Artists Respond to Authoritarianism

Artists Respond to Authoritarianism

– Here we go. Welcome, everyone, to Artists
Responds to Authoritarianism, the second event of the 2019-2020 Kupferberg Holocaust Center and National Endowment for
the Humanities colloquium, entitled Authoritarianism
on the Continuum: Complicity, Opposition, and Dissent. I am Dr. Laura Cohen, the
KHC’s executive director. Who’s been to the first
NEH event that took place? Anyone? A few, okay. The Kupferberg Holocaust
Center is situated on the traditional land
of the Matinecock people, who continue to live here today. We offer gratitude and respect to all of the indigenous
people of Turtle Island, past, present, and future, including the Lenape
and Shinnecock peoples. What I just read is what we
call a land acknowledgement, a statement recognizing
that the land we all occupy in the course of our daily lives, including our schools,
jobs, parks, and homes, as well as the names of towns and cities was first inhabited by
another group of people who are forcibly expelled and murdered. Today we identify those
crimes for what they are, mass atrocities and genocide, the horrors of which continue
to have negative social, cultural, political,
psychological, and economic impacts upon and within their communities. The KHC’s mission is to educate current and future generations
about the ramifications of prejudice, racism, and stereotyping using the lessons of the Holocaust. In doing so, we teach and empower citizens to become agents of positive social change in their communities. This colloquium, in tandem
with our newest exhibition, Survivance and Sovereignty
on Turtle Island: Engaging with Contemporary
Native American Art, have both found their home at the KHC because it is through
studying the Holocaust that we develop the vocabulary
to inspect and acknowledge other genocides and nationalist movements as well as contemporary reactions to them. This year’s colloquium
explores current manifestations of authoritarianism and public responses, voicing both complicity and dissent. It includes a year-long program of events drawing upon the community
of scholars at QCC, whose work addresses themes
pertaining to the psychological, ideological, political,
and aesthetic conditions that undergird authoritarianism. We’re honored to welcome our
two esteemed guests today, Gregory Sholette and Cannupa Hanska Luger for what promises to be a
thought-provoking dialogue. The colloquium is organized
by Dr. Julia Rothenberg, Hello. The KHC’s current scholar in residence. Dr. Rothenberg is an associate
professor of sociology in QCC’s Social Sciences department. Her pedagogy and publications
focus on overlapping topics within urban sociology
and the sociology of art, race, and ethnicity, as well
as social and cultural theory. Please also join me in welcoming
KHC curator in residence and QCC faculty member from
the Art and Design department and gallery museums studies
program, Kat Griefen. Kat led the 2018-2019 KHC
colloquium on Turtle Island, which provided the inspiration
for the exhibition. Finally, this series was made possible due to the generous support
of the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well
as the New York City Council. I’d also like to thank the KHC staff, including Marissa Hollywood, Joel George, and Victoria Fernandez, as
well as Jesse Perez and Ray, Jesse Pena, I’m getting
this wrong the second time. Jessie Pena and Ray Perez
from QCC’s media services, and Phil Roncoroni and Leo Correa from the marketing department. Finally, let’s look at your cellphones. Take them out. Now let’s silence your cellphones. You can absolutely record, but
let’s just keep them quiet. And now without further ado,
please join in welcoming Dr. Julia Rothenberg. (applause) – Hello, and thank you all for being here. I’m very excited about this event. This particular event, we
are gonna be talking about art in politics. Artists have been responding
to governmental action across the world throughout history. Focusing on artists’
responses to repression, state aggression, and authoritarianism in places like the United
States, the Middle East, and other parts of the world, this event will investigate
both the past and present of artist interventions in
social and political space. We’re very happy to host
cultural activist and artist, Cannupa Hanska Luger,
whose collaborative work Mirror Shield Project is now
on view at the KHC out there, and Greg Sholette, artist, author, professor of art and policy at Queens College and co-director of the Social Practice Queens program. Both speakers are going
to discuss their work with activist art and the
ever-changing relationship between art, activism, and politics. I’m gonna introduce Greg, and after Greg speaks, Kat
is gonna introduce Cannupa, so I’ll start with talking about Greg. In his wide ranging art,
activist, and writing practices, Greg Sholette has
developed a self-described viable democratic
counter-narrative that bit by bit, gains descriptive power within
the larger public discourse. Sholette is a founding member of Political Art Documentation
and Distribution, otherwise known as PADD,
which issued publications on politically engaged art in the 1980s, and REPOhistory, which
repossessed suppressed histories in New York in the 1990s. More recently, he’s a
founding member of Gulf Labor, a group of artists advocating for migrant workers constructing
museums in Abu Dhabi. In his numerous essays and books, including his most recent
book, Art As Social Action, Sholette has documented and
reflected on four decades of activist art that for
its ephemerality, politics, and market resistance might
otherwise remain invisible. His recent art installations
include Imaginary Archive at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, and the White Box at
Zeppelin University, Germany. His collaborative performance,
Precarious Workers Pageant, premiered in Venice on August 7th, 2015. Greg is a professor at the
Queens College art department at the City University of New York, where he co-directs the MFA concentration in social practice art, known
as Social Practice Queens. So, we’ll start with Greg. Thank you. (applause) – Thank you, Julia, and
thank you, everyone, for making this possible. It’s wonderful to be here. How is everybody doing this afternoon? Good, it’s good to see so many students and some of my students and
former students are here too. Yeah, I teach at Queens College, and I think before I finish, I’m gonna talk about this subject, but before I finish, I wanna
talk a little bit about Social Practice Queens
before Cannupa comes up, so remind me in case I forget because you might be
interested in that program. And since we’re neighbors and connected, that would be maybe a useful thing. Is there like a channel changer here or put on Netflix here somewhere? – Here you go, sir.
– Oh, thank you very much. So, this is a big subject,
a really difficult subject, and I think it’s
particularly difficult today because across the world,
we see more and more state governments moving in a
direction of authoritarianism and xenophobia. It’s just a really awful moment that I’ve never seen in my lifetime, and I’ve been around a little
while longer than most of you. Yeah, from Brazil to the
former east, Slovenia, Hungary, Poland, we see these
kinds of governments arising that are excluding people,
that are pressuring people, taking away civil rights. And so we really have
to be kinda vigilant, and that’s why it’s really
important to have this program. Artists play a role in this. They’re certainly maybe not
the leading edge activists are, but artists try to find a way,
I think, to sort of channel their work into what activists are doing. And that’s kinda what
I’m gonna talk about. A little bit about my own biography, too, how I ended up here and why I’m doing the kinda work I’m doing. And maybe it comes under the umbrella of this term that we hear a lot now called Decolonize This Place. And I’ll come back to
that sorta towards the end of the talk. This is actually a
demonstration that took place at the Brooklyn Museum,
and that’s the rooftop of the Brooklyn Museum,
calling on the Brooklyn Museum to really think about its
relationship to the land and people and other issues. And most of the people carrying
out these demonstrations are artists. And that’s what I think is
kind of important to focus on here is we are artists, and we’re actually asking
questions about the art world and its institutions,
and asking them to change their policies and to think
about what they’re doing. So that would be a little bit
like doctors at a hospital going and saying, “Well, listen, we think you’re not
practicing medicine right. “We’re gonna go on strike
until you do it right.” It’s a little bit along those lines. And I’ll explain this
a little more clearly by going back in time. But, before I do that,
if you have a chance, you could take a look at this issue, issue of journal called “Field.” Field, which is a socially
engaged art journal, comes out of California. I did a special issue just recently, it’s the last two issues: 12 and 13. And I surveyed people all around the world and asked them, “what is
happening in your country, and how are artists
responding to the situation?” And this goes from
Brazil to India to China to Puerto Rico and pretty much everywhere. Canada, native cultures,
indigenous people. It’s got about 30 different short reports and of course a lot of the reports are very sadly negative. I’m afraid to say, as I was saying before, this turn towards authoritarianism
is really spreading. There are a few positive reports. Ireland being one of them. But anyway I encourage you
to try to check this out and get the bigger global
picture that I’m not going to speak about, really
focus on today so much. But it gives you an overview
of this very question this series is raising. But let me go back in time. When I came from New
York from Philadelphia where I grew up, outside of Philadelphia. I moved here in 1977 to
go to the Cooper Union which is an art school in the city and I worked there with a professor named Hans Haacka, a German professor. He’s lived in this country
for many many years. He had an important exhibition coming up at the Guggenheim museum in 1971 and because one of the
pieces in the exhibition was about real estate
problems in New York City. It was about real things that were happening in New York City at the time. The people who ran the museum said, “We can’t have this.
