It is time to reinvent “Activism as Usual”.
In times of compounding health, environmental and social crises, “business as usual” is rapidly navigating to turn each moment of crisis into yet another cycle of accumulation and consolidation of wealth and power. To win on an increasingly destabilized terrain, we must build the capacity whereby social movements are able to nimbly and consistently reinvent “activism-as-usual” by innovating new forms of social and political intervention compatible with the local context, capacity and campaign. We work to support groups in creating actions that embody their politics, transform dominant narratives and lift up unheard voices for change. Through its unique projects the Artivist Network attempts to introduce new forms of activism to strategic campaigns and provide support at a crucial moment to better help campaigns and movements to win.
SeaChange Voyage (2014)
In 2014, the SeaChange Project formed around the desire to innovate new artistic forms to support the protection of the Hudson River watershed and to gather localized community struggles into the frame of the global climate crisis. The Artivist Network and Mare Liberum – after organizing a series of community boat-builds – embarked down the Hudson River from Troy, New York, to Manhattan in their new flotilla of handmade paper boats. As it traveled, this arts-organizing project called attention to some of the local causes and impacts of climate change, such as sea-level rise along this long tidal estuary.
Read this text [also in ES], to learn more about our journey which convened 12 community meet-ups, performances and potlatch feasts, mobilizing more than 1,000 people to join the People’s Climate March that would occur a few weeks later and making news in dozens of local media outlets along their voyage. Upon our arrival in New York City, we organized gatherings, lectures, round-tables and a circumnavigation of Manhattan to share stories about what we had encountered on their journey, connecting the stories of local organizing along this long energy supply-chain.
- Video en espanol sobre el viaje: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tQeYh6gAuV0&feature=youtu.be
SeaChange Voyage + Floating Residency (2017)
In 2017 the SeaChange Voyage returned to the Hudson River, this time aboard Solar Sal, a 100% solar powered boat. This time the objective was to use art as a storytelling tool to connect the massive Standing Rock protests to the same supply-chain of fracked crude oil that snaked its way down and along the Hudson River. Accompanied by three indigenous Mohawk artivists, descendents of the original inhabitants of this region, we organized community meet-ups, water ceremonies, and performances along the river – connecting local fossil fuel infrastructure to the stories of its extraction and resistance. Read the full story here.
Marxa Pel Clima
In 2018 the Artivist Network collaborated with Climacció to run a series of art-builds to support arts organizing ahead of the climate march in Barcelona. Using artivism as a key mobilizing strategy, the groups brought together thousands of people into uniquely developed “bloques” to show the diversity of the local climate movement. Beyond political impact, one result of this project was a weekend retreat and the formation of a new group dedicated to creative action for climate justice.
Democracy now video
Working with the Gastivists Collective and Plataforma Resposta al Midcat, the Artivist Network has been supporting actions across Europe with the use of inflatable pipelines to draw attention to the dangerous proposed build-out of fossil gas infrastructure across Europe.
People’s Climate March + Flood Wall Street:
Members of the Artivist Network joined forces with 350.org and local organizers to support the development of an artist-led engagement with the UN General Assembly and its surrounding climate march. The resulting collaboration redefined the possibilities of the use of art in mass protest by providing a “Narrative Structure” that gave an organizing structure to both art creation and mobilization. The day after the People’s Climate March, thousands flooded to Wall Street in a mass non-violent direct action, including “carbon bubble” inflatables by Tools for Action.
This public performance features the captivating jellyfish created in a series of workshops on ecofeminist recycled art by the Artivist Network’s “artivist-in-residence” Angeline Pittinger at the COP24 UN Climate Conference in Katowice, Poland. This intervention, which transpired right in front of the main entrance to the conference center, combined diverse illuminated tactics to refocus attention to the new flourishings that climate change is provoking, highlighted by the proliferation of both plastic waste and jellyfish in the anthropocene.
These “pop-up” murals are a useful way to create places for public participatory artworks without facing the same legal risks associated with mural painting. Stretching transparent plastic between two poles (or around a building…), enables us to quickly create a large-format prop that can draw public attention and convey important information.
Samir Flores Solidarity
In the wake of the brutal assasination of community radio organizer – and gas-plant resistance leader – Samir Flores, the Artivist Network collaborated with the Gastivists Collective to organize a series of creative replicable actions to draw attention to the corporations and governments complicit in his murder.