Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Dear friends who have been working to find us space in Copenhagen, there is great news, we have somewhere and it is so much nicer than the grey church of contemporary art !! Between the 5th-19th of December we will be based in an  abandoned petrol station taken over  by a great crew of artist, Free International Tankstelle ( it's  at Farumgade 4-6, Nørrebro, Kopenhagen. What is extraordinary, is that they already have 100 bikes for us to use! Which is a good start (although we will probably need more and there are people from cultura 21 who have offered to help with this already which is great.) 

So, we will reclaim the autonomy of art within the old ruins of last century's empire of  fossil fuels..a perfect place to build and launch a bike bloc. As for the Nikolaj centre for contemporary art, we should just remember  Martin Luther Kings poignant words  "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends."  Thank you for being friends who walk the talk. Thanks for all the help and contacts you have been sending and lets keep in touch and prepare to put the fun between our legs..

See you in Bristol or/and copenhagen ?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Call out - The London Free University

The London Free University

We believe there can be no right to annex thought and learning, to erect concrete buildings in which to lock up knowledge.  

Their universities create obedience, uniformity of thought and docility. Beyond their gates is our intellectual freedom - within them are the resources we need. Until these gates are opened for all we shall remain alienated from each other and from our futures. We want to question access to knowledge, the uniformity of success and production, and to experiment with alternatives and the redistribution of knowledge. We invite you to cross these borders and see where we can go with the freedoms we create for ourselves.

We're starting by doing, by learning how to hack, pirate and redistribute knowledge whilst building alternatives. Join us in this exciting new project and come to a planning meeting at LARC, 21st October, 6pm.

If education is not a commodity then can it be stolen?

What's your top 10 ten favourite disobedient achievements/struggles?

"Everything we take for granted: the weekend, gay rights, contraception, women wearing trousers, the right to strike, to form a union, the abolition of slavery… everything was won by disobedience, fought for by people who refused and resisted, claimed back from those in power. Their disobedience was a gift to our future"

To help promote Put The Fun Between Your Legs: THE BIKE BLOC(1) - the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination/Climate Camps mobilisation for the Copenhagen UN Climate Talks(2) in December - we are producing a massive banner that will list some of the achievements that have been won and struggles that still need to be won through disobedience.

So that we can create an exciting and inspiring list we'd like to know what your favourite achievements/struggles are? 

What do you feel are the most important victories and what are the most important battles that still need to be won through disobedience? 
They don't have to be limited to the UK, they could be well known, or really obscure.

If you could take a few minutes to think about the past and the future and send me a list of your favourite 10, or less, we'll pick the most inspiring ones and include them in our massive banner. - send them to

The banner will be hung for a week and a half from Artsadmin (on the edge of the City of London). Outside the Arnolfini, Bistol (during the lab of ii's residency during the C-Words events((3))) then taken to Copenhagen for the COP 15 mobilisations.


We've decided that it would be far more in the participatory spirit of
TURN*ON if we post our curatorial statements in a wiki, publicly
Click the link to read both of them and feel free to add, edit, or
contribute as you see fit!

How to TURN*ON an Insurrection? and What is TURN*ON?
How to TURN*ON an Insurrection?

Our main drive in selecting the work/play to be included in this
edition of
artivistic has been a deep desire to TURN*ON everyone, ourselves, the
participants, the audience, the city, the world(s). We are mostly
in _unleashing energy_ that might be used for creating new worlds. We
less interested in critique that closes off avenues of thinking and more
interested in connections which destroy limits. As Jack Waters and Peter
Cramer state, their event is an "OVERLOAD of sensory mayhem in their
collaborative performance" aimed at "the release of unknown realms and
indulgences." We are less interested in a pure democratic space of
than in a situated, embodied, sweaty exchange where the participants
at the
table are all equally implicated and stimulated. We can't waste the
opportunity provided by economic collapse. Faced with a crumbling
system, we want to make out with possibility and find new spaces of
in-between realities.