This isn’t really art. This isn’t aesthetic.” and they canceled his show. After the show was canceled, a group of artists that
he was also a part of, a collective, called
Art Workers’ Coalition did a demonstration in
the Guggenheim museum which, if you’ve been to this, I’m talking about the one
of course on 5th avenue, the main flagship museum
designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. It’s a huge spiral that
goes down like this. And so, these activists
including Yvonne Rainier who is leading the charge here. Let’s see if our laser
beam works. No it doesn’t. Did a conga line dancing down the spiral and protesting this uh,
this cancellation the show, the censorship. That’s the kind of work that inspired me when I first became an
artist in New York City. This group, Art Workers’
Coalition that I’m talking about was founded in 1968, and they
also did things like this. Remember, right, 1960s
late 60’s, we’re involved. The United States is
involved in in a conflict in South East Asia. Never actually declared a war officially but it was an all-out war in Vietnam and in other neighboring countries. Members of the group,
of this artist group, created a poster criticizing
the government’s involvement in Vietnam. And then they went inside
the Museum of Modern Art and did this intervention. If you’ve been to the Museum
of Modern Art recently, you won’t find this painting. This is Picasso’s, Pablo
Picasso’s Guernica. Does anybody know why it’s not there? It went back to Spain and when Picasso gave this painting to be
exhibited in New York, he said, “you cannot
return this to my country until Franco, who was a
fascist right, is gone. Until that regime is over.” So, only after that
happened in the late 70’s did the painting return to Spain. In the 60’s it was still there. They chose this painting,
which is about the Nazis and the Spanish fascists
bombing a little tiny village in Guernica, Spain using air power, which had not really been
used on citizens before. This painting was an outrage
against that situation that Picasso made. So, it was an appropriate
way to talk about the involvement of the
United States in Vietnam, which is extremely, extremely bad. The Art Worker’s Coalition
though also looked at artists’ rights. They were talking about, how come artists aren’t paid something when they exhibit? If you are an artist in the room, many of you know, and if you’re an artist who’s going to be in the future, many of you will find out that many times an exhibition space will say, um you know, they’ll
put your work on display and then you’ll say, well
you know, Do I get a payment for showing my work? And they’ll say, “what do you mean?” “You’re getting to have
your work on display.” This is something that artists
have been talking about since the 1960’s. Asking well why isn’t there
some kind of compensation? Why aren’t there more rights for artists? Look up Art Worker’s Coalition,
you’ll find they made 13 demands to the
museums and the art world including things like social security. Including insisting there
should be a Latino extension in MoMA. A whole wing dedicated to women artists. It was quite progressive. And environmental issues that
they brought up at that time. 2008. I’m going to jump ahead. We all know what happened. Terrible crash. Affected the entire world. It affected people in the arts and culture in a particular way
because people in the arts are often very precarious. They work very difficult, like 2, 3 jobs. Actually studies show they work 3 jobs just to sort of make a basic living. I’m sorry if you’re studying art and you plan to be an artist. Uh, I don’t want to,
I’ll get you some tissue so you can start crying. But, it’s not all that bad but there are, we have to face it, you
know, you’re not going out to find a job waiting for
you if you’re studying art. That’s just not a reality. So there’s lots of ways artists survive. But, since the 2008 crash, it’s
become even more difficult. But it also woke a lot of people up, especially people in the art world. Various groups and collectives and artists have started to focus
precisely on these issues I was showing you from the late 60’s. Why aren’t artists treated
better by the institutions that are there to support them? Including this group called “BFAMFAPhD.” Again, you can look up this group and you’ll find they’ve done surveys about artists. How did they get trained? What are they doing? How are they making a living? And they’re asking questions like this because, I don’t know if you know this, but the art world right now is
worth about 60 billion euros. Which is a lot of money. Most artists have a very
very small share of that, if any. Another group called Working Artists for the Greater Economy have also begun to ask these questions. They’ve even given kind
of a stamp of approval for those institutions that
actually treat artists well. It’s like good, good housekeeping seal. Looks something like
this: W.A.G.E. Certified. Interestingly enough
we’re also at a moment when the outcome from this 2008 crisis is rippling through
the museums in New York and elsewhere, not just in New York. But, in New York we find
that several museums recently have gone on
uh, the staff members have unionized. The New Museum just recently
voted to create a union. And, guess who makes up most of the staff at the New Museum? Artists. So, these are people who
did get their masters degree or maybe their bachelor’s degree. Some maybe say, you know they
self-identify as artists. In any case, they’re
making a living working in the museum. Whether it’s putting up exhibitions. Whether it’s taking people’s coats, whatever it happens to be. And they said, we need
to be paid a living wage and they created a union. The museum initially
wasn’t too happy with that. And so, they hired this law
firm out of the mid-west. When we take action, you take control. This is a law firm that
specializes in busting unions. And they tried to stop the union. Urgent services, counter union campaigns, union avoidance training. It didn’t work. The workers voted to have the union. They were actually just
threatening to go on strike and they actually worked out a contract. I just heard like 2 days ago, for 5 years, which is really great news. So, it can be done and it’s
interesting to see people inside these institutions
starting to think about their own situation
and not just saying, I’m in the cultural industry and we’re used to being
exploited but it’s like, don’t you love to be around art, you know? Okay, that’s great but
that’s not enough right? There are other issues. At the Museum of Modern Art,
there are board members. There’s one in particular who works, who owns the Black Rock Corporation. He’s the CEO. If you have student debt,
it’s almost certainly held by Black Rock. It’s a global corporation
that has more debt, uh you know, has owns
more debt, of your debt and other people’s debt than any other corporation in the world. So, artists, again going
into the museum and saying, “wait a minute, we don’t want this person on the board of directors.” Another board member who
came under fire recently was at the Whitney museum. You may know the Whitney
museum is in lower Manhattan. And, you see this is a
sign that the Whitney paid to have in the
subway, but you notice, there’s a sticker below it,
looks something like this. Decolonize the museum. Why? Why would this take place? A man by the name of Warren
Kanders was on the board. And Mr. Kanders owns a
company which makes tear gas. This came to people’s
attention just as the so-called “migrant caravan” came to the
border of the United States and military was called
out, the U.S. military and they used tear gas on women, children, and of course men as well. Guess who made at least
some of that tear gas? The man who’s on the board
of the Whitney museum. Here’s an actual canister that was fired. I believe this was in Gaza because it’s used all over the world. And if you look at the
top, I just composited. That’s the website of the company he owns. Okay, seriously it’s called “Safari Land.” I don’t know, whatever. And that of course below is
a scene from the Whitney. When this exploded it became,
uh it was during the show of course of Andy Warhol,
whose work you see below. But it was first the
staff people at the museum who wrote a letter. A hundred of them wrote a
letter to the board of directors saying, “we want this person
removed from the board.” Now, that’s a very bold thing to do because the Whitney is not unionized. And a lot of these people
wouldn’t even be in a union if they unionized because
a lot of them were curators and they’re at a different level. So, they could have been replaced. I mean we are in New
York City and you know, for everybody that has a job in the arts, in the culture industry,
there’s a hundred people waiting to get that job. So it was a very bold
thing for them to do. And then outside pressure
came from various groups including Decolonize this Place to do various demonstrations once a week for several weeks. There were letters that were posted by various people in the art industry. Some of them very well known. And then there was the Whitney Biennial which is a 2 year extravaganza of the, allegedly the, you know
the most important work in the United States in any given time was taking place after, after
the exhibition by Warhol. Some of the people in that exhibition, these are some lightning sketches I did during one of the demonstrations. Some of the people in the
exhibition either did work about the Warren Kanders issue or ultimately they pulled
their own work out of the show. And at that point, finally, Mr. Kanders had the good sense to say,
“look, for the betterment of the museum, I’m going to
step down from the board.” But it was a campaign that
had a lot of different components to it. A lot of different people
putting pressure on the museum. And ultimately, it succeeded. Doesn’t mean everything’s fixed, right? I mean, museums are
complicated institutions. The art world’s a complicated thing. We’re trying to detoxify it, we’re trying to decolonize it, but it’s very difficult really to do that because we’re talking about
a capitalist institution which, you know, has roots in all kinds of sort of situations. So, I’m not trying to
say that this is simply the answer to the problems, but it’s one way people have acted. By the way, I noticed
that there was actually a $10 off coupon for Safari Land equipment if you need to get some
tear gas or something. I’m going to um, turn to the Gulf Labor and that will be my sort of final example. This is actually a cartoon. Sort of a New Yorker style cartoon by the artist, Paul
Helgara, who also works at the Museum of Modern Art. And you probably know,
some of you and maybe some of you don’t, that
the Guggenheim museum in particular, starting in the mid 80’s, began to think about the
idea of cloning itself and creating a kind of
consortium around the world of different institutions,
different Guggenheims. And it’s managed to do a few of those, one in Bilbao, Spain. But, they’ve tried a few others
and they’ve not succeeded in Finland and Slovenia. But they definitely have their eye and still are planning to
do a museum in Abu Dhabi which is part of the United Arab Emirates in the gulf region. Some of the pictures you’ll see I took when I was on an excursion there with this group called
Gulf Labor Coalition, which I’ll explain in a minute. But, Abu Dhabi is a kingdom
in the United Arab Emirates. This island called Sadgiat
island is basically a desert island. This is why Pablo’s piece is so funny because it’s literally
exactly what it was. If you’re a science fiction fan you know what tera-forming is, you know? The idea that you know,
we’re going to take Mars. This is Jeff Basiat’s idea I guess. And like transform it right
into a beautiful paradise. Essentially that is what’s
