Art Threat: Hot Docs 22: CanCon and BrandCon

North America’s largest and most sweeping doc-deluge, the Canadian International Hot Docs Festival, is once again in full swing, and the moment wouldn’t be complete, for me at least, without some form of commentary that assesses this institutional giant as it marks another year. In that spirit and as with past “taking stock” previews of ...

Art Threat: Daniel Higgs at Café Oto: A refuge of cultural integrity

In the mosh pit of global corporate excess that claims so much of London (UK) circa 2014, Café Oto is an oasis of cultural intelligence and inspiration. I popped in last night to check out Daniel Higgs and Michael Zerang, and I wasn’t disappointed. Daniel Higgs (formerly of Lungfish) is a compelling performer: part troubadour, ...

The Canadian Progressive: Rehtaeh Parsons: Cartoon depicts RCMP neglect and bias against women

Editorial cartoon via: The Chronicle Herald The Canadian Progressive recommends: Rehtaeh Parsons: Anonymous Says It Has Rape Confession War on women Scathing report accuses RCMP of raping, abusing B.C. Aboriginal women We recommend:Rehtaeh Parsons: Anonymous Says It Has Rape ConfessionRehtaeh Parsons: Top Liberal strategist asked Anonymous to interveneScathing report accuses […] The post Rehtaeh Parsons: ...

Art Threat: Canadian gov’t approves filming immigration raid, deportation process for reality TV

The Canadian government has approved what appears to be the crass exploitation of human suffering for entertainment.  In a new low, Safety Minister Vic Toews approved the filming of an immigration enforcement raid at an East Vancouver construction site for a reality TV show.  In the raid, workers were arrested and some of them face ...

Art Threat: Buying music online is a bad deal

In the United Kingdom, music retailer HMV is on life support. Although HMV Canada’s parent company is mounting a rescue attempt, the brand responsible for 35% of the CD market in Britain may soon collapse, in large part due to the shift towards purchasing music online. While many consumers would rather buy their music from ...

Art Threat: Qatari poet jailed for life for poem celebrating Arab Spring

Qatari poet Muhammad ibn al-Dheeb al-Ajami was sentenced to life in prison for writing and performing a poem celebrating Tunisia’s Arab Spring. The poet’s lawyer, who is appealing the decision, has said that the trial was held in secret, the poet was not allowed to defend himself or even to enter a plea. According to ...

Art Threat: Representing Eisenhower – The ongoing dialogue around the design of the Eisenhower Memorial

I caught wind of a different kind of political art and politics of art this past weekend while reading the latest issue of Vanity Fair. As anyone who’s done any kind of planning in teams can imagine, building a monument can be a mighty task. As it turns out, the recent efforts to create a ...

Art Threat: 7th Berlin Binennale highlights political art – Curator Artus Zmijewski creates exhibition of activist art

When you go to the website for Berlin’s 7th Binennale, you encounter a stream of changing photographs from occupy and protest movements from around the world — Venezia, Toronto, Florence, Malacky, Athens and on and on. It is emblematic of curator Artur Zmijewski’s approach the largest art exhibition in Germany, which opened on April 27. ...

Art Threat: Ai Wei Wei installs live webcams in home – Artists winks at Chinese authorities with a Big Brother flourish

Artist Ai Wei Wei has installed live webcams in his home so that authorities – and worried supporters – can keep track of his day-to-day whereabouts and welfare. Feeling hemmed in by increasingly invasive state surveillance – being followed day-to-day, round-the-clock surveillance on his home, searches of his studio, phone taps, opening his mail — ...

Art Threat: Some kind of monster – Film screening cancelled amid unsubstantiated copyright fears

Canadian filmmaker and activist John Greyson is no stranger to controversy — whether haranguing Justin Bieber to pull concerts scheduled for Israel, supporting queer film festivals in hostile environments, or scuffling with TIFF over the erasure of occupation in special programming, the prolific auteur has seen his share of messy cultural politics. Yet that didn’t ...

Art Threat: News Remix: Mar 23 – April1, 2012 – A bricolage of (some of) last weeks news stories

Nairobi graffiti by artists Uhuru B, Swift, Smokilah and Bankslave Kenyan graffiti artists are painting the walls of Nairobi with reminders of government corruption. Executions are up in the Middle East – in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and Yemen – as governments there continue their efforts to quell political turmoil. Malaysia is introducing a minimum ...

Art Threat: News Remix: March 15-22, 2012 – Bricolage of (some of) last week’s headlines

This is the first in a new (ir)regular installment summing up last week’s news headlines using a ‘remix’ style — a quirky restless glance into the wreckless feckless immediate past. (Inspired by Harpers Magazine’s ‘Scientific Summary’.)  Aerial photo of tsunami debris from Japan US peacekeeping forces joined with Congolese army troops to attack rebel militants hiding ...

