The Art of Demonstration: Exhibit Explores Emergence of Online Protests

19 01 2012

Via Spiegel Online:

A new art exhibition in Frankfurt draws connections between demonstrations past and present. In the case of Egyptian artist Aalam Wassef, it studies how online activism has transformed protesting and become a work of art in itself -- but one that can cost people their lives.

Spiegel Online: "A new art exhibition in Frankfurt draws connections between demonstrations past and present. In the case of Egyptian artist Aalam Wassef, it studies how online activism has transformed protesting and become a work of art in itself -- but one that can cost people their lives."

One of the exhibition’s premises is that humanity is in the midst of a new, global protest movement similar to those of the late 1960s. Nothing will be the way it was before, it posits, because too many things are happening and in too many places, including Spain, Greece, London, New York and Russia. And then, of course, there are also the uprisings in the Arab world, the so-called Arab Spring that has cost thousands their lives.

The article in Spiegel Online speaks with artist Aalam Wassef, and looks at the role of online protest:

  • Studying How Protests Usher in New Orders
  • No Longer about Left or Right
  • Virtual Protests, Real-World Dangers
  • Online Protest as Art
  • Persevering Despite the Perils

It also mentions the work of Russian radical art collective Voina, who set fire to an armored paddy wagon on New Year’s Eve, an action titled Fuck Prometheus that the group declared was “not art,” but rather “beyond art.”

Russia's Art Revolution: Voina Challenges Putin with Imagination, Spiegel Online, 12/21/11

"In this 2007, action, a Voina artist tossed a cat across the counter of a Moscow McDonald's outlet. Voina founder Oleg Vorotnikov said at the time that the cat-tossing performance had been designed to shake up service staff stuck in their work routine." Spiegel Online (Photo: Reuters)

More Voina:

  • Overturning a police car:  photos and story, which involves a toddler as well
  • Russian establishment tries to co-opt Voina (is it working?)
  • Russian Protesters Use Art as Act of War: “Can they truly call their protests art?”
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