether on the common wind of Julius Scott’s magisterial treatise or in the reluctant nationalisms of for example Cabral’s Guinea Bissau.

The production of space – which is, in the end, the purpose of revolution – requires individual and community self-expressions not only to mediate revolutionary desire, but also to help think through how change is experienced and what it might mean. It is of course ongoing – as the provisional countertopographies of Katz’s global analysis makes apparent. From long-distance migrants who exploit laws designed to protect arts in order to remain, if liminally in place — as Sheikh and Marboeuf show, to the mirrored articulations of basic-needs provisions by bodies politic and spiritual during covid-19, that extends beyond nation (Navajo) state (Kerala) and faith (Sikh) boundaries, we might glimpse revolutionary arts in action even when unacknowledged.

How can a glimpse become a reliable view? In their manifesto for an independent revolutionary art, Breton and Trotsky offer a classic dialectic and/or aesthetic chiasmus, “The independence of art — for the revolution. The revolution — for the complete liberation of art!” If the slogan remains relevant it is because it points to a dynamic struggle in the ways social transformation is made and engaged, and how people revise their understanding of both limits and possibilities. How is this articulated across militant and interdisciplinary inquiry? What are the uprisings from below that help us understand how and to what extent art rejuvenates the idea of revolution. Are new methodologies and social and artistic expression in themselves revolutionary? What are the lessons of popular and collective art for radical activism? Is the topic of art and revolution a question for forms of agency? If we are used to thinking of imagination as a social practice how might revolutionary arts mediate processes of social transformation?

 

DETAILED  PROGRAM

WEDNESDAY MAY 4, 2022 6-8:30pm

Clamor of the excluded: films curated by Sherry Millner and Ernie Larson

International Dawn Chorus Day John Greyson, Canada, 2021, 17 min.

Shot during the pandemic with 40 artists and filmmakers from six continents waking up early on May 3, 2020 to shoot/record their respective dawn choruses on their cellphones.  A Zoom call visual grid offers a bird song for Egyptian filmmaker Shady Habash and Egyptian queer activist, Sarah Hegazi, who lost their lives enduring the horrors of wrongful detention.  Shady Habash was known for his satiric anti-dictator music videos and Egyptian queer activist Sarah Hegazi was notoriously incarcerated for flying a rainbow flag at a Cairo concert. World premiere at Berlinale 2021 where it won the Teddy Award for Best Short Film.  .

J’ai Huit Ans/ I Am Eight Years Old Olga Poliakoff & Yann Le Masson, France/Algeria, 1961, 8 min.

Secretly filmed in a refugee camp in Tunisia across the border from Algeria, banned for twelve years in France, this intimate documentary captures the trauma of the Algerian War as suffered by nine boys.  Their drawings translate their wartime experiences to vividly portray the daily brutality of colonialist rule.  Frantz Fanon pioneered the therapeutic approach in the camp that emphasized the crucial role of the boys’ image-memories in articulating their viscerally fragmented understanding of the ceaseless barrage of the French forces.  Activist filmmaker Rene Vautier developed the scenario at Fanon’s urgent suggestion.

How Do Animals and Plants Live? Millner & Larsen, U.S., 2021, 29 min.

 An inquiry into the forcible eviction and demolition of the self-organized anarchist-supported migrant squat Orfanotrofeio in Thessaloniki, Greece, in July 2016.

An interview with a young West African migrant amid the bulldozed ruins of the old orphanage, performative translations from the Greek-language children’s schoolbook How Do Animals and Plants Live? that the filmmakers found amid the rubble when they broke into the ruined site—these and other elements (teddy bears, birds, a tied-up calf) are interwoven with unexpected visuals sparked by questions translated directly from the book, questions without real answers. Visuals that pointedly wonder: how is this possible?  Asserting in four languages that “no one is illegal,” the visual essay valorizes the migrants’ self-organization, autonomy, solidarity, assembly, and direct action, at an historical moment when the status of the refugee has become and will remain a global paradigm.

Prayer of Fear Mosireen Collective, Egypt, 2013, 4 min.

Amidst the Egyptian Revolt of 2013.  Subjective flashes of street warfare and an unnamed woman plunging ahead as she recites a Mahmoud Ezzat poem, a lament for the victims of the clashes and massacres in and around Tahrir Square, forced by circumstances to question the value of martyrdom.  The Mosireen Collective  galvanized citizen media in the wake of President Mubarak’s fall, producing hundreds of searing videos, recently assembled into an archive of 858 hours.

Xochimilco 1914 Los Viumasters,  Mexico, 2010, 4.5 min.

