Thursday, August 21, 2008

Linguistic Interventions -- Tuesday @ the Farmer's Market

Anthony & Iris

Our linguistic intervention came in the form of a prompt: "I believe property . . . ." Participants were encouraged to respond to the prompt or other participants' responses in either positive, negative, silly or serious ways, ways that dealt more with them as individuals, or as members of society.

The Frame: What is Art?
Linda Comminos

I held a frame up to highlight my face and shirt which had two strips of tape. Each tape said "What is art?" One in English and one in Spanish.On the ground in from of me there were several strips of tape on which it said "Art is" with space for the interested public to complete the phrase and share their answer to "What is Art?"As people filled the tape more tape was placed on the ground and I called out to people asking them to take part and become part of our public statement about art.

Signs for Sale
Kristina & Francis

Our intervention kind of evolved as we went along. The whole intervention was inspired by Francis's finding of a story posted on the web about a homeless guy who had displayed personal messages onsigns. (Instead of the typical will work for food etc...) So we orginally displayed signs that said things like "Life is inside my uterus" or "Teachers should not mispell." But then we decided to have more involvement with the crowd. So one of us held a sign saying "signs for sale $20.00 signed by the artist". We had no takers for that. By the end people would not even take them for free! Other signs included, "say hello and you will receive a compliment," "give me a compliment," "honk if you love," and "give me a hug."

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Friday, August 15, 2008

Manifesto: The Essential Questions

How do we (teacher/student) create a personal manifesto

How have others communicated a personal manifesto?

How does personal truth impact social justice?

Do we attempt to transform ourselves when we transform others?

What do I believe?

How do we pursue the welfare of some without sacrificing the happiness of others?

How do we transform ourselves when we attempt to transform others?

What will I sacrifice to achieve social justice?

What do I want to tell the world about my beliefs?

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Lake Front Speak

Mobilize love today mourning night think plan act consider the earth Shakespeare live and don't forget panic when life can't I believe you. Do you wonder why not Forget me if pain strikes my intellect numb. Lets Dance naked, rabid graffiti should evolve into massive voles that drink beer! Poop. Chance encounters the hunt for knowledge or the safety pins. I cringe when lovely violence must not inspire trust. Domestic abuse destroys men and children. Destiny will kill the one One day, politeness laughs in your brain (armpit) when I teach compassion in numerical reality swims when educators learnded some serious words- No thank you! Por favor curb thoughts that stop smells like practice thyself good cure for apathy. Stop thinking, write listen act. Myo! Why internalize fear nothing except dazzling ambivalence! (pause) Eat lots of kale tomorrow and you will dance. Healthier stealthier- Forever However, indescribable, delectable pain freedom love equality might sometimes survive! Big hopes will promise medium sized dreams. Not true! Enormous peace = hope and vision. Hmm, is Jesus (is) lord?: myo. Of the dance. Maximum over drive through break neck tolerance and compassion. So, opening with meditation universal intelligence fashion isn't short enough. Love butt and and legs and toes and pretty much everything and everyone equally! Butter is good on pigs feet. Night life is running away escapism is not it. Unless of course you're in love.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Catalogue of Activities/Exercises -- Week One

Day One

Chalk Talk with Three Questions: When did you last experience/witness a moment of injustice? What's a word that make you cringe/smile? How do you currently address social justice issues in your teaching practice?
Walking Spectrum Exercise
Deck of Contradictions -- Create 2 sets
Non Stop Talking Exercise
Flash Card Interviews
In this Moment Writing Exercise
Essentialization Exercise
Stencil Making Workshop
Stencil Production in the Park

Day Two

Introduction to Jenny Holzer's work
Truisms to Newisms Exercise
Newisms Performance Trios (Unison, Repetition)
Cross-Out Text Poems Exercise
Read the Bruce Mau's Incomplete Manifesto for Personal Growth
Craft a Personal Manifesto
Text-Image Interventions/Encounters as Contemporary Arts Practice Slide Show
Book Folding Workshop
Zine Design & Layout

Assignment: Finish laying out zines!

