Founded 1976 in New Market, TN.
Alternate ROOTS works at the intersection of art and activism to support artistic production concerning communities of place, tradition, or spirit. The organization has been committed to sustaining socially engaged practice and increasing the visibility of artist-activists for the last thirty-five years. Alternate ROOTS began as an acronym for Regional Organization of Theaters South, and rapidly became the only regional artist group dedicated to community-based arts initiatives and social and economic justice. As the field of community-based art practice grew, ROOTS expanded into a multidisciplinary, artist-run, member-based organization in which members brainstorm and organize socially engaged programs and receive resources for their projects. ROOTS also serves as a model for regional organization and offers a training program, Resources for Social Change, which teaches art as a tool for social reform with an emphasis on the principles of shared power, equal partnership, open dialogue, and aesthetics of transparent processes. In 2010, Alternate ROOTS was ranked by Philanthropedia as one of the top seventeen nonprofit arts organizations in the United States. Their service region now extends to Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.
Laurie Anderson is one of America's most renowned—and daring—creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As a writer, director, visual artist, and vocalist, she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theater, and experimental music.
Her recording career, launched by "O Superman" in 1981, includes the soundtrack to her feature film "Home of the Brave" and "Life on a String" (2001). Anderson's live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multi-media stage performances such as "Songs and Stories for Moby Dick" (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world.
In 2002, Anderson was appointed the first artist-in-residence of NASA which culminated in her 2004 touring solo performance "The End of the Moon." Recent projects include a series of audio-visual installations and a high definition film, "Hidden Inside Mountains," created for World Expo 2005 in Aichi, Japan. In 2007, she received the prestigious Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize for her outstanding contribution to the arts. In 2008, she completed a two-year worldwide tour of her performance piece, "Homeland," which was released as an album on Nonesuch Records in June 2010 to critical acclaim. Anderson's newest solo performance, "Delusion," debuted at the Vancouver Winter Olympics in early 2010, recently headlined the BAM Next Wave Festival in New York, and continues to tour internationally. In October 2010, Anderson opened a major new artwork exhibition entitled "I in U" at the CCBB in Săo Paulo, Brazil. Laurie Anderson lives and works in New York City.
photo: © Tim Knox
Founded 1969 in Appalachia, KY.
Based in Whitesburg, KY.
Appalshop is a nonprofit, multi-disciplinary organization that urges communities to solve problems through music, theater, spoken word, video, radio, photography, and other media. Originally founded as a job training program of the U.S. government's War on Poverty, their projects enlist the collective creativity of neighborhoods to create unique public spaces where individuals can voice their opinions, share their stories, and tackle their communities' social and institutional issues. Initially established to document Appalachian culture, such public spaces have since manifested in a variety of media, enabling Appalshop's projects to reach broad international audiences. For instance, Thousand Kites
(1998), co-founded and directed by Nick Szuberla, initiated a global dialogue on human rights and the U.S. criminal justice system through live performances, radio discussions, educational programs, and an interactive website where users tell their own stories and listen to those of others. Appalshop aims to preserve individual and community traditions and support cultural diversity by disseminating original media and fostering conversation.
Founded 2006 in New York, NY.
Common Room is an architectural collective operating from the modernist Emigrant Bank Building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Originally a space occupied by three independent architects (Lars Fischer, Maria Ibańez de Sendadiano, and Todd Rouhe), their office has evolved into a co-working space for the designers to collaborate and tackle joint projects. They approach each commission as a way to reevaluate what it means to inhabit a "common" or "shared" space, finding architectural solutions that encourage teamwork, social interaction, and reciprocity. Asked to design CANADA (completed 2007), a gallery on the Lower East Side, the architects created a space where both the art and the gallery operations are exposed to the public. Thus, "the space of display bleeds into the space of work" and the presentation of operations becomes as meaningful as the presentation of art. To continue to explore the constantly evolving relationship between workspace and community, Common Room also organizes public dialogues and exhibitions in its lobby, known as Common Room 2. The architects' projects have brought these social aspects of design to built environments across New York and New Jersey, as well as England, Denmark, Ecuador, and Austria.
Founded 2001 in Delhi, India.
