Invited artists, organizers, and groups include:
Ai Weiwei; Ala Plástica; Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla; Lara Almarcegui and Begoña Movellán; Alternate ROOTS; Francis Alÿs; Appalshop; Claire Barclay; Barefoot Artists; Basurama; Marilyn Douala Bell and Didier Schaub; BijaRi; Stephen Biko and partners; Bread and Puppet Theatre; CAMP; Cemeti Art House; Mel Chin; Chto delat? (What is to be done?); Colectivo Cambalache; Phil Collins; Complaints Choir; Céline Condorelli and Gavin Wade; Cornerstone Theater Company; Minerva Cuevas; Cybermohalla Ensemble; Decolonizing Architecture; Jeremy Deller; Mark Dion, J. Morgan Puett, and collaborators; Fallen Fruit; Finishing School; Free Class Frankfurt/M.; Frente 3 de Fevereiro; Theaster Gates; Paul Glover; Josh Greene; Federico Guzmán and Alonso Gil; Fritz Haeg; Haha; Harlem (Election Night 2008); Jeanne van Heeswijk; Helena Producciones; Stephen Hobbs and Marcus Neustetter; Fran Ilich; Farid Jahangir and Sassan Nassiri, Bita Fayyazi, Ata Hasheminejad, and Khosrow Hassanzedeh; Kein Mensch Ist Illegal (No One Is Illegal); Amal Kenawy; Suzanne Lacy; Steve Lambert, Andy Bichlbaum of The Yes Men, and collaborators; The Land Foundation; Long March Project; Los Angeles Poverty Department; Rick Lowe; Mammalian Diving; Reflex/Darren O’Donnell; Mardi Gras Indian Community; Eduardo Vázquez Martín; Angela Melitopoulos; Zayd Minty; The Mobile Academy; Mongrel; Anthea Moys and Bronwyn Lace; Mujeres Creando; Vik Muniz; NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst); Nuts Society; John O’Neal; Oda Projesi; Wendelien van Oldenborgh; Marion von Osten and collaborators; Park Fiction, part of the Right to the City Network Hamburg; Pase Usted; Piratbyrån (The Bureau of Piracy); Platforma 9.81; Public Movement; Pulska Grupa; Navin Rawanchaikul; Pedro Reyes; Laurie Jo Reynolds; Athi-Patra Ruga; The San Francisco Cacophony Society; Katerina Šedá; Chemi Rosado Seijo; Michihiro Shimabuku; Andreas Siekmann and Alice Creischer; Buster Simpson; Slanguage; Apolonija Sustersic; Tahrir Square (2011); Taller Popular de Serigrafía (TPS); Mierle Laderman Ukeles; Ultra-red; United Indian Health Services; Urban Bush Women; The U.S. Social Forum; Voina; Peter Watkins; WikiLeaks; Elin Wikström; WochenKlausur; Women on Waves.
The 15,000 square-foot historic Essex Street Market building in the Lower East Side of Manhattan serves as the hub for Living as Form. An architectural environment designed by the collective Common Room houses the Living as Form archival exhibition, a vast collection of documentation of 100 socially engaged projects from the last twenty years and from locations around the globe. In addition, the exhibition space will be activated by a series of events and performances, and offer dynamic areas for artists and collectives to present new work throughout the show.
A group of artists and organizations including Surasi Kusolwong, MadeIn Company presented by the Long March Project, Megawords, OurGoods, and Temporary Services, will take over dedicated spaces within the historic Essex Street Market to produce ongoing projects, host events, workshops, and discussions, and interact with visitors. Projects include:
Surasi Kusolwong will create an interactive floor installation entitled “Golden Ghost (The Future Belongs To)”. The piece will be composed of large piles of multicolored, tangled “thread waste”—a byproduct of textile production—in which pieces of gold jewelry designed by the artist will be hidden. Visitors are invited to dig through the sea of delicate knots in search of treasure. Every week, the artist will add another piece of jewelry to what Kusolwong calls the “thread landscape.” For his accompanying off-site work, “Central Park (The Future Belongs To Ghosts)”, Kusolwong will secretly hide four golden necklaces in the green space of Central Park, allowing the gold to be found or stay hidden forever. The artwork itself is invisible like a ghost, as simple and radical acts in daily life and imagination often are.
