We are excited to host a discussion on art and direct democracy with resident artist Aaron Hughes and special guests Damon Locks, Michael Rakowitz, and Marina Sitrin.
From the 1871 Paris Commune to the current movement for racial justice in the United States there is an inspiring history of experiments in direct democracy within freedom movements. Since these movements emerge out of peoples’ imaginations and subsequent attempts to realize dreams through action, this talk will explore the magic in these brief moments of proposed alternative social relations. Our panelists will consider how these movements and art play a role in transform historic and institutional trauma into collective meaning.
Resident artist Aaron Hughes will facilitate the discussion on these themes with legendary Chicago artist and musician Damon Locks, renowned international artist Michael Rakowitz, and the coauthor of They Can’t Represent Us Marina Sitrin. The conversation is a part of Hughes’ emerging Autonomous Democracy project.
About the artists:
Aaron Hughes is an artist, curator, organizer, teacher, anti-war activist, and Iraq War veteran living in Chicago. Aaron works collaboratively in diverse spaces and media to create meaning out of personal and collective trauma, deconstruct and transform systems of oppression, and seek liberation. Working through an interdisciplinary practice rooted in drawing and printmaking, Aaron develops projects that deconstruct militarism and related institutions of dehumanization. These projects often utilize popular research strategies, experiment with forms of direct democracy, and operate in solidarity with the people most impacted by structural violence.
Damon Locks is a visual artist, educator, vocalist/musician, and deejay. He attended The School of the Art Institute in Chicago where he received his BFA in Fine Arts. Since 2014 he has been working with Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project (PNAP) teaching art at Stateville Correctional Center. Damon has designed sound for Free Street Theater, dancer and educator Onye Ozuzu’s Project Tool, and dancer Anna Martine Whitehead.
Michael Rakowitz is an artist living and working in Chicago. He is the recipient of the 2020 Nasher Prize; the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts; a 2012 Tiffany Foundation Award; a 2008 Creative Capital Grant; a Sharjah Biennial Jury Award; a 2006 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship Grant in Architecture and Environmental Structures; the 2003 Dena Foundation Award, and the 2002 Design 21 Grand Prix from UNESCO.
Marina Sitrin is a mother, movement participant and associate professor of sociology at Binghamton University. Her work strives to facilitate the voices of those in movement around the world, working for a more participatory, caring and self-organized world. She is the author of a number of ethnographic books, including, Horizontalism: Voices of Popular Power in Argentina, Everyday Revolutions: Horizontalism and Autonomy in Argentina and the co-author/editor of They Can’t Represent Us!: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy and Pandemic Solidarity: Mutual Aid in the COVID 19 Crisis.
Image: From left to right: Aaron Hughes, Damon Locks, Marina Sitrin, and Michael Rakowitz.