On the morning of December 4th, 1914, Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata met for the first time. An original stenographic record of their conversation, just hours before they took control of Mexico City, exists. A mere century later, this playful film animates the words of these revolutionary heroes and their historic repercussions.

Isle Of Flowers Jorge Furtado, Brazil, 1989, 12:36 min.

Hailed as a masterpiece by Chris Marker and described by Furtado as a “letter to a Martian who knows nothing of the earth and its social systems,” the film uses inventive animation, a parodic mock-lecture style of narration, actors, and a corrosive conceptual structure, to link the urban bourgeois family to the rural poor who scavenge the garbage dump, the ‘isle of flowers,’ where pigs eat better than people.  

THURSDAY MAY 5, 2022 – 1-8:30pm 

1-2:45pm  PANEL ONE
Consciousness on the edge: Francisca Benítez and Andreas Petrossiants

3-4:45pm  PANEL TWO
After Authenticity: Jennifer Ponce de León and Michael Denning

4:45-6pm DINNER
by The People’s Cafe

6-7:00pm SCREENING
Skola di Tarafe: Sónia Vaz Borges, Filipa César et al, and shorts by kara lynch

7-8:30pm KEYNOTE
Picturing revolt: Sónia Vaz Borges and kara lynch 

Skola di Tarafe
Sónia Vaz Borges, Filipa César et al, France, Germany, Portugal, UK, 2022, 35 min.

We went again to Guinea Bissau this time to research the conditions of the students in the guerrilla schools in the mangroves. Instead, we soon became ourselves the learners and the first lesson was how to walk. If you walk straight, placing your heels on the ground first, you promptly slip and fall in the dams of the flooded mangrove rice field or you get stuck in the mangrove mud. You need to lower your body, flex your knees and stick your toes vertically into the mud, extend your arms forwards in a conscious and present movement. In the mangrove school the learning happens with the whole body.

SPEAKERS

Francisca Benítez is an artist born in Chile in 1974, living and working in New York since 1998. Her art practice explores relations between space, politics, and language, being closely linked to the places where she lives and the communities she interacts with. Her videos, photographs, performances and drawings are shown internationally. Recent exhibitions include; Riego at Die ecke, Santiago; In Support at The Kitchen, New York; New/Now at the New Britain Museum of American Art, CT; Uprisings at the Jeu de Paume, Paris; Much wider than a line at SITE Santa Fe, NM. She graduated as an architect from Universidad de Chile (1998) and Master in Fine Arts from Hunter College of the City University of New York (2007). She is an alto singer in the Stop Shopping Choir, an anti-capitalist direct action performance group based in New York City.

Andreas Petrossiants is a writer and editor living in New York City. His work has appeared in The New Inquiry, Historical Materialism, Artforum.com, Bookforum.com, The Brooklyn Rail, AJ+ Subtext, and e-flux journal, of which he is associate editor. He is the founder and co-editor of the editorial project Diversity of Aesthetics.

Jennifer S. Ponce de León is Associate Professor of English at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is also faculty in Latin American and Latinx Studies and Comparative Literature. She is the author of Another Aesthetics Is Possible: Arts of Rebellion in the Fourth World War (Duke University Press, 2021), which demonstrates how recent works of experimental literature, visual art, and performance by Latin American and Latinx artists have been influenced by, and articulated with, Left social movements and popular uprisings. Ponce de León is also Associate Director of the Critical Theory Workshop/Atelier de Théorie Critique, which holds an intensive research program every summer. More information on her work can be found at https://jenniferponcedeleon.wordpress.com/

​​Michael Denning teaches American Studies at Yale University where he coordinates the Working Group on Globalization and Culture; recent essays include “Everyone a Legislator,” New Left Review (May-June 2021) and “Cantologies” (with Gary Tomlinson), Representations (2021); his books include Noise Uprising, Culture in the Age of Three Worlds, and The Cultural Front.

Sónia Vaz Borges is an assistant professor in History and Africana Studies at Drexel University. She describes herself as a militant interdisciplinary historian and long-time social and political organizer. Born and raised in Portugal, she is the daughter of Cape Verdean immigrants to Portugal during the colonization time.  Vaz Borges has a passion for interdisciplinary history, with a great focus on the silenced histories of people, and people’s actions and roles during historic moments of socio-political change. The liberation struggles and social movements around the world and the international solidarity, in relation to the fields of education and memories are some of her research interests. Her militant interdisciplinarity is made through an anti-colonial, decolonial and militant research and writing. Her most recent book Militant Education, liberation struggle and consciousness. The PAIGC education in Guinea Bissau 1963-1978, was published in 2019. The interdisciplinarity of her research practice can be found in various exhibitions and in film production. She co-authored two short film pieces,  they are “Navigating the Pilot School” (2016) and “Mangrove School” (2021).Currently, Vaz Borges is working on a research book proposal, grounded on her concept of the Walking Archives, that focuses on the liberation struggle in its intrinsic relations