Day Three

Discussion: Zine Making Process & Classroom Applications
Back to Back Walking Exercise (What did my family teach me about_____________)
Inheritance Writing: You always told me_____________and/but now I_______________
Collaborative Writing Challenge:
Group One: I come from... (George Ella Lyon)
Group Two: I am waiting...((Lawrence Ferlinghetti)
Group Three: Here's to... (Sekou Sundiata)
Poetry Performances
Screen Printing Workshop
Button Production
Sticker Production

Assignment: Draft a "course syllabus" zine and/or teacher's manifesto to use on your first day of school

Day Four

Circle Walk Exercise
Write a Poem About (Assignment Exchange)
Lune -- Poetic Form
Writing on the Walls -- Typography Experiments
Book Folding/Production
Book Distribution in Public (human encounter, hidden zine, read a page moment)
One Word at a Time Collaborative Chalk Performance

Assignment: Reflect on the Public Encounters, Devise a Language-based intervention, follow a Learning to Love you More assignment over the weekend.

Images & Thoughts -- Week One/Personal Manifestos

Monday, August 4, 2008

Walking Spectrum Exercise

Walking Spectrum Exercise (inspired by Guillermo Gomez-Pena, performance artist)

Facilitator identifies an imaginary spectrum line and set two extremes. Facilitator calls out the conditions/questions/statements and participants must quickly “take a stand” on the spectrum, walking from one end to the other while “locating” themselves on an identity spectrum. Ask participants to take a look around, and notice how often they themselves are moving/changing/shifting on the line. Here are some “extremes” or “domains” to get started, but actual content will vary depending on curricular goals, big ideas, and inquiry questions established by the class/teacher/school/district/world!

This or That:
· Doubter or Believer
· Dreamer or Based in Reality
· Naked or Dressed
· Work or Play
· Saver or Spender
· Traveler or Homesteader
· Defending Borders or Blurring Borders
· Change or Stability
· Past or Future
· Lover or Fighter
· Giver or Taker

· Courage/Fear
· Repel/Attract
· Good/Evil
· Truth/Lies
· Victim/Perpetrator
· Pain/Pleasure
· Fact/Fiction
· Hidden/Revealed
· Knowledge/Ignorance
· Moral/Immoral
· Power/Powerlessness
· Public/Private
· Survival/Death
· Universal/Particular
· Violence/Peace
· Vulnerable/Impenetrable

Always or Never:
· Speak your mind
· Tell the truth
· Pay attention to the election
· Save $ for the future
· Feel comfortable being confronted
· Feel comfortable confronting others
· Believe what your parents taught you
· Love what you’re wearing
· Feel comfortable in your body
· Feel balanced in your current love relationship
· Try something new
· Confess when you’re upset
· Feel good about where you live
· Sexually satisfied
· Willing to speak to strangers
· Want to live forever
· Believe in god/higher power/spirit
· Like feeling sexy
· Feel sexy
· Seek political knowledge
· Reveal personal feelings in public spaces
· Believe police are your friends
· Believe that killing is wrong

Other domains: Love/Hate, Yes/No, Absolutely/No Way!, For/Against, Informed/Clueless Suggestions: Be flexible, let participants change direction/flow of questions, make them up as you go along! Let this lead to writing/discussion on identity-in-flux. You could also set a border instead of working on a full spectrum. Middle space can be understood as both/neither/neutral. Try strange, audacious, metaphorical extremes i.e. using objects, animals, or places as the domain sets: are you a bird or a hospital?

Poets & Poems to Provoke

Jenny Holzer has collaborated with and/or recontextualized the poetry/writing of:

Henri Cole
Wislawa Szymborska
Yehuda Amichai
Randall Mann
Pablo Neruda
Federico Garcia Lorca
Walt Whitman

Other amazing poems/poets to instigate, provoke, encounter, intervene:

Attila Jozsef, Hungary "The Seventh"
Sekou Sundiata, "Shout Out"
Cszelow Milosz
George Ella Lyon, "Where I'm From..."
Pablo Neruda, Book of Questions
Pablo Neruda, Odes to Common Things
Wallace Stevens, "Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird"
Langston Hughes
Richard Wright
Gwendolyn Brooks, "Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward"
Amiri Baraka, "Preface to a 20 Volume Suicide Note"
June Jordan
Nazim Hikmet, "Things I Didn't Know I Loved," "On Living"
Allen Ginsberg, "Is About"
Sonia Sanchez
Etheridge Knight
Lawrence Ferlinghetti, "I am Waiting"
Primo Levi, "Shema"
Carolyn Forche Against Forgetting
Gregory Orr, Poetry as Survival
Octavio Paz, "La Casa de la Mirada/The House of Glances"
Cesare Pavese, "Ancestors"
Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein, "Stephen Muruli Dies in Campus Fire,"

