Sunday, December 7, 2008

Pop Goes the Government

How does Obama plan to uphold his Mandate For Change surrounded by advisers who have spent their careers building in pro-establishment support for military interventionism and neoliberal economic policy.

Jeremy Scahil writes in the article, "Obama's Kettle of Hawks" for

"But the problem with Obama's appointments is hardly just a matter of bad vision on Iraq. What ultimately ties Obama's team together is their unified support for the classic US foreign policy recipe: the hidden hand of the free market, backed up by the iron fist of US militarism to defend the America First doctrine."

To learn more about where US foriegn policy is headed, a good alternative news site is

Isn't Shepard Fairey annoying? Detournement the Streets.
Obama COPE? -wheat paste

OBAMA COPE - Poster Wheat Paste

Taken from the Avocado Declaration

When social justice, peace or civil rights movements become massive in scale, and threaten to become uncontrollable and begin to win over large numbers of people, the Democratic Party begins to shift and presents itself as a supposed ally. Its goal is always to co-opt the movement, demobilize its forces and block its development into an alternative, independent political force.

The Republican Party has historically acted as the open advocate for a platform which benefits the rule of wealth and corporate domination. They argue ideologically for policies benefiting the corporate rulers. The Republicans seek to convince the middle classes and labor to support the rule of the wealthy with the argument that "What's good for General Motors is good for the country," that what benefits corporations is also going to benefit regular people.

The Democratic Party is different. They act as a "broker" negotiating and selling influence among broad layers of the people to support the objectives of corporate rule. The Democratic Party's core group of elected officials is rooted in careerists seeking self-promotion by offering to the corporate rulers their ability to control and deliver mass support. And to the people they offer some concessions, modifications on the platform of the Republican Party. One important value of the Democratic Party to the corporate world is that it makes the Republican Party possible through the maintenance of the stability that is essential for "business as usual." It does this by preventing a genuine mass opposition from developing. Together the two parties offer one of the best frameworks possible with which to rule a people that otherwise would begin to move society towards the rule of the people (i.e. democracy).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

How do we transform our landscapes/ How do our landscapes transform us?

Here is Tim Cresswell's conclusive summary from In Place, Out of Place: Geography, Ideology, and Transgression, on the ways in which dominant ideologies manifest and persist within our landscapes.

1. Place is a fundamental form of classification. Classification is a basic ideological mechanism. The classification of things by place structures our judgment of those things (objects, actions).

2. We differentiate through place between "us" and "them," "in" and "out," "high" and "low," "central" and "marginal." The process of differentiation through which "others" are created is a basic ideological mechanism.

3. Ideological beliefs, to be effective, must connect thought to action, theory to practice, the abstract to the concrete. Place, insofar as it is the material context of our lives, forces us to make interpretations and act accordingly. Place thus contributes to the creation and reproduction of action-oriented (ideological) beliefs.

4. Ideologies involve the removal of beliefs and actions from their social roots and their placement in the realm of "nature." The materiality of place gives it the aura of "nature." The "nature" of place can thus be offered as justificaiton for particular views of what is good, just, and appropriate.

Tim Cresswell,
In Place, Out of Place: Geography, Ideology, and Transgression (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 1996), 161.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Displacement Amenities

We posted this flier around Seattle. The bottom reads: *This will be a temporary public intervention to address the needs of members in our community and the politics surrounding public space.

Based on January 2008's One Night Count, there were 5,808 shelter spaces occupied, short of the estimated 8,439 homeless in Seattle, a %15 increase from last years count.

Learn more at:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Don' touch tha third raiL

This symbolic bed was constructed on a bench in Pioneer Square. Many cities have recently been adding an extra arm rest in the middle of public benches to prevent the homeless from sleeping on them.
Many of Seattle's homeless shelters are located in Pioneer Square. When the shelters fill up, the people who are turned away are left out on the streets. It is not a coincidence that all of the benches in Pioneer Square have an additional arm rest, prohibiting people from lying down.

Great job, Down Town Association. Ya, assholes!

Where are the homeless to sleep?

The materials for the bed installation were left to be disassembled by people in need. The pillow and both blankets were donated by friends. --Thanks, guys!


We've been thinking about gated communities and the exclusionary uses of fencing. Gates and fencing are used to keep certain people out (= housing communities), as well as keep people in (= prisons). There is a strong socio-economic correlation between those who find gates and fencing working against their favor.

With a roll of rusted fencing, wire cutters, and transparent muslin material we erected a one person shelter in the periphery of a gated lot. We chose to drape our structure in muslin because of its transparent quality—to allow the frame of the structure, the gate, to show through. The structure is not meant to provide long-term shelter. It is mostly a symbolic spatial intervention open to interpretation.

Let us all take NOTE:
Gated communities are a prime example of how privileged classes can separate themselves from poorer families and homelessness, and at the same time distance themselves from their social and economic responsibility toward members of the extended community. More than 7 million Americans, or %6 of the population are shacking up in a gated community.

Cultural Refuse: Accumulating Habitat

The site of the Gas Works Park structure was chosen for its proximity to Seattle as well as its historical significance as a gasoline processing plant. The park land and lake shore have a reputation for contaminated soil and ground water. Fifty years after the gasification plant closed, tar still oozes from beneath the ground.

It is an unconventional park with an outstanding view of the city’s skyline. It is a nice place to fly kites, or where teenagers can get drunk, visitors can drink and litter lattes, or where the homeless can find temporary shelter.

We built a structure from discarded materials found within the park. The skeleton of the structure consists of three palates (one which was partially burned for fire wood by a homeless man), and a large piece of cardboard which serves as a roof.

Garbage that was collected from around the site was jammed in the wedges of the palates and provided insulation for the finished structure. It was impossible not to notice while working at the Gas Works site how most of the insulating products like the plastic cups and wrappers were just a few of the many petroleum byproducts that are common single-use objects in our everyday lives.

The exterior of the structure is swathed in excess garbage; mostly empty beer cans and coffee cups. The interior includes two milk crates filled with the recyclables we found, as well as a rusted, found garbage can lid.

The shelter constructs a visual link between society’s excessive accumulation of commoditized comforts (=shelf life products), with the comfort/amenity of shelter that the structure provides.

As the market expands, more land is required to produce and sale more and more goods, and to accommodate the accumulation of waste. The structure, like Gas Works Park, is made from remnants of this crisis.

Gas Works Park is a reclaimed space for the public, but the evidence of how capitalism is continually transforming our urban landscape is still obvious. The 50-year-old contamination at the Gas Works site, in addition to the current accumulation of garbage is a visual timeline of the lasting consequence of a market based society.

In a capitalist economy that is driven by expansion, over accumulation is not only visually apparent in the landfills and litter around our cities, but also in our parks and recreational spaces.

The Space Rec Project

The Spatial Reclamation Project


Space Rec makes participatory art works, situations, and interventions in public spaces. We use art to raise a critical awareness of the global political economic forces that shape our “everyday” environment.

Often times these forces lead to a physical separation of people from different sub-cultures and socio-economic backgrounds and prevents them from interacting. We believe this separation deeply undermines communication, tolerance, and democracy.

The aim of The Space Rec Project is to restore communication, uphold and strengthen the ideals of a free and democratic society, and to raise an awareness of the cultural, political, ideological, economic, and physical development of public spaces through the artistic and symbolic reclamation of place.

Space Rec is an open forum, creation, and question for social alternatives. The realization of this project depends upon community origination, initiation and interaction.

Interested in The Spatial Reclamation Project?

Contact Us at: