Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Pracitivists of the Week - A4DS!


How old are you, if you don’t mind?

Well there are 6 of us active right now, and we range in age from mid 20s to mid 30s.

What is the main focus of your practivism at this time and how does that manifest?

We focus on the junction between art and politics, so we approach political issues from a cultural perspective, while at the same time we organize an art collaboration in a democratic way and use some grassroots political organizing techniques in our artworks, such as talking to strangers on the street, tabling, and polling. We don't tend to focus on any one political issue, but create different projects based on what's piquing our interest at the time. Generally, we try to create work that opens a space for participation as we want to create an analog for greater political participation in society. And by political participation, we're not aiming to get out the vote, but to reach past that and encourage people to take greater power back into their own hands by organizing themselves. We believe strongly that people do care but feel they have no outlet for their concerns and become disillusioned. Political struggle has been at such an ebb until recently, especially union organizing and protest, that we have no models for how to fight back. We hope that we can provide some models and some encouragement in the struggle.

What route did you take to get here?

Steve (my husband) and I co-founded A4DS in April 2007. Steve has been an activist for many years, and also is a talented illustrator and writer. I had just graduated from art school in Jewelry/Metal Arts, but was being pulled towards conceptual art and social practice due to my frustration with the art world as I saw it at the time. We wanted to reach people that might not be exposed to art, and people who could not afford to collect art. We weren't interested in creating art objects, but in creating situations that encouraged open dialogue and debate. For several years, we created projects alone. In early 2011, we submitted a proposal for a show at Southern Exposure called The Cries of SF, in which people were taking on the personas of town criers and street vendors. Our proposal involved building a cart, and neither of us were experienced builders. A friend of ours, Francois, who creates sculpture, joined us to help build the project and we liked working together, so he became a part of the organization. We also enlisted the help of our friend Sean, who is a gifted poet and actor, to write our "cries" and perform with us, and he has continued to work with us. Through the course of the project, we met two other artists, Jesse and Ethan, who were interested in what we were doing and wanted to join as well. Jesse is a printmaker and Ethan is a photographer, though they had both stretched into performance art and interactive work previously and were interested in social practice. We went from just the two of us to 6 of us (and a couple of non-active members) in the space of a few months!

To find out more about A4DS CLICK HERE!

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