A leaflet released and distributed at the You Are Here festival. Click on the image above to access a pdf of it.
This year I decided to tell the tale of Aktion Surreal (1991-1994) and ANU Chancelry occupation of 1994. At its best Aktion Surreal was a collaborative artistic project more adventurous and much less restrictive than festivals like You Are Here. However I don’t think we should repeat Aktion Surreal; rather we can do better, be clearer and even more radical in our rejection of the boring commercial morality of capitalism.
In previous leaflets I have criticized the You Are Here festival for being insufficiently critical of the funding it receives from the state and capitalists. For instance one of the main contributors of funds to the festival is the capitalist vigilante organisation Canberra CBD – an organisation which is notoriously anti-art. For instance they help the police hunt down people who graffiti the walls of this city. On the their website they write:
Use your mobile phone to snap photos of graffiti vandalism, go online and send it to Canberra Connect.
Canberra CBD Limited reports damage to the AFP [Australian Federal Police] in an effort to eventually gather enough data that can be used to incriminate the vandals.
Even as Canberra CBD organise to “clean up” and police graffiti they also hand out money to artists that contributes to “beautifying” the drab commercial zones of the city centre. The contradiction is palpable.
Artists at You Are Here must refuse to be associated with the likes of Canberra CBD. To be associated with Canberra CBD is to be a part of its “beautifying” mission and policing of all creative activities that fall outside the commercial “needs” of these property owners.
Indeed artists must make explicit what is essential to the free creation of art and everyday life: the refusal of all restraints.