Surasi Kusolwong (born in 1965 in Ayutthaya, Thailand; lives and works in Bangkok) builds market environments that place an emphasis on social interaction over economic exchange. His practice navigates between public and private spaces, playing with concepts of both economic and cultural values, and the dialogue between people, art, and consumer products. In his project Minimal Factory ($1 Market)/Red Bull Party (with D.J.) (2002), Kusolwong recreated a typical Thai street market within a gallery space, selling a plethora of Thai-manufactured objects for one dollar each. He has shown internationally, including exhibitions at MoMA P.S.1, New York; Hayward Gallery, London; and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, Helsinki.
MadeIn Company—a Shanghai-based cultural collective—will bring their latest project, Physique of Consciousness, to Living as Form in a participatory installation organized by the Long March Project, who presented the project at their Long March Space in Beijing in April–June 2011. Physique of Consciousness is centered on a fitness routine that has been developed through research into how consciousness and thought relate to bodily actions. Presented as an instructional video, which visitors can follow on exercise mats in the exhibition space, the fitness program is made up of hundreds of movements derived from multiple cultural and religious ceremonies, designed to unite one’s body, soul, emotions, and spiritual history. Physique of Consciousness unfolds in ten different exercises which progress in level of difficulty and last approximately thirty minutes. Blending body and mind, the hybridized workout routine reflects the diversity of approaches to encouraging physical, mental, and spiritual wellness across the world.
Free instructional classes featuring the Physique of Consciousness routine will be offered at Sara D. Roosevelt Park (at Chrystie between Delancey and Broome) from 11am-2pm on Saturday, September 24; Saturday, October 1, and Sunday, October 15. See calendar of events for more information and updates.
The company’s name, “MadeIn” (pronounced “Made In”), refers to the mass manufacturing of goods, but also phonetically translates into Chinese for “without a roof,” evoking the sense of openness that permeates the collective’s practice. It was initiated in 2009 by conceptual artist Xu Zhen and has since produced work in a range of media.
Long March Project is an ongoing initiative that organizes international exhibitions and projects, community-based educational programs, and artist residencies. Conceived in 1999 by Lu Jie, the name of the project references the Long March (1934-35) of Mao Zedong and the Red Army of the Communist Party of China, one of the largest political upheavals in history. After establishing the Long March Foundation in New York in 2000, the project officially began two years later when its founding members invited artists, writers, curators, theorists, activists, and others to join them in retracing the historical route of the march. Since then, the Long March Project has taken the role of art dealer, artist-run space, gallery, commercial enterprise, and publishing house.
Philadelphia-based collective Megawords will create an “outpost” inside the exhibition space where “doing nothing is acceptable.” This outpost will be designed as a space to encourage various forms of engagement: learning, eating, seeing, conversing, and collaborating. Megawords will use video projections, paint, sound installations, and other interventions to create an immersive environment inspired in part by some of the abandoned warehouses where the artists spent time in their youth. These teenage hangouts—filled with reclaimed furniture, televisions, posters, and graffiti—were self-initiated zones of freedom that evoked the spirit of potential action and possibility. The installation will also serve as the distribution point for a special issue of Megawords magazine created for Living as Form, in which the ideas explored in the installation will be re-contextualized in print. Finally, an old photocopy machine will allow visitors to easily reproduce any of the materials they discover in the space, producing an open-source publishing system.
Megawords will also organize a series of special events in their space, including live music and dance performances, a video game workshop, and more. See schedule of events for details.
