The Contemporary City and Occupied Real Estate

This post is copied from Not An Alternative’s page
Not An Alternative is pleased to participate in Collective/Performative, the final exhibition of Exit Art’s influential 30 years as a non-profit gallery and cultural center. Please join us May 8th -12th for Occupied Real Estate, an installation and series of workshops.
Occupied Real Estate
Tuesday May 8 – Saturday May 12
@ Exit Art
475 10th Avenue
New York, New York
* Installation: 10am – 6pm daily
* Workshops: 2pm – 6pm daily
Production hours with Occupied Real Estate agents
* Presentations: 12pm – 2pm Saturday
With artist John Hawke and Occupy Town Square organizer Daniel Latorre
The contemporary city is contested: the boundaries of public and private are blurred; the interests of the 99% and 1% in conflict. The battleground of contestation takes place in the streets, in the media and in public consciousness. As Occupiers capture imaginations and attention around the world, they enter the battleground in a forceful way, destabilizing ideas about ownership and use of space. This new class of ‘real estate agents’ comes equipped with the tools of their trade: those of media production and material construction. From foreclosed homes to public/private parks, to warehoused buildings and bank-owned lots, the movement reveals invisible spaces, exposing exclusions and power relations. Through anonymous acts, interventions and appropriations, they activate these spaces, building a new world in the shell of the old.
The Occupied Real Estate workshop is an architectural set that puts the production of this world on display. It is both a workshop and a studio set. Agents converge at assembly-line workstations to manufacture tools for the movement and document their practice along the way. In turning the lens on themselves, they perform a material function with an awareness of its immaterial implications.
Not An Alternative is a hybrid arts collective and non-profit organization with a mission to affect popular understandings of events, symbols, and history. The group curates and produces interventions on immaterial and material space, leveraging the tools of architecture, exhibit design, branding, and public relations. Not An Alternative’s actions, installations, and presentations have been featured within art institutions, and in the public sphere, where they collaborate with community organizations and activist mobilizations. They host programs at a variety of venues, including their Brooklyn-based gallery No-Space (formerly known as The Change You Want to See Gallery).
Tuesday through Friday
* 2pm – 6pm = production hours. Join other Occupied Real Estate agents in the production of props and tools for the movement. Materials will be used in support of Occupy Wall Street’s May 10-15 Week of Action.
* 12pm – 2pm = presentations by artist John Hawke and Occupy Town Square organizer Daniel Latorre. (Description below).
* 2pm – 6pm = production workshop. Join other Occupied Real Estate agents in the production of props and tools for the movement. Materials will be used in support of Occupy Wall Street’s sidewalk sleeping occupations in front of Wall Street and banks across the city.
John Hawke – artist talk
John Hawke’s work began in on-site landscape painting practice. The performative nature of the artist in public space and the insufficiency of an optical approach in representing the landscape led to a practice that instead sees landscape as a snarled network of vectors of interest with the artist having an special capability in rupturing existing spatial conditions.
Using the principle of productive confusion developed through the collaborative platform Orange Work, for the past seven years he has made architecture and sign interventions into urban environments as well as maintaining a studio practice in painting attempting to create pictorial metaphors for the restriction and partition of public spaces.
Hawke studied classics in college, and went to Pratt for graduate school in 2002, writing his art history Master’s thesis on Robert Smithson’s anti-environmentalism. He participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program in 2006, and is currently a resident in the Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts: Art and Law Residency Program. His work has been widely exhibited, presented and reviewed.
Occupy Town Square – Self Organizing in The Commons
with organizer Daniel Latorre
In the U.S. public space, the commons, has been increasingly encapsulated by entities and ideas of privatization. At the same time social movements have become highly networked and decentralized. How does an autonomous network of protest visually represent worthiness, unity, numbers, and its claims in public space? How does public space work as a platform to shape and ground the performance of new modes of association? What are the social and symbolic challenges in activist event management in public space?
Since the eviction from Liberty Park, Occupy Town Square formed and began organizing an iterative series of pop-up events in public spaces with an aim to make its strategy and tactics replicable. Daniel Latorre, an Occupy Town Square collaborator and public space advocate, will talk about the process and experiences to date and suggest visions of where collaboration can go in this context.
This entry was posted in Activism, Museums, New York, Occupy, Urbanism and tagged by Stephen Vilaseca. Bookmark the permalink.

About Stephen Vilaseca

Stephen Luis Vilaseca is an associate editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies and Professor at Northern Illinois University (Illinois, USA). He is the author of Barcelonan Okupas: Squatter Power! (2013) and Anarchist Socialism in Early 20th-Century Spain: A Ricardo Mella Anthology (2020) as well as of articles in the Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2006), Letras Hispanas: Revista de Literatura y Cultura (2009), the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies (2010), Transitions: Journal of Franco-Iberian Studies (2012), the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies (2014), and the Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies (2015).

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