happening on Sadiat island. They’re transforming it into
a kind of a utopian paradise or garden. Here is where it’s located for,
some of you may not realize where it is. It’s in the gulf region. And why am I putting this up? I’ll try to explain this. This is actually a projection by a group called the Illumitators here in New York. And they drive around with a truck that has a huge projector on it. The reason it’s on a truck is because it’s illegal to do this and you have to drive
away if the police come. Why is it the 1% museum? Well, the group that
I’m part of, Gulf Labor, basically looked at the situation there and said you know, workers in this region are being treated very very badly. And I’m sure some of you
actually know this really well. But, I’ll explain it to you in a second. Saadiyat Island by the way
means island of happiness. This is what the plan is. This is the Guggenheim designed
by Frank Gehry on the left who also designed the one in Bilbao. A model of what it looks like. It would be enormous. It probably would be the largest
thing he’s ever designed. It has not yet been built,
which I’ll come to in a second. This gives you a sense of the placement. What is this island going to be for? It’s going to be for the .01% ultra-rich who will be able to buy real estate there. There will be golf courses. There will be swimming pools. There’ll be all these beautiful museums because Guggenheim is not the only one. You see this disc on the
side, that’s the Louvre from France and it’s
already been built actually. It just opened last year. And you can go to college there. New York University. They already have a campus in Abu Dhabi and now they’re gonna move
one to Saadiyat island off the coast. The problem is, most of the people who do the construction
work in that whole region, not just Abu Dhabi, but the
whole region, but Abu Dhabi come from other countries. They come from Pakistan,
they come from India, they come from Egypt, they
come from the Philippines, other regions and they
can never become citizens and there’s a lot of problems
with the working conditions. And it’s been reported on extensively if you want to look into it. Human Right Watch which
is an NGO in the region has done a lot of work on this. Just to give you a sense
of the working spaces that these men end up going to. And I’ll explain to you what problem is. I’m sorry there’s a little light. Um, okay, so if you
are let’s say recruited to go to one of these, to
go to Abu Dhabi for example. Maybe to work on the Guggenheim or maybe to work on the
Louvre or the British Museum which is also working on something. The reason you would
go there from Pakistan or from India is because
you want to send money back to your family. Okay, that’s a very good idea. But you’re recruited by a special, by a person who does the recruiting and you actually have to pay
that person a fee, right? So, when you arrive in Abu Dhabi, you discover that not only
are you not being paid what you thought you
were going to be paid. Not only are the working
conditions much less hospitable than you thought they were going to be, but you have to repay this visa fee which can be up to 3 years of your salary. So, you’re not returning
any money to your family. Furthermore, you passport
is removed from you so you can’t leave and
you cannot organize. There’s no unions and you
cannot even talk about the idea of resisting. Although, and this is
what’s really important, the workers in this region
do organize all the time and they do go on strike. So, the group that I’m
part of is mostly artists you know, we’re not the workers. We live in different parts of the world. Some are from India, some
are from the middle east, some are from here in New York. And we’re not trying to say, oh we’re doing something
good for the workers. Yeah, we’re trying to
assist them in some way but ultimately we’re saying the art world and the Guggenheim is
a good example of that, needs to be responsible for what it does. It can’t just open up
a new shop some place and not take care of the
workers that are building it. Right? So we called a boycott on the museum. This has been about 8 years ago now, and a lot of people signed the boycott saying they would never show their work in the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Not the Guggenheim
elsewhere, but Abu Dhabi. Including a lot of people
from the Middle East who that particular museum
wanted to collect of course, because it’s supposed to be
a contemporary art museum. So we put that pressure on them We started meeting with the museum people. We would sit at the table
with them here in New York. We would discuss ways
that they could actually make this construction
happen and also be fair to the workers. And they’re very good, nice liberal people and they said, we totally agree with you. We want to do that, but it’s really the people in Abu Dhabi that
are causing the problem. Really? You’re not giving them your brand for like millions of dollars to use? Okay, so this went on
for some time and nothing really seemed to be getting anywhere. Again, this was a trip
I took to the island. This is the workers’
housing they showed us but it’s kind of the perfect
housing, the ideal housing. And there’s there are sub-contractors and sub-sub-contractors where the housing is really really bad. And even this was a little extreme. It’s like a, it’s like a
concentration camp really. It’s surrounded by fence and then you’re surrounded by desert. So these men are basically trapped there. After they wouldn’t really
negotiate with this, we decided to try something else. We decided to call on
52 weeks of gulf labor. In other words, every
week, someone would create an artwork or a project
to talk about the issue. And we had some famous
artists like Andrea Frazier and Thomas Hirschorn created works and then a lot of works by people who most people wouldn’t know. If you go to our website,, you can find all these
projects that are listed there. I’ll show you the one I did, I’ll show you a couple other things, and then I’ll shut up. Basically around Christmas
time, around Hannukah the Guggenheim puts out
this little tchotchke this little cast piece that you can put on your Hanukah bush
or your Christmas tree and it’s obviously a model
of the Frank Lloyd Wright building. It’s just a little thing like this, right? 20 dollars. Looks like that in the package. Along with my colleague, Matt Grecko who works at Queens College, we took that image that I made of the housing in Abu Dhabi and
we did a 3-D print of it. And then, we wrapped it
up that basically mimics the package of the
Guggenheim’s object for sale with information about
what’s happening there just as I’ve explained to
you inside the package. And then we went to the museum gift shop and we shop-dropped a
whole bunch of these, which is the opposite of
shop-lifting, into the store. And there they are. And this was our
contribution to this 52 weeks of consciousness raising, right. What’s really curious
is that, several people went back a few days later and they said, the stuff’s still in the
store. I said, really? Oh. We thought they’d find
it right away you know. Apparently either the
workers in the store thought yeah this is pretty cool,
or they didn’t realize that this was an intervention. We did copy the UPC code, so it’s possible they even sold some of these things. (laughter) They did disappear at some point. Uh, the last two things I’ll show you are more extreme interventions created by a faction of our group called Global Ultra
Luxury Faction, or GULF. And GULF decided the only way to get their attention was to
actually go into the museum and really sort of like,
make them pay attention. So again, actually this is
one of our graduate students standing and another
woman who is not disabled because she’s sitting on this huge banner that at 10 AM on May 1st, May Day 2015, was pulled out in the lobby of the museum for everyone to read. Simultaneously fliers fell down from the top of the museum
describing what was going on, why we were there, in
several different languages. Talking about workers’ rights. Outside the museum people
were holding a vigil. This was not the first demonstration that took place in the Guggenheim but it was the first one that we decided to occupy the museum. Again this is May 1st, 2015. Security almost immediately
destroyed the banner but then we sat down. Ten of us, not everyone. There were many people involved. And we held the ground. Now this was an exhibition going on, it was actually the last day
of the On Kawara exhibition. So, a lot of people didn’t get
to see the whole exhibition because the museum decided
to shut the exhibition down. Not to throw anybody out but no one else could come in during the day
after we did this action. That was not our decision,
that was their decision. So we sat there and pretty
soon everybody was gone except for security and us
and a few other people working in the staff. We got to see the entire show,
like nobody was bothering us. If you want to see an
exhibition, take over the museum. I think I just turned that off. Then NYPD showed up and we
sort of sat there thinking eh, you know, what’s going to happen? Would they really want to see
a bunch of artists dragged out of here with handcuffs on? Probably not, but five
of us including myself had tickets to go to the Venice
Biennale the very next day and if we got locked up even
for a few hours for processing, we would miss our flights. We sat counting on they
idea they wouldn’t want to be embarrassed by the bad
publicity and the police left. We called it a success. We ended it at the end of the day. But the museum still didn’t
want to give us what we wanted which was meeting with
the board of directors. Cause we felt after
meeting with the president, Richard Armstrong, we needed
to meet with the board to get our demands through. We had simultaneously, GULF
Labor, been invited to the Venice Biennale to do something there. It’s a longer story and I
won’t get into the whole thing but the late curator,
Okwui Enwezor invited us and some of us came for the opening and decided we could make a
point at the Venice Biennale because many of you may
know that there is also a Guggenheim in Venice. We created flags and
banners and we basically worked with a group
there called Sally Docks which was started as a squadra space and is now a cultural center in Venice. And if you know some of the politics around Venice right
now, they’ve been doing a lot of work against
the giant cruise ships that have been coming in and
really damaging the coral and damaging the lagoon. They helped us organize a marine landing on the Peggy Guggenheim museum. I’m stuck on my slide, maybe someone can advance that one? Perhaps the batteries went out. So, is there a technical person here? Oh okay, great. So you get the idea. Here’s what you know more or less, we basically got into boats
and we went down the canal and we went to the Peggy Guggenheim, which used to be her
home, it is now a museum. It’s on the grand canal. We lept onto the landing
dock and we took it over and we put banners up
telling everybody who was at the Biennale. So people come from all over the world for this art event. It happens every two years in Venice. And everybody could see
this from the grand canal as they go by in their boats right? They have buses that are
basically on the water called vaporeti. That, we want the museum to
meet the workers’ demands. This went on for a number of hours and we felt pretty good. And then we noticed, it looked
like the police had come once again. And we got a little bit worried but then, if you look
closely, you see one of them is saluting us. Turns out this was an art project. Yeah. Ultimately the museum, which
had an opening that evening for the American representative
of the Biennale said, “We will meet your demand.