The Cybermohalla Ensemble is a group of young urban cultural practitioners based in media labs in informal settlements throughout Delhi. A core group of practitioners also works at the Sarai Institute, a space for artistic practice, contemporary urbanism, and the study of technology founded by the Raqs Media Collective in 1998. Cybermohalla, which takes its meaning from "mohalla" (the word for "neighborhood" in Hindi and Urdu), is focused on the urban, producing books, broadsheets, installations, radio programs, and blogs about the city. In 2010, the group wrote and published Trickster City,
a portrait of Delhi from perspectives largely marginalized in contemporary Indian literature. Their forthcoming book, No Apologies for the Interruption/Rukawat Ke Liye Khed Nahi Hai
(2011) explores post-piracy media through the juxtaposition of image and text. Cybermohalla is a collaborative project of Sarai-CSDS, Delhi and Ankur: Society for Alternatives in Education, Delhi.
Cybermohalla Ensemble Site
Founded 2007 in Beit Sahour, Bethlehem/Palestine.
The research office DAAR (Decolonizing Architecture/Art Residency) explores the problems and potentiality associated with re-use, re-inhabitation, and subversion of colonial structures in Palestine. Originally founded by Alessandro Petti, Sandi Hilal, and Eyal Weizman, the collective's projects include texts, installations, spatial interventions, workshops, public meetings, and legal discussions—all of which strike a balance between proposing an alternative and articulating a critique. For their Battir project, DAAR researched and followed the five-meter-thick line separating Israeli and Palestinian controlled land, a line that cuts through fields, homes, roads, and gardens, and represents an "extraterritorialterritory." DAAR has exhibited projects at the Tate Modern and numerous biennials including Venice, Istanbul, and Rotterdam. The group won the Prince Claus Prize for Architecture in 2010 and was shortlisted for the Chernikhov Prize.
Born 1966 in London, England.
Lives and works in London.
Artist Jeremy Deller works on events, films, and publications that deal with history and explore the social dynamics of specific communities. He is perhaps best known for The Battle of Orgreave
(2001), a historical re-enactment of the miner and police clash of 1984-5. In 2009, Deller presented It Is What It Is
, a mobile project commissioned by Creative Time and the New Museum. Intended to stimulate unmediated dialogue about the history, present circumstances, and future of Iraq, the project initially took the form of an exhibition at the New Museum where a variety of people with first-hand experiences of Iraq engaged in conversations with visitors. Deller then took the project on the road with a group that conducted conversations at more than ten public sites, while towing a car destroyed in a bombing in Baghdad in 2007 across the country. Deller is the recipient of the 2004 Turner Prize, and has exhibited at the New Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Whitney Museum, and the Tate Modern.
Born 1965 in Toronto, Canada.
Organization founded 1993 in Toronto.
Darren O'Donnell is an artist, writer, actor, and city planner. He is the director and founder of Mammalian Diving Reflex, and the author of Social Acupuncture
(Coach House Books, 2006), a manifesto that calls for a more socially and politically profound art and theater. His art is often described through the lens of relational aesthetics. For his performance work, Haircuts by Children
(2006), he trains children to style hair and takes over a salon where the children offer haircuts to the public. The project traveled to many cities, including London, New York, Dublin, Los Angeles, Vancouver, Sydney, and Terni, each involving a new group of local children.
O'Donnell's ongoing project, Mammalian Diving Reflex, is a "research-art atelier" that produces performances, community-based events, and theoretical texts. The organization fosters dialogue and audience participation, and creates activist performance described by the group as "ideal entertainment for the end of the world." Its Social Acupuncture program works to dissolve the boundary between art and life in an attempt to create an aesthetic of civic engagement.
Lives and works in New York, NY.
Lives and works in New York, NY.
Laura Flanders is the host of The Laura Flanders Show,
coming to public television stations across the nation in the fall of 2011. She was the host and founder of GRITtv,
a nationally syndicated daily program on Free Speech TV, and the host of The Laura Flanders Show
on Air America Radio. Flanders is also the author of the New York Times best-seller, BUSHWOMEN: Tales of a Cynical Species
(Verso, 2004) and Blue GRIT: True Democrats Take Back Politics from the Politicians
(The Penguin Press, 2007) and she is the editor of At the Tea Party: The Wing Nuts, Whack Jobs and Whitey-Whiteness of the New Republican Right...and Why We Should Take it Seriously
(OR books, 2010). Flanders writes for The Huffington Post and The Nation and is a regular contributor on MSNBC. She has appeared on shows from Real Time with Bill Maher
and The Tavis Smiley Show
to Larry King Live
and The O'Reilly Factor
. On Twitter, she's @GRITlaura.
