A User's Guide to Demanding the Impossible

Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination

This guide is not a road map or instruction manual. It's a match struck in the dark, a homemade multi-tool to help you carve out your own path through the ruins of the present, warmed by the stories and strategies of those who took Bertolt Brecht's words to heart: "Art is not a mirror held up to reality, but a hammer with which to shape it."

It was written in a whirlwind of three days in December 2010, between the first and second days of action by UK students against the government cuts, and intended to reflect on the possibility of new creative forms of action in the current movements.

It was distributed initially at the Long Weekend, an event in London to bring artists and activists together to plan and plot actions for the following days, including the teach-in disruption of the Turner Prize at Tate Britain, the collective manifesto write-in at the National Gallery and the UK's version of the book bloc.

Art is useless, so they tell us, as soon as it truly affects the world it loses its status as art. (You never know, it might slide down the slippery slope, becoming instrumental, propaganda, or even worse craft!) The strange thing is that those who tell us this are often the same people who put art to the crudest instrumental use ? the art market. Maybe what they mean is that - art is useless when its not ultimately used to make a profit. Perhaps it's the same logic as that which argues that education has no use outside slotting us into the mutilated world of work and consumption. This guide is for those of us who suspect that art has other uses and who are prepared to seek them.

Words: Gavin Grindon & John Jordan
Design: FLF Illustration: Richard Houguez
Original Cover: The Drawing Shed

Produced by the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination,
London, December 2010.

Released by Minor Compositions, London / New York / Port Watson
Minor Compositions is a series of interventions & provocations drawing from autonomous politics, avant-garde aesthetics, and the revolutions of everyday life.

Minor Compositions is an imprint of Autonomedia

Publication date:
June 1st, 2011


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