IMAG-E-NATION the political & philosophical arts initiative blog


(re)imagining the political and philosophical in the 21st century


The Political & Philosophical Arts Initiative is interested in the ways in which people interact with and compose political and philosophical ideas and actions through the various, diverse media of technology and the arts. Participants in PAI seek to explore the ways in which poetry, literature, music, photography, performance and other creative arts interleave with the political and philosophical life, either as vehicles for criticism, elaboration, theorization, intervention or activism.
The Imag-e-nation blog is a forum for interested parties to share stories, images or other contributions. Contributors range from students and faculty to artists and musicians to professional and casual commentators. Pieces can be short opinions, re-postings of appropriate materials, or original compositions. In addition, the PAI at LUC will make a selection of relevant or provocative news items each week for (re)publication here.

Inquiries:
imagenation[at]politicalarts.org




Reading Bodies, Moving Words: Invitation for 8 March 2016

Following ORACLE in 2015, join us on Tuesday 8 March at Dansateliers in Rotterdam to celebrate International Women's Day this year!  Get ready to experience language and movement in the context of contemporary feminism (for everyone and everything) from 18:30 - 21:30 that evening, with conversations to continue afterwards over drinks.Here's a taste of what's
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Martyrs by art

Religious violence, docile bodies, and expressive zeal mark these recent instances of formidable video art, opera production, and performance art from London this past week.Bill Viola's Martyrs, a recent alterpiece installed in St. Paul's Cathedral with trials by earth, air, fire, and water, challenges perceptions of paradigmatic religious violence and brings new life to contemporary video art.Simon
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Gaming The City: Different players in different places

In anticipation of our GAMING THE CITY symposium and photo exhibition on 16 April in The Hague, some inspiring ludic moves around the world to whet our appetite for the discussion later this month!By Etienne Lavie, who hijacks billboards to pitch art against commercials:OMG who stole my ads? @ MilanOMG who stole my ads? @ ParisBy Leon Keer, who plays with space to create fun and awareness:Space Invaders
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All the small things...

Look around you and notice miniatures in movement--against neo-liberalism, climate change, and exceptional surveillance--towards a playful urban awareness all over the world.  Game the city and intervene now!Joe Iurato's wooden figurines in New York:Isaac Cordal's cement figurines in Europe:Flemish coast, Belgium Nantes, Francei4C ArtActive Lab's paper tanks in The Hague:
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Get ArtActive! Urban intervention in The Hague during NSS 2014

*26 March update*: As the Nuclear Security Summit ends and the roadblocks, fences, and security measures gradually become dismantled, capture this de-escalation moment with your paper tank and send your photos to artactive.i4c@gmail.com by 31 March 2014!How can we visualise the International Zone in a playful manner, penetrating its hard physical shell and exposing its soft underbelly?  How can
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Origami tanks in the International Zone? Game the City @ i4C Launch Party on 19 March

*Post-19 March update*: check out the ArtActive Lab urban intervention, and join us!The Political Arts Initiative joins forces with Stroom Den Haag for an artistic urban invention lab hosted by i4C, Leiden University Centre for Innovation's latest platform for hands-on experimentation and transdisciplinary collaboration amongst students, researchers, and practitioners at Campus The Hague.Join us at
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Smelling something rotten: Political action in theatre

From geopolitics to thespian-psychiatry to dangerous acts, here is the latest on the state of political theatre around the world.Is there something rotten in taking Hamlet to North Korea? (theguardian.com)Acting is like cooking, according to Mohan Agashe (thehindu.com)Madeleine Sackler on Belarus Free Theatre (femalefirst.co.uk)
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"Making art is like speaking in tongues"

Conceptual artist Alicia Eggert creates kinetic, electronic, and interactive sculptures to move with time and play with direct, verbal communication.  From the de- and re-construction of minute- and hour-hands of mechanical clocks to capture the ineffability of eternity to guerilla sculpture tours which bring her message to an unsuspecting audience, the evangelical upbringing of this atheist artist
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Reminder: Silence tonight @ Nutshuis