We will meet you in New York at the you know soonest opportunity and you can meet with the board and we can discuss what
you’re talking about.” So we took a picture of
course, we had succeeded, and that was it. Sadly the museum decided
after we met with them and after we actually
showed them contracts and ways that they could
work with the people in the Middle East and make things, make the working conditions much better and much fairer, they decided
to call off the whole thing and have nothing more to do with us. So we did one more
intervention in the street as you can see, sort of reminding them that this was not a good move. One of the reasons they
probably called it off was because oil prices
plummeted around this time, around 2016 and the Abu
Dhabi and other people in UAE probably started to cut back on a lot of their cultural projects. So, it wasn’t like we had had such a great effect necessarily. Maybe we did a little
nudging but basically it was an economic reason. And the project is still out there and every once in a a while
the director, Richard Armstrong says, you know we’re working in it. So we are ready and waiting
to see what happens next. Thank you. (applause) – So, just very briefly,
I want to introduce Cannupa Hanksa Luger and I want to thank Julie Rothenburg, for having us and collaborating on this project today. I also briefly want to share
the podium with Danyelle Means who couldn’t be with us today. She is the Oglala Lakota
curator originally from Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota, who currently lives in Sante Fe. So she’s in, she’s here in spirit and she’s the co-curator
of the current exhibition Survivance and Sovereignty
on Turtle Island: Engaging with Contemporary
Native American Art. So I encourage you to see the exhibition to see Cannupa’s work
in the exhibition after. So Danyelle had just a couple
words to help introduce and welcome Cannupa. She said, this is in her
words, “We are survivors of genocide, but we are
here to tell the stories of what happened and to
remember what it took to survive and thrive. We
are our ancestors’ dreams for the future.” she said. We are our ancestors’
dreams for the future and I think this idea resonates with your work, of course. So, Cannupa Hanska Luger
is a New Mexico-based multi-disciplinary artist
raised on the Standing Rock reservation in North Dakota. He is Mandan, Hidatsa,
Arikara, Lakota, Austrian and a Norweigen descent as well. He uses social collaboration
and in response to timely and site-specific issues, he produces multi-pronged projects across many different media. His work provokes
diverse publics to engage with indigenous peoples
and often times presents a call to action to protect land. Luger is the 2019 Yerba Buena
Center for the Arts honoree, a 2019 Joan Mitchell foundation awardee, and the recipient of the
Museum of Art and Design’s 2018 Inaugural Burke Prize. Luger holds a BFA from the
Institute of American Indian Arts in Sante Fe. He lectures and
participates in residencies and large-scale projects across the globe. His work is collected internationally. He has exhibited internationally at the Princeton University Art
Museum, Ford Foundation, Washington Project for
the Arts, Crystal Bridges Museum for the Arts, National
Center for Civil Rights and Human Rights, and now
among many other locations, at the Kupferberg Holocaust Center here. So, without further ado,
thank you so much for coming all the way to be here with us today. Thank you Cannupa. (applause) (speaking Hidatsa language) A Cannupa Hanska a
Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara (speaking Hidatsa language)
dripping earth clan. Hello my friends. I ask rhetorical questions in Hidatsa. Who are you and why have you come? My name is Cannupa Hanska Luger. I am Mandan, Hidatsa,
Arikara, Lakota, Germanic, and Scandinavian. I am everything that
made it into North Dakota just about. And I’m grateful to be invited
here to this place today and to see all these lovely faces. It’s actually, I didn’t turn
around until I got up here and it’s really nice to see you all. I wanted to start off, I don’t know how I got to this place in all honesty but one thing I firmly believe in is that art is a — sorry — art
is a verb and not a noun. I think we run into these problems around decolonizing spaces and thinking about all of these notions of control and where these, where
art has been converted into a noun. And I think anybody who
works in social practice recognizes the ephemeral aspect of art in the long, kind of history of art. It’s much older than even
human beings or homo sapiens like we made our lives
beautiful for a long time and that’s a progressive practice, it’s part of a continuum. But I think in the relatively
short amount of time we decided art is this
verb, it’s an object and that object can then be commodified and placed on pedestals and spaces. It can be put on boxes, in boxes, and sold to people to
house in their boxes. And I think, I don’t
think it’s been that long. I don’t think it’s been
that long in that notion but for generations now
that’s all we ever understood about art. It’s all I ever thought it was. But as I work more in the world as I pay closer attention
to community and culture and the intersections
of all of these things what I start to realize
is that there something, something much older there. Something that has an
effort to communicate as the core purpose of art and art making. I started off as an object maker and I worked in ceramic
and clay and built, built sculptures and worked in galleries and sold this work as tiny
commodifications of culture and was like I am not
going to make anything that is specific to
Mandan Hidatsa Arikara. I am going to make Indian art. And was playing around with this idea of like a market driven economy and would put feathers and
beads on figurative objects and told the people who were collecting it this is fine, it’s Native
American, it’s Indian, it’s all you want. There’s not any deeper meaning to it and it doesn’t become a
source of you being like I really care about the people, here is my collection of objects
and proof that I belong to place for a long time. Played around with these
ideas, was successful at it but it wasn’t kind of like fulfilling. And so, what we’re exhibiting
in here right now at the, in relationship to this show
is a Mirror Shield project and that project was really,
it was made out of necessity. It was made out of desperation. I don’t even know how to
describe it as a work of art. Other than the fact that it
hearkens back to this idea that art is a verb and not a noun. All I did was created a video
on how to produce a shield that I was hoping would
protect the water protectors at the front line in Standing Rock during the Dakota Access Pipeline. The thing that’s troubling
to me about this work is its legs. Here it is in this
exhibition three years later and every time I exhibit
this work the question that comes to my head when I’m
standing in these places is: Where were you three years ago? Where were you when we needed you? You know? Did you make any of these shields? Did you send them? Did it stand on the front
line, did it protect people? And now I’m left with the
responsibility of stewarding the echo of something much more beautiful than what we see and what can be shared. And that’s challenging. That’s challenging for me. It really messes with my
notions of integrity really because Standing Rock is
a place, it’s geography, it’s geology. There’s a people tied to that name. Standing Rock itself is an
Arikara woman who was a part of the Lakota tribe, who
rather than being moved and relocated turned herself to stone and the people carried her everywhere because she was so special to them. That’s what Standing Rock is. And it exists in Fort Yate. It’s the little town that I was born in that juts out into Lake
Owahe on the Missouri river. That’s what Standing Rock is and so during the Dakota
Access Pipeline it became a hastag, it became a part
of an algorithm in a feed. And people go to express their activism through liking and sharing
and this is when I first got involved with social
media as a potential medium because I didn’t really pay
to atten– I’m 40 years old, I was born in 1979. I like learned how to
communicate differently than most of the people in this room and I didn’t really have
access to, not access, I didn’t have interest in
social media as a platform until it came to describing something that I had close contact to. In that what I realized
was that our phones in our pockets are a weapon, and the weapon is sharing. This ability to document and to preserve and share ideas and experiences through platforms such as social media. For all of it’s double-edged
shortcomings and whatnot, something incredible was happening where, it amplified certain voices
and people got to move messages around in a way. But what I saw that was lacking
was, I saw a lot of allies and no accomplices. I saw a lot of people liking and sharing and it moving in that
fashion so the ocean was wide but it was not very deep, you know? And what I found was if
you can provide a prompt for people to participate, you move them from an ally to an accomplice. If you create a small simple act that allows people to
participate on a deeper level, to create intention, to create empathy, and to create some sort
of a purpose and resolve in these issues, they will. And that’s what changed the
whole way I was making work. I’m just moving through these. These are all images from Fort Berthold. This is where the oil
was drawn from for the Dakota Access Pipeline. This is where I’m enrolled. I’m from Fort Berthold and all of the oil that was
running across Standing Rock where my father’s from
and where I was born and my brothers live was being drawn from the reservation that I’m enrolled on. So, I watched this industry
transform one of my communities for the worse and then
threaten the other one and so I had to act. My little brother works for the EPA at Standing Rock and he gave me a lot of the insider instant
instant what was going on and as an artist I have privilege
so if I don’t waste that on myself, what do I, how do I use it? How do I utilize it? I have access to institutions,
I have access to media groups so, I was like okay let me
just push these ideas forward. And I started, I started
a supply line basically out of New Mexico to Standing Rock because the people who
would collect my work, my peers and stuff, in
New Mexico were like, we know you’re Lakota. We know you’re from Standing
Rock, how can we help? So I just started doing a
supply run back and forth but this whole mirror shield project came out of an October evening when everyone was getting sprayed with water cannons. And it’s cold in North
Dakota and I know that and I had just left and came back home. Just left North Dakota and
came back to New Mexico where I live and was watching this unfold on Facebook and Facebook live, and it’s like I need to make something. So I produced this video and
tried to answer the question, “what can one person do?” I’m one person, I can
try to figure that out. I went to a Home Depot, I
went to like a big box store where everybody has access to. I used their panel saw. I brought $60 with me
and that was the limit of my, that I could
possibly spend on this. I don’t know what happened over here but, I may have turned it off? Anyway, somebody else can
just click through those too cause I’m just like periodically. The thing that I found
that was interesting was I needed to create a prompt
for people to participate and in the act of participation,
they got involved. I had no intention of what
it was going to look like. I had no expectation of what it could be. I made it out of desperation and quickly if you watch the video,
it’s like embarrassing for me to watch it,
myself because I’m antsy. The filmmaker who filmed it
was like do you have a script? Do you have any blocking? And I was like, I’ve got a
drill gun and I’ve go plywood. And so, we just opened up the
camera and I started to make these mirror shields
as a prompt for people. They ended up coming in in like thousands. I had no idea the response
was going to be like that. And they came in many different
forms because it was open. It was an open format. I talked about it earlier
today but one of my favorite iterations of this was an 8th grade class that had written on the
inside of the shield in marker and in crayon,
“thank you for holding those shields. I’m sorry we can’t be there but thank you for
protecting the water for us” in like magic marker and
crayon written on the inside to whoever it was who
was going to hold them. And it’s not a part of what my plan was, it was just something that
happened out of response from that. But this made me start
to think that there is something more in the creation of art that goes beyond the
object and the celebration of the object. What it reminded me of was
that, there’s a different idea of what ownership is in art. Right now I work in an
industry that caters to the ultra rich. The more successful I become,
the smaller my market is. There is no sustainable
