An interactive memorial to the Gazans killed during Israeli Operation Protective Edge, July 2014. Created by Tarek Sherif and myself, with music by Stefan Christoff and Rebecca Foon. The dead have names… (most of them)
6 years ago, I designed a street poster in opposition to Israel’s “Operation Cast lead”, and in support of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. In 2010, I helped to launch Imaging Apartheid, the poster project for Palestine, which also included a silkscreen version of the poster, printed by Jesse Purcell of Just Seeds. Over time, the poster design and the project have expanded their reach, and I’m proud that my contributions have brought visibility to the cause of Palestinian liberation.
Toronto (+1 Montreal, +1 NYC via Tennessee) AMC crew returning to the Wayne State parking lot
Last weekend I attended my first ever Allied Media Conference in Detroit, Michigan. I was deeply inspired (and a little overwhelmed) by both the conference and the city itself, and hope to be back for the next edition. The AMC brings together thousands of participants engaged in media activism, a large percentage of whom also present sessions and workshops, and truly is a network of networks. It being my first conference, I don’t feel like I’m well positioned to attempt to describe it, in all its diversity and complexity, but I thought I would share some notes all the same, to document and provide touch points moving forward back in Montreal.
I participated in fewer sessions than I intended to, the pace was far faster than I had imagined, and I often felt I needed a break to absorb and reflect afterwards, rather than rush to the next one. I spent a lot of time hanging out in the Future Design Lab practice space, or wandering the Wayne State grounds, chatting with people and sharing stories. As the weekend progressed, the Future Design lab filled with images and texts, mind maps and posters (and wormholes!), it was a beautiful thing to observe this rich accretion of ideas.
This week I’ll be heading to Detroit to participate in the 16th Annual Allied Media Conference. I’m very excited, and slightly nervous, to be presenting a caucas/workshop on Designing Cultures of Resistance.
Extending from the talk I gave at Howl’s Art, Anarchism and Social Movements panel, I want to continue to explore the concrete aspects that surround the practice graphic design, or a specific designed object, and discuss how they can contribute to building a healthy and vibrant culture of resistance (to neoliberal capitalism). My angle comes from a bit of a Neo-Marxist perspective, and the aspects I’ll be looking at are: Materiality and Affect, the contexts of Production and Distribution, (Visual) Language and Identity. Typed out like this, it seems a bit daunting and a bit vague, but the goal is to not be overly theoretical, to ground it in concrete objects and experiences, and most importantly, to engage and listen to what others have to say.
I’m really looking forward to taking in as much as I can of what the conference has to offer, to meet so many great people doing such amazing work, and to get the chance to build something together…
I’m copying + pasting their network principles below, because they’re beautiful and righteous, and they’ll give you a good idea of why I’m so stoked. See you in Detroit!
We are making an honest attempt to solve the most significant problems of our day.
We are building a network of people and organizations that are developing long-term solutions based on the immediate confrontation of our most pressing problems.
Wherever there is a problem, there are already people acting on the problem in some fashion. Understanding those actions is the starting point for developing effective strategies to resolve the problem, so we focus on the solutions, not the problems.
We emphasize our own power and legitimacy.
We presume our power, not our powerlessness.
We spend more time building than attacking.
We focus on strategies rather than issues.
The strongest solutions happen through the process, not in a moment at the end of the process.
The most effective strategies for us are the ones that work in situations of scarce resources and intersecting systems of oppression because those solutions tend to be the most holistic and sustainable.
Place is important. For the AMC, Detroit is important as a source of innovative, collaborative, low-resource solutions. Detroit gives the conference a sense of place, just as each of the conference participants bring their own sense of place with them to the conference.
We encourage people to engage with their whole selves, not just with one part of their identity.
We begin by listening.
Excerpted from Issue 13 of Four Minutes to Midnight, this is my first article for Medium. It’s a scattershot rant on the current state of graphic design, with a brief look back at the International Typographic Union, and what it might mean for us as designers to reflect a little bit more before we make. There are a lot of ideas that I touch upon that I hope I will be able to develop further in writing.
And I’d like to offer an unsolicited plug to the designers at Medium, the UI for writing and reading stories is really great and was super easy to use. Good job.
I’m very excited to announce that I will be participating in the upcoming 16th edition of the Allied Media Conference in Detroit this summer. It’s an event that I’ve heard a lot of great things about, but haven’t had the opportunity to participate in until now. In their own words:
“The AMC is a collaborative laboratory of media-based organizing strategies for transforming our world. The AMC is a network of networks – social justice organizers, community technologists, transformative artists, educators, entrepreneurs, and many others — all using media in innovative ways.”
On the invitation of Toronto-based designer and community organiser Una Lee, I’ll be hosting a session entitled Designing Cultures of Resistance as part of the Future Design Lab. Though, I’m still working out all the details, what I want to address with participants is the ways in which (graphic) design can contribute to community building, beyond its role as a direct communications tool. In other words, how does design operate in affective and strategic ways to build solidarity within and between communities of resistance?
I’ll be writing more about the AMC, and my participation within it, soon. But for now, I wanted to humbly ask for a little grassroots support in order to get me and our crew of artist/activists from Montreal to Detroit. The Future Design Lab has set up a simple fundraising page, please check it out, and if you can, spare a little change for social change.
Filed under: 23:56 issues,events,miscellaneous,type and typography
The long awaited (in my mind at least) thirteenth issue of Four Minutes to Midnight is in the final stages of production. The screen-printed covers have been delivered to the printers, Kata Soho, and they’ve just finished the interior printing on their end. Next steps; cutting down the sheets, collating the pages, binding, and trimming to the final book block. Exciting stuff!
I’ll be posting the details of the issue itself when it’s ready, but for now I wanted to share some in process images and announce the upcoming launch party. We’re excited to be launching the issue as part of the Howl Arts Festival, Tuesday, April 29th at le Cagibi, with musical performances by Loosestrife, Stefan Christoff and our own John “Triangles” Stuart. An inaugural festival of art and revolution seems to be the perfect context to bring this zine/book into the world, especially considering how Four Minutes to Midnight acted as a touchstone to Stefan and I forming the Howl Arts Collective all those years ago. This has been a very long time coming, so we’re hoping you can make it out to celebrate with us.
I recently presented a talk at UQAM’s Centre des Sciences as part of a conference on the state of Research-Creation. I was invited as a member of Artivistic, but I have to admit, I felt a bit out of my league amongst seasoned academics and artists, addressing a subject I wasn’t sure I quite understood properly. Nonetheless, I tackled it from my own perspective, presenting Artivistic’s Promiscuous Infrastrcutures project, and was happy to contribute to the more action-oriented panel Demo or Die.
You can view the video documentation of the panel below (my talk starts 29 minutes in):
Many thanks to Gisèle Trudel for organising the panel and inviting me to rpesent, and many thanks to my fellow panelists, Mel Hogan, Alexandre Castonguay, Sandeep Bhagwati, and Sally-Jane Norman.