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Beautiful Trouble: a handful of principles for creative resistance

Künstlerisches Lehramt
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Karl-Schweighofer-Gasse 3
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1070 Wien
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Lecture by John Jordan, Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (L.I.I).

The IPPC UN scientists wrote in 2018 that if we want to avoid the worst of the climate catastrophe we had 12 years left for “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”. For the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (L.I.I) this has to include the way we think about smudging the lines between art, everyday-life and activism. In this era of crisis is it still enough for artists to continue to represent the world, to make performances about migration, installations about extinctions, to continue a kind of extractivist culture pulling value out of movements to deposit them in museums? Or do we need to develop something else – what would happen the finest arts became our forms of life? In search of effective creative resistance.

Labelled a "Domestic Extremist" by the police, and “a magician of rebellion” by the press, John Jordan has spent the last 25 years merging art and activism. Working in various settings from museums to squatted social centres, International Theatre Festivals to climate camps, he co-founded Reclaim the Streets and the Clown Army , and in 2004 deserted his academic tenure as senior lecturer in fine art. He co-edited We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism (Verso, 2003), co-wrote the film/book Les Sentiers de l’Utopie (Editions Zones, 2012). He now co-facilitates the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Labofii), with Isabelle Fremeaux.