The Occupy Movement began with a simple question, “What is your one demand?”
From that singular question, a grass roots phenomenon known as “Occupy Wall Street” became the growing face and voice of the people of the United States. The movement swept through our country and spread to sites across the world. As OWS moves into spring with plans to continue and expand on its initial momentum and message, we (Diran Lyons and Janice Ledgerwood) marveled at how OWS is changing the landscape of memes, the currency of conversation and of poetry, and wondered at how artists are responding to that (re)evolution. We decided to organize an exhibit and call it Occupy Zeitgeist.
Zeitgeist is a German word for which there is not an equivalent word in English. It is defined as “the spirit of the times” or “the spirit of the age.” Zeitgeist is the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, and/or political climate within a nation or even within specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with such a time, era, or group.
When reduced to its initials, Occupy Zeitgeist becomes OZ, the fanciful place of Frank Baum’s famous allegory, which seems particularly appropriate and timely. Indeed, a critical interpretation of The Wizard of Oz by Henry M. Littlefield (http://www.amphigory.com/oz.htm) reveals an economic and historical context that is similar to our current situation.
“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” we are told over and over again. And, for a long time, we didn’t. For a long time we were all asleep, content with what we had (or thought we had) … an illusion of security, freedom, and choice.
But we are awake now and we have a message for those who wish us to sleep again, those who would suppress, repress, and oppress the 99% and the smaller Occupy Movement:
I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: “Two cast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed:
And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing besides remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley
A Call for Entries
We are seeking art from various Occupy encampments as well as art and design inspired by OWS. It is our vision to create an interactive, multi-media, participatory exhibit that resembles an Occupy village. We are looking for:
• Tents as art forms
• Paintings, sculptures, photography, produced by individuals or collectives
• Digital files of posters to create a looping slideshow
• Poems that can be performed by our local poets
• Performance art
Simultaneously, we are organizing a film and video festival to accompany the exhibition. For the Occupy Zeitgeist (OZ) Video Festival, we are looking for short and full-length documentaries and remix videos of any length.
The parameters for both the exhibit and the video festival are inclusive, as Occupy has addressed a wide range of issues. The work can directly relate to the Occupy sites that have generated extensive documentary footage or collections of art. It could address the corruption of Wall Street, the banking system, the NDAA, SOPA/PIPA, the 1% or issues of privilege, the plight of the 99% during the economic downturn, the depletion of civil liberties, etc.
There is no entry fee. However, participating artists must pay for their own shipping to and from the exhibit. This applies to both the exhibition and the video festival.
The Occupy Zeitgeist (OZ) Exhibition
To submit any tangible artwork (see below for video and film), please send jpeg files to the following address: Occupy.Zeitgeist.Exhibition@gmail.com. If you are submitting performance work, please send a YouTube or Vimeo link of the proposed piece to the aforementioned address. Please include your name, title of the piece, and a short description of the work. If you have any questions, we would enjoy hearing from you. There is no limit to the amount of artwork that can be submitted by an individual or collective, but do understand that there are limits to the physical gallery space and that not all artwork will be accepted.
The Occupy Zeitgeist (OZ) Video Festival
To submit video or film for consideration (YouTube, Vimeo links only), please send them to the following address: Occupy.Zeitgeist.Festival@gmail.com. Please include your name, title of the piece, and a short description of the work. If you have any questions, we would enjoy hearing from you. There is no limit to the amount of videos that may be submitted by an individual or collective, but do understand that there are limits to the time we have to showcase the videos and films and that not all of them will be accepted.
The festival will feature invited video works by Andy Baio, Elisa Kreisinger, Martin Leduc, Corey Ogilvie, Erik Nelson, Adam Quirk, and The Yes Men.
The program will also include the feature length documentaries by Dennis Trainor, Jr. and “The Occupy Movie” (by Andrew Halliwell, Maziar Ghaderi, and Corey Ogilvie).
• March 15 – May 10: please submit your artwork, film, or video for consideration
• May 15: notifications sent to all
• May 30: all accepted entries must arrive to be included
• May 31 – June 6: installation
• June 7, 5:00-8:00 pm: Occupy Zeitgeist (OZ) opens at Gallery 25, 660 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, CA 93721
• June 9, 16, and 23: Occupy Zeitgeist (OZ) Video Festival premiers (times to be announced)
• June 30: final day of the exhibition
• July 7: return of artwork
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