Born 1973 in Chicago, IL.
Lives and works in Chicago.
Theaster Gates is a sculptor, performance artist, urban planner, and musician whose work bridges contemporary art, real estate, community development, and spirituality. His cross-disciplinary performances weave musical improvisation with literary and historical reference, bringing tangible objects into critical contact with audiences that include invited art critics, gospel choirs, and even entire neighborhoods. For Cosmology of Yard
(2010 Whitney Biennial), Gates invited artists, academics, and musicians to participate in "monastic residencies" that, in his words, added "commentary, bling, and acts of sincerity" to the initial structure. For his Dorchester Project Library and Archive
(2009), Gates acquired an abandoned two-story house in Chicago and repurposed it into a visual literacy resource center, soul food kitchen, and site for communal art production. He recently founded the Rebuild Foundation, a nonprofit that buys run-down properties in Detroit, Saint Louis, and Chicago, and converts them into grassroots cultural initiatives. Gates is the Director of Arts Programming and a guest lecturer in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Chicago. He has exhibited at the Whitney Biennial and the Museums of Contemporary Art in Chicago and Detroit, and is the recipient of numerous fellowships and awards.
Born 1963 in Canton (Guangzhou), China.
Lives and works in San Francisco, CA and Paris, France.
As a prolific and active curator of Asian contemporary art, Hou Hanru addresses contemporary practice, cultural phenomena, and the conditions of artists living in the diaspora from the perspective of hybridity and what he calls "in-betweenness." Cities on the Move
(1997-2000), an international exhibition he curated with Hans-Ulrich Obrist, emphasized the ways in which Asian contemporary artists have dealt with rapid changes in urban lifestyles and values. The show was partially an attempt to reconsider the definition of exhibitions themselves as it evolved at each location, taking into consideration specific spaces and sites, and changing the presentation accordingly. Hanru has since curated many international biennials such as Shanghai (2000), Istanbul (2007), Venice (2007), and Lyon (2009). He has been a consultant for cultural institutions across the world including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Global Advisory Committee of the Walker Art Center, and the Asian Art Council. Hanru is the French correspondent for Flash Art International
and regularly contributes to many contemporary art publications including Frieze
and Art Monthly
. He is the Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and the Chair of the Exhibitions and Museum Studies program at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Jeanne van Heeswijk
Born 1965 in Schijndel, the Netherlands.
Lives and works in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Guided by an overwhelming optimism about the relationship between art and society, Jeanne van Heeswijk seeks to permanently engage citizens in the enactment of social change within their own communities. Her confrontational projects transcend the traditional boundaries of art in duration, space, media, and stratification, while rejecting art's autonomy by combining meetings, discussions, seminars, lectures, and other forms of communication to convey her message. Visualizing a shared problem inspired by a particular current event, she integrates herself within the community, becomes an active citizen, and encourages neighbors and community members to participate in the planning and realization of the project. A self-proclaimed "urban curator," van Heeswijk establishes an innovative network, or a communal public space, that can maintain open debates and foster discussions of social justice once her project is tangibly finished. For It Runs in the Neighborhood
(2008), she produced six episodes of Norway's first television-soap, which were then aired on the Internet, TV, and public screens. Based on the reality of hospital life, the soap was designed to reveal the medical and ethical dilemmas that doctors, employees, patients, and visitors encounter daily. Van Heeswijk studied at the Jan van Eyck Akademie at Masstricht and the Academy of Fine Arts in Tilburg. Her projects have been exhibited in internationally renowned biennials such as Venice, Busan, Taipei, and Shanghai.
Lives and works in Berkeley, CA.
