A Presentation and Workshop on Zoom by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), the UN climate scientists not known for their radical imagination, wrote in their 2018 report that if we want to avoid the worst of the climate breakdown we had 12 years left for “rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society”.
For us in the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination (Labofii) this has to include art.
In a time of historical crises, is it enough to continue to represent the world, to make more performances about climate breakdown, more videos about forced migration, more installations about mass extinctions? How can art be anchored again, to place, time and everyday life ? How can our practice be a magickal force of transformation rather than another commodity on a market ?
This workshop and presentation by the Labofii will share stories and adventures inbetween art and activism and explore how art can become a means not an end in the battle of imagination that traverses this epoch.
This workshop follows on from SUSTAIN , a development programme for artists interested in low carbon artmaking run by Castlefield Gallery and the Aarhus Centre for Contemporary Art. There will be an in person gathering on Saturday 7th May (venue to be confirmed) for artists interested in intervening in the trajectory towards climate breakdown, with the intention of seeding a Greater Manchester/North West-based network of low carbon artists.
Isa Fremeaux (she/her) is an educator, facilitator, organiser and author. She grew up in France before moving to London, where she worked as a freelance journalist, French teacher and administrator of a community arts company, while completing a PhD thesis on the concept of community. She became a Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College-University of London (UK) where she worked for 10 years, before leaving academia to embrace freedom and collective life.
Art activist, author, part-time sex worker and full-time trouble maker Jay (formerly John) Jordan (he/they) is labelled a “Domestic Extremist” by the UK police, and “a magician of rebellion” by the French press. Jay has spent three decades applying what he learnt from theatre and performance art to direct action. They co-founded the creative direct action movements ‘Reclaim the Streets’ and the ‘Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army”, and have performed in museums and International Theatre Festivals, choreographed carnivalesque riots, written a BBC radio play for today, and an opera-for-one.
Isa and Jay have co-authored the film and book Paths Through Utopias (2011, La Découverte) and the recent pamphlet We Are ‘Nature’ Defending Itself (2021, Pluto Press). Together they coordinate The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination, bringing artists and activists together to design tools and acts of disobedience, infamous for launching a rebel raft regatta to shut down a coal fired power station, turning bikes into machines of disobedience during a climate summit and refusing to be censored by the BP sponsored Tate gallery.
Isa and Jay now inhabit the zad of Notre-dame-des-landes, ‘a territory lost to the republic,’ according to the French government, where an airport project was defeated after 40 years of resistance and which is now the site of a beautifully complex experiment in commoning.