equation for for me as an artist that has a long term effect. And definitely, I mean
some people make it, don’t get it wrong. There’s probably somebody in
this room that will kill it on that model, but by in large most of us, we will never be paid the
amount of time and love and effort that we put into it. This is a, there’s zero return
on the amount of ourselves that we put into any level of artwork. And so, I think we need
to start to question, what is a return? If it cannot be financial,
economic, if it cannot be monetary, what can we hope
for as a equitable exchange? And by doing projects
like this mirror shield, this is an ugly art object
and it is a terrible shield. And I slide through this
because people used them on the front line. And there are photographs of people, people who I don’t even know,
who I didn’t get to meet who applied these on the front line because it was better than a puffy coat. Because that’s what we had mostly to protect ourselves
against rubber bullets and tear gas canisters
and everything else. So, it counted for something
but it is a terrible shield for what we were facing. The application of it too in
space was also interesting because I saw shelters that
were built out of these. So roofs with slatted mirrored shields to reflect heat back down into the space. I saw kids sledding on them down hills and I’m like, all of that
is exactly how this thing is supposed to work you know? Don’t let me get in the way as an artist, as a creator. Don’t let me get in the
way of how it’s applied, how it’s used and why
it’s valued like please. Necessity, let necessity drive that. That idea of creating this
work started to move me towards an idea of – I’m just sliding through this stuff – There is, these are future
ancestral technology classes. These are actually
figures that are based on the monster slayers from my, the Mandan Hidatsa culture,
specifically Mandan culure. And I’ve been doing these kind
of like on-site performances. These are just, these are
residue, these are documentation of the performance. But, I basically go to land
sites that have been part of this extractive industry. Various ones, whether it’s
mining or oil or timber and I go apologize for
the human-shaped things. And developed a whole kind of like side– I do a lot of different
projects and as I’m committing to this slideshow I’m
seeing my, the organization get confused because what I
really wanted to talk about is, maybe it’s not on here. No. This idea of creating prompts for work changed, it changed the way
I started to engage with work and it created a more interesting project which I’ve been calling
been calling “Counting Coup” and looking at data and
trying to re-humanize data and do projects where
people can participate in the creation of very simple forms to make sense out of large number sets. And in doing that, what
I found is there is, there is something that
happens to the viewer and the object that changes
because people participate in these projects and
when they enter the space to see these objects in
institutional settings, I always see somebody who’s
participated in the project and they have ownership of
that work without possessing it and that challenge is
just the whole makeup and the design of the whole thing. I don’t know if it’s a way
to make a living or anything like that but it’s definitely
satiating something that was missing in my practice. Yeah. Just wanted to talk more
about that sort of notion. But I would also really, I
prefer talking with people than at people and so
with that being said, I live in public. My name is Cannupa Hanska
Luger, like I have all the URL’s for that. Nobody has Cannupa Hanska
as a dot com or anything. So it was open. Please check it out. I have projects that I
do that are participatory and need help doing them so
I’m just putting that out there as a way to move into
this next session, section of our engagement so that
we have the opportunity to talk with you, rather than at you. So, thank you very much. (applause) (low volume chattering) – Thank you very much to Greg and Cannupa and I’m thinking maybe
it would be great if you both could come up here and maybe you could be flanked by me and Kat. He’s back there. And, oh wow, look at all those people. Standing room only. Oh my goodness! There are some places
to sit up here you can, a few of you guys can come up here. – [Kat] There’s seats if anyone wants to grab some. – Do you want us to grab a
couple chairs for you two? – [Kat] I mean yeah, or this one. (audience murmuring) (chairs banging) – [Greg] I’ve seen Jerry Lewis do this better than you. – So we’ve had a lot of
ideas presented to us. Some of them are probably
new to some of us and maybe a little familiar to others. And I think Kat and I
probably both have questions that we would like to ask or we’re happy to get the ball rolling or engage but more importantly we’re interested in any questions that you
all might have for either both of them. You can have a question that you know, either of you can answer
or maybe specifically for one or the other. Maybe we should start it that way with questions from the audience? Is that? – [Kat] Sure. – Okay. Yes, sir. – [Audience Member #1] The first speaker thoroughly mesmerized me
and when he was discussing the demonstration at the Guggenheim, for one split second,
I thought that that was the Guggenheim in Abu Dhabi
and I said, that’s impossible you would be beheaded in a
dictatorial regime like that if you had that type of a demonstration. And of course I was wrong
because it was in New York but the thought that came to me. One of the signs said $120,000 art degree. That’s a bargain. Today you wouldn’t be able to
get for $120,000 an education and the most serious threat
to any type of education particularly to artists,
is the current government of the United States,
Betsey Devos, Secretary of Education. The first thing she did
when she got into office was to replace, you had
all of these for-profit institutions that will have
people borrow tens of thousands of dollars, they then
drop out after two weeks but they still owe the money
to the federal government. – [Kat] Sir, just briefly, so is there a question at the end
for one of the speakers? – [Audience Member #1] My
question is this, Isn’t it important in your
presentation to point out what is preventing the study
of art and other studies of the United States? The policies of the
United States government that is so anti-learning. – [Kat] Do you want to respond Gregory or? – Um, just very quickly
just to clarify, the people, the workers in Abu Dhabi do go on strike and they do organize. Sometimes they’re actually
expelled from the country because of that. Sometimes it’s the only
way they can go home because they don’t have their passports. But, you know, we should not underestimate what those people are willing to do. They’re in a much more difficult situation than us artists, you know,
doing what we’re doing. So that’s important. And in terms of financing
art, I teach at Queens College and I forgot to mention
Social Practice Queens, which is this — – [Julie] Sorry I was
supposed to remember that. – Yeah, it’s okay –
program, I’ll very quickly, and I’m happy to talk to you afterwards if you’re interested
too, we can talk more. Where we try to bring
artists together with issues of social justice and
environmental justice and we have both an MFA and we also have a certificate program now that tries to do that at Queens College and I know some of you
are maybe even thinking about transferring there possibly. In terms of the cost, my
god, it’s a big issue. I could talk forever about it. I don’t think it’s just a political issue, I think it’s an economic issue. I think you know, basically student debt in this country may be
the next trigger for the next recession because it’s enormous and it’s not just, you
know it’s not just coming from the political realm. It’s also coming from
people like Larry Fink of Black Rock and these big corporations who hold this debt and well, anyway. That’s a big issue, I actually
have a question for Cannupa. Can I ask a question? I was really interested when
you started talking about big data. I have my students now– a couple of them are here– terrified because a couple of them
are reading Emanuel Kant’s you know, section on the sublime and he talks about like big
things that you cannot even. I’m just kind of curious what you’re doing with the data thing. It was really interesting. – [Kat] (mumbles) – Yeah, sure um, yeah. I’ve been doing projects
with, really actually hard, like not hard data as in
like this is hard data but data that represents
really difficult things. I’ve been looking mostly at bodies, bodies in relation to different objects and trying to contextualize
what that looks like at scale. The numbers aren’t huge
until you start trying to comprehend what they represent. And, often times the
brutality that created these body counts was dehumanization and so how is dehumanization the answer to create safeguards to protect them? And that’s the thing with
data, is data’s great for policy. It allows people to comprehend
and punch in numbers which gives them an opportunity
to create safeguards and policy to protect people. But, it dehumanizes
them in the same process which is exactly how we got to this point in the first place. Yeah on the lower corner
there’s an image of a stack of beads with a person standing in front of it. This was a project I did
that was around missing and murdered indigenous women, queer and trans communities out of
data coming out of Canada. Specifically just Canada
because in Canada, the truth and reconciliation
act gave grass roots organizations teeth to actually
gather this information from the royal Canadian mountain police and anybody else kind of gathering bodies and data around people being murdered. Murdered and disappeared. So, the number that I was
working with was 4,000. It’s like, it’s an accessible number. It’s not a huge number but to think about that in relationship to a femicide on an indigenous population that already has a low population,
you’re removing the ability for us to create more of us. And so, I don’t know what
the collateral effect of that’s going to be over time, but 4,000 is too many. You know, it’s too many
and it’s much higher than any other demographic
as far as just murder. And it has a lot to do
with dehumanization. It also has a lot to do
with extractive industries. And so, this is why you know
I started cycling into these extractive industry projects
because as I was working on this project, I started
it by wanting to make a bead for every one of these bodies. This piece is actually called “Every One.” And in the process of starting this, I had just built a deck on
my property in New Mexico and it was all made out of Canadian timber and I’m looking at the
data because the data was gathered and I’m layering it with all of these other maps and I’m seeing that extractive industry
has a direct correlation to the missing and murdered
indigenous women in Canada and I just built a deck
out of Canadian timber. And I was like, it’s my fault, you know? I’m invested in the
destruction of these people. I’m invested, and I’m
accountable and I was okay with it until I realized it and meanwhile I’m making
these beads and stacking them you know, in a thoughtful
and prayerful way this is already too many, this
is enough, this has to stop. Here’s one out of 4,000. And I said this over
and over and over again and like three days in
I had felt every emotion it was possible for me to
feel and what I realized was that was the most
beautiful that this art would ever be. That object is a byproduct of
something really beautiful. And the beautiful part was
the process and I thought back to the mirror shield
project and thought, I need to share this. This is the art you know? The art is the process of making it. And so I did that and I
have started a whole offset of projects in my practice
that are called counting coup and we look at data sets. The current one that we’re working on is called “Something to Hold Onto.” I’m looking at bodies found seeking asylum in the U.S. but also globally. And specifically, I live in New Mexico so I’m looking at the U.S. Mexico border. We mentioned Kanders and tear gas. All of those same tactics
that they used there, they tested on us at Standing
Rock just a year prior. And all of those people traveling, those are my cousins. Those are native people one thing that I keep thinking about as we talk about decolonizing the
space and stuff like that is that everything we understand as far as money and wealth and power in this country is dependent
on us not being here. Because if there is an indigenous
body to this landscape, then it challenges all of that wealth and all of that control. When I look at Kanders and
tear gas and all of that, I also would be remiss not
to mention sugar, you know. That’s killed more of my
people than tear gas ever has and has struck me and hurt me harder than any tear gas canister ever did. But I think we do need to
be accountable and really think about where we collect