Annabel Kanaar : Samuel Vriezen : Miguel Peres dos Santos : Heath Bunting : Cissie Fu18:00 Food / 19:00 Programme @ The Nutshuis5 March 2014
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New sound seminars @ The Nutshuis: Silence on 5 March

on: SilenceWED 5 MAR18.00 hrs. Food19.00 hrs. Start program  Sound I to IV are interdisciplinary evenings, at which art meets science in the form of Q&A sessions, lectures and performance.  There can be no sound without silence.The new interdisciplinary sound series at Het Nutshuis starts on 5 March with an exploration of silence in all its constitutive and creative richness.
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Future Vocabularies @ BAK: Aernout Mik's comment on survival post-Fukushima

In the course of 2014–2016, BAK’s program unfolds through a new series of projects under the title of Future Vocabularies. The series explores, through various artistic, intellectual, and activist itineraries, the conceptual lexicon through which we might imagine a way of acting out concrete propositions and possibilities from within what is largely considered the crisis-ridden, ruinous folds of
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Legacies of the Living Theatre

Co-founded in 1947 by Judith Malina and Julian Beck as an imaginative alternative to commercial theatre, the Living Theatre has been renowned for radical experimental performances, with unconventional stagings of poetic drama and nomadic outdoor dramatic interventions.  Its unique body of work has influenced the form, content, and politics of theatre since the latter half of the 20th century,
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Brave NEW WORLD for 21st-century citizens

Artist Jonas Staal and BAK (basis voor actuele kunst, Utrecht) join forces to establish the New World Academy, which invites political organisations invested in progressive political projects to discuss the role of art and culture in political struggles with artists, educators, and students.  Together, they engage in critical thinking through concrete examples of transformative politics and develop
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Audio-visual movement: A Limitless / Noh / Quilt

In anticipation of the 2014 PAI theme of *movement* (stay tuned for geo-caching, sound-scaping, graphic-animating, and more!), a trio of videos from various global spaces on different art forms for your delectation:LIMITLESS – inverse street art in Brisbane Four graffiti artists, a warehouse interior, and an unlimited amount of paint.  With this warehouse in Brisbane scheduled to be demolished
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ACTI-VISTAS @ Amsterdam: Women's performative activism in the Middle East

Women’s roles in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict are frequently analyzed in terms of traditional views on femininity, either as active peacemakers or as passive victims. ACTI-VISTAS explores perspectives that go beyond these paradigms with a public lecture, symposium, workshops, and video-art screenings. How do women activists mobilize their gender and ethnic positions? In what
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Ja prishel: Homing underground political theatre

We don’t consider our performances to be political.  We don’t claim to have a political agenda, but we do art, high-quality art, an art that highly affects the political system. . . There’s no politics in the play, but there is something that is threatening to a dictatorship: open conversation.In an interview with freeDimensional, which identifies and redistributes resources in over 70 countries
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*Scaffold* in the City of Peace and Justice

American artist-activist Sam Durant brings his "Scaffold", an impressive piece of institutional critique which attracted major public and critical attention at Documenta 13 of Summer 2012, to The Hague this October.   The giant sculpture, built from reconstructed gallows wood from various historically significant execution facilities in the United States, invites reflection on (capital) punishment
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Summer Disobedience School

Our final “Day of Action” as labeled in the course syllabus was fluidly designed to allow for a plan during the week to develop. As eventually we got to stage our own urban intervention on Friday, the plan to join the Summer Disobedience School (SDS) on Saturday would be a good call, allowing us to act together with some of the very core people of the Occupy scene. They run this
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All y’all stop shopping!

Having experienced all the excitement of installing our installations with Not An Alternative earlier in the day, a seminar presentation would sound like a very boring thing. However, that was not the case at all! Mark had scheduled a session with Reverend Billy from the Church of Stop Shopping late in the afternoon. What the group does exactly will become clear while reading this post, but it is essentially
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Showtime!

