News

Occupy Wall Street Launches Pop-Up Art School

by Jillian Steinhauer on August 8, 2012

Flyer for Bold Jez's "Time in the Mind of the Anarchives"

Flyer for Bold Jez’s “Time in the Mind of the Anarchives” (courtesy OAS, click to enlarge)

Hyperallergic devotees may remember that the Occupy Wall Street Arts & Culture Working Group camped out at our headquarters for a two-month residency earlier this year. Now Occupy with Art, an affiliate of the working group, is taking up residence for three months at Bat Haus, a new coworking space in Bushwick, and launching the Occupational Art School (Node #1).

OAS is modeled in part after the residency here and features both events — two or three a month — and classes, which will take place on Wednesday and Friday nights from 7–9 pm. The whole thing kicks off with a pre-opening event tomorrow night, a multimedia installation, presentation and performance by artist and activist Bold Jez called “Time in the Mind of the Anarchives” (#TITMOTA). The program — a “celebration & confabulation,” in the words of co-OAS organizer Paul McLean — will explore the history of OWS through its anarchives, which Jez defines as ”a radically inclusive, directly democratic, open-ended, and open-sourced archive.”

A second part of “Time in the Mind of the Anarchives,” an open potluck and community sharing event, will take place at Bat Haus on Saturday night.

Details of OAS courses are still being worked out, but McLean tells us that “class structure will draw from a variety of inspirations, including but not limited to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood, Pee Wee’s Playhouse, and the European Graduate School intensive transmission model.” According to the OAS prospectus, McLean and other facilitators will tackle broad metaphysical issues like time, space and place, and being, and of course, since this OWS, course structures are not expected to be linear.

Some of this may sound vague, but McLean emphasizes that that’s part of the beauty of OAS: it’s forming and evolving in a slow, “organic” way:

We just have an immense resource in the local artist and intellectual community, coupled with a great demographic of young creatives who are enthusiastic about building alt.community for fun and — kind of as a naturally occurring effect — new forms of art and arts production + learning frameworks. The exchange models for OAS we’re tweaking/working out are right now undergoing daily refinement … The trick is being patient enough to allow all these helpful info-streams to pour into our project, and to not reduce our vision to a one-size-fits-all or cookie-cutter framework that may or may not be right for the people and community(-ies) we would like to serve.

Whatever the Occupational Art School becomes, Occupy with Art is hoping to expand on and replicate it in the future, working towards an eventual global network of OAS-affiliated schools.

Classes at OAS, and some events, will cost money, but McLean says that students will have options of a variety pay plans. Each class will be retailed at $10, but there will be discounts for buying packages and for students who are members of Bat Haus. Plus, this is OWS, which means bartering is always welcome.

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