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Occupying Culture

A pamphlet about building cultural norms: pdf here

Conversations about agent provocateurs are happening all over Occupy, with good reason. A healthy group culture can help to prevent efforts to disrupt and provoke. 

With one jubilant fist raised, Occupy exploded onto the American activist scene. Direct Democracy using the consensus process is not itself new but I am not aware of any American activist group the size of Occupy that has coalesced and immediately adopted a horizontal structure.

After six months of participating in my local Occupy I began to identify what I found challenging about our process. It was my own expectations about activist culture, the norms of how we interact with one another.

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  • Interdisciplinary Art
  • Technology
  • Laurel
  • Green
  • Ethics

In addition to bringing together practices from different disciplines (multidisciplinarity),

Interdisciplinarity

implies both analysis (taking things apart) and synthesis (bringing things together).

ART is about truth: finding it, expressing it, questioning it, creating it, changing it. At the deepest level I am an artist to create change in the world, and I understand that the best (perhaps only) way to create that change is to change ourselves. I believe art is something one is, as well as something one does.

Like many art forms, particularly those we refer to as craft,

technology

began as function. The quilt that keeps us warm, the shaborri dyed silk we wear against our skin, these artistic explorations also serve us in ways that could be seen as having sheerly practical application. But while potters and weavers can create art that exists alone in a forest, falling without respect to the presence or absence of others, software seems to exist only when we engage with it.

Neolithic, Sumerian and Akkadian, and Greek artworks have deeply influenced my work. Art from these cultures maps a world view in which art and the Sacred are entwined. These depictions of divinity offer us a different perspective on the Sacred.

I embrace digital tools as a way of questioning what art is and what role art has, as our culture transforms into a technological one. It is the fertile ground of intersection that inspires me, the place where

ancient and new combine

to create meaning.

At the core of my engagement with technology is the belief that it affords us the opportunity to

change the dialogues of history,

by including voices that typically go unheard.

ethical systems

in an information society began with questions. They can be consolidated into a single question: Was this information intentionally and directly shared with me personally? I believe my ethical responsibilities, and my options when acting on the information, are contingent on the answer. Our application of publishing metaphors in a search for ethical structures (if it is published online it is information we have the right to act on) ignores both the reality of how we use online tools and the multiplicity of personal identity.