Gallatin Arts Festival 2010

APRIL 13, 2010

Chaos & Order

This year we’re interested in how art can function as a tool for change and new ways of seeing. When this year’s student leadership team began brainstorming ideas and visions of chaos, images of what survives disaster emerged leading to evocative questions about the relationship between chaos and survival. Does survival mean bringing order to chaos or the opposite? Does chaos inevitably lead to disaster? What else can emerge from chaos? What might chaos presuppose about order or vice versa? How do you find order in chaos or freedom in structure? Part of what art does is test the limits of order and chaos – how can artistic work push the boundaries of our conceptual thinking around these ideas? This year we explore the ways the arts can serve as forms of revolution, reaction, survival, or rehabilitation.

GAF is just around the corner, and last week, I had the privilege of interviewing Lawrence Bogad: Associate Professor at UC Davis, author, performer, and activist (www.lmbogad.com). Larry will be giving the GAF presentation, “Anticipate and Incorporate! Surprise and Symbolism in Tactical Performance” on Friday, April 23, from 4:00-5:30.

What is tactical performance? Larry says, “I wanted to figure out…how to use theatrical skills and dramaturgical sensibilities to help social movements express themselves and make interventions. I think there are performance skills that can be added to the tactical toolkit of social movements and creative disturbance to make what we do more effective….This kind of street theatre or creative disruption is, for me, a way to merge these interests and political work.” Cool right?! The folks in the Civil Rights Movement were great examples of this technique at work. Larry also talked to me about the technical elements of a tactical action, the role of the media, and using humor to deal with serious political issues. And, of course, he shared some stories about his days with the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army. I’m super excited to see Larry’s talk–on top of his academic credits and street experience, he’s also quite a charismatic guy! To read the whole interview, download the PDF:

Last week I had the opportunity to interview Stephen Duncombe, one of Gallatin’s most popular professors and co-founder of Eyebeam’s College of Tactical Culture. As some of you may have read on NYULocal, Stephen was invited to co-direct MIT’s Comparative Media Studies program starting next academic year, so it was a great chance to catch up with him one last time before he moves to Beantown. Stephen is co-leading the Tactical Culture Workshop wih UC Davis Professor Larry Bogad at GAF in the Jerry H. Labowitz Theater on Friday, April 23rd at 12:00 – 2:00PM.

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