Dr. Shannon Jackson is a professor at University of California at Berkeley, specializing in rhetoric, contemporary visual and performance art and theory, American studies, sex/gender/race studies, the history of disciplines, and new media theater. She received her PhD in Performance Studies (1995) and Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies (1993) from Northwestern University. As the director of Berkeley College's Arts Research Center, Jackson immerses the arts into community and campus life, promoting new forms of creativity across university disciplines and advocating art's power to contribute to social reform. Her most recent book, Social Works: Performing Art, Supporting Publics
(2011), explores the sociopolitical use of experimental art-making, highlighting contemporary aesthetic discourse—primarily in visual and performance art—and its centrality to political activism and social practice. Jackson has received countless awards and fellowships for her work as a writer, professor, activist, organizer, and director.
Long March Project
Founded 2002 in Beijing, China.
Long March Project is an ongoing initiative that organizes international exhibitions and projects, community-based educational programs, and artist residencies. Conceived in 1999 by artist and curator Lu Jie, the name of the project references the Long March (1934-35) of Mao Zedong and the Red Army of the Communist Party of China. The project seeks to address the realities that face the production of contemporary Chinese art today, with a focus on the intersection of art and social engagement. After establishing the Long March Foundation in New York in 2000, the project officially began two years later when its founding members invited artists, writers, curators, theorists, activists, and others to join them in retracing the historical route of the March. Since then, the Long March Project has taken on the roles of art dealer, artist-run space, gallery, commercial enterprise, and publishing house. Long March Space has shown actively in local and international art fairs, such as ShContemporary, ArtHK, Frieze Art Fair, and Art Basel. The gallery has shown over 80 exhibitions and projects in its nine-year history.
Alan W. Moore
Lives and works in New York, NY.
Alan W. Moore is an art historian and activist whose work addresses cultural economies and groups and the politics of collectivity. Moore helped to found ABC No Rio after participating in Colab's Real Estate Show
(1979), one of the best-known artist squat actions in New York history. He is the author of Art Gangs: Protest & Counterculture in New York City
(2011), which explores the work of artist groups formed after 1968, such as the Art Workers Coalition and Group Material, collectives that greatly informed today's international art world. He is also the co-editor of the book ABC No Rio Dinero: The Story of a Lower East Side Art Gallery
(1985). Moore earned a PhD in art history from the City University of New York and his writings have appeared in such publications as Julie Ault's "Alternative Art NY" and Blake Stimson and Gregory Sholette "Collectivism After Modernism."
Founded 2000 in Los Angeles, CA.
The interdisciplinary performance collective My Barbarian draws from pop culture, history, and mythology for their works, which range from video installations to site-specific plays, to musical events. Founded by Malik Gaines, Jade Gordon, and Alexandro Segade, the group self-consciously performs counter-culture in an effort to address contemporary sociopolitical, economic, and cultural systems. In their project The Golden Age
(2007), the group performs a campy hybrid song and dance, mixing R&B, slave work songs, and Macarena-like dance. The work reflects critically on action and labor while forcing audiences to confront the African slave trade as each viewer chants along, following in mass imitation. My Barbarian has performed and exhibited in a wide range of venues including MOCA-LA, LAXART, the Whitney Museum, the New Museum, and the 2005 and 2007 Performa Biennials. The group received an Art Matters grant in 2008, and had their first solo exhibition at a commercial gallery in 2009.
Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK)
Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Neue Slowenische Kunst (German for "New Slovenian Art") is an artist collaborative whose projects comment on globalization, totalitarianism, and society's misconception of democracy in Eastern Europe. NSK members use visual art, theater, graphics, film and video, theory, and music to convey their sociopolitical message. The famous project State in Time
(1991) defined NSK as a utopian 'state' at the collapse of Yugoslavia and alludes to the plight of micronations striving for legitimacy. Further linking the political and the artistic, NSK issued fictional passports as part of the project Towards a Double Consciousness
(Lagos, 2010) to point out the ambiguous and ephemeral definition of citizenship, identity, and nationhood. Recent organized programs include First NSK Citizens' Congress
(Berlin, 2010), where citizens gathered to debate cultural policy and theory, and Beautiful Country
(Leipzig, 2011), a provocative state-art exhibition. NSK events, concerts, exhibitions, newspapers, panel discussions, and performances have been featured internationally, shedding light on the continuation of extreme nationalism and political uncertainty.