Contemporary Artists Who Use Text, Image, & Performance to Provoke Public Discourse

Barbara Kruger,
Packard Jennings,
Maritza Mosquera,
Shannon Ebner,
Adam Brooks,
Ellen Rothenberg,
Jenny Holzer,
Marisa Jahn,
Lawrence Weiner,
Joel Ross,


The Manifesto exists between theory and practice as it imagines a journey from dystopic past to utopian future. Contained in the Manifesto is a specific writing of history that simultaneously textualizes and contextualizes a visionary demand for a potential and ever after. The Manifesto evokes and reproduces the urgency of an ever-present present moment; a forever point of departure from which to act and re-act in transformative solidarity. As a tool of corporate culture, political bodies, art movements, the avant-garde, the masses, the solitary and the oppressed, the Manifesto spans the conservative to the radical, evoking questions of form and content, identity and difference, memorialization and legacy, social movement, the agency of language, and the potential to create a universally applicable call to action. (Humanities and Social Science Net, Call for Papers, 2003)

You Are Beautiful is a simple, powerful statement which is incorporated into the over absorption of mass media and lifestyles that are wrapped in consumer culture. The intention behind this project is to reach beyond ourselves as individuals to make a difference by creating moments of positive self realization. We're just attempting to make the world a little better. Intention is the most important aspect of the You Are Beautiful project in its idea of purity. Nothing is sacred. Everything that has a perceived value becomes commodified. We work extremely hard that this message is received as a simple act of kindness, and nothing more.Advertising elicits a response to buy, where this project elicits a response to do something. The attempt with You Are Beautiful is to create activism instead of consumerism. You Are Beautiful uses the medium of advertising and commercialization to spread a positive message. Projects like these make a difference in the world by catching us in the midst of daily life and creating moments of positive self realization.

