Sunday, August 19, 2012

Exhibition at CentralTrak; Event at The Reading Room

We've been quiet but busy.

We now have a cool crew committed to creating the first POPLAB! More details will be announced soon, but I can tell you it's scheduled to debut at an exhibition that Mike Morris and I are co-curating, which will open at CentralTrak on Nov. 17 – mark your calendars!

The OccuLibrary has been invited to be included in Make Art with Purpose, itself an art project created by Janeil Engelstad. Among other things, its MAP website helps people connect with a selection of other art projects that are designed to lead to positive social and environmental change.

Meanwhile, Danette Dufilho and Anne Lawrence are creating an OccuLibrary-inspired project called the Yankee Doodles Sing-A-Lot Sing-A-Long. This will be a series of programs for kids in which they'll participate in sing-alongs while learning about the songs' historical significance. The first event will take place Sunday, Aug. 19, from 4 - 6PM, at The Reading Room art gallery, in cooperation with the gals from Oil and Cotton, who will conduct a related visual art activity. All ages welcome; I and my literally or figuratively kid-ish friends can't wait! The Reading Room is at 3715 Parry Ave., Dallas.

UPDATE: You can now see video of the Yankee Doodles program at Art this Week (thanks, Richie and Kate!) (Image right by Elijah Sala.)

Updated OccuLibrary needs:
People to help wrangle books for the POPLAB
People to help catalogue them
Grant writers or other fund raisers
People who are good with people
People who can get big things done
People who can get small things done
People with good ideas or advice
And more!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

A Few Thoughts Behind this Project

. . . (among others):

An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.
–Thomas Jefferson, Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Digital Edition, (1760-1799?).

Knowledge is power.
– Sir Francis Bacon, Religious Meditations, Of Heresies (1597).

A balance of power requires a balance of knowledge.

A modern economic system demands mass production of students who are not educated and have been rendered incapable of thinking.
– U.N.E.F. Strasbourg, On the Poverty of Student Life (1966).

Hatred never ceases by hatred;
But by love alone is healed.
This is an ancient and eternal law.

– "Dhammapada," Ch. 1, the Twin Verses 5, as quoted by Maha Ghosananda

There is no responsibility without freedom;
No freedom, without power;
No power, without knowledge;
No knowledge, without love.
Through the ages, the powerful have sought to limit our access to important knowledge by gaining control of the media and education and by defunding or otherwise attacking sources they can't control. In our time, the internet has become a vital “public square” for free expression, but as Lawrence Lessig observed in Foreign Policy as long ago as 2001, "[t]he innovation commons of the Internet threatens important and powerful pre-Internet interests. During the past five years, those interests have mobilized to launch a counterrevolution that is now having a global impact."

The infowar is not a war against or for any particular nation. Rather, it’s a struggle between old and new power structures over who will control information. In such times, the dissemination of truth becomes a subversive act.

And as Julian Assange suggested at the New Media Days 2009 conference, Denmark, “[Wikileaks] can't do it alone . . . We spend our efforts getting [the information] to you and allow you to publish it. But you've got to turn it into a story and make it moving to the population.”

While info can serve as a weapon in the infowar, it’s not the only one. P.r. can obscure and distort; data doesn’t inevitably empower. Sometimes it takes art to create personal, actionable insight; or, as artist William Powhida put it in What Has The Art World Taught Me? (2012):

. . . or at least, lure them toward it.