our funding, how we support all of these things because,
for me as a native artist, there is no money I won’t take because it’s been taken already you know? There’s no ugly dirty
dollar in this country that didn’t cost blood
for my people you know? Period. And there are some that are
worse than others, you know for sure. So I think it’s important
that we look at ethics in philanthropy but I’ve
also seen pie charts of how much and where money
goes in this money goes in this country as far as philanthropy and less than 5% of it comes
to arts and humanities. You know? So, there’s a lot more
other avenues out there. Anyway, side, side pony. (laughs) – [Julie] So I, wait wait. So many questions. But I would like to invite students to respond or ask some questions. Is there anybody? Yes, Sir? – [Audience Member #2] Um, (mumbles). When you did the mirror project, when did you first start
it and is it growing to this day? Are new people actually
partaking in mirror project? – No, it was just
specifically just to protect those people standing
right there, at that time. This project is moot at this point. The river and water that
we were trying to protect, as soon as number 45
came in, signed a letter and they passed right underneath the river without any care. But, you know our president
before didn’t do anything until he was just about out. So there has never been a political entity in this country that has our, you know, had us in mind, ever. – [Julie] I wouldn’t count on a repeat performance of
the president doing something till he’s out but… – Yeah I mean, the thing
is, is that, that was for standing rock specifically, you know? And it was to stop the
Dakota Access Pipeline but there’s a pipeline
running through Minneapolis or Minnesota right now
through very precious and dangerous waterways
that needs protection, that people are putting
their bodies in front of to prevent. There’s one running through Canada and it’s going to run
through Washington state but all of the indigenous
tribes through there, they’re building tiny
houses so that they can say that they’re inhabiting the land in which their ancestors are from. Like putting themselves
on that front line. And you had mentioned too
like artists are not activists you know what I’m saying? Like activists put their
bodies on the line. I know activists, you know? We do the best we can
with what assets we have. And the reality is, I’ve got
daisies for hands you know what I’m saying? Like I grew up on a ranch in North Dakota but still I spend too
much time in the studio. I am much better at inciting 10,000 than being one on the
front line, you know? And that’s the importance
of art and artists. We can use our privilege and
access to amplify issues. We can move these things forward. But that’s just the beginning of it. The reality is, we need
you much more to to respond and to do something. And also these institutions need us more than we need them to inspire and to create those sorts of things. So the whole pyramid
demographic that we are comfortable with has been
inverted at some point and I don’t know why or how. And it’s been like that for generations and I’m terrified of the
path dependent nature that we’re in. We need to (snaps) snap
out of that you know? – [Audience Member #2] Yeah
because I don’t, I really don’t think the government or
any kind of situation I’ve been on myself or
anyone else would do the same thing because
we can’t start selling the government our supports or anything to help us with any of those departments that people suffer a
lot because they’re just going say yeah okay but then
the reality shit gets done. (mumbling) Because they care about
what their interests and the plug people then (mumbles). – Yeah and as I’ve been doing
more of this social work the thing that I’ve realized
is I can’t change anything but that which I can touch, you know? That’s, this space just
right around me is really where I can make a difference
but if I can inspire somebody to do the same, you know? If I can touch somebody
who can touch somebody, who can touch somebody,
then we start to see these like micro changes
you know, that make. They’re like subtle tiny
little things but they start making a difference you know? And, I think, you know? (laughs) From what I’ve experienced. I’m not, I can’t be certain
because I’m still alive and it all is just human-shaped dots from where I’m standing you know. But hopefully, down the line. – I’m gonna, I’m actually gonna push back a little on this and I agree actually, you have to do the
things that are immediate and you have to do
those incremental things but I don’t think you should give up on the big governmental structures. I actually think we need
to start thinking about how do we get those
structures back on our side? Because we’ve given that
territory over to like the worst, not just the Republicans, but the Democrats too. We need to really think
about what does it mean to have a state that actually
would look after us, right? Because so much of what
we’ve done is just like, well I can only be an
activist in this little range. Do that but don’t forget to
push for the bigger changes because a lot of what we’re
dealing with is out of our control precisely because
we’ve given up that space. So I would say don’t give up on that. – [Julie] I’m wondering, I’d like to ask just a quick question,
I like that you both have raised, maybe
indirectly but, some of the contradictions around our social practice, well we haven’t really
defined that yet but, rather art as social
intervention and activism and the relationship of the art’s economy and the art world to actually, you know, capitalism as we know it
since really you know, since the 19th century. So, you know like Clement
Greenberg said that artists are tied to the bourgeois
by an umbilical cord or something like that and you mentioned, well all money is dirty
because, so it really doesn’t, it doesn’t matter who you
get it from as long as you’re using it for some kind of social good. I’m wondering how do you,
how do you feel about, how do you see those
contradictions even you know with regards to trying
to reform institutions or stay on top of institutions like MoMA and the Guggenheim that,
their history really is tied to the rise of a
particular class interest in the United States. – Just to clarify your question. – [Julie] Sorry that was
one of those questions that’s like what’s the question but… – Uh, contradictions. – [Julie] Contradictions. – Okay. – [Julie] Yes. Contradictions. – I mean, you know, what
can I say it’s like, it’s absolutely true. Like, every, someone
asked me a few months ago when I was in Amsterdam
giving a similar talk, and someone raised their
hand and they were from Cape Town South Africa and they said, “We’re trying to create a
museum that is de-colonial. Do you think that’s
possible?” And I said, I don’t think it’s possible. I don’t think you can
decolonize really in the end because these structures,
and they do come out of the 19th century, these
museums, are so integrated with all of these problems
and these contradictions we were talking about. In fact if you took away
all the colonial assets from the Metropolitan Museum
of Art or from the Louvre, it would disappear. The museum would not be there. There would be nothing left, right? So we do really have to think
about those contradictions in our own practice as
artists and being involved in the cultural sphere. We also have to be kind
of honest and conscious about if we want a
de-colonial artistic world, it’s going to require
absolutely fundamental changes. And you can’t just do that
in the cultural sector. It’s gonna have to
happen, as we were saying, beyond just artists. Artists cannot be the only
ones to sort of work on that. They might be able to push a little but it has to, it’s going
to require a bigger change. So, the question you raised is so big that we could talk about that all day but that would be my
immediate thought is like, let’s look at the institutions
and let’s be realistic. What can we do? In Europe, a lot of the
museums, particularly in Belgium now are giving back works
to Benin and other people in Nigeria and other parts
of Africa that they stole. And it’s starting to be a
wave across the entire world. I wouldn’t think the Elgin
Marbles are going to return anytime soon but who knows? Hey, it might happen. But it is actually
happening across the world. It just isn’t going to
sort of reduce things to a non-contradictory
situation in my opinion. Maybe that’s not the goal
we can be realistic about. – Yeah I mean I think, I
think people and culture is a non-colonial museum you know? That there’s a maintenance
involved in indigeneity, that there’s a maintenance
involved in culture, right? But every institution is
about preserving, preservation you know? It’s not about maintenance,
it’s about locking it in at a certain amount in
time and holding it to that to educate the next generation of people. But I mean I think about
this in terms of repatriation of indigenous objects and
returning them to communities. We have to build a museum with
like climate controlled stuff in order to receive these
works back from other major institutions which makes us colonial in an effort to repatriate these objects but they wouldn’t have
them if we weren’t able to take care of them
for thousands of years through a practice called
maintenance, not preservation. Maintenance allows it to
change, it allows it to evolve. It allows it to be taken
care of and to be fed and to serve its purpose you
know, as a part of the culture. And once it loses that, it’s put back. It’s let to disintegrate. It’s let to get like stop
being which is something that we have a hard time understanding. As western and cultures
of dominance have moved around the world, we have
a hard time with loss and death. We’re scared of it. It’s inevitable, everyone
in this room is doomed. Like, I promise you, the only
way out in the cost of living is death. We aren’t gonna make it. Spoiler. (laughter) But the cool thing is that
we can push ideas forward and culture. And culture survives us. Culture is a part of continuum. Culture allows us to have a
museum that is not colonial and we did that around the planet for most of human experience. What we’ve experienced is a
fine layer of powdered sugar on the surface of a really
nourishing donut you know? And that’s like the human experience. It’s thin, it’ll blow
away if we give it time. So don’t lose hope, like
don’t, and I don’t want to say hope, like participate in
making that change you know? Actively. Get involved, somehow some way. And little ways is just
as good as big ways. Yeah, read the room. (laughter) – [Kat] Can I? Do you
mind if I real quickly. So thinking about I think
you were talking about the situation in Europe
and I think we’re about to create an interesting situation in Europe with this settlement project
which just definitely speaks to a lot of this,
what we’ve been discussing around colonization,
decolonization, indigenizing. – Yeah. – Do you mind talking
briefly about the new, the settlement project? – Yeah , I’ll talk briefly about it. I haven’t figured out how to
fund it totally yet but… – [Kat] You can talk about that too. – Yeah yeah, we’ve got a… huh? – [Kat] Pass around the hat. (laughter) – Actually (laughs) I’m
just gonna pass this around, I’ll take whatever. I’ve only raised about $700
so far on this project. But I’m doing a project
in 2020 that’s tied to the, there’s this big thing
called the Mayflower 400 or the Plymouth 400 and
it’s four nations working together to commemorate the Mayflower. So from 1620 to 2020,
it’s been 400 years since the Mayflower came to this country. And I was asked by a group
in the UK to do a project and I was like, no. I don’t want to touch that
with a 10 foot pole you know? It sounded too complicated,
and I’m not Wampanoag like I am Mandan Hidatsa. The pilgrims never made
it to my peeps, you know? It was a completely different
group of people heading west. But, it opened up this
possibility to actually do like a reverse colonial idea. And it’s something, I don’t know, it makes me really uncomfortable. It makes me really
nervous, so I’m gonna do it because that’s also exciting. And I’m bringing 27 native
artists from different communities in the US to do a project. I just, I’m about to have a conversation with the Wampanoag advisory committee. Actually, when I go down
to Boston later in my trip out right now, to create a
prologue and an introduction to this project. But, I’m bringing, I’m bringing
a bunch of native artists to Plymouth UK and we’re
gonna build a settlement right in Central Park
in Plymouth and share contemporary indigenous experience
through performance art, through music, through
composition, through all of these kind of like contemporary
and new media aspects of indigenous people because
my experience in going to Europe is, people
look at me and they say, you’re not native American. Because they want me to be
in buck skins and feathers. You know? They want to see the romantic idea of what native people are. And a big problem with