TURN*ON has been driven by a desire to engage, to create engagements
and to
expand participation beyond acceptable proportions. The projects
selected by
the Artivistic collective were selected primarily on how well they might
spur action and create unexpected explosions. Beyond asking for
artwork, we
have called for and tried to organize events which include multiple
dimensions of activity and multiple registers of engagement,
resonating on
political, aesthetic and erotic dimensions at once.

Throughout the oganizing and promotion of the event, we have striven to
emphasize that artivistic is an _event_, not a festival, not a
We have attempted to decentralize the decision making and organizing
of this
event as much as possible through infraCrews which volunteers may
join to
deal with different aspects of the working of the event, and have
tried to
make our financial work transparent with our p2p funding efforts. Our
is to foster new configurations of exchange outside of the traditional
formats of panels and exhibitions, in order to release new
trajectories by
breaking with old habits.

More than anything, the event has been inspired by the artists and
communities who are participating in Artivistic. Our hope, as
organizers, is
that the intense energies present in the movements around gender and
sexuality may be modulated, brought together and amplified through our
event. Both the political struggles and the personal passions over these
issues are so strong. We have tried to create a roving, expansive
network of
activities, online and offline, which we hope will reach beyond the
of the dates of the event. It could be thought of as a war machine, but
perhaps we've had enough war and we want something more like a love
that breaks down by binding and reconfigures relationality along new
configurations. Or perhaps we've had enough of machines and want a love
organism with many arms, an erotic squid. In Pornopticon's mole
tunnels, we
can see the kind of rhizomatic burrows we strive for. One can also
think of
the comfortable den of an animal as a warm safe space, and we realize
people need to feel supported and safe before they can open up to be
on, and we are stiving towards that as well.

The kind of politics you will find at Artivistic is perhaps a less
traditional one of social movements, mass gatherings and lobbying
and politicians. It is more a politics of daily life, a biopolitics that
starts with where our bodies are now and what our bodies want. Again,
it is
a politics concerned less with the static defense of oppositional
than with creating and opening possibilities, connections, spaces.
Our hope
is that we might find a magical configuration of energies, perhaps
with the
help of the H3X3N computer witchcraft club, that will unleash an
overflow of
fluid genders and sexualities into the city, turning on an insurrection,
joining with bodies in rebellion throughout the intergalactic.

The world to come is so sexy and the month to come is so sexy. Thank
you for
inspiring us already. We are so excited to get started. See you in

micha cárdenas / azdel slade

Artist/Researcher, Experimental Game Lab,
Calit2 Researcher,


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dear friends

In July this year, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, a UK based art activists'' collective ( was commissioned by the Copenhagen Centre for Contemporary Art ( ) to make a new piece of work for Rethink, ( ) an exhibition of "political" art during the December UN climate change summit. Last week the gallery pulled out claiming it could no longer continue to support the project for "practical reasons". In fact they were frightened that the project involved non-violent civil disobedience and that this might be disapproved of by their funders. We feel that the December's mobilisations in Copenhagen are a landmark in history, where trying to "play safe" is not a luxury we can afford. This was a political pulling out not a practical issue. We are writing to ask for your support so that despite the obstacles of cowardice the project can still go ahead.

The project Putting the fun between your legs: The Bike Bloc, is a collaboration between The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination and the UK Climate Camp ( The idea is to design and build a new tool of creative resistance for the RECLAIM POWER mobilisations taking place in Copenhagen on the 16th of December 16th, a day of civil disobedience supported by over 200 organisations many from the global south.( ). Made from hundreds of recycled bikes, The Bike Bloc will merge device of mass transportation and pedal powered resistance machine, postcapitalist bike gang and art bike carnival.

Bike hackers, artists, welders, climate campers and engineers will be working together to design and build The Bike Bloc across two cities: Bristol (Arnolfini Gallery 15th – 30th Nov, – as part of C-words exhibition - and somewhere in Copenhagen (4th- 18th Dec.) The trouble is we no longer have a space or support resources in Copenhagen, which with only 8 weeks to go puts us under immense pressure.

