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Symposiun: Disruptions: The Political in Art Now

CHICAGO.- Disruptions: the political in art now is a two-day symposium that explores the intersections of politics and art in the first decade of the 21st century. Scheduled for October 24 and 25, 2008, at the University of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Chicago, the program brings together influential theorists, artists, curators, and educators to discuss the many ways artists inspire political action and social change as well as the social function of art.

Disruptions: the political in art now opens with the keynote lecture "The Contemporary Paradoxes of Political Art" by esteemed philosopher Jacques Rancière at the University of Chicago on Friday, October 24, at 4 pm (Swift Hall, third floor, 1025 East 58th St). The symposium continues on Saturday, October 25, at the MCA Theater from 11 am to 6 pm (220 E Chicago Ave).

Saturday speakers include: artist and educator Doug Ashford; filmmaker and activist Gregg Bordowitz; artist Carolina Caycedo; performer and writer Salem Collo-Julin; dramaturge, curator, and writer Eda Cufer; cultural critic Brian Holmes; artist Simon Leung; experimental geographer and artist Trevor Paglen; artist and member of Otabenga Jones & Associates Robert Pruitt; and artist and curator Mark Tribe.

Disruptions: the political in art now is part of a series of provocative and stimulating programs presented at the MCA that relate to the theme of "Art and Democracy." The symposium is collaboratively organized by the MCA and the University of Chicago's Open Practice Committee/ Department of Visual Arts in cooperation with Critical Inquiry, which presents the keynote lecture. Rancière is the 2008 Critical Inquiry Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago.

Speaker Biographies:
Doug Ashford became a member of the artists collective Group Material in 1981. This collective produced over forty exhibitions and public projects internationally using museum and other public spaces as cultural arenas in which audiences were invited to imagine democratic forms. Since the disbanding of Group Material in 1997, Ashford has gone on to produce exhibitions and publish articles independently, although his primary creative practice has been teaching. He currently serves on the faculty of Cooper Union.

Gregg Bordowitz is a writer, AIDS activist, and film and videomaker. His work, including Fast Trip, Long Drop (1993) and Habit (2001), documents his personal experience of testing positive and living with HIV within the context of a personal and global crisis. His writings are collected in The AIDS Crisis Is Ridiculous and Other Writings: 1986-2003. He is currently on faculty in the Film, Video, and New Media department at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Carolina Caycedo is an artist and member of the Colombian artists’ group Colectivo Cambalache, with whom she helped create the ambulatory Museo de la calle (Museum of the Street) which revolved around a streetcar as a site of exchange. Her street actions, public marches, bartering, and itinerant projects respond to the effects of global capitalism as it impacts communities and the economies of the street. Caycedo lives and works in Isabela, Puerto Rico.

Salem Collo-Julin is a life-long Chicagoan, a writer and artist who has been described as a “poster child” for working in groups. Included in her myriad of activities, she frequently makes work with the group Temporary Services, a collaboration with Brett Bloom and Marc Fischer; in addition, she is responsible for a list-serve called GoChgo, an internet forum for creatives, activists, teachers, performers and other irregular people to share information about what they are up to in Chicago and beyond.

Eda Cufer is a dramaturge, curator, and writer who has collaborated with visual and performing artists; in 1984 she co-founded the art collective NSK, based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Her essays on theater, dance, visual art, culture, and politics have appeared in many journals and books. With the support of an Andy Warhol/Creative Capital Foundation Fellowship, she is currently completing a book, Art as Mousetrap, which examines the interdependency between art practices and global economic and political structures.

Brian Holmes is a cultural critic, activist, and translator who lives in Paris. His interests lie primarily in the intersection of artistic and political practice. He is a member of the editorial committees of the art magazine Springerin and the political-economic journal Multitudes; a regular contributor to the magazine Parachute; a founder of the new journal Autonomie Artistique, and author of the blog, Continental Drift.

Simon Leung is an artist and associate professor at the University of California, Irvine, where he teaches critical theory, art history and new genres. His work in various media is project-based, and inspired by the intersection between ethics/aesthetics, critical theory, politics of sexuality and post-colonialism, public space, and theories of modernism and postmodernism.

Trevor Paglen is an artist, writer, and experimental geographer working at department of geography at the University of California, Berkeley. His work involves deliberately blurring the lines between social science, contemporary art, and a host of even more obscure disciplines to construct unfamiliar, yet meticulously researched ways to interpret the world around us. Paglen's first book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the CIA's Rendition Flights, received great attention from the media and public.

Robert A. Pruitt is a founding member of the artist collective Otabenga Jones & Associates. Pruitt creates sculptures, drawings, video, and installations about the dichotomy of the Black American experience, and the impact of Black cultural production on the global landscape. Born in Houston, Texas, Pruitt now lives and works in Chicago, teaching at Northwestern University.

Jacques Rancière is a French philosopher and emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Paris who first came to prominence when he co-authored Reading Capital (1968), with the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser. Today, Rancière is most well known for his aesthetic philosophy and books on democracy. In this keynote address, he examines the role of images in a democracy and how art and politics are intertwined.

Mark Tribe is an artist and curator whose interests include art, technology, and politics. His work has been widely exhibited; he has organized curatorial projects for the New Museum of Contemporary Art, MASS MoCA, and inSite_05; and is the co-author of New Media Art. In 1996, he founded, and online resource for new media artists. Tribe is assistant professor of modern culture and media studies at Brown University, where he teaches courses on digital art, curating, open-source culture, radical media, and surveillance.

The keynote lecture is free - more information is available from the University of Chicago (773.704.8477 or email Ticket reservations for the Disruptions: the political in art now symposium are available at the MCA Box Office by calling 312.397.4010. The price for admission is $15, $10 for MCA members. A limited number of boxed lunches are available for $10 per lunch with advance ticket sales only (through October 21) and must be ordered at the time of purchase through the box office.

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