that is that a lot of times when native people go visit Europe, in order to be seen, they’ll
reinforce those ideas. And we do that in politics all the time. We will dress the part to be seen by you which is strange because
when we see ourselves, we’re in basketball
shorts and cowboy boots you know what I’m saying? We’re just like everybody else. And, our invisibility has
a lot to do with not seeing us like that. Because I promise you,
when you, I mean there are natives in this room
right now and I promise when you go to the store,
there are natives next to you, you know? We are a part of the public sphere and just because you
can’t see us doesn’t mean we’re invisible. And so, this project is trying
to like amplify our presence and actually bring really
contemporary art to this provincial town of Plymouth UK. – They wouldn’t like you
to say that, but yeah. (laughter) – Oh, they’re the ones who told me that. Yeah, yeah. – You’re right actually. – Yeah, yeah, Plymouth is
like the largest village in the UK. That’s what they told me. Um, and I agree. It’s very blue collar. It’s very down to earth
but they don’t have, they’re opening up like
a big modern art museum in relationship to this commemoration so, it’s super complicated. I’m trying to bring as many
different tribal people. This is why I ended up
bringing 27 because I was like, I can’t do it alone. I’m not you know, the advocate
for all native people. We are so complex and so
diverse and so contradictory. Like I’m sure there’s
a native person in here that the words coming out of
my mouth like offended today. You know? That complexity is not
shared, not celebrated, not amplified. And I think it’s important
to have those conversations in public settings? Just to create a three dimensional
fourth dimensional idea of what native people are. I’m Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara, I’m Lakota. I am not native American you know? I don’t know how do we… – [Julie] It’s interesting that in Brazil indigenous people use that in protests. I mean they dress up in these kind of like almost corny you know
feathers and things like that to sort of create this,
this, I don’t know, spectacle of political presence. – [Cannupa] Yeah and that
has a lot to do with external expectation. It has also a lot to do
with that, they haven’t been colonized for as long as the rest of us. So, their access to these materials, I still have access to
our customary regalias. We use them in ceremony, we
use them when it’s important. You know what I’m saying? And so often times even
representing themselves in the, in Europe in that fashion, is to set a precedent
to amplify certain ideas and presence you know? So, like I said man, there
is so much hypocrisy, so much contradiction within the art world but in Indian country and all places, we are looking for a
world of like oneness. But I’m terrified of, I don’t think unity has to come at the cost of homogeny. I think that the diversity
is our greatest strength. Our relationship to place, the
protocols that are embedded in the landscapes that
we’re from have a lot more to do with our, what makes
us special, you know? And special and/or designed
for the land relating to these places. I don’t know, I’m possibly. – [Julie] Other questions
from the audience from, yes. – [Audience Member #3] Um,
where are the mirrors now? – I have no idea. Yeah, I have, like I
said, the mirror shield was created specifically for a moment. They’ve served their purpose. I have like 10 of them. I made one of them. I produced like probably
200-300 of them during when they were needed, but I
have no idea where they are. And I don’t, it doesn’t
matter to me, you know? They did their thing and now they rest. They’re probably in a landfill
somewhere in all honesty. They were probably
scraped up by my brother working for the EPA when
they were cleaning out and clearing out Acheche Shecoe, you know, after the fact. So, I have no idea. I mean it’s interesting
because Standing Rock, we talk about these things, and
we see these sorts of things but Standing Rock is a place and 80 you know, it had
two major economic drivers. It had the casino and it has agriculture and the casino is working at 20%. Ever since we stood up
to protect the water, the people in North Dakota
and South Dakota quit coming to the reservation to gamble in protest. So, our second largest
economic driver is undermined by standing up to protect
water to this day. We don’t talk about that,
you know what I’m saying? That’s not a part of the algorithm. Standing Rock is a hashtag you know? That water system is what we
use to feed the agriculture which is our primary source
of economic drive, is ag. And now it has a time bomb
underneath it you know. So, we don’t talk about that. Hopefully we’ll never have
to use those shields again. But they were made our of
necessity, they were made for a moment. – [Audience Member #4] Is
there ever a point where you feel as an artist, that
your ability just isn’t enough to combat atrocities around the world? (laughter) – Nope. (laughing) I’m superhero, I can do it all. Um, no of course I mean, I can’t. I can’t. But the question is
does that make me stop? Absolutely not, you know? I’m never going to live
in that beautiful world that I can imagine, but I die trying. – [Audience Member #4] Good point. – Yeah. Because I’m a part of a
continuum, because I’ve got kids. – [Audience Member] (mumbles) – Uh, I’m working on
it, I’m working on it. (laughter) I’ve been doing these weird like sci-fi indigenous science fictions, so I’m trying to describe it as we speak. You get a chance to
check it out, you know. There is actually, there’s
some up at the Ford Foundation right now. An exhibition called Utopian Imaginations. – [Julie] Where does Ford Foundation live? – It’s their gallery space. – Yeah. – In the ground floor. – [Audience Member #5] Do
you think any true progress can actually be made without there being involvement of violence? All through history… – [Julie] You’re challenging these folks with (laughing) the questions. – [Audience Member #5] All through history (inaudible) protest as much as you can but usually it always ends up that one side was against another and then there comes a coalition
or agreement that okay, that we, okay you showed
us that you have power and that this is really what you want? I’ll give it to you without
there actually being any physical per se. – I think just like
everything else there’s new material sciences. There’s new access for communication. The world is changing in
ways that hopefully we can prevent that? But, life’s abrasive,
you know what I’m saying? Like we grind up on
each other all the time and you know, sometimes it’s just living, sometimes it’s violence, you know? I don’t, I can imagine it but
I haven’t seen it applied yet. I know that there are
softer ways, and I know that the machine that
is trying to wipe us out and control us, is very good at violence, so I don’t know if violence is
the way to respond, you know? I think there might be ways
to like, I don’t even know what it is but I know it’s gonna cost. Somebody’s gonna get
hurt, somebody gets hurt in the process but do we allow that to be, do we take that on, that hurt you know? I don’t know. – I think you have to break
violence down into like what you mean precisely though. Look at Ghandi’s campaign
of Santiegara where people passively resisted then it was taken up by Martin Luther King and some
of the civil rights people. But sometimes there has to be
something a little stronger off to the edge that allows
that kind of passive resistance to operate and I think in
each case you have to really examine what do I mean
by violence in this case? Because the very fact that
some people like, let’s say the ones in Abu Dhabi
that we were talking about have to go there to do this horrible work in incredibly hot temperature
and of course we know the temperature’s even getting worse, to try to send money back to their family. That’s a kind of violence too. That’s a violence embedded
in economic relations and that’s right in this
room right now, right? You had another question. – [Audience Member #5]
Oh yeah, another question on average how much native American blood would you have to have to
register for a reservation or to get benefits? – There are 572 different
tribes, the all have, their own sovereignty? So there’s different
protocols around that. Blood quantuming in general is not ours. That’s an external idea. Blood quantuming is a way to
allow us to police ourselves into eradicating ourselves from the land because prior to contact,
it was rare for a man to spend his whole life
within the tribal community, that, this is where I come from. Often times they would
leave and be absorbed into another community,
another culture just for genetic diversity, for that sake alone. We had a matriarchal
system, so our clan system, I’m (word spoken in another
language), I’m dripping earth. That was, it follows
like mitochondrial DNA. It follows the female
lineage and the female line and if you were absorbed
into a community whether by force, violence, slavery
or just pure interest cause you lookin’ right you know? You had to follow protocol. And protocol with it
you had to participate in the culture in order to
become a part of the culture. I would really be interested
to see how that could actually create something regenerative and actually allow this
country of settlers to be embedded and have a
deeper relationship to place. We ain’t there yet. I’m gonna put that out
there right now, you know? But these are protocols you know and it’s about like participation. So it varies. Some people it’s through lineage. You have to have like sometimes it’s an eighth,
sometimes it’s a quarter. There’s all sorts of, and
it’s all arbitrary, you know? It’s like based on, I don’t
know, how you breed dogs and horses and stuff like that. So, it’s peculiar. – [Kat] Was there a question back there? – [Julie] Yes. – [Audience Member #6] I have a question. So I’m here with my
creative writing students and thank you so much. Today in class we were
talking about language and particularly the
use of language and we also talked about the connection. So I wondered, one thing we
talked about in class today was the difference
between calling yourself a water protector and a protestor. Can you talk a little bit
about connecting to others and getting people to
connect to the projects. – Yeah. – [Audience Member #6]
Through language itself. – Yeah, I mean I think it’s
embedded, like there’s so many strange semantic you know
things, especially when you start talking about
law and things like that. It’s, you’ve gotta be very
specific about what words you’re using. In relationship to Standing
Rock, yeah we called ourselves water protectors because that’s what we were there doing. The media called it a protest. They set it up like we
were protesting oil, but the reality is we were
just trying to protect water. In fact Standing Rock
put out an opportunity for the oil company to
build a bridge across where they wanted to build,
run it underneath the underneath the lake and
then run that pipeline over the bridge so that
it can be inspected, taken care of, watched
and it would never blow and flood, you know? Costs too much. The company that was putting
that together was not interested in paying that amount. So, we were never protesting oil. We know how embedded we are,
we know how dependent we are. We don’t think it’s great,
but what we knew was more important was the
protection of the water. And that’s what we tried to say. It was media that always
called it protest, you know? It was never us on the
ground calling it protest. It was about protection. It was about something much
deeper and longer termed than that. The oil’s finite, the water is, you know. Something we actually are dependent on. It’s not perceived. – [Audience Member #6] As
far as connecting to others and getting people you know,
connecting to these projects. What is a way that
they’ll approach as far as making connection? – Yeah. – [Audience Member #6] Students here (coughing make it unable to hear talking) – Well I think it’s, I
think it’s it’s interesting, there’s a lot of students here that I saw that are going to
actually sit in positions at institutions, you know? That are going to school
right now to be the next wave of curators and sit on these boards and make these decisions. One thing that I think is
really interesting is like intersections, you know? Where do our experiences cross over? We all have unique experiences. But there are points at
which these things are woven together but, at most
institutions they’re really because of how it’s set up,
because it’s about preservation, even in the creation of like
work for Latin American, Native American, African
American, these exhibitions are all broken down for
those demographics you know? But I’m really interested in
how do we create communication across those things? Like there’s a lot of
intersections between us all but the way we are presented
to one another is separate and isolated and labeled you know? So I think I charge that
