Shades Of Noir on ‘Lessons in Anti-Apathy’ Curated and hosted by Liv Wynter featuring whereisanamendieta, Sisters Uncut, STRIKE! Magazine, London Palestine Action and Dysphoria Collective.
The current political climate appears to have created a split between those taking to the streets and those who have spiralled into a perpetual state of apathy, into stone cold coolness and a total lack of engagement. Capitalism, racism, and patriarchy want you to feel powerless in order to thrive, and to fight back is to begin to dismantle these oppressive structures. Institutions of power must be held accountable, from the gallery to the government to the fascist police state. – Anti-Apathy
Terms of reference:
Apathy: Being in a state of indifference, or not caring one way or another. Lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. You can’t be bothered, basically.
Anti- Apathy: Striving for the opposite of this.
I personally find that many individuals, not all, but many; unless directly affected by situations (be it domestic violence, war, discrimination, mental illness, racism, sexism, the list goes on) or indirectly through another individual close to them or known by them, are in, and may well remain in a perpetual state of apathy. Like passive bystanders, watching the screen as the spectacle is played over and over again and the stories are told over and over again, they are heard but never really registered, only to be received with a –sigh- and ‘oh dear..’. *Adam Curtis ‘Oh dearism’ playing in the background of my thoughts.*
An event like ‘Anti-Apathy’ is of vital importance, while it may seem like those that are already proactive within their communities or have just started, or may be interested in starting are the only one’s attending and that are searching for these spaces; it’s essential to remember that they are physically occupying a space and that they are present. Their mere existence within the community is a statement within itself and this topic of their physical bodies (Bame bodies, non-gendered bodies, …)occupying spaces and creating platforms to speak on apathy, injustice or for open discussions, have, do and will continue to be seen, make a difference, inspire and ultimately cause change.
Shades of Noir attending the event on the 4th of August 2016 in South-east London at Arcadia Missa. The space was tucked away under the train tracks of Peckham Rye, it was small and welcoming.
Dysphoria Collective’s Zines could be found within the space on tables, surrounded by banners from SistersUncut and whereisanamendieta on the walls. The audience appeared to be quite local to the area with a few coming from afar, there was a good number to fill the space without overcrowding so all could see and hear. The panel ( consisting of representatives of all four active organisation visible at the front) sat with a slideshow of visual imagery on the side wall.
The talk consisted of a brief presentation on each organisation with a couple of tips and lessons from each organisation on combating apathy, amongst other important points raised by each organization, starting with London Palestine Action. London Palestine Action is a network of people in London taking creative action against Israeli apartheid through BDS and other effective, participatory Palestine solidarity work. Key Points mentioned from the representative for members of the audience interested in activism or becoming part of an activist collective were to be clear on why you are doing this, to question and be clear about your motives. We were also encouraged to learn from others and to be flexible in how we respond.
London Palestine Action was followed by STRIKE! Magazine. STRIKE! Magazine never speaks from one perspective, but is a platform for those involved in grassroots resistance, anti-oppression politics, and the philosophies surrounding these movements. We prioritise the voices of people directly affected by oppressive structures, those on the front lines of political change. STRIKE! presents radical politics and philosophy using accessible language, supported by engaging design and powerful imagery. http://strikemag.org/
The representative of STRIKE! Magazine highlighted the importance of celebrating activists and giving them a platform to be able to voice their opinions. They also spoke about the difference between being -Re-active –( acting on impulse and outrage of situations and then going to an anti-climax state) and -Pro- active-(organisation and planned action). Key points such as the importance of creating inclusive safe spaces and also the image of the branding and the significance of the aesthetic of the magazine with the content were also mentioned.
Sisters Uncut were next We are Sisters Uncut. We stand united with all self-defining women who live under the threat of domestic violence, and those who experience violence in their daily lives. We stand against the life-threatening cuts to domestic violence services. We stand against austerity.
The representative of SistersUncut introduced the community and what they stood for and also shared their experience on becoming an activist during their first year of forming part of SistersUncut. Highlighting the key points on the overall importance of making activism accessible. As intersectionality was already being practiced they spoke on the difficulty of having an intergenerational conversation, which is crucial. What about our mother’s voices and those of our siblings? How can they also be part of the community? The brief presentation was incredibly inspiring and igniting. For more information on Sisters Uncut, please check them out here
Zines by Dysphoria Collective were found within the space and were also mentioned in the discussion – We are a radical trans health collective that produces publications around the idea of mental health and how it relates to trans identity, especially ideas around dysphoria and mental health. We are also a burgeoning protest collective doing direct actions for improving trans healthcare. Find out more here: https://dysphoriacollective.wordpress.com/
The panel discussion was brought to a close with a reading. A poem written for the artist Ana Mendieta. Whereisanamendieta – WHEREISANAMENDIETA is an archiving project which collects the artworks and writings from artists who are female, non binary or people of colour as a retaliation to the erasure of our works and our histories by institutions. We intend to create a platform where people can safely create this work without risking institutional backlash or being blacklisted for political involvement.
After a quick cigarette and toilet break the Q&A session was underway with questions on the importance of legal advisors, how BAME members are protected, the concerns of Women of Colour within activism and the importance of the use of language as a collective; all discussed by various representatives on the panel and the audience. The evening was incredibly informative, inclusive and inspiring. Want to be part of the conversation and get involved?
Find more info from the following links:
#Green + Black cross collective act as legal advisers: We are an independent grassroots project set up in the spirit of mutual aid to support social and environmental struggles within the UK.