Megawords is a free Philadelphia-based magazine and organizer of events and performances. Their self-proclaimed mission is “to document our surroundings and experience, to have a voice free from the noise of commercialization and competing novelties, and to create an open and active dialogue between Megawords and the community.” They have collaborated with artists, photographers, designers, writers, and musicians to self-publish fourteen free issues of Megawords magazine, broadcast a weekly Internet radio show, and exhibit their work in galleries and museums across the country. Frequently moving beyond the printed page, the group has initiated “pop-up” storefront projects and installations, which include installations, guest speakers, musical performances, workshops, and screenings.
The “barter collective” OurGoods (OurGoods.org) will present a project called How much is our work worth to each other? In an effort to encourage action-oriented discussion about value and mutual aid in the arts, a group of “barter connectors” will match potential barter partners and facilitate dialogue. Behind the “barter connectors” will hang fliers of “HAVES” and “NEEDS.” This notice board will serve as both an analog version of the “HAVES” and “NEEDS” listed online at OurGoods.org, as well as a gathering place for personal messages and informal exchanges. Each weekend during the run of the exhibition, OurGoods will host workshops about barter, value, cooperation, and the solidarity economy. For details on the workshops see schedule of events.
OurGoods is a barter network for creative people, connecting artists, designers, and craftspeople in order to trade skills, spaces, and objects with each other. More work gets done in networks of shared respect and shared resources than in competitive isolation. By honoring agreements and working together, members of OurGoods will build lasting ties in a community of enormous potential.
To investigate the intersection of art, labor, economics, and the production of social experiences, Temporary Services will invite individuals, organizations, and businesses from the Lower East Side to operate stalls in a section of the Essex Street Market building. Their project, MARKET, will return the building to its original function as a marketplace, but one that is free to use, non-competitive, and particularly diverse in its offerings. The artists will design brightly colored market stalls based on lemonade stands, produce vendors, and flea markets. Each vendor’s table will be the same size, provided to them free of charge, and with any and all profits being retained by the vendor. Temporary Services will invite people and groups that have demonstrated a commitment to the Lower East Side. Their focus is on organizations that do not have a public office or cannot afford rental property, individuals and collectives that operate outside of typical Capitalist economies, local businesses with limited audiences, garden associations, personal museums, local experts and groups that have documented the cultures of the neighborhood, seasonal vendors and single-person enterprises, and others who add to the eclectic energy of the area.
Some of the confirmed participants include Alan Moore, ABC NO RIO, Bluestockings Bookstore, Bowery Boogie, Cake Shop, Clayton Patterson & Elsa Rensaa, Damon Rich, Dias y Flores Community Garden, Downtown Community Television Center (DCTV), Fly, Gabrielle Bendiner-Viani, GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), Gregory Sholette, Hester Street Collaborative, Howl! Arts Project, Jim’s Pepper Roaster, Kyra Saulnier, Le Petit Versailles, Local Spokes, Lower East Side Community Supported Agriculture, Lower East Side Ecology Center, Lower East Side Peoples’ Federal Credit Union, Lower East Side Printshop, Masha Schmidt, Alphabet City Acupuncture, Millennium Film Workshop, Picture the Homeless, Place Matters, Reverend Billy / Earthallujah, Reverend Jen, Save The Essex Street Market, Street Vendor Project, The Artist’s Alliance / Alianza de Artistas Inc. (Cuchifritos), The Living Theatre, The Lower East Side History Project (LESHP), The Lower East Side Squatter-Homesteader Archive Project, The Lower East Side Girls Club, Poetry Thin Air Cable & Small Press, Time’s UP NY, Tzadik Records, World War 3 Illustrated, and Yevgeniy Fiks.
Temporary Services (founded in Chicago in 1998 and currently based in Copenhagen, Philadelphia, and Chicago) is a group of three people (Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin, and Marc Fischer). They produce exhibitions, publications, events, and projects that blur the line between art practice and other creative endeavors. They explore the social context and the potential of creative work as a service provided to communities. The group started as an experimental exhibition space in a working class neighborhood of Chicago and went on to produce projects including the book and installation Prisoner’s Inventions (2001-ongoing, in collaboration with Angelo) and the nationally-distributed newspaper Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics (2009-ongoing)