Chats About Change: Critical Conversations on Art and Politics is five conversations addressing contemporary themes that artists and activists are developing in Los Angeles today. The dialogues will critically engage the topics of; participatory structures in culture, confrontational art practice, the dialectic of the spiritual and the political, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the politics of land use in a session co-organized with Sandra de la Loza. Chats About Change, independently organized by artists Elana Mann and Robby Herbst, represents a grassroots response to the national phenomena of the institutionalization of social practice art within hegemonic institutions. Chats About Change aims to strengthen local networks of politically oriented artists through a self-organized forum fostering analytical reflection and response. The events will take place at California State University Los Angeles, “The people’s university,” and at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (LACE), the innovative contemporary arts institution. Chats About Change asks questions, wages debates, and supports the community of people seeking experimental ways to affect Southern California and beyond.
How Can I Participate?
Participation in anything is often a question of motive and use, opined Allan Kaprow in 1977. Today participation is considered the democratic standard, while the structures initiating this participation may not be fair, just, or desired. This conversation will explore the variety of motives, uses, and strategies of participation happening in Los Angeles. Panel: Lili Bernard, Jennifer Moon, Megan Ortiz + Ultra-Red (interlocutor)
The dissident is known as an individual acting in opposition to official policy, dogma, or practices of a society. The individuals in this conversation have a dynamic relationship to concepts of oppositionality, some may welcome it, some may not. Their work, addressing gender, policing, ideology, and the Veterans Administration, will be a starting point for a conversation about how art can be instrumentalized into a critical discourse. Panel: Lauren Bonn, Micol Hebron, Daniel Joseph Martinez, Ada Tinnell + Robby Herbst (moderator)
Pivoting: Ethics And Aesthetics
Recent critical frameworks including Institutional Critique, Feminism and Identity Politics question the relationship between ethics and aesthetics complicating the artist’s role in society. And we are not finished. Where ethics connotes social responsibility and aesthetics imply that anything goes, what motivates artists to weave the two together and take on social challenges larger than a singular artistic voice? Where do artists “find” themselves in the confluence of individual expression and broader social relations? This Chat will address these questions reflecting on the personal choices artists make and the multiple roles they play. Panel: Rafa Esparza, Amitis Motevalli, Adam Overton, Guru Rugu + Dorit Cypis (moderator)
Between The Artist The Organizer And The Social Worker
The creative impulse is not contingent on inclusion in institutions of contemporary culture. Social change art is defined by its interdisciplinary nature, hybridizing strategies from art and sociology to activate a public sphere. Partnering with governments, community groups, and otherwise, this dialogue involves practitioners who’ve insinuated their projects in sites beyond the art world’s mediating radar. This chat will explore the modalities and problematics of collaborating in and out of diverse (non)institutions. Panel: Camilo Cruz, Carole Frances Lung, Karen Mack, John Malpede + Elana Mann/Evelyn Serrano (moderators)
Flowers For Action, Seeds For Change
From transformative pedagogical projects, to ecologically conscious urban re-design, to community actions against displacement — contemporary artists and organizers are engaging with the diverse landscapes of Los Angeles through transdisciplinary approaches. This discussion will bring together Los Angeles based artists and cultural practitioners who will share ways they are looking critically at the built environment and acting creatively to build new relationships with the land. Panel: Olivia Chumacero, Rio Jill Contreras, Sarah Dougherty, Christy Roberts, Jane Tsong + Sanda de la Loza (moderator)
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