STATEMENTClaes Oldenburg

  • I am for an art that is political-erotical-mystical, that does something other than sit oil its ass in a museum.
    I am for an art that grows up not knowing it is art at all, an art given the chance of having a starting point of zero.
    I am for an art that embroils itself with the everyday crap & still comes out on top.
    I am for all art that imitates the human, that is comic, if necessary. or violent, or whatever is necessary.
    I am for all art that takes its form from the lilies of life itself, that twists and extends and accumulates and spits and drips, and is heavy and coarse and blunt and sweet and stupid as life itself.
    I am for all artist who vanishes, turning up in a white cap painting signs or hallways.
    I am for art that comes out of a chimney like black hair and scatters in the sky.
    I am for art that spills out of an old mail's purse when he is bounced off a passing fender.
    I am for an art that joggles like everyones knees, when the bus traverses an excavation.
    I am for art that is smoked, like a cigarette, smells, like a pair of shoes.
    I am for art that flaps like a flag, or helps blow noses, like a handkerchief.
    I am for art that is put on and taken off, like pants, which develops holes, like socks, which is eaten, like a piece of pie, or abandoned with great contempt, like a piece of shit.
    I am for art covered with bandages. I am for art that limps and rolls and runs and jumps.
    I am for art that comes in a can or washes up on the shore.
    I am for art that coils and grunts like a wrestler. I am for art that sheds hair.
    I am for art you can sit on. I am for art you can pick your nose with or stub your toes on.
    I am for art from a pocket, from deep channels of the ear, from the edge of a knife, from the corners of the mouth, stuck in the eye or worn on the wrist.
    I am for art under the skirts, and the art of pinching with a switch.
    I am for art that unfolds like a map, that you can squeeze, like your sweetys arm, or kiss, like a pet dog. Which expands and squeaks, like an accordion, which you can spill your dinner on, like an old tablecloth.
    I am for an art that you can hammer with, stitch with, sew with, paste with, file with.
    I am for an art that tells you the time of day, or where such and such a street is.
    I am for an art that helps old ladies across the street.
    I am for the art of the washing machine. I am for the art of a government check. I am for the art of last wars raincoat.
    I am for the art that comes up in fogs from sewer-holes in winter. I am for the art that splits when you step on a frozen puddle. I am for the worms art inside the apple. I am for the art of sweat that develops between crossed legs.
    I am for the art of neck-hair and caked tea-cups, for the art between the tines of restaurant forks, for the odor of boiling dishwater.
    I am for the art of sailing on Sunday, and the art of red and white gasoline pumps.
    I am for the art of bright blue factory columns and blinking biscuit signs.
    I am for the art of cheap plaster and enamel. I am for the art of worn marble and smashed slate. I am for the art of rolling cobblestones and sliding sand. I am for the art of slag and black coal. I am for the art of dead birds.
    I am for the art of scratchings in the asphalt, daubing at the walls. I am for the art of bending and kicking metal and breaking glass, and pulling at things to make them fall down.
    I am for the art of punching and skinned knees and sat-on bananas. I am for the art of kids' smells. I am for the art of mama-babble.
    I am for the art of bar-babble, tooth-picking, beerdrinking, egg-salting, in-sulting. I am for the art of falling off a barstool.
    I am for the art of underwear and the art of taxicabs. I am for the art of ice-cream cones dropped on concrete. I am for the majestic art of dog-turds, rising like cathedrals.
    I am for the blinking arts, lighting up the night. I am for art falling, splashing, wiggling, jumping, going on and off.
    I am for the art of fat truck-tires and black eyes.
    I am for Kool-art, 7-UP art, Pepsi-art, Sunshine art, 39 cents art, 15 cents art, Vatronol art, Dro-bomb art, Vam art, Menthol art, L & M art, Ex-lax art, Venida art, Heaven Hill art, Pamryl art, San-o-med art, Rx art, 9.99 art, Now art, New art, How art, Fire sale art, Last Chance art, Only art, Diamond art, Tomorrow art, Franks art, Ducks art, Meat-oram a art.
    I am for the art of bread wet by rain. I am for the rats' dance between floors. I am for the art of flies walking on a slick pear in the electric light. I am for the art of soggy onions and firm green shoots. I am for the art of clicking among the nuts when the roaches come and go. I am for the brown sad art of rotting apples.
    I am for the art of meows and clatter of cats and for the art of their dumb electric eyes.
    I am for the white art of refrigerators and their muscular openings and closings.
    I am for the art of rust and mold. I am for the art of hearts, funeral hearts or sweetheart hearts, full of nougat. I am for the art of worn meathooks and singing barrels of red, white, blue and yellow meat.
    I am for the art of things lost or thrown away, coming home from school. I am for the art of cock-and-ball trees and flying cows and the noise of rectangles and squares. I am for the art of crayons and weak grey pencil-lead, and grainy wash and sticky oil paint, and the art of windshield wipers and the art of the finger on a cold window, on dusty steel or in the bubbles on the sides of a bathtub.
    I am for the art of teddy-bears and guns and decapitated rabbits, exploded umbrellas, raped beds, chairs with their brown bones broken, burning trees, firecracker ends, chicken bones, pigeon bones and boxes with men sleeping in them.
    I am for the art of slightly rotten funeral flowers, hung bloody rabbits and wrinkly yellow chickens, bass drums & tambourines, and plastic phonographs.
    I am for the art of abandoned boxes, tied like pharaohs. I am for an art of watertanks and speeding clouds and flapping shades.
    I am for U.S. Government Inspected Art, Grade A art, Regular Price art, Yellow Ripe art, Extra Fancy art, Ready-to-eat art, Best-for-less art, Ready-to-cook art, Fully cleaned art, Spend Less art, Eat Better art, Ham art, pork art, chicken art, tomato art, banana art, apple art, turkey art, cake art, cookie art.
    add:I am for an art that is combed down, that is hung from each ear, that is laid on the lips and under the eyes, that is shaved from the legs, that is brushed on the teeth, that is fixed on the thighs, that is slipped on the foot.

Exhibition catalogue, Environments, Situations, Spaces, Martha Jackson Gallery, May-June 1961.Revised for publication in Store Days: Documents from the Store (1961) and Ray Gun Theater (1962).New York: Something Else Press, 1967

Public Intervention Ideas & Provocations

PUBLIC INTERVENTIONS with text, image, and performance

During this institute, participants will be challenged to vocalize personal manifestos through public discourse and intervention. We, the facilitators, will challenge the group to devise a micro-performance and/or text-based intervention in a public space (1. farmer's market or 2. beach front). The performance will be limited to a 5-10 minute performance piece and/or participatory poetics exercise that will entail our participants interacting, encountering, provoking, surveying, or speaking to the public through body, voice and/or text.

Hold a lecture series. Choose a random spot and invite a small group. Lecture on something hyper personal or socially significant (based on the work of Miranda July).

Perform two manifestos at once, two people standing on either side of a space with mega phones. The intention is to blur, confuse, expound on significant or the absurd, the playful or the serious, for a set amount of time (based on the work of guerreatellier).

