Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Call for work: The Audacity of Desperation

Deadline March 10, 2008
Exhibition dates
May 8-June 15
at the Indy Media Center in Urbana, Il.
October 23-November 16, Sea and Space, Los Angeles, CA

The Audacity of Desperation
is an art exhibition, political action, and on-going dialogue. We are currently seeking distributable artworks addressing the topic of “desperation.” Works should exist in multiples with the intention to be freely distributed to audiences. Media can include, but is not at all limited to: posters, stickers, stencils, zines, stamps- ink and postage - buttons, CD’s/DVD’s, postcards, t-shirts and manifestos.

Why we are desperate?
In November 2008 something is going to change. The worst president ever will finally be voted out of the White House. But, as the infamous writing on the wall reads, IF VOTING CHANGED ANYTHING THEY’D MAKE IT ILLEGAL.

The desperate push by progressives to include Ralph Nader in the 2000 elections and then their desperate about face towards Nader in 2004 is forgotten history. In 2008, debates have fallen back into the abyss of the two party system.

For many of us born after the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and Malcolm X, belief in revolutionary change through electoral politics is not easily resuscitated. Our first political memory falls somewhere between Nixon’s resignation and Bill Clinton’s lies about having sex with Monica Lewinsky. Obama’s seductive oratory style that instills nostalgia for movements we can’t remember, Clinton’s ability to go up against the men weighing down the glass ceiling, and Edwards anti-corporate, power to the people rhetoric is countered by Nancy Pelosi’s miserable failure to radicalize the senate and end the war in Iraq as the first woman Speaker of The House. The potential for the executive branch to be made up of firsts, the first president to be a white woman or black man, the first Latino vice president, is not enough. Relying on identity politics has resulted in Condoleezza Rice, Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Clarence Thomas, and Mary Cheney’s baby. Choosing to vote based on community affiliation has led to more exclusive tendencies, not less.

What are our options?
Given this desperate state of affairs, how do we connect communities, select alliances, establish coalitions? How much do we compromise when we chose to participate in a stubborn old beast of a system that is unlikely to learn new tricks or rollover? Is it possible to be so reckless that desperation can be re-imagined as a tool for political organizing? Do we need to delve fully into an emotional crisis or can we wallow in our desperation and find creative possibilities for effecting social change?

Please send submissions, questions or inquires to: We prefer digital submissions. The file size does not need to reflect your final piece.

If it is not possible to send a digital reproduction, send your submission to:
Desperation submission
C/o jessica lawless
7523 1/2 Lexington Ave.
West Hollywood, CA 90046

Include a SASE if you need anything returned to you.

Submissions Due: March 10

Both electronic and material submissions should include:

* Your Name

* e-mail address
*Materials and dimensions

Please keep in mind, if accepted, you will need to provide 50-100 copies of your piece. Shipping will be provided for by the organizers. We will have a second edition of the show in Los Angeles in the Fall.

We are working with a grassroots, anti-authoritarian philosophy that includes the anti-capitalist, non-competitive principle of mutual aid.
For a basic overview of mutual aid: