Clamor: Your DIY Guide to Everyday Revolution.

Clamor ceased publication in December 2006. This website contains information for your reference and archival purposes only.

Issue 33


By Eric Zassenhaus

“Crime” has long been a buzzword for those interested in accumulating power and regulating control. In a world terrorized into willingly giving up many of its rights in exchange for a daydream of security, and in which corporate power has trumped public interest, “crimes” are increasingly being hardened and defined against the public, often in the interest of a select and powerful few. Even as “graffiti” is being harshly punished as a federal crime, advertisers continue their invasion of the public sphere, borrowing many of the same techniques and tactics as traditional graffiti artists (re-coined “guerilla marketing”).

For the past several years, there has been a growing interest in so-called “interventionist” art. It is as if the elite of the art world have abandoned their recent  preoccupation with “Outsider art” lavishing praise and fawning over painters, sculptors, and creators who weren’t officially sanctioned by a degree and training in conventional academic institutions. Instead, creative work that walks the tightrope between political activism, prankish tomfoolery, and self-conscious artistry has become acceptable for popular consumption. Which is great, except that in granting their attention to artists whose work often strays from the creative and practical constraints of protective gallery walls, the value attributed to these artists by the limelight of professional art critics and collectors is often of a purely, and artificially, aesthetic sort — one that ignores or only superficially considers the importance of challenging moments of actual everyday existence, in favor of the rigormortis of art historical interpretation.

More important to those who are actually interested in changing and challenging the conditions of everyday life are the ways in which these new (and old) creative types have eschewed the gallery in favor of the public arena. Many of them have rejected the circumscribed world of the political rally and the theatrics of the protest march in favor of something more direct and, potentially, more effective.

For this issue, we wanted to concentrate on groups and individuals who are working within the gray area between action and crime, challenging boundaries of both established law and conventional protest — those who make us re-examine the importance and often hidden intention behind laws that don’t have our interests in mind and re-examine why we need to wait for a political rally, a gallery exhibition or a nightclub to chant, sing, dance, question, or fight. We’re painfully aware that this is only a very small portion of the artists and organizations involved, but we hope to help deepen the discourse surrounding so-called ‘interventionist art’ and radical subjectivity, and go some way to questioning, not whether a given activity is important as art, but whether and why it is considered, in a more immediate and challenging way, as crime.

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