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PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
“Sitting Around Drinking Beer and Solving All the World’s Problems: A Community Art Project”
Hosted at Crux Fermentation Project, Wednesdays from October 17 to November 21, 8pm-9pm (except Halloween night, October 31st).
The public is invited to participate in a weekly discussion group on topics around contemporary philosophy on economics, value, labor and politics while enjoying a fine local brew at one of Bend’s public houses. The term “public house” goes back to the middle ages in Britain where it was not only an establishment where one could get served a pint of local ale, but it was also a meeting house where the community could gather to address local issues.
Issues that will be discussed by the local community for this project will be based on weekly readings posted at http://artcriticalthinking.blogspot.com . Some of the texts are a bit more dense than others, but all should lead to some great conversation.
This community art project is a creation of local contemporary artist Aaron Lish. Aaron’s art is about providing an opportunity for the visitor to become an active participant in the work as a way to celebrate that there is value in each of us having our own unique, creative thoughts, even outside of the workplace.
Even though it was the night before Thanksgiving there was still a great turn-out last night, with a mix of first-time participants and a few regulars. Last week's reading was an article titled " "Real" value: Comments on the "labor theory of value" and the wealth of capitalist society" from www.ruthlesscriticism.com. It was a challenging read that looked at the concepts of value and power in a capitalist society, but everyone rose to the task and we had some great conversation as differing interpretations of the essay were shared. See below for photos from the evening including everyone's drawings and notes from the participants, as well as selected quotes from the reading.
|Discussing Marx's "Labor theory of value"|
|"What a tangled web we weave when we first set out to deceive"|
|"More, more, more..."|
|"The Dancing Proletariat Frog Smiles to the Capitalist"|
|"and value in everything"|
Last week's reading was chapter 2, "The Soul at Work" from the book of the same name by Franco 'Bifo' Berardi. It lead to some wonderful conversation last night about whether your job has to consume you, whether employment in our culture equates to giving a up of control, whether Berardi was being too narrow in how he described the cause of depression as a manifestation of our soul being consumed by our work...and plenty more!! I look forward to seeing you next Wednesday night for more great discussion of contemporary issues in labor and value!!
Below are photos of last night's conversation, drawings and notes:
Discussing work and it's affects on our psyche (both good and bad).
|"Stout River to Where"|
|"Stepping Away from My Desk"|
|"The Dye at Work"|
|"The Imperfect Whole"|
|"Round We Go"|
|"Once Aware Where to Go?"|
|The work on display at Crux|
Last night's turn out was small, but the conversation was just as good as weeks past. We had read Chapters 5-7 from the book Introduction to Food Sovereignty: Food and Democracy. The first chapter looked at how, by using participatory governance, the city of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, was able to involve 31,000 community members in the the city's budgeting process and to make access to food a human right in Belo! This lead to a new look at how food is grown and distributed resulting in cutting malnutrition in the children of Belo in half. Chapter 6 addressed issues with how democracy works in most countries today, and Chapter 7 introduced alternative models for a more "true" form of democracy than what exists today in the U.S. and Britain. As the discussion was the night after the election there was lots to talk about, and everyone really got into the drawings last night as well!!
Below are photos of the drawings and the notes, as well as a few excerpts I pulled from the readings and posted at Crux along with the ephemera from last night's group.
|"The horse race - on the edge of competitiveness"|
|"A Political Dance"|
|"The Mask Comes Off"|
|"Power Struggle (Splinter Groups)"|
|"Divided But Following"|
|"Rural Roads - Aerial View"|
We had more great conversation tonight along with making more beer drawings (images of the new drawings below). This week we were discussing the first chapter from Raj Patel's book The Value of Nothing along with excerpts from chapter 6 of Karl Polanyi's The Great Transformation. The readings explore the idea of what is a market economy (and market society), as well as what it means that Alan Greenspan stated, "Well, remember [...] what an ideology is. It's a conceptual framework with [sic] the way people deal with reality. Everyone has one. You have to. To exist, you need an ideology. The question is, whether it is accurate or not. What I am saying to you is, yes, I found the flaw, I don't know how significant or permanent it is, but I have been very distressed by that fact. [...] I found a flaw in the model that I perceived is the critical functioning structure that defines how the world works, so to speak."
Below are the notes and drawings from last night:
|"Taking the Road Less Traveled to the Brink of Our Existence"|
|"Distrust the Struting Peacock"|
|"Smaug Does Wallstreet"|
October 17:We had a wonderful discussion group last night at Crux. The reading being discussed was Maurizio Lazzarato's "Immaterial Labor". With participants ranging from one gentleman who had just submitted his papers for retirement to a young woman recently out of grad school and just beginning her career there were diverse interpretations of the article. This made for very rich conversation about the definition of "immaterial labor" and the fact that the contemporary worker's professional and private life becomes conjoined.
Following the discussion and sharing of individual unique thoughts, we then celebrated with a bit of play and creativity making drawings with beer (which were then titled based on relating what we saw in the drawings to the topics of conversation).
|"Lines and Subjectivity"|
|"Brain Works Circles"|
|"nural connections: out - in = meaning?"|
|"Contradictions in Capitalism"|
Most of the drawings were done with wort rather than finished beer. The wort has much more sugar so it dries to a carmel-like finish!
See below for more about the project, or access the weekly readings via the links in the "Upcoming Projects" box at the top right of this page. And come next Wednesday night to make your own beer drawings!!
"They’ve moved out of the society that would have protected them, and into the dark forest, into the world of fire, of original experience. Original experience has not been interpreted for you, and so you’ve got to work out your life for yourself. Either you can take it or you can’t. You don’t have to go far off the interpreted path to find yourself in very difficult situations. The courage to face the trials and to bring a whole new body of possibilities into the field of interpreted experience for other people to experience – that is the hero’s deed." - Joseph Campbell
You and your friends are invited to participate in an upcoming community art project that I will be hosting at the Crux Fermentation Project (50 SW Division St.), a pub here in Bend, OR. The project, titled "Sitting Around Drinking Beer and Solving All The World's Problems", is a take-off from the traditional book club; however, unlike the book club there is no long-term commitment. You can come once, or come every week...whatever fits your schedule. We will be meeting on Wednesday evenings from 8pm-9pm at the Crux beginning October 17th and finishing November 21st (although it would be wonderful if someone wanted to keep the project going after that without my involvement). Each week will have a different reading on contemporary philosophy around the economy, labor, value, politics, etc. The first week's reading is available here. You can see the entire readings list in the "Upcoming events" box at the upper right of this page. Some of the readings are a little more dense than others (the first being one of the dense ones!), but all should lead to some great conversation.
Each week we will discuss the reading(s) over a beer (the Crux will provide each participant with one taster size glass of beer for free - it's about having good conversation, not getting drunk). Toward the end of the hour we will then make drawings with beer (I will demonstrate the special technique to be used) and title them based on the conversation and the reading(s).
Participation in the project is limited to those who are comfortable with drinking a little beer and engaging in mature conversation; by law it also must be limited to those 21 years old and older.
I look forward to seeing you one, or all, of the next Wednesday evenings and sharing some stimulating conversation.