Born 1964 in California.
Lives and works in Oakland, CA.
Artist and writer Ted Purves investigates socially engaged art practice through projects that focus on localism, democracy, and participation. Purves is the founder of the California College of the Arts MFA Area for Social Practice, and the chair of CCA's Graduate Program in Fine Arts. His Momentary Academy
(2005), a ten-week long free school operated through the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, manifested in a series of classes attended by gallery visitors and taught by artists participating in the Bay Area Now 4 exhibition. Purves frequently collaborates with artist and professor Susanne Cockrell. Their collaboration began with The Temescal Amity Works
(2004-7), an investigation into the exchange of backyard produce, dialogue, and community in Oakland's Temescal Neighborhood. Purves is the editor of the seminal book What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art
(2005), and the recipient of a visual arts grant from the Creative Capital Foundation and a Creative Work Fund grant from the Elise and Walter Haas Foundation.
Lives and works in Vienna, Austria and Zürich, Switzerland.
Gerald Raunig is a philosopher and art theorist whose writings often focus on socially engaged art practice. He works at the Zürich University of the Arts and the eipcp (European Institute for Progressive Cultural Policies), for which he has organized transnational research projects. Raunig is co-editor of Kulturrisse
, the Austrian journal for radical democratic cultural politics, and Transversal, a multilingual web journal. His book, Art and Revolution: Transversal Activism in the Long Twentieth Century
(MIT Press, 2007), is an alternative history of twentieth century art that applies Deleuze and Guattari's "machine" to the history of activist art and revolutionary transgression. The book encourages a new generation of artists to shift away from market-driven art production in favor of more radical artistic practice that advocates for social change. His other recent books include A Thousand Machines: A Concise Philosophy of the Machine as Social Movement
(2010), Art and Contemporary Critical Practice: Reinventing Institutional Critique
(2009), and Critique of Creativity: Precarity, Subjectivity and Resistance in the 'Creative Industries'
Born 1971 in Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Lives and works in Chiang Mai and Fukuoka, Japan.
Navin Rawanchaikul relies heavily on collaboration as a tool for artistic production. His practice examines the relationship between specific local conditions and the ongoing process of globalization. Rawanchaikul's projects often incorporate social commentary, community interventions, and recurring fictional narratives and characters. Working mostly under his production company, Navin Production Co., Ltd. (founded in 1994), Rawanchaikul recently exhibited Paradiso di Navin: A Mission to Establish Navinland
(2011 Venice Biennale), which simultaneously responds to the history of the Giardini waterfront while continuing his first attempt to initiate a worldwide network of Navins called the Navin Party. The Navinland Pavilion is both an effort to subvert the utopian idealism visible in many contemporary art practices and an attempt to create a nation free from borders and ideology. In addition to continuing his community-based practice in Thailand, Rawanchaikul has exhibited at P.S.1; the 11th Sydney Biennale; the 2nd Kwangju Biennial; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Wiener Secession, Vienna; and the National Gallery, Bangkok. He was awarded the national Silapathorn citation from the Thai Ministry of Culture in the field of Visual Arts in 2010.
Born 1977 in Brno, Czech Republic.
Lives and works in Prague and Brno-Lisen, Czech Republic.
Katerina Šedá seeks to revitalize communities by encouraging the active participation of her friends, family, and township residents. Her public performances, inspired by social environments within her native town, stem from meticulous planning and communal cooperation. Šedá optimistically encourages the formation and sustainability of new hospitable relationships among neighbors that would not occur otherwise. For Over and Over
(2008), she crossed 100 consecutive fences separating property lines between Brno homes, forcing neighbors to communicate with one another to create a device that would allow Šedá to traverse their borders. While her participatory art projects frequently evolve into intricate installations for exhibitions, the desired product is the successful collaboration and interaction among citizens who are socially distant yet geographically close. Šedá studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and her projects have been displayed in galleries and art fairs across the country, including the New Museum; Manifesta 7, Italy; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Cubitt Gallery and Studios, London; the 2005 Prague Biennial; and the 2008 Berlin Biennial. She is the recipient of the Tranzit Award (2004) and the Essl Award (2005).