kara lynch, a time-based artist, lives en exilio in Indian Territory. Conjuring autonomy for Black and Indigenous people across Diaspora, kara’s art practice is re-memory, vision, and movement – collective feminist practice and social intervention animate lynch’s aesthetic/political explorations of time + space. This artist’s practice is vigilantly raced, classed, and gendered – Black, Queer and Feminist.
lynch is anchor artist for INVISIBLE – episodic, multi-site installations excavating the terror and resilient beauty of Black-Indigenous experiences, and co-editor of ‘ We Travel the Space Ways: Black Imagination, Fragments and Diffractions’– an edited volume of Black Speculation, and director of ‘BlackRussians’ – a feature documentary video. Current explorations include: RuleReverse! a series of video interventions learning from Sylvia Wynter’s Maskarade; “Come Prepared or Not At All” a series of drawings concerned with Black Towns and Futures. “Stories from the Core” a collaboration with Sarah and Maryam Ahmed; and Blues U – a bi-monthly radio show on radiocoyote.org/FM 90.1 Tulsa.

kara completed the MFA in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego and has been a research fellow at the African and African Diaspora Studies Department, University of Texas Austin and the Academy of African Studies at Bayreuth University in Germany. kara is an emerit@s Professor of Video and Critical Studies at Hampshire College, a 2020-22 Tulsa Artist Fellow, host of Blues U, a biweekly radio show on radiocoyote.org, a principled artist with GalleryOfTheStreets, and a co-shaper of Black August In Motion.

Sherry Millner & Ernie Larsen collaborate on film, video, photo-text, book, curatorial and other research projects.  Together they have produced at least a dozen films exhibited in festivals, museums,  cultural centers, squats, windows, and storefronts. Millner creates installations such as The Domestic Boobytrap, which detournes diagrams in U.S. army manuals to manifest the vulnerability of domestic space, with blueprints and models of boobytraps placed in everyday life situations within the nuclear family.  She has also produced many series of photomontages.  Images from one current series, Border Triptychs, adorn an essay/assemblage titled “Flipping A Coin” Larsen has published, in three parts, in e-flux conversations.  This essay explores the conditions of the No Border events in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2016. Larsen writes fiction (his novel, Not a Through Street, was nominated for an Edgar Award) and media criticism. His book The Trial Before The Trial, an account of his experiences while serving on a special narcotics grand jury in New York,  explores and deplores the justice system’s racial disparities.

Sherry and Ernie are associate editors of the media journal Jump Cut. As co-creators of the collaborative video project State of Emergency  they involved 15 artists in protesting U.S. invasions of the Middle East. They have made three documentaries on crime and a series of semi-autobiographical videos focusing on the relations between the nuclear family and American politics.  These videos were widely circulated and continue to be distributed by Video Data Bank; two have been selected for inclusion in two Whitney Biennials.  Their satiric camouflage video, Scenes from the Micro-War (1985) was selected for the 2107 Thessaloniki Biennial.  In 2008 at the Oberhausen Film Festival they co-curated  “Border-Crossers and Trouble-Makers,” 10 programs that aimed to rewrite the conventional history of experimental political media.  They co-curated the Fall Flaherty Foundation in New York City series, in 2013 at Anthology Film Archives, under the title “Global Revolt:  Cinematic Ammunition.”  They are co-curators of Disruptive Film, a  two volume DVD set of experimental short-form non-fiction films and videos, for Facets Media. They have published photo-text projects, on the future of communications, on Vietnam and on Greece, among other subjects, in academic and art journals and organized and contributed to  Capital’s Greek Cage (Autonomedia), an exploration of Greece’s near-collapse in the aftermath of the debt crisis. Their video essay Rock the Cradle explores the challenge posed by the Greek uprising of December ’08-January ’09 to the rule of global capital and the state. This video premiered at an anarchist squat in Chania, Crete, and later was part of the traveling exhibition “It’s the Political Economy, Stupid.”Selected chapters from their photo-text altered postcard novel, Monumental Mistakes, an offshoot of Sherry’s ongoing No Respirator Included series, have appeared in many art journals, following its premiere exhibition in 2020 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

 

This event is organized by the Center for Place, Culture and Politics, the Graduate Center, CUNY, and cosponsored by The People’s Forum. It is free and open to the public.

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