The Artivist Network engages a diversity of tactics that create intentional spaces for creative collaboration; from running “Art Spaces” at mass mobilizations, international summits and climate camps to “Artivist Residencies” for movement artists; from nomadic artivist-led voyages to trainings for new activists; from campaign design to long-term collaboration with existent movements. While much of our practice involves the sharing of theoretical and tactical approaches to “Guerrilla Communication”, we work to (whenever possible) organize spaces for hands-on collaboration as a way to create inviting low-threshold spaces for self-organization and co-creation that empower activists with new tools for communication, while building community and network.
Previous Trainings include: ChangeMaker Camp (Poland), ChangeMaker Camp (Spain), Climate Camp (Ukraine), Conference Of Youth 2,3,4,5,7,9, (Denmark, South Africa, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Paris, Germany), Energizer Camp (Ukraine), Symposium Ostrava (2019, Czech Republic), Powershift (Kiev, Ukraine), Artivism Training (w/ FridaysForFuture Chile), Inflatable Barricades Training-for-Trainers (w/ Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, Paris), Como Acabar Con el Mal (w/ Enmedio, Spain), Jakarta Parallel COP (Jakarta, Indonesia), Global PowerShift (w/ 350.org, Turkey), Fossil Free Sweden (w/ 350.org, Stockholm), Artivist Training (Malaysia), Kakuma Refugee Camp (w/ Anataban, Kenya), Eco-Socialist Gathering (Portugal), and more. In November 2019, the Artivist Network will be leading an “Artivist Training for Trainers” for Greenpeace Nordic.
“The world is not made of atoms but of stories.” – Muriel Rukeyser
The Artivist Network believes in the power of storytelling as a tool to emotionally engage audiences. Since 2016, the Artivist Network has been innovating the use of first-person storytelling as a tool to mobilize people towards participation in mass direct action. The result of this experiment has been “Expect the Unexpected”.
Expect the Unexpcted is a vibrant 30 minute one-man show that takes your hand and brings you through a multi-media experience to Ende Gelende. The performance shares with its audience: the rush of a thousand people running into the dust of Europe’s largest lignite coal mine, and the fear of confronting charging police lines, the joys of finding lost comrades and the passion that motivates of those who lock their bodies onto railroad tracks. Expect the Unexpected uses its immersive format to directly engage the audience in horizontal affinity group decision making processes, allowing viewers to get a look “behind the scenes” of not only the action but also it’s organizing and action consensus. Despite the theatrics, this captivating performance is not just a show – it is an organizing tool that is being used across Europe and North America to engage new audiences into experiencing the collective transformation that can come from stepping outside of one’s comfort zones.
The Artivist Network teaches simple street-theater techniques that provide low-cost and low-tech tools to local activists to communicate around any subject. The creation of storytelling perfomances not only gives activist a powerful communication tool, but also helps groups to refine and condense their own story to better meet their campaign objectives.
Climate of Change Residency:
Climate of Change is an artist residency primarily focused on providing participants valuable time and space to work independently on their own projects, while also providing an opportunity for discussion, collaboration, and organizing among cultural creators working on shaping the narrative around climate change. All participants will be provided lodging, food, and a space to work during the session at no cost. We can’t think of a better way to escape the short-term fall election campaign drama, and focus on this long-term threat to our earth and its inhabitants.
The SeaChange Voyage: Artivism in the Anthropocene
In 2014 a group of artivists crafted a flotilla of fragile paper-mache canoes and embarked down the Hudson River, following the supply chain of fracked Bakken crude oil and defending the waters as a public commons. In July 2017 a mix of First Nations, local and international artists returned to the river on a solar-powered vessel, weaving together stories of resistance and resilience in the age of the climate crisis. This piece looks at the recent SeaChange Voyage as an example of engaged arts activism and cultural organizing (“artivism”) that is both working towards addressing immediate impacts to our water and climate, and working to heal some of the colonial and extractivist relationships with the land, water and eachother.
Through a multi-layered strategy of 1) supporting the deepening of personal relationships to water, 2) storytelling along supply chains: from the frontlines of Standing Rock to the Hudson River watershed 3) and supporting relationships among local activists and local artists, the SeaChange Voyage is exploring models of activism that build community as they resist common dangers, and opens an intersectional discourse around the waters and climate as a commons.
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 SeaChange Voyage – 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.
Along the journey, SeaChange 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.
Artivist Network trainers run workshops on strategic use of creativity – from conceptual frameworks to practical skills. Subjects include narrative intervention, subvertizing, inflatables, stencils, giant puppets, artivism 101, how to run an art-space, street-theater, and creative brainstorming techniques.