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.


Looking for Peace in the city of Peace

Thanks to the sponsorship of LEGO, +HIP is beginning to receive images in its Figur(in)es the Hague competition.
looking for peace amidst the peace and justice, chris goto-jones

This image, entitled 'Looking for Peace amidst the Peace & Justice' was submitted by Chris Goto-Jones.  If you steal it, please acknowledge him and PAI.

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 protest would have to incorporate both the artistic as well as the activistic skills we had learned over the course of the week. Some important issues were raised: When does a gathering become a protest? How does the space in which an action takes place contribute to, or perhaps deminish, the message this action brings forth? In an hour we decided to build on our previous concept of ‘This is NOT a Protest’. We would not protest, but rather perform as a group of people walking around The Hague without any direct message to convey. In close formation we would walk around The Hague, wearing white t-shirts and jeans. This would contribute to the non-message we were conveying at first sight. We would carry empty banners and hand out empty flyers. There would be no content. Yet the form of an empty protest would be present, with the objective of evoking confusion in our audience.
So today was the today. At 2 PM we all gathered in the LUC building at Lange Voorhout for the last preparations of our non-protest. The weather was better than it had been in earlier workshops, and many people were out and about in The Hague. Our tour would start off at Lange Voorhout, proceed through Lange Poten and past Buitenhof and it would all end at Lange Voorhout again. However, our performance never made it that far. 
Sometimes we would stand still for a while - allow for people to let our non-message to sink in. The first time we did so at Lange Voorhout, we did not receive a lot of verbal response. Rather, people would stare and quietly discuss amongst each other what was happening. Some took photos. When we changed our location to Plein, responses were different. Our empty banner was referred to as a ‘giant napkin’, and some joked that we had forgotten to write anything on our banners. A teenager laughed and told her friend: “It’s all a big joke, they don’t even have a message!”. When a little girl pointed her finger at us her mother told her to stop. People felt uncomfortable. We had disrupted the order of things in the space they were sharing with us. Confusion had arisen, mission accomplished.
As we walked over to our next location, we noticed the police approaching. We had neglected to notify the authorities about our plans 96 hours in advance - as we only knew about our non-protest less than 24 hours in advance. The police’s response was very kind: we would not have to pay the usual fine. However, our encounter with the police meant the end of our non-protest. As we made our way back to the College Building all we could do was chuckle a bit: another interesting day at LUC.

By Simone Baardse

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, and therefore, last minute, changed our plans. To see what happened next, watch the short video I made of the event. I decided to make a video, because a visual impression will bring across most effectively the atmosphere of the afternoon, and the knowledge we gained. Furthermore, in line with this course, I wanted to convey this experience through art, and I chose film because I am interested in photography and documentary making. I hope you enjoy.