K.A.R.A.T.E. Has Immense Potential And It Is Up To Us To Help It Reach Its Lofty Goals
K.A.R.A.T.E. (Kids are rallying against the empire) has launched a site. Beyond the information available on the website, I was unclear how exactly K.A.R.A.T.E. would function beyond the pending PosterBoy case against Henry Matyjewicz. I put in a call to our friends over at the PosterBoy movement for a little more information and got a response this afternoon. Essentially there are 6-7 individuals behind the K.A.R.A.T.E. project all of whom showed their support in the form of visits, phone calls, emails, money, art, and awareness, when Henry was initially arrested months ago. Collectively they saw a need for a response model that was knowledgeable about what to do when someone is arrested in a public art related crime. This much info is available through the website, but what I wanted to know was how will K.A.R.A.T.E. move forward, what are the participants expectations for the future. Is there a life for K.A.R.A.T.E. beyond PosterBoy? The answer is a resounding yes, but the outcome is dependent on you!!!
As of yet, K.A.R.A.T.E. is dealing solely with the PosterBoy case. (they have not been contacted by other artists yet in need of assistance) That said, we all know the PosterBoy case has the potential to be a landmark study in how public art practices that challenge current systems of public space usage will be dealt with by our municipalities. It is only expected that K.A.R.A.T.E. should concentrate their full attention on this first case. The outcome of this case will potentially have long terms affects on how unauthorized public art is viewed by legal systems and the general public, as well as how alternative forms of public protest beyond the typical rally or sit in will be integrated into public practice. The stakes are high to say the least.
While the scope of the K.A.R.A.T.E. campaign has yet to reach its full potential-providing legal assistance for a number of artists at any one time and ultimately empowering citizens to go out and challenge the system in ways never imagined before-this in no way diminishes it's importance right now at this very moment even in its current form. In fact the potential for K.A.R.A.T.E. to grow into something much larger should embolden anyone at all interested in promoting a public environment susceptible to public discourse to pick up their checkbook, donate art, or in any way help get this program off the ground with a bang.
The PosterBoy movement has taken on a tremendous task, partially out of necessity, but also with an expectation that a legal battle would be the outcome of the original PosterBoy art movement. While you might want to watch from the sidelines to see how this will all play out, now is not the time. K.A.R.A.T.E. is blazing new and unfamiliar ground with potentially far reaching consequences for how our cities are used by citizens, and how they will allow public participation in their very creation. This is not art related! This will affect us all and it is our responsibility to push this first case as hard as possible. A big win for Henry will embolden not only artists but lawyers, city agencies, and other potential aid to hop on board when new cases come down on artists or individuals trying to positively change the spaces they live in.
You can start helping by coming out to the Bushwick Block Party this Sunday. Talib Kweli will be playing amongst others. Have fun and get behind something you believe in.!