Chemi Rosado Seijo
Born 1973 in Vega Alta, Puerto Rico.
Lives and works in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Chemi Rosado Seijo is an artist whose practice weaves social commentary and humor. His work juxtaposes architecture and the urban landscape, work and social action, and art and its history. In Historia sobre Ruedas (History on Wheels)
, his 2005 project with Art in General, Seijo mapped Manhattan from the perspective of a skateboarder, re-drawing the city in terms of its skating sites. For another project, Tapando para Ver (Closing to See)
(2001), which culminated in a book, Seijo covered up parts of text from newspaper clippings with charcoal leaving only specific words, suggesting that all language might be a form of manipulation and drawing attention to the degree to which commercial information is controlled by the media. Seijo has participated in numerous exhibitions and biennials including the Whitney (2002), Prague (2005), Havana (2006), and Pontevedra (2010).
Mierle Laderman Ukeles
Born 1939 in Denver, CO.
Lives and works in New York, NY.
As the artist-in-residence at New York City's Department of Sanitation since 1977, Mierle Laderman Ukeles orchestrates public projects that raise awareness about urban maintenance systems and the workers who sustain the urban environment. Examining the relationship between those who live in the community and those who serve it, she eradicates the boundary between traditional art and routine life. For Touch Sanitation
(1977-84), her multi-component inaugural project as artist-in-residence, she shook the hands of every sanitation worker in New York City to thank them for "keeping NYC alive." In a similar attempt to use art as an agent for social change, Flow City
(1985-present) created an actual window into the waste management system in New York City and successfully sparked public reexamination of global ecological management. Ukeles is the recipient of numerous awards and public art commissions. Her influential 1969 publication, Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969!
, which favored "industrial maintenance" over "urban development" as a theoretical background for artistic production, received widespread accolades and ignited her career.
Founded 1994 in Los Angeles, CA.
The sound collective Ultra-red was founded by AIDS activists and sound artists Dont Rhine and Marco Larsen, but has since expanded to include artists, researchers and organizers with diverse political and artistic orientations. Ultra-red works between art and politics, asking how the principles governing activism are already aesthetic in nature. Public Record,
one of their on-going projects, is an on-line, free-use record label and archive of Ultra-red members' sound work. For SILENT|LISTEN,
begun in 2004, Ultra-red members traveled to different arts institutions and held workshops and meetings with local AIDS activists and community groups. These meetings led to collective sound performances in the public sphere. Ultra-red has shown extensively since the late 1990s, including the Tate Triennial, Tate Britain; the Plymouth Arts Centre; the Transmediale Festival, Berlin; Futuresonic, Manchester; and the ICA, London.
United Indian Health Services
Founded 1968 in Humboldt, CA.
United Indian Health Services was founded as a place of healing that acknowledges the profound historical trauma American Indian communities have experienced. UIHS officially became a nonprofit organization in 1970, after a new era of Native activism arose in the context of the national Civil Rights Movement and the Office of Economic Opportunity programs in 1968. The organization has grown tremendously, offering health services inflected with American Indian traditions in six different clinic locations in California. UIHS seeks to empower its clients to be active participants in their own healthcare by forming long-term, trusting relationships among community members. The core philosophies are Ko'lha koom' ma ("working together"), May gay tolh kway ("place of healing") and Ghes na' dvn ("well place"). Their Traditional Resources Program emphasizes the importance of Native beliefs and ceremonies in the healing process, and includes such initiatives as Youth Programs and the Restoration Area and Community Food Garden at the green-designed Potawot Health Village (completed in 2001). UIHS supports and promotes activities that bring cultural, spiritual, and economic wellness together for the community and the organization.
Urban Bush Women
Based in Brooklyn, NY.
Urban Bush Women unites dance and community, promoting the power of art to address issues of social justice. Choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar founded the group to tell underrepresented stories and histories of women and members of the African Diaspora community through dance. The organization seeks to level the balance of power both in the dance world and throughout societies. UBW engages the larger community through professional education, audience development, and the creation of new opportunities, such as the Summer Leadership Institute, to nurture young talent and encourage social engagement. UBW emphasizes individuality, civic engagement, process and trust, the beauty and power of the African Diaspora, and the importance of contributing to local communities. In addition to presenting extensively in New York City, UBW has traveled all across the world and appeared in numerous festivals. UBW has received awards and acknowledgements from the U.S. Department of State, the NEA, Doris Duke Awards, Capezio, and Bessie.