Decide on a phrase and whisper into ear of stranger for set number of hours/minutes.

Set up a Lucy-stand and give away free advice (based on the thinking of Erica Tryon @ Spider Schergen).

Set up a booth and create/appropriate proverbs. Write them on sheets of paper and tuck them in people's pockets, pass them out, etc.

Generate a set of questions based on subjectivity and feeling. Assume the role of census taker and walk around the market taking surveys (based on the work of Break Arts).

Participant shouts/announces/reads a bit of text, the chalker writes it on the ground or scribes it on a wall.

Tape down masking tape in lines. Participant starts a line of poetry or begins a letter and then invites people to help them complete the poem by writing a line. This goes on until poem is finished.

Participant chooses a word or phrase to repeat in various ways -- through speaking, writing, or whispering these phrase or word over and over again for set number of minutes.

Participants will hold a public school and walk around with paper and pen giving people "assignments" through questions, or written "tests," "handouts," or "worksheets." They can also set up a community chalk board an write a significant question on it. Passer by can respond. Participants can change the question or direction every ______ minutes.

Creative Writing Exercises & Prompts


Write a very personal note to someone/something/somewhere. Write what you need revealed to this singular audience. Questions, confessions, stories, memories, thoughts, warnings. Read over your letter. Pull out a single phrase, sentiment, question, word that you feel could be made universal -- writ large, for a wider public, a thought that goes beyond just that singular audience and extends to a more general public.

Make a list of ten true things that are true to YOU. This list can be true only to you, or you can share these truths with another person/group. The point of this list is to name 10 true things that you know to be true about your life, about life in general, at this present moment.

Write about the conditions of your birth, real or imagined. Write out what you were born to do on earth, what you are capable of doing on earth, tell us why we need you, why you are here. Speak it. Own it. Name it!

Write a letter to the future, to an unborn child, to an illiterate student. What is your urgent message to them? What can you promise? What do you hope for? What do you want them to know and what advice can you give them?

ESSENTIALIZATION EXERCISE, based on the work of poet Jenn Morea
Write what you believe in 24 words. Now write that same statement but reduce it to 12 words. Look at your writing again. This time, say it in 6 words. Take away 3 more words. Now choose just one word.

Write your personal/collective vision in absolutes by using definitive, authoritative language that declares the present moment as an opportunity for change, and defines a call to action/way of approaching life.

Describe the nuanced, subtle details of a process, tell us the perfect way to make something, feel something, know something, and why.

Write a public speech that feels like preach.

Imagine receiving an ultimate text message from a concept or person. What is that one urgent message, lesson, warning, idea, request. fear, or need for you to know. With limited space, how would that concept/person maximize on language choice to make sure you received the message? Set word max for this exercise.

Take a proverb/statement/line of poetry and rework it using only the words that exist in that sentence. Rearrange, remix, reorder, reveal the meanings hidden within that single truism/proverb/statement.

Design a set of rules for being, doing, thinking, feeling, knowing something or someone. Use the language of command, speak from a place of authority an feeling.

I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE TO _________________
Besides America, what are the specific pledges you want to make to specific ideas, feelings, questions, objects of desire, etc.

Free write what you are thinking about in this moment. From the smallest to grandest issues, claim your space in the present moment of your mind.

I WANT A PRESIDENT WHO______________________
Fill in the blank with the absurd, the honest, the real, the surprising, and the unexpected. Imagine what good leadership looks like and why.

WHAT YOU HAVE HEARD IS ______________________(true or false?!)
Decide to speak up on behalf or against a rumor of a dramatic event. Clarify from your perspective. True or False? What happened? Give us the report. Where were you? What time of day? How do you know this really didn't or did occur.

What is happening right now is this present, historical moment? What goes on every moment of our lives that goes unnoticed, hidden, revealed? Take a moment to be in the moment: what's happening with your body right now? Think of someone you love and see them in a moment of action. Now think of the entire city, moments of action & enconter. Take your mind to the world and scan it for moments of feeling, injustice, action. And last, take your mind to the outer reaches, outerspace, god, heaven, the sky, the ocean, what is happening right now in this moment at the farthest reaches of your mind?

I USED TO BE BUT NOW I’M…based on the work of poet Kenneth Koch
Think of all the ways you, we, us have changed. Use this prompt/phrase to shout out the subtle and significant changes you witness/experience in the everyday of your life.

