No, Red Wedge will not be fucking moving to Canada, no matter how close to reality the phrase "President Trump" may be getting... With all due respect to our canuck comrades.
What we will be doing, however, is presenting not one but two panels at this year's North American iteration of Historical Materialism, which will be held at York University in Toronto on the 13th, 14th and 15th of May. The abstracts for the panels are below.
As the first abstract says, we are planning to premiere Red Wedge No. 2, "Art Against Global Apartheid" at the conference, and we will have a table with fresh-off-the-press copies available for purchase. More information on HM Toronto, including registration options, are found at the conference website.
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Red Wedge Panel 1: "Art Against Global Apartheid"
Red Wedge will be premiering its second issue in May of 2016. This first panel at Historical Materialism Toronto will serve as an introduction to the issue’s theme and an introduction to the publication for those who may not yet be familiar with it. It will argue that the radical geographic, temporal and cultural shifts of neoliberalism, along with the assault on the left and working class cultural resources, have dramatically changed the form, content and reception of artistic and aesthetic expression. It will also examine some of the ways that artists, musicians, performers, writers and cultural workers have responded to this reality. The three presentations comprising this panel will provide an argumentative arc. Each one will touch on each question, but will have a particular emphasis on one over the others.
- The ways in which de facto and de jure segregation under neoliberalism have reshaped cultural production: the use of privately-funded mural projects and the shuttering of music venues in gentrification, the forced closure of theaters in Palestine, the generalized expropriation and privatization of cultural resources in poor communities and communities of color, etc.
- How prevalent, essentialized notions of artistic and cultural gestation and exchange (ideas of “cultural appropriation,” insistences that only certain genres are “valid” for political appraisal) reinforce this segregation and how a viable, dynamic Marxist framework can provide an alternative rooted in a radical cosmopolitanism.
- A look at how practical work being done among artists is seeking to forge such a Marxist artistic praxis for the neoliberal era, in particular the work being done by the November Network of Anti-Capitalist Artists, which was formed in 2015 as a platform for studio and visual artists to collectively discuss the challenges of their artistic work as socialists.
The panel will include the following presentations:
- “Time/Space/Resistance and the Aesthetics of Neoliberalism” by Alexander Billet
- “Bitch Better Have My Marxism: Notes On the Intersection of Politics and Pop Culture” by Crystal Stella Becerril
- “November Network of Anti-capitalist Artists” by Adam Turl
Red Wedge Panel 2: "Interrogating Uneven and Combined Development in Aesthetics"
Recent years have seen an application of the Marxist concept of uneven and combined development (UCD) to the study of cultural and aesthetic production. With a few exceptions, however, this application has been limited to the medium of literature. This panel will seek to interrogate the framework of UCD and aesthetics through questioning the nature of the relationship and expanding said framework into music and visual art. It will also seek to further the discussion regarding the relationship between aesthetics and the geographic changes of neoliberalism initiated in the first Red Wedge panel being proposed for HM Toronto: “Art Against Global Apartheid.” The specific aim is to both broaden the discussion about UCD and aesthetics and bring concerns regarding radical artistic practice to its fore. The following questions will be examined:
- How does uneven and combined development impact visions of the past and future, ideas of modernity, modernism and utopia?
- How far and/or directly can one apply the framework of UCD to aesthetic production? Is it a useful framework at all or merely a heuristic?
- How do geography and temporality in the context of neoliberalism shape the different kinds of cultural expression that arise from various locations? What can be said about the interaction of these various expressions?
- Just as UCD has been applied to understanding world literature, can it be employed to understand visual art or music? In what way do the political commitments and ideologies adopted by artists or musicians interact with this, if at all?
This panel will incorporate the following papers:
- “Modernity’s Dungeons: Fossil Fuels, Culture and Combined and Uneven Development in the United States,” by Trish Kahle
- “Don’t Forget the Charm: There Can Be No Uneven Development In Art,” by Jordy Cummings
- “Art, Uneven and Combined Development and the Gothic/Futurist Working Class” by Adam Turl
- “Wicked Messages: Uneven (Under)Development in the Music of Fred Ho” by Alexander Billet
"Feuilleton" is the Red Wedge editors' blog, focused on announcements, events, and debate relevant to the radical arts community.