22-24 February, 2008

Let’s Remake the World III

Seminar and Workshop

This is the third event in a series initiated by the Library of Radiant Optimism (Brett Bloom + Bonnie Fortune) and YNKB, which started in late 2006 with The Radiantly Optimistic Poster Show!exhibited at YNKB, December 2006, and at Messhall, Chicago, June 2007. This exhibition was followed by a seminar in Messhall: What We Know of Our Past - What We Demand of Our Future, January 18-20, 2008.

We are inspired by the groundswell of optimistic and visionary activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s. We are interested in this time period and the massive counter-cultural movement it produced in the face of international political and social turmoil. We find ourselves in a similar global environment of unprecedented crises, and we are wondering how we can make visible and cohesive the currently existing activities. Is there potential to add to the optimistic histories of past activism with our own movements? This project seeks to not only create a discussion about the place of optimism in the face of war, environmental devastation, and global capitalism, but to examine how optimism can help fuel positive change in a realistic way.

We have invited artists and activists from US, Canada, Germany, Sweden and Denmark to present ideas, viewpoints, and projects as basis for further elaboration on these subjects. If possible, we would like to put the subject into a historical and a global context.

We relate to the optimism of late 1960s/early 1970s, but the optimistic and visionary activities in the late 1960s and early 1970s had their background in the massive civil rights and anti-war movements, may 68 Paris, with striking students and workers, and liberation movements fighting colonialism and imperialism in Asia, Latin America and Africa (to name just a few of the struggles) Also, Denmark and Sweden had relatively progressive governments (at least compared to now). Both the Swedish and Danish Prime Ministers - Oluf Palme and Anker Joergensen, respectively--took part in demonstrations against the war in Vietnam. But unfortunately as everyone knows, things have changed in ways that have brought about major setbacks.

The bright future of Africa has turned into a state of war between tribes, AIDS, and massive emigration to Europe (which is trying to protect itself against the’ barbarous hordes’ with walls and camps); A global economic crisis is unfolding; Populist rightwing parties are growing; Iraq is a disaster and total chaos; and the Palestinian quest for the right to return has never been solved. Now, the whole of what should have been the independent state of Palestine is totally fragmented by settlements and what is left has been turned into an open prison. And this is only the the tip of the iceberg. Yet times of crisis are also times of opportuniy and it’s this that we set about to explore.

These are some of the questions we intend to address:

1. How can we actualize life-affirming artistic practices against this background?

2. What are the experiences of past movements, what can be learned from these experiences, and how can this understanding be applied?
3.How can we relate to the establishment and how will this impact our work? How can we share cultural capital in non-normative ways?

4. Who are we addressing in our art practices and how do we represent the other?

5. How can we escape the trap of metaphor in order not just represent differences but to live them in the here and now?


Pesentations and discussions will take place on the 22nd and 23nd followed by a workshop on the 24th.
Possible outcomes: a statement, a production of posters or books - other suggestions? Well bring ‘em on!Please mail back if you want to make a presentation or in other ways want to make a contribution or suggestion to ”Let’s remake 3”.
Music, performances and ideas for workshop are welcome!
When making presentations, we ask that the participants please keep in mind the focus of the event. If presenting one's practice (as one might do in a traditional 'art' situation), please make an effort to connect it to the questions set forth.
We also asks for signing up on ”Artist making a dinner/ soup/dish” project. Or people who can make contributions with foods in general.
A detailed program and list of participation will follow soon.