Anarchism and Art: Democracy in the Cracks and on the Margins (Suny Series in New Political Science)
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Situated at the intersection of anarchist and democratic theory, "Anarchism and Art" focuses on four popular art forms DIY (Do It Yourself) punk music, poetry slam, graffiti and street art, and flash mobs found in the cracks between dominant political, economic, and cultural institutions and on the margins of mainstream neoliberal society. Mark Mattern interprets these popular art forms in terms of core anarchist values of autonomy, equality, decentralized and horizontal forms of power, and direct action by common people, who refuse the terms offered them by neoliberalism while creating practical alternatives. As exemplars of central anarchist principles and commitments, such forms of popular art, he argues, prefigure deeper forms of democracy than those experienced by most people in today s liberal democracies. That is, they contain hints of future, more democratic possibilities, while modeling in the present the characteristics of those more democratic possibilities. Providing concrete evidence that progressive change is both desirable and possible, they also point the way forward."
democracy in the cracks and on the margins / Mark Mattern. pages cm — (SUNY series in new political science) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-4384-5919-6 (hardcover : alk. paper) ISBN 978-1-4384-5921-9 (e-book) 1. Politics in art. 2. Arts—Political aspects. 3. Democracy and the arts. 4. Popular culture—Political aspects. 5. Art and society. I. Title. NX650.P6M37 2016 700.1'03—dc23 2015006075 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Contents Acknowledgments Chapter 1.
many as contradicting the open, populist spirit of slams. The following year, in response, NPS banned handpicking. Slammers’ defenders respond that the competition is not driven by money or by corporate sponsorship, but by a commitment to the art form. The competition, they insist, is “tongue-in-cheek … a method of enticing people to gather on a Monday night and watch poetry instead of ‘Ally McBeal.’ ”31 Competition is “window dressing … a theatrical device intended to stoke the competitive
students, college students, and computer users who had been in cyber-touch via the newsgroup alt.graffiti. They began posting photos to share. Newsweek magazine ran a story a month after Art Crimes started, helping propel it into prominence. Most of these websites are labors of love rather than profit. Potential sponsors such as spray-paint companies are understandably leery or hostile. The two most prominent manufacturers of spray paint, Rustoleum and Krylon, feature only anti-graffiti material
Valencia) on November 13, 2009, illustrates.65 The video opens with shoppers mingling in the aisles, making purchases from vendors. Suddenly, music from the opera La Traviata begins to play. Moments later, a male opera singer, disguised as a shopkeeper working behind one of the counters, unexpectedly bursts into song. Shoppers pause and look for the singer. A woman, working behind a different counter, takes up the song in response to the first singer. The two singers leave their vending posts,
Anarchist Economics, Resistance, and Culture,” Peace Studies Journal 4:2 (July 2011), 47–56, 47, 48, 52, 54, 52, 53. 39. Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, “Introduction: Towards Anarchist Art Theories,” in Josh MacPhee and Erik Reuland, eds., Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority (Oakland, Calif.: AK Press, 2007), 3–5, 5. 40. Jill Dolan, Utopia in Performance: Finding Hope at the Theater (Ann Arbor, Mich.: The University of Michigan Press, 2005), 5, 6. 41. Ian McEwan, quoted in Dolan,