Friday 11.05.10 -- 16 Beaver Town Hall & Potluck to Inspire Creativity -- 11.05.10
Friday November 5 -- 16 Beaver Town Hall & Potluck to Inspire Creativity
1. About 16 Beaver Town Hall & Report Back from US Social Forum
2. Format & Participation
3. Specific Questions & Prospects
4. Ultra- Red Listening Event
5. 16 Beaver at the US Social Forum, Detroit, June 22-26th, 2010
1. About 16 Beaver Town Hall & Report Back from US Social Forum
What: Town Hall Discussion & Report Back & Potluck
When: Friday November 5, 7 pm
Where: 4th Floor, 16 Beaver Street, New York
What to Bring: Wine, Beer, Juice, Cheese, Bread, Crackers, Salsa,
Vegetables, Fruit, Salad, Stew, Soup, Chocolate, Cookies
In an effort to continue the conversations we began at the US Social Forum
over the summer about the relation between art, thought and social
movements, we are planning a Town Hall and Potluck Dinner at 16beaver this
Our initial email is attached below for all those who might have forgotten
about the event we organized in June.
Taking our conversation to the Social Forum was a step towards a different
mode of engagement with social movements. We took our aesthetic /
discursive activity directly into a space created by and for explicit
activists. And in doing so, we furthered our efforts to investigate (and
participate in) a variety of modes of engagement and activity as well as
organizations and forms of and for politics that exist on the Left in the
In an effort to take stock of some of the ideas and insights that came out
of our experiences and to open our space up to hear from a range of new
and old voices, we are organizing a town hall discussion and potluck
dinner for this coming Friday.
There have been a number of report backs and discussions about the Social
Forum that have been organized all over the country. But until now, we
haven't had the opportunity to bring together a group of people to discuss
the events in Detroit and how they relate to the current political climate
(and to our individual and collective projects, ideas, impressions,
frustrations, and concerns).
The continuing Global economic crisis has set the stage for the rise of
the right in Europe as well as the US, so we thought it the perfect time
to take some stock of where things have gone since June. What are the
prospects that we see, the sorts of formations, projects, organization and
collaborations that need to develop (and are developing) in response to
the obvious symptoms of neo-liberalism/capitalism's failures (and the
absence of large-scale organized political opposition)? And most
importantly, what is the role of creativity, artists, art, and artist's
spaces in this climate?
In terms of National political gatherings, there have been three National
rallies in DC since the Forum. Glenn Beck's Rally, the One Nation rally
organized by Labor unions, and the Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear
organized by Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. It's also "election week" in
the US, something which promises to demonstrate how badly we need some
genuine political ideas and debate in order to stand up to the racist
right wing and to address the worsening economic conditions (and Obama's
continuation of the imperial project and attacks on civil rights).
We invite any and all people to participate in this discussion of our
experiences and ideas (both at this USSF, at other Social Forums, in
movements, at 16beaver, in various autonomous spaces dedicated to the
investigation of the relationships between culture, politics, and thought
etc) and to contribute to our Potluck to Inspire Creativity.
If you are interested in thinking about the relation between culture and
social movements, the present state of politics, struggle, and social
movements in the face of global economic crisis, or our intervention into
the USSF (whether you attended or not), we hope you will come, bring some
food and drink for the potluck, and lend your voice to our discussion.
2. Format and Participation
The US Social forum sought to bring together various individuals and
groups involved in a variety of issues and movements and with a range of
political ideas. As a result, the final platform of the forum was divided
between concern for Immigrant rights, Palestine Solidarity Work (and
specifically Boycott Divestment and Sanctions work), Anti-War work (and
anti-imperialism), Anti-Racism and the Fight against Police Brutality and
the Prison-Industrial Complex, the Fight Against Budget Cuts, Economic
Austerity, and Unemployment, Labor Struggles, Struggles for Environmental
Justice, Indigenous Rights, Women's Rights, LGBTQ Rights, and the Struggle
In structuring our event as a town hall, we hope to enable those who are
invested, interested or active in any of these (or other) struggles to
bring their questions, needs, and concerns to the space, to suggest
possible avenues for an initiative that might be of some service to groups
and individuals concerned with these issues.
