Rebranding Acts is, according to this artists’ collective, “an investigation into cultural identity in an age of global migration.” The initiative uses the online platform wooloo.org to invite artists from around the world to consider the ways in which “nationality” is manufactured in their home country, and to “rebrand” these concepts, from their own perspective. While the open call is predicated on the argument that such hegemonic nationalist constructions often exclude identities that don’t fit the mold, Rebranding Acts invites anyone to add their voice to the discussion by uploading videos of their own public interventions. The project draws on previous interventionist and participatory works by the collective’s founders in which the concept of national identity is revealed to be anything but black-and-white, and the resulting archive documents the myriad ways in which people around the world respond to this problematic notion.
IN THE GALLERY
Ashley Hunt uses video, photography, mapping and writing to engage social movements, modes of learning, and public discourse. He is interested in how societal structures both allow some people to accumulate power and prevent others from getting it. He is also interested in how people come to know, respond and conceive of themselves within these structures. Rather than treating art and activism as two separate spheres, he approaches them as symbiotic and complementary.
Thursday, October 23
Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Gallery
Charrette with Ashley Hunt and Parsons class:
3:00 – 5:30 p.m.
Presentation: 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
Both events open to the public
"A World Map..." is an ongoing project which maps structures of power that determine political exclusion and inclusion, using soft pastel and chalk on chalkboard. The work is always generated through a collaborative effort; for OURS, it is created by Parsons students. By mapping concepts and discourses rather than specific geographies, the work traces how globalization as a supra-national system of economies, laws, and institutions, is built on the exclusion of certain persons—such as refugees or prisoners—and the inclusion of others.
An open glossary reinforces the public aspect of "A World Map...": terms and ideas generated by the charrette are posted on the blackboard, available for editing, discussion, changing, and erasing by the gallery visitors. The exhibition’s web site is updated periodically with the latest versions of the glossary. With its large blackboard, "A World Map..." is essentially a temporary classroom.
This charrette is hosted by Parsons faculty member Melissa Rachleff.
Erick Beltrán’s design-oriented practice investigates the way language and meaning are formed through structures that are often arbitrary, though they may seem universal and inevitable. The artist concentrates on the visual and graphic formation of language, whether in the graphic designer’s use of typography or in the many variations that alphabetical forms can take across cultures.
IN THE GALLERY
Epistemic Merit Model, 2008
New work, commissioned by Parsons for "OURS"
For "OURS," Beltrán has developed a “production site,” stationed in the gallery. Users have access to an archive of 300 historic propaganda images that they can shuffle and combine at will: reproduced on old-fashioned rubber stamps, the images get printed on paper, scanned, and uploaded to the exhibition’s Web site. Each week a selection of the works is printed in large-poster format and mounted on high wires crossing the gallery windows. The posters, which evoke the photo collages of Dada and Constructivism, play with notions of artistic radicalism in relation to political ideology, and demonstrate one of the show’s main themes: though participatory strategies often provide the appearance of democratic choice, this democracy is limited to the options outlined in the structure of the game. “Action” becomes “free play” within a narrow range of often compromising options.