Tag Archives | activism

PARTICIPANT INTERVIEW: Daniel Bejar

What are you working on now and how does the piece in Conflux relate?

Right now I’m working on a few projects, but the immediate one is “Rec-elections” which are site-specific performances, which question Conservative Presidential advertising strategies, which weaponize nostalgia as a political tool of manipulation. In Conservative advertising you find a lot of references to the past, always with an eye looking back. I recently returned from the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL where I appropriated their strategy by using historical campaign posters from past elections, such as from Romney’s father campaign when he ran in 1968. I performed in protest marches and rallies by utilizing the historical campaign posters and handing them out to fellow protesters. “Rec-elections” is similar to my project “Get Lost!” which will be part of Conflux in that they both utilize history as tool to question the present, and both open up a space to envision alternate possibilities.

What interests you in working in public space? What are some of the challenges you face making public work?

My interest in public space is that first and foremost it is “public”, something we all share, and have the ability to contribute to. Public space is more, and more becoming a contested site, and as a site of contention I find it something to question and push back against. And finally public space is a place we all have access to regardless of wealth, social status, race, religion, sex, etc. there are no social barriers which exclude an audience, I find this very appealing in making socially conscious work. As for challenges, I think the biggest challenge of working in public space is the variable of not knowing what can happen in public, you really can’t plan every aspect of a project in public space. I’ve come to embrace this variable of chance, and found that amazing things can happen that weren’t even thought of.

Any great adventures you’ve been on recently?

I was recently at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL. It wan an intense week spent in a legalized police state. Protests and marches were allowed, but only during sanctioned times, and places, all of which were blocks away from the actual convention where the actual target audience was. It was a marginalizing experience. Not sure if it was great, but it was definitely an adventure.

Check out more here: www.danielbejar.com @dabejar

 

Conflux 2012 Official Press Release

Conflux Festival 2012 . Oct. 20-21 . NYU’s Barney Building

The annual NYC festival for the investigation of urban life through emerging artistic, technological and social practices is back! During the Conflux Festival 2012,  over 30 artists, activists, interaction designers, and pranksters will present documentation, give talks, and provide workshops for festival goers on October 20-21, 2012 in the East Village. This year, participating cultural producers are exploring the ways we experience transportation and creating interventions to improve, shake up, or evaluate the things that we have implicitly accepted into our daily commutes.

Curated this year by Angela Washko, the festival will take the form of an exhibition with artist talks and workshops at NYU along with concurrent phenomena elsewhere. Work in the exhibition will range in temperament and intention – from practical and functional to poetic and absurd. Think: documentation of handmade boats navigating the waters surrounding New York City, interactive mythological topographies, ephemera from a “magical” bus tour of suburban New Jersey (which included a visit to the basement couch where the facilitator lost his virginity), subway improvement gestures, and much more.

On Saturday October 20th 12-8pm and Sunday October 21st 12-6pm: Indoor events, headquartered at NYU’s Barney Building (34 Stuyvesant St.), include an exhibition showcasing documentation from a variety of both past and new Conflux participants/projects, as well as talks and workshops. Highlights include discussions led by Daniel Bejar, Emily Bunker, Jason Eppink, Mary Flanagan, Moses Gates, Chris Gethard, Matt Green, Steve Lambert, Robert Lawrence, Marie Lorenz,  Jeff Maki, Mare Liberum, Naomi Miller, Rob Ray, Mark Shepard, Jeff Stark, Nathaniel Sullivan, Caroline Woolard, and The World of Warcraft Psychogeographical Association.

We are also excited to announce that the following artists will be working on projects in public space presented concurrently with Conflux! Yoni Brook, Mare Liberum, Matt Green, LD Lawrence and Ro Lawrence, Mark Shepard, Nathaniel Sullivan, and Alex Young.

All events included in the Conflux Festival 2012 are free and open to the public!
RSVP to Conflux via Facebook!

CONFLUX FESTIVAL 2012
Saturday October 20 12-8pm
Sunday October 21 12-6pm

Barney Building Gallery
NYU Steinhardt School
34 Stuyvesant Street . NYC

Closest Subway Stations:
Astor Place 6
8th Street-NYU N, R
3rd Ave L



Conflux is brought to you by:

Directors
Christina Ray and David Mandl

Curatorial Director
David Darts

Head Curator
Angela Washko

Communications Coordinator
Aliya Bonar

Web: confluxfestival.org
Facebook: Conflux Festival Page
Twitter: @confluxfestival
For Twitter talk: #confluxfestival

Conflux is produced by Glowlab Productions LLC and is hosted in 2012 with the generous support of New York University, Art Connects New York and Gowanus Studio Space.

Interested in volunteering with us? Contact conflux.curatorial@gmail.com

HIGHLIGHT FROM CONFLUX 2007: RONALD’S CRISIS

During the 2007 Conflux Festival, participants were invited to take part in the “Top Secret Steve Lambert Project.”

This top secret project ended up being titled “Ronald’s Crisis” and brought Conflux visitors and other co-conspirators together to shut down all 85 McDonald’s stores across Manhattan.  Steve Lambert’s collaborators posted “CLOSED FOR EVALUATION” signs on the doors and windows of every McDonald’s in Manhattan.  A public statement was made by a very apologetic Ronald McDonald during a press conference in Union Square which followed.

Check out the video footage courtesy of Steve Lambert.

FEATURED PARTICIPANT: Institute for Applied Autonomy

The participant list is up and nearly complete! For the next few weeks I will be writing blog posts about participants’ past projects as well as Conflux Festivals of yesteryear!  Today I wanted to share a bit about the Institute for Applied Autonomy!

Founded in 1998, the Institute for Applied Autonomy produced projects that provided the public with access to cryptic information, provided activists with technologies to be more effective, and as their mission states: they conducted “technological research and development dedicated to the cause of individual and collective self-determination.”

Responding to the need for more covert modes of resistance and social insurgency, the IAA created three “Contestational Robots.” These robots invert the frequent use of robots in authoritarian power structures by solely serving activists and resistant communities. Graffiti Writer is a remote-operated robot that writes messages on the ground with spray cans (like a dot matrix printer).  The images below illustrate the project’s strength – providing activists with a voice to infiltrate spaces remotely, anonymously, and in loud, bold text.

For Conflux 2012, I’ve included Institute for Applied Autonomy’s iSee project in the exhibition at NYU. iSee provided commuters in select cities with web applications charting the locations of surveillance cameras in public space. Doubtful of the effectiveness of these cameras in lowering crime rates, and responding to the abuse of these technologies by public and private authorities, IAA created opportunities for users of the iSee web app to walk confidently, mapping out routes that avoid CCTV cameras (IAA calls them “paths of least surveillance).  This project and all of the Institute for Applied Autonomy’s projects and texts are found here.