Tuesday, February 26, 2008


As a political organizer and artist I was really excited to take this silkscreen class… But I have found myself in a hard place once the class got rolling.
I make posters and fliers and zines all the time to get the word out about events and ideas that are brewing out of the veteran’s community. So to be able to make my own silkscreen prints was a major plus. However, once I started working on designs and layouts I started to feel like the mass production of these supposed art objects seemed to only be creating more commodity. Or perhaps I can say it a little better… It seemed that all the materials that I was producing were already reified or consumed and there was little potential for them to rupture the everyday. Perhaps these objects do not need to rupture but can function solely as information. But in our everyday that is overly mediated and a space of information overload what is the responsible thing to be producing and inserting into social spaces.

What you all think? Does it matter…



Tim Mazurek said...

Hey buddy. Don't worry. It functions as information. It functions as propaganda. Both are valuable to your cause. Maybe it is weak as conceptual "art", but most conceptual art is weak. And stuff on the street is easily ignored. It takes a lot to rupture the everyday in a way that affects beyond the moment.

Karinna said...

It seems to me that your purpose is largely to propose information to people in the public eye. Maybe I'm wrong... I think you need more closely to decide what you mean when you say "rupture." I mean, is what you want to, like, dramatically change the way people are thinking about the war? Like Tim said, your work is functioning as information, and I agree that, for what it is and what your message is, it doesn't really need to do anything else. You say, what is the responsible thing for you to be doing? It seems that the answer based on your message is in fact what you are already doing, providing information.

Rachel said...

I agree that putting information out is probably the most responsible thing for you to be doing right now. The problem I see with work like this right now is that most Americans really don't know the situation in Iraq right now, and our attention is being diverted from it with other domestic issues.

That said, I think informing the public is a great cause at this moment. To strengthen the work and make it less of a "commodity," perhaps there is another mode of communication to work with? T-shirts are a start, but I was really interested in the wrapping paper idea (which was only briefly touched on in critique because it wasn't there). What I found interesting about the T-shirts was that they were a collaboration and that people began to bring their own stuff in when the veterans had discussed with them their project and experiences. For me, that legitimizes the civilian wearing a shirt with such a weighted message more than just going and buying one. They can then use the shirt and their experience in making it to help other people get involved with (or at least thinking about) the cause.

Also, I'm wondering if there are other ways/places to put your work that would make it less commodity but still be effective in delivering the message. What would it be like to see silhouettes of soldiers on a brick wall with just the words Iraq Veterans Against the War? It's propaganda in a way, but for me it's similar to some of the other tagging we looked at earlier in the quarter - it catches your attention and makes you think, perhaps piquing your interest to the point of really exploring.