Create your own personal logic model: if _____________then________________ if ____________________, then of course, ____________________

SHOUT OUT’s based on the work of Sekou Sundiata
Write a “shout out” to the underrepresented, marginalized, muted, hidden beauties of life, people, places, things, actions, feelings, ideas – talk directly to it and praise it, its qualities that often go unnoticed or ignored.

PREACH! THE METAPHOR IS IN THE ROOM based on the work of Eric Booth
Imagine that you woke up this morning and were told that you had five minutes to create a sermon. Look around the room and quickly pick an object or image that is taking your attention. Now use that object/image to create a lesson for people to learn, a moral to be told, a story to convey. Get your preach on!

Become a student of life. Think about what you still need/want to learn and ask the world to teach you how to do something. Or, think of a person, idea, concept and speak directly to it, asking to learn from it.



What deserved to be recognized that often doesn’t? Call on it, your ancestors, the hidden, the buried, and conjure it, pay homage to it, love it.

Similar to shout out’s and homage, write an ode to a person, place, thing, idea that needs to be praised.

Declare that from this point on…what? What will change? What has to change? What needs to change? What can’t change? Write it out.

I AM WAITING… based on the work of Lawrence Ferlinghetti
What are you waiting for? What is the world waiting for? What can’t wait any longer?

Pick a pair of opposites/extremes and imagine a dialogue and/or simultaneous conversation happening between amdist among them. A conversation between black and white, rich and poor, old and young, powerful and weak. What are utterances of other? What needs to be said that was never yet spoken?

STANDING ON THE BORDER BETWEEN____________&_______________
Think again of opposites or extremes. What lives in the space between them? Imagine that space as a border land, a landscape. What do you see? Who lives there? What’s the weather like? What are the rules of this border space?

Pick a big word with multiple meanings and begin to define it. Life is…Love is…War is…Hope is…What are the sensory images connected to that word? What are the multiple versions of that word? What are the stories embedded inside it?

Prompts inspired by Sabrina Ward Harrison, “ the true & the Questions…”

My body holds…

My heart knows.../My heart carries…

I am___________and I am_________________
Wanna show the world…

I Choose…

I have been built for…

I give you permission to…

I never told you…

I want to explain…

Inside the silence…

In love I become…

I want more…

I want to show you…

Take me…

My family carries…

13 WAYS….based on Wallace Stevens
To push perspective-taking, choose a major issue facing you/this world and find 13 different ways of looking at that same issue. Number them and describe the specific realities/images/feeling/knowledge associated with that word/concept.

I /WE/YOU SAY….based on the work of Sonia Sanchez
What do you want to say that might not ever be heard unless you speak it, unleash it? Begin with the words, I say, and surprise yourself with the internal word.

What do you want to keep from your inheritance and what do you want for the world to take back? Speak to that idea in this writing exercise. Start with the words give me…and alternate that with take back…and see what emerges.













Create an imaginary holiday that honors what hasn’t been recognized. A day to celebrate hands. A week to celebrate eyelashes. Create the rituals for this holiday. Describe your fantasy for this celebration. What are the guidelines and expectations of this holiday?

Assume a persona that holds more or less power than you and speak from the voice of that person. What letter would you write?

Create a sticker slogan that spreads a message unheard of yet, but necessary. These could be directions, warnings, reminders, prayers, secrets, dreams, notes, intimacies, connections. Stick them in public spaces or in friends’ or colleagues’ spaces.

Give yourself permission to ask for the unimaginable, the irrationale. Ask it. Command it. Request it. Speak it. Say it. What do you need. What are the conditions of receiving these request. What will you do in exchange?

Again, assume a version of yourself and create your dream C.V. / resume that gives you the powers you need/desire to be the person you want to be in the world you need it to be.

PERSONAL DICTIONARY OF TERMS based on the work of Amanda Leigh Lichtenstein
Choose a common word with hyper personal associations. Borrowing the dictionary format, redefine that common word with your personal associations with it.

Send a postcard from an imaginary dream space. How good can you imagine it? What does that world look like?

Speak to your imaginary congregation. What do you want to call on your congregants to do, think about, feel, say, know?

Create a set of directions for your friends and publish/print them out for them to follow on their own time. Create a space for them to reveal/unveil the results of these directions at a mutually agreed upon time. In this way, the directions become a participatory poem.