generation with the responsibility of breaking down those systems from within and to go back to this
gentleman’s question and what you were saying. I don’t think there’s any one
way to do this thing right. I think all the ways are
the right way to do it and I say this because I
come from a native community and we’re always struggling
with like a unified front, you know what I’m saying? We’re always like, can
we all just come together and create policy and move
together as a whole force? But the reality is, our lack
of organization is the reason we’re here today. Our lack of being unified is
the reason why we can’t be wiped out. The mechanism of oneness
you know, is and homogeny and control wants us to be one thing because then it can focus all
of its efforts to wipe us out. But when you come at it
from every different angle and can’t communicate
to one another to make those things happen, that’s
a very difficult thing to combat. And, so I think every way. Peaceful, violent, you
know what I’m saying? Subversive, from within
the system, from outside of the system. These are all the ways that
we basically break down the machine. The machine doesn’t know
how to deal with that level of complexity. So how do we recognize
that complexity and rather than tearing each other
apart laterally, utilize it to challenge the thing that’s
oppressing us all you know? We were talking about debt earlier. I was talking with my friend,
the guy who actually filmed the drone footage in the
exhibition that I have in there. His name is Rory Wakemup
and he and I were talking and he mentioned a thing
that I think is absolutely, absolutely true. Debt is the new reservation,
and you’re all Indians now. Like, every one of you. What happens when you get
off, you know what I’m saying? What happens when you get
outside of that system? And I’ll tell you from my
experience, they don’t like it. They prefer you on the res, you know? They prefer you where they can count you. And that’s what debt control
and debt consolidation, all of that is to create,
is to force you to be in your place. I lucked out, I didn’t go to school. I did my undergrad and started working. I don’t have debt from getting my masters and I managed to squirrel
away enough money to buy property and paid for my truck. I don’t have debt and
that allows me to say crazy-ass shit like this right here. (laughter) Because that’s the fact of the matter. I’m not beholden to anybody you know? But I’m dependent on all
of us like absolutely. – I’m just going to add to your question, or your observation. Here we are two visual artists. The generation that I grew
up with studying painting, mostly abstract painting
and abstract sculpture, speaking about our work,
writing about our work was just not considered important. We didn’t learn those kind of skills. Only a few of us kind
of like aspired to that. The program that I teach
in at Queens College, we actually have for the masters degree, a required writing class. The students have to take
the course, they have to learn how to write about their
work, speak about their work. So things have really
changed in that sense and I think this is a
testament to that fact. Even though you don’t officially
have an MFA, you’ve grown up in an art world really that
has changed in many regards to this kind of articulation. Just in terms of debt, I
always say that I thank my lack of debt because I also don’t have debt. On a little tiny spherical
metal object that circled the earth when I was two
years old, anybody know what that was? – Sputnik. – I know you know. No? Sputnik. Little friend. – [Julie] Right, right. – The Russians launched
a fairly heavy, actually, object circling the earth. The first man-made object
that circled the earth and the United States was
just like, went ballistic. It wasn’t so much, we were
working on our own satellites but what we didn’t realize
is they had such huge rockets to launch these things into space and this created the
so-called missile gap right? Their rockets are bigger than ours. It also, the very next day,
led to incredible funding for education for the arts. You can literally go back at
the newspapers and look at that change over where the
congress said, we need money for science, we need money for everything. What happens at the end of
the Cold War, is well we don’t really, why are we
paying for people’s education? Why are we paying artists again? What is this about? So the generation that
starts after the Cold War, one of the most important
things they learn in school is how to be in debt
the rest of their lives. That is the education,
first level of education, staying on the reservation right? You’ve gotta borrow money for your future. The state’s no longer
going to give you money because we invest in the future. It’s a fundamental shift
that you’re all living with the consequences of. – Yeah. – [Julie] Yeah it becomes normalized. – Totally normalized. – [Julie] I actually, I don’t know if it’s a good question
or an observation but, it’s so interesting that there’s this, unionization activity amongst art workers at a time when you know
union participation and union support is kind
of at this all-time low that these cultural
workers are recognizing themselves as workers and
the importance of unity. I mean, diversity’s good
too, I’m not saying about, but just this kind of consciousness that, that it’s sort of a movement away from this kind of romantic
notion of the artist as a genius who is just kind of, you know above the, above and outside. So it’s connected with the
notion of social practice art, I think in an interesting way. And I’m wondering to what
degree these artist workers are kind of aware of that
or thinking about that? Or is it just a practical matter you know? – I’ll say two quick things,
one is, Art Workers Coalition which I first spoke about
in the 60’s, they envisioned themselves as workers within a system. I think that was kind of a new idea. We’re art workers. We’re actually part of
the production of art and that’s how they address
the museums and said, therefore you are in a sense our employer and you need to kind of
support us and do things for us right? Because that was not the case. I think what’s happened
since then is artists have gone from kind of
symbolically presenting themselves as workers, which is what
they were doing really to actually being mostly a
worker within a cultural system. It’s a longer explanation than that. The second thing I’ll say
is that a lot of the people, the young people who are unionizing now in these institutions, got
their BFA’s, got their MFA’s, studied with people like me
and people like my professors and they were taught precisely
the things I’m talking about now. Yeah art is a beautiful,
romantic thing but, as you say Julia, it also
is a business of sorts or it’s also entrepreneurial
zone or it’s also something where you have to give
your labor over to it. You shouldn’t just like
forget that aspect of it. Something called institutional critique, which is a sort of, it’s
kind of a concept within the art world grew out of
that and my guess is that a lot of the people who
are going on strike now are the children in a sense
of institutional critique. Bringing it home to roost
right within the institution in a way that the people
who initially created the social critique had no
idea it was ever gonna happen. It’s not an art project, it’s
actually the labor itself that’s rebelling. – [Julie] Right, that’s
what’s interesting I think. – [Audience Member #7]
I have three questions, real quick. – [Julie] Can you turn
them into one question? (laughter) – [Audience Member #7] How
has the bison population been stabilized in the recent
years because I know in North Dakota that it was
on the rise for a little bit but in the past two years it
has gone down a few numbers. I want to know, are the
population increasing or is it still like? – Bison in North America
are not free roaming creatures like they were
by their involvement on the landscape. They are farmed, you know? And they have been bred with
an Asiatic bison so they’re not the North American bison. There are very few North
American bison that are located way up in the Northwest
territories in Alaska and Canada and they live in the forest now and they call them forest bison. The population is stabilized
because the population is economy. – [Audience Member #7] Oh,
the next question. Okay um… – [Kat] Quickly, you know there may be some other students, is
the only reason I’m going to stop you there. I don’t know if we
wanted to or a next one. We need to check our time I think. – [Julie] Oh I don’t
actually, know what the time was. – [Kat] Okay, I think we’re at time, I think we’re close to time so. Yeah, I think we have time for one more question from one more student who hasn’t asked yet. (speaking to softly to
hear what they’re saying) Can you say it a little louder? – [Audience Member #8] What
was your favorite project? – My favorite project? – [Kat] She’s asking you each of your favorite projects you’ve worked on. That’s a big one. – Yeah. (laughter) – You can give a shot. – I work on a bunch of different things. I’m really excited about
these future narratives that I’m playing with. As far as like a singular
project, I like the idea of creating indigenous
futurists as an opportunity to engage with other
futurists and imagine a place that gives us a beacon
through this dark times that we live in right now. Meeting a lot of young folks
as I travel around and stuff. There’s this, there’s a
hopelessness that scares the crap out of me, you know? Of like, what’s the point. Look at what we’ve inherited. So I like playing around
with these future, future ancestral technology
projects to kind of create a beacon in the future and
figure out it would work with other futurists like
afro-futurists or latinx futurists and try to create and envision
a future where we exist and it’s not Star Trek and
like a homogenized you know, narrative in the future. That’s kind of what I’m most
excited about right now. – I like his project. (laughter) I didn’t actually show
you my own artwork so, except for the one little
project we did in the, so I won’t talk about that
but I really do like his projects a lot. And there’s a lot of
interesting correspondents which we can talk about
but one of them was a group in Barcelona called Vahencias
and Vahencias did projects where they took children
protesting like this and they pasted in on the
shields so that when protestors went into the streets to
push back against police, they were basically taking
their batons and beating the images of children. It was a brilliant kind
of project, so this idea of creating shields for
public spaces is really, I think terrific. It’s interesting we were both
talking about petroleum too. I don’t know if you caught that, right? On a certain level, we’re
talking about the petrol economy. I mean, this is this
kind of common thread, this dark thread. – [Julie] Well there were
a lot of common threads and I mean it’s just in a way happy. I mean, we did curate the
talk, but also a great not accident but I think a great combo. Put it that way. (laughter) You were a good, you know, good together. (laughter) You’re good together. – [Cannupa] Will you? (laughter) – I’ll put my hat on. (laughter) – [Julie] I’m going to
officiate. (laughing) – [Kat] I think we’re at time. – [Julie] Well I would
like to thank you all again for coming. Obviously these events are,
you know, they’re for you and makes us all very
happy that you’re here and we hope you come back. Our next event, what is
the date of our next event? (murmuring) Oh I should have this. – [Laura] Oh, the 20th. – The 20th of October. – [Laura] It’s Sunday, from 1-4. – Oh yeah that’s right. – [Laura] For the official opening of the Turtle Island exhibition and
I encourage you to wander through it now or come up
on the 20th and we also have our event which is
on Wednesday, October 23rd during club hours for those
of you who can’t come here on Sunday. – That’s another opening
but when is there a next? (murmuring) Okay but oh wow we have to do
a better job of coordinating. – [Kat] We have, there’s pamphlets at the, when you came in where you
signed in and Laura’s holding one right now that have all
of the programs for the season for the Kupferberg Holocaust Center, so you can come back for events and receptions and all kinds of activities and I think we’ll get
the date on that next one before we close. – Okay so the next event
in the KHC lecture series is Ideologies of Racism Past and Present. That’s Wednesday,
November 20th, from 12-2, and it should be very
interesting featuring our own Dr. Trevor Milton,
assistant professor of sociology and criminology
here at QCC and another Queens College professor, Dr. Judy Yu, who specializes in
education but that should be also an excellent panel
and I hope to see some of you back here at all of these events. (applause)

One thought on “Artists Respond to Authoritarianism

  1. fantastic Work, I compleatly enjoyed it!, See this New Album 'Monish Jasbird – Death Blow', channel link , you may like it 🙂

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