Founded 2007 in Moscow, Russia.
Voina is a street art collective whose radical projects highlight political and authoritative injustices in Russia. Originally founded by Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolaev, the group now includes over 200 members whose controversial and patriotic performances cause contention among both police and parliament. For instance, for their most recent project, Dick captured by KGB
(2010), they fought off security and quickly painted a large penis on the Liteiny Bridge in St. Petersburg right before the bridge opened for the evening ships. When upright, the bridge points directly to the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (the organization that took over the KGB). Erect for several hours before authorities washed off the paint, Dick captured by the KGB loudly and publicly mocked "the power of the unconquerable Russian phallus". Other public art pieces have made political statements equally as honest and vulgar, leading to the arrest of Vorotnikov and Nikolaev. Other Voina activists continue to run from and trick the authority while producing "libertarian Decembrist" art, which passionately ignites audience sentiment and enrages Russian officials.
Dan S. Wang
Lives and works in Chicago, IL.
Artist, writer, and organizer Dan S. Wang lives in Madison, Wisconsin, and frequently works with others to create events, exhibitions, and publications. He is a co-founder of Mess Hall, an experimental cultural center in Chicago that functions as an open space for art making, idea generation, exhibitions, workshops, and lectures. Wang's research from recent years concerns the politics and the poetics of globalization as experienced and observed in the Upper Midwest and from points in East Asia. His latest project is a collaboration with new media artist Stephanie Rothenberg called The Journey West, a Beijing travel agency offering artist-designed tours of America for the new traveling public of China. In addition to his many articles published in journals, museum catalogues, and artists' publications, his texts will be included in the forthcoming books Arrow Factory Triennial Book, Space RE: Solutions–Intervention and Research in Visual Culture, The Essential New Art Examiner,
and We Are Wisconsin,
an electronic reader on the Wisconsin Uprising.
Midwest Radical Culture Corridor
Based in Vienna, Austria.
WochenKlausur solves social problems through tangible, small-scale interventions. The group works by invitation from art institutions, researching, developing, and realizing projects that make concrete improvements through "social intervention." They work in concentrated, closed meetings, within a specific timeframe, to arrive at carefully crafted, cunning strategies. For their first project, Medical Care for Homeless People
(1993), the group decided to provide basic medical care to homeless people in Vienna out of a mobile van clinic. False threats of negative publicity forced the city councilor to fund the project and the van is now a permanent institution that continues to help more than 600 people each month, run by the relief organization Caritas. WochenKlausur has also addressed education, substance abuse, community development, labor market policy, voter rights, immigration, and homelessness. In addition to creating new interventions and supporting artists from the communities in which their new projects are realized, WochenKlausur serves as a resource center for activist art. WochenKlausur's major exhibitions and commissions include the 48th Venice Biennale; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg; and the Vienna Secession.
Women on Waves
Founded by Rebecca Gomperts, 1999. The Netherlands.
Women on Waves is a nonprofit that blends social activism, contemporary art, political propaganda, and media manipulation to empower women internationally. Targeted at women living in countries where abortion is illegal, WoW helps women obtain safe and legal abortions by operating from a Dutch vessel on international waters. The first WoW gynecological vessel, A-Portable
(2001), was designed by Dutch Atelier van Lieshout, and works to creatively exploit legal loopholes as avenues for social justice. Balancing art and activism, trained professionals educate women about the ease of self-induced abortions and provide abortion pills and straightforward instructional pamphlets on their website and hotline. Collaborating with local organizations, WoW sparks public debate, rampant media attention, and religious, political, medical, and ideological controversy. The most recent expedition (Spain, 2008) grasped the attention of protesters, journalists, and politicians, exemplifying the media's invaluable role in this project. In addition to being featured in the 2001 Venice Biennale, WoW has communicated with women in diverse countries such as Pakistan, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Portugal, Argentina, Chile, Poland, and Ireland. Gomperts has also received several accolades honoring her work.