Required Reading: A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible

A great downloaded book/PDF is available over at Half Letter Press. A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination presents a very accessible and readable overview and introduction to the history of art+activism based practices.

Well worth the half-hour or so that it will take to read through it.

The ending, which will particularly resonate with Danielle, I’m sure:

Creative resistance is not simply about designing glitzy visual stunts that the media will pick up on, it’s a lot more than that, it’s about making things that work, fashioning situations that both disrupt the mechanisms of power and show us our own power, our own potential to connect and create. The beauty is in its efficient use, and nothing is more beautiful than winning.

via Half Letter Press

Reading List

some books on my bookshelf

Thinking about a good collaborative weekend project, the idea of starting a reading list came up. I have a fair collection of books and blogs in my reader that touch on a number of things that seem pertinent to Broken City Lab, but I wondered what’s out there that I’m missing. 

I’ll make a quick list of some of the best things I’ve read lately that deal with social practice, activism, cities, and art, but if you have anything that you think other people (like us) should be reading, or watching, or listening to,  post it in the comments (preferably with a link to where we might be able to find it). 

Here’s my list of good things I’ve recently read:

It’s a short, and likely too narrow list, so let me know what I’m missing out on in the comments!

Don’t Do It Yourself

Journal of Aesthetics and Protest

I recently got a copy of Issue 6 of the Journal of Aesthetics & Protest, based on a recommendation from WMMNA. I’m still making my way through it, but an article by Lisa Anne Auerbach entitled, “D.D.I.Y.: Don’t Do It Yourself,” really caught my attention.

Auerbach basically argues that D.I.Y. culture has been hijacked by corporations and their marketing departments and we’re not going to get it back anytime soon. What had started as a revolt against these very centers of consumption has been flipped on its head and is being sold back to us as a lifestyle brand. Auerbach goes on to issue a new battle cry, “D.D.I.Y,” noting that we only need to look as far as our neighbour’s garage for the tools or skills we need to complete a project (and in all likelihood, that neighbour is looking for some skill we have). In her words,

“[It] means working with friends, hiring a professional, consuming wisely and conscientiously, and providing for ourselves while working with others. We do what we do best, do what we know how to do, while allowing others to help us with what we are not equipped for.”

Of course, there are many things that can benefit from a D.I.Y. mindset—not the least of which include being able to get things done for yourself, but in a broader sense, I know there are a lot of people I see every week that can do things a lot better than I can, and in turn there are likely some things that I can do better than them. Why don’t I ask for their help more often (or offer my help for that matter)? I’m not entirely sure, but it’s something to start considering a bit more seriously.

You can read the entire article online.