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Half of the People Are Stoned and the Other Half Are Waiting for the Next Election*

  • Location:
    New York

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 8pm

Light Industry presents

Half of the People Are Stoned and the Other Half Are Waiting for the Next Election*

Curated by Nick Hallett

*A line written by Paul Simon for Leonard Bernstein's Mass (1971).

A screening of activism-oriented video, performance documentation, and new media from 2004.

As the race to the White House consumes our nation's collective attention, let's take a look back to the 2004 election and celebrate the unique spirit of that year when the art world in New York and across the country took up the mantle of this country's great activist tradition.

Many artists who make political work do so regardless of their calendars, but the high stakes of '04 yielded contexts for agit-prop art and performance unseen since the late 1960s. Initiatives like Downtown for Democracy and the Imagine Festival united New York's artist communities against the Bush administration as the RNC rolled into town. The Internet matured as a critical venue for countercultural action in attempts to revise standard models of protest. Audiences and critics, eager to experience their own distaste for the current state of affairs distilled into forms of art and entertainment, gave greater voice to explicitly political work. Guerrilla theater filled the streets at every opportunity for nose-thumbing, resulting in countless arrests, while cellphone cameras rolled to create a new kind of folk-documentary. Culture and politics collided in vivid and memorable fashion.

This collection of work from four years ago offers itself as something of a time capsule, although not enough time has passed for true nostalgia to set in. Yet the 2008 election is playing itself out very differently than its predecessor. Without a concrete enemy to inspire rage, Americans–artists included–seem to be placing their faith in the system and its candidates. But how different is our country's situation? Aren't we even worse off than four years ago?

Artists include Cory Arcangel/Jonah Peretti, Carbon Defense League, Imaginary Company, Institute for Applied Autonomy, Pauline Oliveros/Ryan Junell, Saul Levine, Jen Liu, Taylor Mac, Laura Parnes, Pink Bloque, Wynne Greenwood, Julie Atlas Muz, Seth Price, Guy Richards Smit/John Pilson/Lou Fernandez, Suicide/Punkcast, Tigger, Aldo Tambellini, Aaron Valdez, and Patrick Lichty/The Yes Men.

Nick Hallett is a musician and curator interested in the intersection of music and visual media. He has programmed at The Kitchen, Netmage, Aurora Picture Show, All Tomorrow's Parties, Artists's Television Access, Pacific Film Archive, Ocularis, Monkey Town, Issue Project Room, New York Underground Film Festival, Chicago Filmmakers, Chicago Underground Film Festival, Mass Art Film Society, and Secret Project Robot among others. His music series, Darmstadt, hosted with Zach Layton, was included in the New York Times's "Best of New Music 2007." He originated the band Plantains, which from 2000 to 2003 performed as a live multimedia outfit, incorporating electronic music and video. Nick enjoys performing music of several varieties, namely experimental contemporary art song of his and other's doing, and has sung recently at The Kitchen and Joe's Pub.

Light Industry is a new venue for film and electronic art in Brooklyn, New York. Developed and overseen by Thomas Beard and Ed Halter, the project will begin as a series of weekly events at Industry City in Sunset Park, each organized by a different artist, critic, or curator.

Half of the People Are Stoned and the Other Half Are Waiting for the Next Election
presented by Light Industry
at Industry City
8:00 pm
55 33rd Street (between 2nd and 3rd Avenue), 3rd Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11232
D, M, N, R trains to 36th Street
Tickets - $6, available at door