On March 11, 2014, at around 5:30am, students installed three sets of banners about student debt around the UC Davis campus. Three hours later, one set of banners was taken down, and two hours after that, another set had disappeared. … Continue reading “As the World Turns: Spinning the Idea of the University As We Know It”
All skinfolk ain’t kinfolk — an ole and fitting saying from my long-ago Red, Black & Green Liberation upbringing that could be well applied to the Sixth Annual installment of the New York City-based Afro-Punk Festival. Last week, there were … Continue reading “Afro-Punk 2012: Apocalypse”
Survival is our politics now. So says French political anthropologist Marc Abélès in The Politics of Survival. And so say many cultural producers today, although this admission often comes by way of what cultural theorist Fredric Jameson called the political … Continue reading “Staying Alive”
“What does it mean to be uninvited?” This is the question Benjamin Buchloh posed in response to the work of Christopher D’Arcangelo exhibited at Artists Space in October 2011. D’Arcangelo created unauthorized anarchist interventions into the gallery and erased … Continue reading “Take Artists Space: Dissensus and the Creation of Agonistic Space”
Call me a sissy, but I’ve never particularly cared for being referred to as cisgender. Still, the work of transgendered activists within Occupy Wall Street has been one of things that keep me optimistic. At a November 13th teach-in at Zuccotti Park, just days before the brutal eviction, trans activists took over the people’s mic for an hour-long lesson in occupying gender, educating their non-trans listeners on the unearned privileges we enjoy whenever we conform to ascribed gender; outlining the work that groups like the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have long been engaged in, against police violence and medical pathologization; and outlining pragmatic and principled tactics for an occupation open to trans and cis-gendered people alike.
Technically, I never worked on Wall Street. But, for a difficult year in my early twenties, I did don a suit at the crack of dawn and schlep down to one bank or another in the financial district or, occasionally, to one of its outposts in Long Island City, Queens, or Stamford, CT. Citibank, Chase Manhattan, American Express, Swiss Bank. I was a perma-temp in a series of glorified secretarial pools, the highest paid work my liberal arts degree could secure me, even in the middle of the Nineties dot com boom.
It’s hard to say that someone had a bad year because they made fewer millions than usual. And it’s even harder to pity 50 Cent under any circumstances. But still, 2009 was rough on the hip-hop superstar otherwise known as … Continue reading “Curtis Jackson and the Jeweled Skull”
So I got to Internet Trolls via my work on Anonymous vs the Church of Scientology but I have remained interested in grappling with them independent of Anonymous. In the last few weeks, I had the chance to bump up … Continue reading “Trolling and refueling the tank of spectacle”
Introduction: Richard Ledes is an award-winning New York City-based filmmaker. His films include A Hole in One (2004) and The Caller (2008), which won Tribeca Film Festival’s Made in New York award. His current project, Foreclosure, is a … Continue reading “Interview: Richard Ledes on Haiti and Horror Movies”
In May of 1963, US Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy convened a meeting of black representatives from the realms of politics, academia, and the arts. The remarkable gathering included James Baldwin, Lena Horne, Lorraine Hansberry, Harry Belafonte, social psychologist Kenneth Clark, president of the Chicago Urban League Edwin Berry, and Jerome Smith, a young activist and CORE fieldworker. Kennedy offered defensive platitudes of his record on civil rights; Clark, Hansberry, and others tried to impress upon him the inadequacy of the federal response to the situation in the south. Both sides spoke past each other until the meeting was brought to a halt by the soft-spoken yet passionate interruption of Jerome Smith.
Dancing in front of the May Day march against the state of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration laws down Broadway in New York City, one protestor in festive spring drag.
Two of the more influential books that have taken swipe at our contemporary intellectual property landscape concerned themselves with trademark, logos, and capitalism. Here I am thinking of Rosemary Coombe’s seminal The Cultural Life of Intellectual Property and Naomi Klein’s more activist take on the subject, No Logo. What would happen if you condensed the arguments in these two books into a 15 minute video?
I’m no native informant. But I gather that the song featured prominently in the Broadway show Fela! means something like “nobody hates something as useful as water.” Make yourself as indispensable as this, goes the implied wisdom, and any detractors you gain will just look silly. An appropriate motto for a musician like Fela Anikulapo-Kuti …