If you have any idea of places, organisations, or, of collectives that would be interested in hosting this project, and are prepared to walk the talk, or would like to be involved please contact us as soon as possible.

John Jordan and Isa Fremeaux



In July this year, The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, was commissioned by the Copenhagen Centre for Contemporary Art ( ) to make a new piece of work for Rethink, ( ) an exhibition of "political" art during the December UN climate change summit. On wednesday last week the gallery pulled out claiming it could no longer continue to support the project for "practical reasons". In fact they were frightened that the project involved non-violent civil disobedience and that this might be disapproved of by their funders. On thursday we wrote them an email about taking sides ( see emails below), on thursday we sent them brian Holmes Essay "Liars poker" which begins "Basically, what I have to say here is simple: when people talk about politics in an artistic frame, they\'re lying." (, on friday greenpeace activists climbed the tower of the gallery ( the tallest church in copenhagen) and dropped a banner telling obama that it was the right city but the wrong time to visit the special danish police force was called.. The contemporary art centre got it's taste of resistance after all !!

Below is some of the correspondence... we are now desperately looking for space in copenhagen and will be writing an open letter to curators about the issue of taking sides...

Dear John.

I will phone you later, but want to send you an e-mail first to be sure to explain you my opinion more exactly than I might be able to do on the phone.

As I was working on the draught of the contract last night, it got increasingly clear to me how absurd and impossible the situation would be for both of us. A contract that could really reassure Nikolaj would make it very difficult to work with for you. You would have to find ways to evade the contract, and I would feel very uncomfortable about that. You might easily be put in a difficult situation between Nikolaj and the collective group you are working with. That means that it could be difficult for you to control the communication that comes out from the group and that could mean that the contract would be senseless. It's not the way I like to work with artists, and I don't feel convinced of the good result of a process based on on a contract we know in advance will not be kept. You will be extremely disturbed by the contract, and we will have a role, we don't believe in.

That's why I think we must cancel our collaboration on this project. I'm very sorry to have "wasted" your time on this negotiation process. I wanted very much to include your in the exhibition and I hoped to find a solution, but as I said above last evening it became obvious to me that it was without sense. I don't think your project should be limited and cut in every way to fit into a contract, It was like cutting a big colourful bird to fit into a small grey cave.

I suppose that you have lost time in relation to planning your work in another context in Copenhagen. I'm sure you have a good network here, but if you need any help to find new solutions, I should be happy to help you. I don't know exactly, if I can, but I have some suggestions.

I really hope you understand my considerations, maybe you have the same. I also hope we could collaborate in the future, for example on the Utopia project.

I phone you this afternoon at 4 p.m. so we can talk a bit and not just do the communication with the more impersonal e-mail.

Very best wishes


dear elisabeth..

I was not surprised to read your email this morning, it filled me with a certain sadness and relief at the same time. Yesterday evening we went for a walk on the marshes of the Thames estuary, the sun burst orange through the colossal grey clouds, the river flowed seaward, mud brown as always. Hundreds of electricity pylons walked across the flat landscape, black wires feeding London with its lifeblood. On one horizon the flares from oil refineries burn incessantly, on the other a power stations steams and roars as the mountains of coal are shovelled into it's furnaces. Here we are on the edges the city, a place of burning, and here we are on the edge of history, at the start of a century which may not have a future.

Walking on the edge of sea and land, city and country, Isa and I talked about the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination's complicated position on the edge of art and activism, between subculture and mainstream. We have always loved edges. It is on the edge that creativity comes alive. The point where a forest meets meadowland, or the sea slaps against the shore are the most dynamic parts of an ecosystem. It's in those slithers of space that a multitude of different species coexist and the engine of evolution moves fastest. Nearly everything we take for granted in society began as an experiment on the margins. From the idea of universal suffrage to the implementation of the weekend, from the science of climate change to the abolition of slavery, from workers rights to organic agriculture, yesterdays marginal and impossible eventually becomes today's normal. It is this reason that we try to have one foot in the imagination of the art world and the other in the courage and commitment of the political world for we believe that when artists and activists share worlds magic can happen.

