Breaking In To Public Space, Sermon, Videos, and Discussion with Reverend Billy & Savitri D of the Church of Life After Shopping
Reverand Billy is something to see and his thoughts on public space always strike a chord with me. He will be speaking tomorrow as part of the Conflux festival and I look forward to attending. This should be very exciting and outline some of the fundamental ways in which direct action can alter our shared public spaces. I hope to see you there.
© Photo by Jacquie Soohen
Date: Saturday 9.19
Start Time: 4:00pm
Location: Einstein Auditorium (Rm 105), Barney building
Talking and listening in public space is the oldest form of media, the oldest form of Democracy. How do we assemble in the shadow of the commodity wall?
We believe the struggle for public space is the struggle for democracy itself and we have dedicated ourselves to that cause for the last ten years, particularly in New York City, where draconian permitting regulations, commercial saturation and privatization have confined public assembly to performance pens and sidewalk memorials. What defines a public space ultimately is use. We must use public space and we must use it fearlessly. Any gains we have made defending public space come from being in public space, doing what has always been done there. The fastest way to reclaim public space is to go and get in it.
© Photo by Not An Alternative
Of course we want some assurance that the parks department won’t hassle us, that the NYPD will not arrest us for loitering or mischief, and we can and should lobby for our rights but we won’t get that assurance from policy. Afterall the law that protects us in public space has already been written, its called the First Amendment and it won’t save you from being frisked, harassed or even arrested. The only real authority in public space is public action. Bodies in space, talking and listening. The freedom starts there, it doesn’t end there. Freedom is not a resting state, it is an active state. Join us for a lively discussion of strategies, some inspiring words from the Reverend and video clips of recent actions and media production.
© Photo by Brennan Cavanaugh
The Church of Life After Shopping is a radical performance community, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. They are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters, earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities on 4 continents defending land, life and imagination from reckless development and the imperatives of global capital. They employ multiple tactics and creative devices, including cash register exorcisms, retail interventions, cell phone operas combined with grass roots organizing and media activism. They are entertainers and artists, performing regularly throughout The US and Europe, have produced two full length cd’s, a television series ( The Last Televangelist) and are the subject of multiple documentaries, including “What Would Jesus Buy?”, a Christmas movie by Morgan Spurlock. Reverend Billy has published 2 books and he and Ms D are at work on another. Reverend Billy is The 2009 Green Party candidate for Mayor of NYC.