4Cs discussion

Through email and facebook I sometimes receive insightful notes with interesting links from participants of the Capitalism, Colonialism and Climate Change Study Group, and from other interested people.

I’ll attempt to “archive” some of these here, especially for those RIA members who eschew Facebook. It is a live archive. Feel free to comment. Send your comments to researchinart.ria@gmail.com and I will post them.

Michele Provost’s email January 25 2018,with some pertinent, if paradoxical quotes:

“In my ongoing pondering of the subject of making art in troubled times, I chanced upon two opposing quotes which, to me, seem equally valid:

Bertolt Brecht:

‘What kind of times are these when to talk about trees is almost a crime because it implies silence about so many other horrors?’


Leopold Staff:

‘Even more than bread, we now need poetry in a time where it seems like it doesn’t need it at all.'”

Michael Davidge, email October 2017 Some links:

  1. Lumpen Magazine (out of Chicago): http://www.lumpen.com/.  The Summer 2017 has the theme of Municipalism, based on the ideas of Murray Bookchin, which proposes direct face-to-face democracy through citizens’ assemblies. There is a lot of information and examples of related art projects, but the point it makes that I wanted to underscore was the following: “Just Emulate.  We’ve already done it. We just forgot about it. To start, you don’t need to innovate. Just replicate. Fight amnesia. . . learn about your own pasts. Remember what worked before. It can work again.” One example they give is “Organize Your Own” a substantial resource for artists’ organizing that came out of a recent show in Philadelphia (spring 2017), “Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements” organized by Daniel Tucker and Rebecca Zorach. (Online and in print, the publication is a goldmine of ideas and histories: https://organizeyourown .wordpress.com/) New work by contemporary artists and poets responded to archival materials related to the history of white people organizing their own working-class white neighborhoods, in keeping with the mandate from the Black Power movement to “organize your own” community against racism.


  1. While preparing for your presentation, I was reminded of the Viennese artist group WochenKlausur (http://www.wochenklausur.at/) that develops concrete proposals aimed at small, but effective improvements to socio-political deficiencies. I was introduced to the group by Bruce Barber as an example of littoral art, which he has written extensively about (http://www.brucebarber.ca/). One project by the group, Shelter for drug-addicted women (1994) resulted in the creation of a shelter that operated for six years before the city cut the funding it provided.


  1. Finally, I can’t resist sharing this link to a conversation on Regionalism that I took part in last year: http://blog.latitude53.org/tagged/critical-dialogue-on-regionalism/chrono. The concept of Critical Regionalism, as described by Douglas Reichart Powell (an English Professor at Columbia University) seems pertinent to your presentation: a “deliberate use of region as a way to envision and critique relationships among people and places and envision better alternatives.”