But edges are like tightropes, one has to walk carefully and make sure one is always in balance. A lean too much one way will lead to disaster. It felt like despite your great enthusiasm and commitment and your wonderful creative solutions we were leaning to far towards the needs of the art world and that the autonomy of the political would be constrained. In the end as you say so beautifully the colourful bird would be cut to fit a grey cage. We would, as critic Suzy Gablik wrote in her beautiful book "The reanchantment of Art", be stuck within the prisons of the art world. But beautiful birds dislike cages and prisons, they like to perch on the edges, jump and fly....

I don't think we should ignore the fact that this is a form of aesthetic censorship, that in the end the world of art is compromising our autonomy and creativity. Art is a free space as long as it doesn't push the laws of the real world, as long as its set in the safety of the purely conceptual imagined gesture. I think it would be sad for us to leave this debate somehow private and in the shadows, for i think it is key to the whole concept of your show. Standing on the edges of kakotopia we need to redefine the role of art in social change, we need to question the role of institutions and museums, the needs for courage and stepping out of line, the fact that there is no neutrality we are all taking sides. And im wondering if there is a way ( that would not take too much time, as now our work is well and truly cut out with finding a space) that we could make this debate public ?? In 1909 the artistic avent garde was launched with the violent misogonist futurist manifesto, it was the same year that Ford built his first car factory and the era of burning began. I cant but help thinking that 100 years later we need to rethink art and politics in such a radical way that we might not recognise either the art or the politics anymore, i can't help thinking that the future is finished...

I look forward to speaking later....



Sunday, October 4, 2009

John Holloway coming to London

Two great oppurtunities for London based folk to see John Holloway, author of the fantastic "Change the world without taking power" and long time observer/participant in the Zapatista movements..

Capitalism's Present Crisis - How Will It End? Calendar


Capitalism's Present Crisis - How Will It End?

The capitalist system is facing years of crisis and social instability. This raises two questions:

1) what caused the crisis? Was it 'greedy bankers', the natural tendencies of the capitalist system, or the resistance of the working class?

2) how will the crisis end? Will it be with more state regulation, more cuts in living standards or with working class revolution?

The Anarchist Bookfair and Mute magazine have invited three speakers to debate these issues:

Paul Mason, a presenter on BBC's Newsnight, and author of Meltdown: The End of the Age of Greed

John Holloway, author of Change The World Without Taking Power and Crack Capitalism (forthcoming). NB See below for further John Holloway event.

William Dixon, Mute magazine contributor.

The discussion will take place at the Skeel Lecture Theatre, Anarchist Bookfair, Queen Mary & Westfield college, Mile End Road, London E1, Mile End tube.

For further information on the Anarchist Bookfair, including a roster of many other talks, go to:


A DISCUSSION WITH JOHN HOLLOWAY, 7-9pm, Monday 26th October, London


At the height of the anti-capitalist movement, John Holloway's book Change The World without Taking Power provoked an international debate*. Eight years later, after the failure of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined with the failure of the capitalist economy, anti-capitalism is back on the agenda.

John Holloway will introduce his forthcoming book, Crack Capitalism, followed by a discussion on how we can change the world without repeating the tragedies of twentieth century socialism.

Come and join the debate.

*To read the debate around the book Change The World Without Taking Power, go to:

Venue: The Octagon Room*, Queen's Building, Queen Mary & Westfield College, Mile End Road, London E1, Mile End Tube

The event will be followed by a social at the Half Moon pub, 213-233 Mile End Road, London E1

Supported by Mute Magazine and the Queen Mary & Westfield School of Business and Management

*NB There is a small chance that the room in which the event is held may be altered. Check for up to date information closer to the date.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Fences 2.0