INDEXING SOCIAL JUSTICE based on Harpers Index
What are the numbers of social justice? What is the mathematics of hope? Despair? State real or imagined facts regarding numbers and percentages associated with social issues and concerns.

Borrowing from the law and logic of math, create your own equations of justice, playing with the “poetic” forms of algebra and geometry. Riff off proofs, reasons, systems, codes.

Write a letter addressed to the public.

Borrow an official form of any kind and fill it in with surprising, unexpected, hyper personal or poetic thoughts.

Create a deck of cards with words that conjure feeling. Find a partner and flash that card at your partner. Video tape that person’s response, uncensored, unfiltered.

Non stop talking on what you hate, and then going straight to the page to write it out.

Non stop talking on what you love, and then going straight to the page to write it out.

If you had free billboard space and five words, what would you say/write? What’s your message?

TRUISM TO NEWISM based on jenny Holzer’s Truisms
Start with a truism and write about it for five minutes. From that free write, select a line. Swap it with the person next to you. Free write on that line for five minutes. Select a line. Declare it the newism.

Write mini-love letters/notes and distribute them frequently and often.

Confess something personal and go public.

Borrow the structure of a survey or test (multiple choice) and fill it with poetic questions and answers. Make it so that all choices are possible and/or absurd.

Have a serious or playful interview with yourself by asking questions and responding with absurdities, half-truths, multiple truths, or lies.

Confess a public transgression, write it down, and give it to someone directly.

Take a piece of text and cross out words until you have a new poem, thought, idea

a poetic form adapted from the haiku -- 3 words on the first line, 5 words on the second line, 3 words on the last line. No more, no less, with that last line usually twisting or violating your expectations.

National/International Social Justice/Participatory Practice Resources


Guerre Atelier
Wooloo Arts Collective
Wooster Collective
The Design Studio for Social Intervention
Beehive Collective
Collaborative Projects Archive


Community Arts Network/Arts in the Public Interest
Zines, E-Zines: The History and Characteristics of Zines

Social Justice Education Organizations:

Facing History and Ourselves
El Puente: Leadership for Peace & Social Justice

Just Seeds
Cultural Agents Initiative
International Freedom of Expression Exchange
Guerilla Girls
Kids with Cameras/Born INTO Brothels
Shooting Back
Pen International
Learning to Love You More
You Are Beautiful
Dawoud Bey
Sonic Postcards
Mobile Livre, Traveling Book Mobile
Claudia Bernardi, Walls of Hope Project/El Salvador
Story Corps
The Row House Project
Marisa Jahn/Pond Institute
Reverend Billy & The Church of Stop Shopping
Geurre Atelier
The Library of Radiant Optimism/Let’s Remake
An Atlas of Radical Cartography
Free Dimensional

UNICEF Voices of Youth
Public Address


Academy of American Poets: Poetry Debates & Manifestos
Poets Against the War
OULIPO – workshop of potential literature
Urban Word NYC
Community Word Project
Writers Corps
Post Secret
Teachers & Writers Collaborative

Chicago Area Social Justice/Participatory Practice Resources

· Coop Image
· Break Arts
· Stockyard Institute
· 826CHI
· AREA Chicago
· Mess Hall
· Feel Tank Chicago
· Experimental Station
· Anti Gravity Surprise,
· Video Machete
· Street-Level Youth Media
· Catalyst Chicago
· In These Times
· Teachers for Justice

Linguistic Interventions as Classroom Practice



Jenny Holzer’s body of work manifests what curriculum theorist Bill Pinar calls “curriculum as complicated conversation.” Her work unveils the hidden, obscured, and layered contradiction that permeates our private and public lives, complicating fixed realities by acknowledging the self in motion among many selves. In this way, complexity & ambiguity of our political state is negotiated through participatory text & image projects that don’t try to alleviate complexity but sustain and provoke it in the public sphere.


Use language as material; approach the sculptural, spatial, linguistic, emotional, social, visual possibilities embedded in language as a visual experience.


Consider intimacy of private language within public spaces; reveal secret, censored, classified texts in public spaces; focus on realities rooted in the psychic and subjective.


Interrogate and expose multiple viewpoints, realities, perspectives, truths, feelings, facts.


Use text that violates “appropriate” public expectations -- questions, confessions, desires in public spaces, use of language that is ghastly, enraging, graphic, tender, difficult, sobering, humorous, absurd, and poetic.