At the USSF, we divided our discussion into two parts, one in which
everyone introduced themselves with a story about an experience of the
relation between art/culture and social movements and then a more general
discussion of the issues or questions facing cultural workers and artists
with respect to movements.
This format was a departure from our normal mode of discussion. In an
effort to re-think those choices, we have decided to structure this event
in two parts as well. The first part being a town hall format in which
everyone who attends is invited to make a statement of three to five
minutes, bringing whatever they would like to the "table." This part of
the evening will then be followed by a less structured discussion that
will take place in small groups and then with the group as a whole
(depending on who shows up and what they want to do).
One of the models for this format comes from video of the Other Campaign
from the Zapatistas and Sub-Commandante Marcos, in which Marcos traveled
through out Mexico in order to listen to people, to hear their concerns.
We invite everyone to prepare a statement of some sort for this town hall,
of no more than 5 minutes. These can be in the form of questions,
statements, stories, poetry, music, performance.
If you cannot be here in New York physically, we invite you to email space
(at) 16beavergrooup (dot) org, with something which you might like us to
read on your behalf. Please email these statements by Friday at 6pm.
3. Specific Questions and Prospects
There have been many changes to 16beaver's space since last spring when we
were faced with eviction. As a result of the struggle with our landlord,
we turned to fundraising for the first time this spring, and we received
much support (though we continue to need to do more fundraising). As many
of you know, we recently completed renovations and have begun renting
three new studios in our space. We are still working out a new fiscal
model for the space and in conjunction with that, we thought it useful to
consider the possibility of launching different initiatives through the
space-- ones which might involve groups of folks in new collective
endeavors of sustained engagement, participation, and experimentation.
We each have our ideas about the possibilities for the space, what we as
individuals (or members of groups) may need to be able to be more
creative, useful, effective, joyful, efficient, productive, and playful in
our activism and organizing, in our social justice work and advocacy, in
our art-making and writing. This event is an invitation to bring these
ideas into a space for sharing and listening, for criticism and
disagreement, for conjecture and projection.
Taking the Social Forum and this report back as a goad, we have some
specific questions that we would like to consider-- specifically with
respect to our own space. But we are eager to make space for questions of
Some of the questions that might be useful to consider answering: What
purposes might a space for discussion, analysis and organization serve
with respect to community organizations or social movements (specifically
a space like 16beaver, but also other spaces and forums)? And how might we
operate as a form of collectivity to facilitate working together through
the space? How can we work together to consider how we as workers,
artists, and thinkers might contribute to and participate in building
these movements and advancing these political alliances and ideas? What
histories can we explore in an effort to answer these questions and how
should we undertake this inquiry and research? What needs to be discussed
patiently and without the urgency of activity? And what ideas and notions
need the space for activity and experimentation so that they can be
tested, assessed, and thought through?
We envision this evening as time for imagining how we all can continue to
work together towards something that feeds us politically, intellectually,
aesthetically, emotionally and energy-wise---- something that could be
productive for thinking about problems that face us as individuals,
members of groups, workers, activists, artists, dreamers for a better
world, members of the left....... (and scholar-writers too). We also want
to be sure to invite new and different folks into the conversation, people
who might either need more or less regularity and structure, and who might
want to participate in shaping the initiative itself-- not simply
contributing an event to an already in-motion machine/project/group.
4. Ultra-Red Listening Event
In connection with this evening's discussion, Ultra Red has invited
16beaver to participate in a listening event at the New School on November
18th. Towards this end, we intend to record parts of the evening, in order
to offer some audio images of the collective practice of 16beaver. (If you
are not comfortable with being recorded, please let us know and we will
NOT record any part of your participation).
“Organized Listening: Sound Art, Collectivity and Politics" will take
place on Thursday, November 18, 2010 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Theresa
Lang Community and Student Center at 55 West 13 Street in New York. This
panel is being organized in conjunction with their exhibition entitled
"Vogue-ology" which will be on display at the Aronson Gallery from
November 17th through the 30th.
For more information about the Ultra Red Exhibition and Event:
5. June 22-26th -- 16 Beaver at US SOCIAL FORUM -- Another World is Possible
For more information:
16 Beaver Group
16 Beaver Street, 4th fl.
New York, NY 10004
for directions/subscriptions/info visit:
4,5 Bowling Green
2,3 Wall Street
J,M Broad Street
1,9 South Ferry