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Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority [Paperback]

By Josh MacPhee (Editor) & Erik Reuland (Editor)
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Item description for Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority by Josh MacPhee & Erik Reuland...

Protestors, rows of riot cops, tear gas lobbed into crowds-these are the images that easily flood into the mind when one thinks about a gathering to protest the IMF, the WTO, a meeting of the G8, or the war on Iraq. The movement against corporate globalization has brought anti-authoritarian politics into the forefront of world consciousness, but what do we know-and what have we seen, really-of the cultural and aesthetic sides of these and other rebellions against the status quo? To date, precious little has been written by anarchists and anti-authoritarians about the role of art and culture in society, and in revolutionary movements like these.

Realizing the Impossible is an inclusive and sprawling collection of art and writings that addresses this gap in our understanding of revolutionary movements. Do-it--yourself printmaking, Zapatista video, street art in Argentina's popular uprisings, radical puppetry, the monuments to Haymarket martyrs, turn-of-the-century Australian Industrial Workers of the World printmakers, illustrator Clifford Harper, and wobbly poet Carlos Cortez are just a few themes in this collection that bridges time and geographical and cultural boundaries.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   319
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.8" Width: 7.75" Height: 7.75"
Weight:   1.35 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Jan 1, 2007
Publisher   AK Press
ISBN  1904859321  
ISBN13  9781904859321  

Availability  0 units.

More About Josh MacPhee & Erik Reuland

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Josh MacPhee is a cultural worker living in Brooklyn, NY. His activities often revolve around themes of history, radical politics, and public space. His books include "Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures" (co-edited with Dara Greenwald), "Paper Politics: Socially Engaged Printmaking Today, Reproduce and Revolt" (edited with Favianna Rodriquez), and "Realizing the Impossible" (edited with Erik Reuland). He also is a member of the political art cooperative and a co-editor of "Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics."

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Arts & Photography > Art > General
2Books > Subjects > History
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > Education Theory > Contemporary Methods > Multicultural
4Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Education > General
5Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > General

Reviews - What do customers think about Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority?

wonderful, passionately and intelligently compiled collection  Aug 2, 2007
Realizing the Impossible is a wonderful, passionately and intelligently compiled collection of art and writing with strong political messages. An anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist persuasion carries from cover to cover and is expressed throughout. Through their work, the featured artists reveal messages and statements and resistance to globalization, state authority and oppression. Interwoven into their social critiques is a common belief that a new world is necessary.

The collection contains three sections: "In Print," "Moving Images and Interventions" and "Theories." Within each of these sections are essays, interviews and art that focus on specific events and people ranging from the Haymarket Riot, radical puppetry, queer art and the politics of space and land reclamation.

The reader is taken all over the world and to generations past as Realizing the Impossible brilliantly educates about global resistance to the rise of corporate power. After reading this book, it's obvious that movements of resistance cross boundaries, cultures, time, and are expressed in many ingenious ways. Prints, photographs, street art, paintings and more go hand in the hand with the text and together they provide powerful statements. The art is beautiful, the writings are poignant and the reader is left with a perfect opportunity to reconsider and evaluate the world context in which we live, and the history behind the radical movements against traditionally dominant world powers.
This book honestly deserves way more than 5 stars!!!  Jun 18, 2007
Beautifully illustrated, "Realizing the Impossible" is a fascinating collection of interviews, essays, and artwork celebrating the politics and aesthetics of anti-authoritarian visual arts. From stencil art in Argentina to The Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont to radical video collectives in the US and Mexico, "Realizing the Impossible" documents the creative genius of a broad range of cultural workers utilizing art as an instrument of social change. Among the numerous interviews, I especially enjoyed the ones with the illustrator Clifford Harper and the painter Gee Vaucher, a member of the legendary British anarcho-punk band Crass. Reading this incredible anthology is truly inspirational. It will challenge the way you perceive public space and encourage you to incorporate beauty into your everyday activism. It will also remind you of the enormous power of art to transform human consciousness in a way that political slogans seldom can. By liberating our imaginations and providing visions of a better world, anti-authoritarian artists play a vital role in our movements for peace and social justice. Thank you AK Press for what might easily be your best book yet!
Indeed, "Realizing The Impossible" is a particularly important and timely addition   Jun 9, 2007
Compiled, organized, and co-edited by artist, writer, curator, and activist Josh MacPhee in cooperation with Erik Reuland (sometime editor of the radical political and art zine 'Trouble in Mind'), "Realizing The Impossible: Art Against Authority" is an anthology of commentaries on the relationship of aesthetics and politics in anti-authoritarian social movements which today are principle focused on opposing corporate globalization and its authoritarian governmental enablers. Profusely illustrated throughout with black-and-white images, "Realizing The Impossible" is arranged into the major sectional themes of 'Print'; 'Moving Images and Interventions'; and 'Theories'. This compendium of articles, essays, and writings is especially recommended reading for anarchists, political activists, political science students, and counter-culture enthusiasts. Indeed, "Realizing The Impossible" is a particularly important and timely addition to academic and community library Political Science reference collections.
From avant-garde to artistic insurrection  Mar 12, 2007
On receiving Realizing the Impossible, I was immediately reminded of Walter Benjamin's 'The Author as Producer'. Taking consideration of art, literature and print newspaper, Benjamin contends that a revolution occurs in such mediums only when there is a reformulation in both form and content. This reformulation Realizing the Impossible accomplishes to an outstanding degree. The eye looking over its pages is confronted not only with a distinctly anarchist analysis of art-something not achieved in a systematic way since Herbert Read's work on poetry and children's drawings-but also with a wholly 'anarchic' design. Text and image merge and collide with the promise of insurrectionary potentialities. Footnotes jut from left and right; things are not where they are 'expected' to be. Chapters blur and speak to each other. Headings slope, text moves vertically. Realizing the Impossible is indeed a wonderfully designed book, fully practicing the ideals of anarchy.
Apart from an excellent design, Realizing the Impossible undoubtedly provides a challenging, inspiring, and well-needed account of art's relationship to anarchism. The long history of this relationship is one of the most interesting aspects of the book. This is so, for much of this history is unknown or even forgotten. For those who seek an understanding of the history of anarchist art, Realizing the Impossible provides an excellent overview, with more specific discussions of indivdual artists: Clifford Harper, Flavio Constantini.
Contemporary anarchist art movements are a feature of the second section of the book, covering topics such as anarchist film interventions in Scandinavia, print art in Indonesia, and puppet-making across Europe and North America. These sections prove illuminating because of the countless interviews with people actually involved in these art movements. Indeed, all of the books published by AK Press demonstrate a willingness to let actual people speak, as opposed to academics cloistered away in the realm of 'pure' theory.
Theory is though not lacking from Realising the Impossible, but it is accessible without being condescending. David Graeber's article on the 'twilight of Vanguardism' is a definite highlight. These chapters do indeed proffer the lineaments of new theories of anarchist art.
In all, Realizing the Impossible is a marvellous work that opens up the possibility of conceiving of an art that both opposes authority but also the elitist authority of art as a distinct sphere. This text contributes to realizing the potential that had always been contained, but is so often repressed, within art: the perception of a different world opened onto the promise of a total revaluation of existence.

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