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Performing Revolutionary

Performing Revolutionary

Nicole Garneau | Anne Cushwa



The result of five years of practice-based creative research focused on Nicole Garneau’s UPRISING project, Performing Revolutionary presents a number of methods for the creation of politically charged interactive public events in the style of a how-to guide. UPRISING, a series of public demonstrations in eight locations in the United States and five in Europe, involved thousands of voluntary participants who came together to create radical change through performance art. Bringing together accounts by participants, writers, theorists, artists, and activists, as well as photographs and critical essays, Performing Revolutionary offers a fresh perspective on the challenges of moving from critique to action.
Nicole Garneau is an interdisciplinary artist who makes site-specific performance and project art that is directly political, critically conscious, and community engaged.
Anne Cushwa is an independent art historian, grant writer, and editor. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover Cover
Half Title i
Copyright ii
Title iii
Contents vi
Acknowledgements xiii
Introduction 1
UPRISING: Encounters with Revolutionary Unity and Beauty (An Appreciation) 18
Revolutionary Practice / UPRISING 18
Balance Weeks of War with Acts of Love. Turn That into a Working Methodology / 25
Interjection: Love Letter to Beets 28
Invite Radical Truth Telling / 29
Call for Volunteers. Build a Temporary Ensemble / 33
Claim the Title Activist / 35
Engage the People / 36
Say the Word Revolution / 39
Liberate Our Sexual Encounters / 41
Reflections on UPRISING 44
Occupy Public Spaces Without Permission / 49
Interjection: Remember That Cops Are Human Beings 54
Support Radicals of Color / 57
Honor Revolutionaries and Revolutionary History / 59
Feminist Art Activism and UPRISING 61
Envision the World in Which We Want to Live / 68
Sing Movement Songs / 69
Make Space for Children / 72
Let Love Help Make the Art / 73
Stop Caring about Whether or Not It Is Corny / 75
Teach! / 77
Ask Questions. Listen Compassionately / 78
Interjection: All the Questions 80
Respect the Earth and the Beets That Grow in Her / 82
Produce Beautiful Images / 84
Create Our Own Meaningful Ceremonies (and Then Get Called Out for Cultural Appropriation) / 85
Do Not Add More Events to the Calendar / 88
Violate Norms of Time and Space. Participate Virtually / 90
Give Thanks / 91
Bring the Shadow to Light / 92
Sing on Revolution Square / 93
Sweeten the Deal with Cookies / 94
Speak Bravely in Spite of Obstacles / 95
Give Back to the Grass Roots / 97
Share Queer History in Queer Spaces / 97
Put It on a Flag and Send It Out on the Wind / 99
Be Active in Service of Struggle / 101
Reflection on UPRISING 103
Remember the Guidance of Elders / 104
Enact the Kinds of Relationships We Want with Other People / 104
Revolutionize Gender / 107
Keep It Silent and Unobtrusive / 109
Facilitate Rituals of Release / 111
Make the Road by Walking / 111
Personalize the Revolution / 115
Reflection on UPRISING 117
Sew It by Hand / 125
Re-Enact Revolutionary History / 126
Understand That We Will Never Fit in O ne Box / 127
Construct Metaphors of Community Repair / 130
Recharge Hearts While Protesting Torture / 131
Use Your Body to Remember Murdered Bodies / 134
Name Your Gifts to the World / 136
When a Youth-Led, Liberatory, Anti-Capitalist Revolutionary Movement Starts, Join Immediately / 137
Leave a Trace / 139
Tap into Parties as Sites of Resistance / 140
Be the Touch You Want to Feel: Prefiguring Intimacy in a Time of Deformed Social Relations 142
Serve Hot Tea to Cold Strangers / 148
Recall Moments When You Believed the World Might Actually Change for the Better / 149
Offer Feathers and Poems to the Wind / 151
Speak Aloud the Places Where Our Clothes Were Made / 152
Tend the Graves of Feminist Revolutionaries / 153
Be a Party Trick / 154
Find a Shaded Spot and Listen to Stories of Economic Crisis / 156
Attempt Impossible Tasks / 157
Share Life’s Glories: Bread and Roses / 158
Dematerialize Performance / 159
Choose Honesty and Sincerity as Aesthetic and Revolutionary Strategies. Avoid Art Jargon. Speak Plainly / 162
Release Material Burdens. Clean Up after Ourselves / 163
Appendix: Where I’m From 165
Notes on Contributors 169
Bibliography 171
Index 180
Back Cover Back Cover