Call attention to inherent contradiction through audacious language., highlighting unresolvable tensions existing within both the individual and the collective experience; uncertainties, anxieties, ambiguities, blurred realities define our current social moment. Pair soft text with hard spaces, or vice versa.


Collaborate across disciplines to interrogate social issues; the notion of collaborative authorship trumps the individual voice. Decide to learn from other disciplines, exchange knowledge and feeling.


Exalt relationship and public discourse. The self does not exist without other.


Use text as image to challenge governing conventions, expectations, and hegemonic figures, sources, positions.


Directly confront issues that go unaddressed: torture, disease, death, homophobia, racism, deprivation, alienation, abuse of power. Define this art-making by encounter and experience.


Create unfinished work that relies on public to experience it in order to complete it. Create language that the reader must perform the work of critique, discernment, identification.


Give yourself and others permission to speak the ineffable, to magnify the quietest and least notice but still powerful feelings, injustices, desires, dreams.


Reassign meaning to familiar quotes/text by decontextualizing, uprooting, appropriating, and creating new mean through new generative tensions.


Strategically use unwanted as well as hyper public spaces to change their function by manipulating its purpose.

Week Two--Public Contradictions

Tues/August 12

Continue to define/identify group concept/issue/piece/question
Creative writing around that central issue/theme
Public Interventions/Performances/Experiments/Provocations

Prepare film for glass prints
MCA tour with Cheryl Pope

Wed/August 13
bus leaves @ 9.30

Full Day of Screen-printing @ Hot Glass

Thur/August 14 (group drinks!)

Reflect on Collaborative Process/Production
Decide on final text for group piece
Play with projections

Full-Bodied Curriculum Part I
Big Idea Development
Generative Tensions/Questions Development

Fri/August 15

Full-Bodied Curriculum Part II
Discuss 2nd week as framework/approach to building curriculum around essential questions
Mock up of Glass Installation
Final reflections/Goodbyes

Week One--Personal Manifestos

Tue/August 5

Chalk Talk with Three Questions
Overall introductions/guidelines/guiding questions
Walking Spectrum
Create Flash Cards
Non-Stop Talking Exercise
Flash Card Interviews with Video
Free Write/Essentialization Exercise

Introduction to stencil art
Transform morning text into afternoon image
Cordels/Questions as ongoing reflection

Wed/August 6

Slide Show of Participatory/Contemporary Arts Practice
Dictionary Cross Outs
Personal Manifesto Writing
Book Production Part One

Book Production, contd.
Cordels, ongoing reflection contd.

Thurs/August 7 (group drinks!)

Creative Writing/Poetry Workshopping
Finish & Fold Books

Stencil sticker design
Abandoned box zine distribution
Cordels/ongoing reflection
Curriculum building/noting process/activities/applications

Fri/August 8

Rant/rave exercise
Dueling manifestos exercise

Beach Group Challenge: Devise a “public intervention” through writing/performance/encounter

Key Words

Manifesto. Plurality. Guerilla Art. Screen Print. Contradiction. Belief. Action. Social Change. Spectrum. Zine. Culture. Identity. Stencil. Text. Image. Poetry. Poetics. Social Theory. Political Action. Transformation. Social Justice. Interventions. Interruptions. Art as Social Practice. Protest. Public Collaboration. Social Reproduction. Cultural Agency. Cultural Producers. Hidden Curricula. Social Imagination. Resistance. Found Text. Linguistic Intervention.

Guiding Questions

What do you believe about the present, historical moment? What are the contradictions that you hold/balance/navigate on a personal level and how do those resonate on a broader social/political/global scale? In what ways do your beliefs and ideas contradict themselves and/or live at odds with bigger social realities? How do you even come to know what you believe and to what extent do we have the power to galvanize awareness/call to action through text and image?

Institute Overview

This summer institute is designed to explore the relationship between belief and action, looking closely at the ways in which human beings negotiate, hold, & balance contradiction. Through the use of text & image we will call attention to the inadequacies, failures, disappointments, and outrages of the present political, historical, social moment, exposing beliefs, systems, structures, and questions that rattle our sense of private and political (in)securities. We will also investigate the power of text & image to galvanize change, identifying the methods and practices of contemporary artists/activists to provoke dialogue and exchange around the most potent questions of our time. Our curriculum draws particularly upon the work of contemporary artist Jenny Holzer, whose collaborations with poets and writers offers new insight into the power of text as image to convey and hold contradiction in a complex world. This is a call for tenderness and absurdity, rawness and intersubjectivity as a political stance.