Extracurricular  /  Seminars

Rhetoric of Protest: Beyond Occupy

Saturday 17 March, from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

On the occasion of the exhibition Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent,Marginal Utility will be hosting a discussion on the structure,
imaging, and personal affect of protest. Please join us on Saturday, March 17 at 6PM for a conversation with two contributors to the exhibition, NAEEM MOHAIEMEN and MARK TRIBE, the exhibition curator YAELLE AMIR, and Slought Foundation's executive director and chief curator, AARON LEVY.

We will ask: what are successful models of protest? How do we frame an act of dissent? What part does creativity play in its formation? Do recent structures limit its participants or engage them further? To understand the various experiences of dissent, we will look at models of the past, as well as current examples from the Arab Spring and the Occupy Movement.

About Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent:

Yael Bartana
Andrea Bowers
Sharon Hayes
Naeem Mohaiemen
Mark Tribe

Curator: Yaelle Amir

With massive demonstrations spreading throughout the Arab world, Europe, and the United States, the voice of marginalized people is being heard clearly far and beyond their communities. While in many instances the outcome of these revolutions cannot yet be determined, their aims have been made clear. The various demonstrations have taken on different methods, but what remains consistent is the protesters” ability to effectively communicate their message—with their demands infiltrating televisions, newspapers, virtual communities, and dinner table discussions around the world. The number of participants, stern language, location, and tactics are all considered elements that play into the ultimate effectiveness of the protesters” actions. Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent observes these factors through video, photography and text-based works that record and re-stage global acts of protest.

The participating artists reach back into history to make connections to issues still relevant today, while others document a recent action in order to bring to light an event that has had little exposure. Yael Bartana, Andrea Bowers, and Naeem Mohaiemen have documented unique acts of dissent concerning political, environmental, and religious issues. Sharon Hayes and Mark Tribe re-purpose iconic protest acts that significantly altered historic political issues. The exhibition addresses issues of war, political freedom, environmental disaster, and gay rights through diverse means, thus suggesting the existence of a rich language by which to communicate one's opinion. Melding rhetoric with action, and history with present concerns, Five Acts examines the ways in which social movements and dissenting individuals convey their mission.

FIVE ACTS: CHRONICLES OF DISSENT has been supported by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage through the Philadelphia Exhibitions Initiative.

Image credit: Mark Tribe, The Liberation of Our People: Angela Davis, 1969/2008, Port Huron Project, 5-minute video based on a 10-minute speech, Photograph by David Jung; Courtesy of the artist