benj gerdes

a portfolio not always in sync with internet time


My artistic practice is split between two equally important and parallel bodies of work.  My work in projected installation and screen-based media, such as Cops Out of Order: One Shot at a Time, or the forthcoming Room of the Sun, uses duration and spatialization to stage extended analyses of the economic and political origins of the present. The second set of works are public projects or interventions that utilize a range of tactics for collaboration, media intervention, and aesthetic imagination becoming direct action.  This work, such as the ongoing public action We Can Run the Economy, focus on participationand the possibilities of mobility and scalability, often occupying networked or virtual spaces as well as physical spaces.  These two bodies of work unfold along differing temporal scales and posit distinct notions of efficacy, but taken together constitute a practice working along multiple temporalities and modes of producing meaning and contestation.  Since this site is primarily a portfolio of my work as an artist, numerous collaborative activist efforts are not detailed here but can be found on my CV.

16Beaver A primary site of collaboration and dialogue for a number of years in New York has been as a participant and organizer of 16Beaver Group.  16Beaver is the address of a space initiated/run by artists to create and maintain an ongoing platform for the presentation, production, and discussion of a variety of artistic/cultural/economic/political projects.  It is the point of many departures/arrivals.  Two recent and/or ongoing projects in which I’ve played important roles:

Continental Drift A series of ongoing counter-seminars organized in New York and elsewhere with Brian Holmes and numerous others.  In November of 2008, with the help of Croatian curatorial collective What, How, and For Whom? (WHW) our most recent iteration of this project occurred in Zagreb.

Signs of Change October 11-13, 2008.  Organized with Paige Sarlin and Dara Greenwald in conjunction with the exhibition Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now organized by Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee at Exit Art. The Signs of Change Weekend of Screenings and Discussion brings together films and videos from the past 40 years that raise questions about what it means to participate in both cultural production and political action. The goal of the weekend is to provide a forum for sustained discussion of political documentary, its history, its uses, its aesthetics and politics. Taking as its focus the relation between moving images and social movements, we hope this weekend will prompt participants to think about the form and function of documentary images used in conjunction with left-wing movement building.

CAMEL I was a founding member of the artist collective CAMEL and actively involved through 2006. I am happy that the group is enjoying a resurgent online presence as, and will be publishing a project via their web platform in early 2009.

Friends of William Blake A loosely-knit collective of New York artists, writers and activists.  In 2004, the group produced The People’s Guide to the Republican National Convention – a map of police stations, hospitals, transportation hubs and RNC-specific locations, from the hotels to the offices of military-industrial companies.

Other collaborations As collaboration is an important component of my practice, I maintain ongoing and individual project collaborations with a number of artists, activists, and writers.  This includes past projects with Scott Pagano and Alina Viola Grumiller, and current and forthcoming work with Jennifer Hayashida.  And many, many activist collaborations.

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