Strategies of Occupation: Grabbing Land, and the Political Agency of the Artist

Public Workshop Thu 29 Nov 2007 2.00PM-4.00PM The New School, Conference Room
66 West 12th Street, 5th Floor
Admission: $8, free for all students, New School faculty, staff, and alumni with valid ID
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The exhibition Land Grab at Apexart gallery in New York, on view from November 7 until December 22, presents an anthology of "grabbing" or claiming land in current art practices. In extension of this inquiry, this accompanying workshop discusses the specificities and significance of such occupations, on a broader scale as well as in more detail, shedding light on the agency of the artist as political subject today.

Accordingly, the artistic positions to be considered are not concerned with the gain of extra space or the implementation of an anti-institutional policy. They're not to be understood in the vein of land art but rather contest a larger reality—the prolonged condition of emergency, for instance, called the global state of war or state power. The curators, theorists, and artists (partly from the exhibition Land Grab) introduce their own strategies of occupation or ways of documenting and criticizing them. The participants are also invited to critically analyze the positions taken up in the exhibition: What does re-inscription of land stand for, as formulated in today's art? What physical as well as immaterial means do we have to occupy "land", and how can this act be understood in a postcolonial age? Or else is, in a market driven democracy, occupation possible beyond capitalist desire? Who's your ally, who's your audience? Lastly and more broadly, how can we define revolutionary subjectivity, the power and potential to change the existing global order today, and what is its relation to land?

At the end of the workshop, a declaration of five to ten points is expected to be created concerning the agency of the artist as "land grabber," a new definition of occupation, or a list of critical strategies of—be it real, utopian or precarious—occupation. This piece of writing or drawing, together with transcribed parts of the recorded discussion, will inform the matrix of a planned publication on strategies of (land) occupation in the arts.

Lillian Fellmann, Zurich, co-curator of Land Grab
Sarah Lookofsky, New York, co-curator of Land Grab

Amy Balkin, artist, This is the Public Domain, Los Angeles
eTeam (Franziska Lamprecht, Hajoe Moderegger), New York/Germany
Andrea Geyer, artist, New York
Jens Haaning, artist, Denmark
John Hawke, artist, New York
Albert Heta, Kosovo
Sergio Munoz Sarmiento, Clandestine Construction Company International
Vyjayanthi Rao, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, The New School for Social Research, New York
Martin Rosengaard,, Berlin
Felicity Scott, historian of modern and contemporary architecture and urbanism, Columbia University, New York

This event is co-organized by the Vera List Center for Art and Politics at The New School and presented as part of the Center's program cycle on "Agency."