Today was the day. During the last of the workshop series by Not An Alternative, we placed our constructions at two different sites. Let me begin this blog post by revealing the content of our projects, after which I will turn to the course of events of today. The first project concerned CCTV (Closed Circuit TeleVision) camera’s in subway stations. Recent years have seen an large increase in security
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Professional Pranksters

On Thursday we had a seminar presentation by one of the Yes Men, whom you may have heard of -- they've pulled off a number of high-profile stunts these last few years, some of which I'll discuss in this article. Andy Bichlbaum told us the story of how he and Mike Bonanno met and started their prankster lifestyle. He talked a lot and thus this post is only a very brief overview of his stories,
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A Barrack in Brooklyn

The second Not An Alternative workshop took place on Thursday July 5th in a barrack in Brooklyn. After some logistical problems and intense metro rides - but do not worry: the McDonalds had been hit upon as usual - we all we assembled for the actual construction of the ideas we had come up with a few days earlier.As I am writing this we are all preparing for an exciting day. Today we will execute our
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Street Theatre Workshop

Monica Hunken led a, refreshingly different from the usual, workshop on street theatre that led to a wider awareness of our bodies and movement within a given space. This "awareness" did not arise out of a usual seminar set-up where we would only actively use our mind, but not our bodies; it rather arose from an intensive physical workshop where the use and movement of our bodies were crucial.
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Not an Alternative workshop

On Tuesday July 3rd, Not an Alternative hosted us for the first of a series of three workshops. Today, we brainstormed on an intervention, Thursday we will construct our props, and Friday we will execute the intervention. The brainstorm session was preceded by a presentation on New York City urban art. John Hawke's presentation. What struck me most was the work by the artist John Hawke. The orange
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Not an Alternative

On our first day in New York we were fortunate enough to witness a presentation by the people behind not an alternative. Not an Alternative is an art collective that seeks to alter the understanding of objects throughout history. They attempt to do so by operating on the nexus of material and immaterial space. While this might sound a bit opaque at first, if one spends a bit of time thinking about
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Constellations of Stories

Drawing inspiration from Martin Luther King's campaign which sought to a societal shift from civil rights (which, according to some, only concern surface issues in a nation) to human rights (which concern the core of issues in society) whilst also acknowledging the importance of the arts to create change, Rachel Falcone and Micheal Premo proceeded to initiate their organisation “Housing is a Human
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Beautiful Trouble

On Monday morning at 10 AM, we were expected for our first official seminar in New York City. As we were severely jetlagged, most of us were wide awake at 7AM or before, and so we all took our chance to see a bit of NYC in slumber -- actually, going out at 8AM is quite nice temperature-wise and lack-of-tourist-wise, although of course many shops and attractions don't open up until 10.In any case,
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Lalala*

Handing out blank flyers to people is both highly amusing and thrilling. It is quite interesting to watch people’s reactions. Will they be sceptical, annoyed, confused at first, or consider it a poetic action and appreciate it? Will they even think about it, when they are having a coffee later during the day? An important aspect of art appears to be to stimulate people to think about, or to rethink,
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Strategies for change

Yesterday the group was split up in two groups each presenting on a different occupy inspired activist organisation in New York. One half of the group presented on the F the Banks organisation and the other half presented on the organizing for occupy, o4o, movement. Both the groups focused their discussion on the tactics employed by both movements towards attaining their respective goals. At the end
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No Content

As our departure to New York approaches, the part of the Artistic Activism Summer School taking place in The Hague draws to an end. Tomorrow will be the closing day - we do not expect any more surprises. And surprises we have had, our assignment for today was no exception. On Wednesday 27 June during the last hour of the second workshop, we were told to organize a protest for the next day. This
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ArtActic: This is Not a Protest

The second field workshop took place Wednesday afternoon. We received instructions to mobilize 80 people by 2 pm, causing us to desperately run around campus Tuesday evening knocking everyone’s door, trying to convince our friends to help us. Initially we planned to stage a flashmob, however, only about 10 people joined us. We decided a flashmob would not be effective with a group of this size,
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Artistic Activism in the Field

It’s the second day of Artistic Activism summer school – the day of the first of a series of three field workshops in artistic activism. This was in quite the contrast to the first day’s event, when we, the students, participated in a discussion on the Dogme 95 manifesto and watched the movie “Festen”. The series of workshops are given with the aim to teach us the practical side of artistic
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Dogme The Hague

The kick-off of the Artisitic Activism Summer Course opened successfully with a discussion of the Dogme 95 manifesto and a screening of Thomas Vinterberg's ''Festen'' in LUC’s Faux Cinema, also known as the college lounge. In true LUC Fashion, the students were not afraid to ‘’disagree to agree’’ as the manifesto stirred up some differentiating views.  Unsurprisingly the first remarks
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