Art Threat: KONY 2012 and the mischievous media habits of slacktivists

Video still from Kony 2012. I was swamped at work last week, when I took a little Twitter break to see what was going on in the world. My feed was bombarded with what appeared to be a video gone viral, called Kony 2012. Even celebrities like Rihanna, Taylor Swift, and Kim Kardshian, you know, ...

Art Threat: WikiLeaks dump reveals Dow Chemical spies read Art Threat

Today WikiLeaks began releasing a collection of emails obtained from the servers of Stratfor, an American private espionage firm with a client list that boasts such warm and fuzzy companies as Dow Chemical, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and the US Department of Homeland Security. According to WikiLeaks, “the emails show Stratfor’s web of informers, ...

Art Threat: What’s the value of an art school? – Contextualizing the crisis at NSCAD

NSCAD's modern new Port campus overlooks Halifax harbour. Photo by Rory Hyde. Celebrating its 125th anniversary next year, The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design is the oldest of Canada’s four dedicated art universities. With slightly over 1000 full time students and spread across three campuses in downtown Halifax, NSCAD is widely recognized as ...

Art Threat: Looking for the Political at Art Basel

The politics at Art Basel, one of the largest contemporary art exhibitions in the US, may be hard to find, but they’re there for those who know where to look.  On December 4th Karen Rosenberg wrote an article in the New York Times (entitled “Art Basel: Business Over Activism”) highlighting the lack of political art ...

Art Threat: Networked Shock Art: Voina in the News – Analysis of political interventions of Russian art collective

For the last year Vorotnikov and Nikolaev have been waging a legal battle with Russian authorities for their freedom. While these challenges facing Voina have been well documented on Art Threat, Free Voina, and other alternative media sources, another battle is being fought: against state, art world, and dominant media attempts to contain Voina’s message. ...

Art Threat: VOINA member arrested, whereabouts unknown – Russian art collective faces ongoing harrassment

Leonid Nikolaev's arrest, December 4, 2011 Yesterday, founding member of the Russian art collective VOINA, Leonid Nikolaev, was abducted by Russian police and his whereabouts are unknown. Nikolaev was attending a rally against election fraud in St. Petersburg when he was grabbed by police along with other protesters and taken away. Over 70 people were ...

Art Threat: Happy Birthday Nietzche & Foucault!

Site-specific sculptural installation by Scott Roberts (2006) There’s only a little to say about this – Michel Foucault was born October 15, 1926, and by weird coincidence, Friedrich Nietzsche was born on the same day 82 years earlier- October 15, 1844. Big thinkers in the canon of Dead White Men. So what, you might be ...

Art Threat: China massively expands CCTV surveillance – Surveillance camera theater companies around the world "cheer" new audiences

In what will generally be condemned by everyone as a creepy dystopian move, the Chinese government has massively expanded its video surveillance network into supermarkets, schoolrooms, university classrooms, malls – and, in a special post-modern twist, into theaters and cinemas. Over 5 million cameras have been installed throughout the country, and the Chinese government’s video ...

Art Threat: Myth-busting the Internet: The truth about throttling, congestion and usage-based billing – New report offers scathing critique of Canadian telecoms industry

A new report challenges claims made by Canada’s largest telecommunication companies in recent disputes over Internet billing and governance. Casting An Open Net: A Leading-Edge Approach to Canada’s Digital Future, offers an at times scathing critique of telecom positions on Internet congestion, BiTorrent use, billing strategies and throttling and backs its criticisms with topnotch research ...

Art Threat: A film festival grows up – Hot Docs wrestles with the politics and popularity of documentary

The international film festival is a strange creation. Like documentary, it isn’t any one thing. Instead, it resembles a leaky holding tank, the contents of which constantly seep, form new bodies, expand, transform and otherwise confound precise categorization. It is an organism eschewing stasis: regardless of size, import or cultural capital, the festival must constantly ...

Art Threat: The need for satire – Canada’s troublesome lack of a consistent satirical voice

In an interview with Henry Jenkins, the Provost’s Professor of Communication, Journalism, and Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, writer Amber Day explained the importance of political satire. Day, the author of Satire and Dissent, explained that it excels in “deconstructing the scripted quality of the contemporary political conversation.” A month into the ...

Art Threat: A Conservative government: What now?

Last week I wrote an editorial exploring the role of the arts in creating healthy and prosperous countries. With the government of Canada making major shifts across the board last night, becoming a Conservative majority government (I refuse to call it the “Harper Government”) many artists and arts organizations are writhing at the thought of ...

Art Threat: The arts are vital to our prosperity

Every day we wake up and try to strike a balance between getting our own lives lived well and the reality of life. There is always something going on that is larger than us: unrest sweeping through Libya and Egypt; an surge in the capitalist system that is creating an ever larger gap between rich ...