Mar 19, 2010

It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going

I'm about to have my first Houston experience -- beginning tomorrow and lasting for 9 days -- centered around an exhibition called Proposals for a Socialist Colony. This project is particularly exciting because it was spawned by this-here blog, Red Legacy. While I've always heard weird, unsightly things about Houston, I'm terrificly excited about this trip as I believe it will be a gathering of radical artists, each invested in recreating the world through the practices of art.

Here's a little preamble for the exhibition:

In the mid 1800’s a box of national archives went missing during the Archive War causing Skydive’s land to revert to its original deed. It stipulates that the land be granted to any group starting a socialist colony on the property. The works in this exhibition are proposals for this new colony. They contribute a variety of perspectives on the fruitful paradoxes that reside in the quest for individual freedom and the necessity for social contracts, collective processes and their sometimes authoritarian implementation.

Mounted in Houston, Texas, the exhibition is set against a backdrop of the state’s historical independence from Mexico and the United States, and in which a libertarian spirit persists and is legally protected. There are no zoning laws in Houston: any enterprise can exist within any building or neighborhood. The premise of this exhibition takes advantage of this lenient civic stance (without it the proposed colony could never exist), to designate a zone for debate about where personal necessity ends and public life begins, and what role self-organization can play in the development of collective processes.

An Exhibition of Proposals for a Socialist Colony has been built fromproposals for systems, tools, communities, communications, resource use, historical research, democratic gestures, implementation, and a public relations campaign. To produce this project the artists and curators engaged in a collaborative practice, where artists could operate as organizers and decisions were subject to the group.

My project for the exhibition is called Each Campfire Lights Anew and is the second in a series that considers Hakim Bey's notion of the Temporary Autonomous Zone in the construction of momentary communities and ad hoc spaces. Sunday evening I will take a group of University of Houston students camping and we'll build a campfire. It will be unscripted to an extent, but I've prepared a grouping of rounds that I intend to teach the group to sing. We'll roast marshmallows and tell stories -- the students have been asked to read Bey and prepare their responses in the form of a campfire offering. Remnants and influences of this initial campfire will show up elsewhere throughout the week. In a sense, the campfire provides a spark for many other things/groups/ideas/happenings/collaborations/conversations/loves... More about my project here:

An Exhibition of Proposals for a Socialist Colony presented by Skydive Office of Cultural Affairs at Project Row Houses and is organized by Sasha Dela, Benison Kilby, Elysa Lozano for Autonomous Organization, and Nancy Zastudil. Artists include: BAW, N55, Aharon, Amy Balkin, Zanny Begg, The Copenhagen Commune, Chto Delat/What is to be Done?, José Filipe Costa, Erin Elder, Amy Franceschini, Alex Lockett, David Mabb, Anna Pickering, The Public School, Jon Sack, Temporary Services, Chin Xaou Ti Won, and Duncan Wooldridge.

Hope to see your round the campfire this week!

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