Autonomous Territories
of Chicago:
Kids explain urban farming

Autonomous Territories
of Chicago:
Letterpress propaganda

Warheads @ the
World Economic Forum, 2002

Mtv's The Real World:
Spontaneous protest outside Viacom's Real World "house"

Mtv's The Real World:
Exterior decoration of the Real World "house", courtesy of Chicago residents

West Coast Tour Dates:
August 17, 8-10pm @ CellSpace
2050 Bryant St. San Francisco

August 18, 7pm @ AKPress Warehouse
674-A 23rd Street Oakland

August 20, 7pm @ Arts in Action
1919 W 7th St (4th Floor) Los Angeles

August 21, 7:30 @ C-Level
Co-presented by the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, with artist Lize Mogel speaking on the production of public space in Los Angeles.
963 N. Hill Street (back alley entrance)
Chinatown, Los Angeles

What do hoax city departments, graffiti, public space, roosters, the World Economic Forum, wrestling, land reclamation, fake housing projects, Chicago's Mayor Richard M. Daley, autonomous territories, surveillance cameras, magic, MTV's The Real World, gentrification, secret vampire conventions, loitering zones, newspaper dispensers, the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, and the four horseman of the Apocalypse have to do with one another? presents COLLECTIVE PRANKS, PROTEST GRAPHICS, AND SPACE RECLAMATION, a west coast tour of Retooling Dissent, the video documenting creative resistance projects from protests against the World Economic Forum. It features collaborations and tactical media by The Institute for Applied Autonomy, The Bikewriters, StreetRec, and Spain’s Las Agencias/New Kids On The Black Block. Accompanying the video is a series of presentations drawing on a network of critical art projects and activism from Chicago. These projects range from large-scale political actions, spontaneous events, flexible collaborations, and temporary collectives.

One of the projects presented is the Department of Space and Land Reclamation (DSLR), an ambitious three-day campaign which sought to reclaim all the space, land, and visual culture of Chicago back to its public citizens. DSLR brought hundreds of artists, activists, and community groups together for a weekend of interventions, presentations, graffiti, trespassing, pirate radio, community meals, loitering, hacking, guerrilla gardening, public performances, parties, and discussions.

The infectious energy of DSLR catalyzed a number of other initiatives such as the utopian festival of local community groups, The Autonomous Territories of Chicago. These growing critiques of economic globalization and its familiar relative, gentrification, spawned the construction and installation of a fake affordable housing development Daley Village and another project involving the critical marketing of a real property by a our very own real estate agency Pioneer Renewal Trust.

Other tactical media organized around Israel/Palestine, 9/11, Chicago’s graffiti abatement policy, the "war on terror", and the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) will be shared, as well as video and discussion of the wild, spontaneous street occupation and direct actions against MTV’s The Real World Chicago. These projects represent a unique strain of activist cultural practice which should be of interest to artists, activists, and students alike. Project organizers and participants will be available for discussion.

Retooling Dissent is distributed by AKPress and has been showing around the world at venues like the IMPAKT Festival (Utrecht, The Netherlands), Version>03 Digital Arts Convergence at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago) and Artists Television Access/Other Cinema (San Francisco). Retooling Dissent has continued to serve as a useful tool for organizing actions as well as highlighting alternative and creative tactics that various radical arts collectives have been pursuing. For more info, see:

Contact: Luther Blisset (312)515-7364 or

Graphic Artist and Troublemakers Local:
Post Sept.11 sticker

Dept. Space & Land Reclamation:
Rolling a ball of trash through the
shopping district

Dept. Space & Land Reclamation:
Campaign map, marking sites of projects throughout Chicago

Pioneer Renewal Trust:
Selling condos in an art gallery

The Department of Space and Land Reclamation was a weekend long blitz of cultural production in public space. We created a "hub" at a local alternative arts space, the Butcher Shop, and made it into a 24 hour a day convegence space for people to meet, hang out, eat, sleep, party, and create projects to unleash on the Chicago. Our goals were twofold: first, by acting out in public in as many diverse ways as possible, we hoped to make visible the fact that every square inch of urban space has been consciously planned on some level to make us think or behave in a certain way. Space created as a way to get to and from work was transformed into a site of play, space created to sell us products became a canvas for self-expression. Second, we wanted to bring together a very diverse group of artists, activists, and community organizers and get them to think about how they can learn from the ideas and styles of each other and how public cultural practice can positively effect what they do and how they do it..

The Pioneer Renewal Trust is a hoax real estate agency that is used in projects which serve to highlight gentrification and housing issues in Chicago. Our first project was a show in a
residential home gallery located in a in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. We initially offered the gallery up for sale in a straightforward way, with signs and flyers. As the show progressed, the signs, flyers, and interior of the gallery became more absurd, as we proposed to build a series of super-luxury condos inside the house. PRT also hosted a public forum with presentations and discussion by local housing activists and artists who have dealt with gentrification in past projects.

PRT has also designed signs announcing the building of large housing projects for posting in yuppie neighborhoods, as well as being the media contact for a variety of projects that focus on housing issues.

Mtv's The Real World came to Chicago, and in a series of hoaxes and actions, we let them know that corporate media that colonizes public space, youth, and our city was not welcome. Our semi-ironic protests turned serious when Chicago's Finest cracked down with classic brutality, arresting several people.

The Autonomous Territories of Chicago (ATOC) was a project we plannedfor a traditional gallery and which we were able to swindle funding out of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. The idea behind ATOCwas simple, invite a number of different art, activist, and communitygroups doing exciting work around Chicago to come to a utopian carnival and fair and pretend they were Autonomous Territories, i.e., what would their practice look like if they were not under the heel of the city, state or capitalism. Unfortunately right before all of this was to come together Spetember 11th happened, and we felt we had to change our program. We still built 6 booths or stands for groups to present their utopias (including God's Gang, who brought live chickens and a rooster!), but we also decided to build our carnival around alternative information about September 11th, the Bush regime, and what was actually happening the United States and Afghanistan. We painted a giant 40 foot long flow chart on the wall which presented connection between government officials, corporations, guns, money and drugs. Packets of alternative info were handed out as DJ's spun records, arooster crowed, poets read, and people learned how to post their own news on Indymedia.

Daley Village is a series of projects that highlight the personal and political connections between Chicago’s father and son Mayorial team and local homelessness, gentrification and real-estate schemes. These actions include the construction and public installation of a cardboard housing project and "alternative" signage regarding Chicago's housing situation.

Throughout the last two years an ever-changing group has come together to generate provacative posters, stickers, and shirts pertaining to specific issues and actions. The Graphics and Troublemaking Union is an anonymous
umbrella for all of these print-based agit-prop projects. We've made posters for large protests about the Israeli occupation of Palestine, stickers encouraging critical dialogue after Sept. 11th, and a wide array of throught-provoking images for wheatpasting/stenciling/propagating in Chicago and elsewhere.

The God Bless Graffiti Coalition was founded in the spring of 2002 as an initiative to address the growing repression found in graffiti abatement programs. We are dedicated to spreading the good will of graffiti. We produce wide array of pro-graffiti printed materials, use various means to disperse them in public and connect graffiti writers and other pro-graffiti elements.

This video marks a period of dissent and experimentation around the February 2, 2002 meeting of the World Economic Forum in Manhattan (NYC) at the Waldorf Astoria hotel. The global executives and corporate elite attending the annual conference, usually held in Davos Switzerland, carved the streets of New York City into a police state. Meanwhile artists and activist--tactical media practitioners, from around the world created new tools and held workshops intending to send them a clear message: The September 11th attacks will NOT gag the critiques of globalization. This video explores the collaborations and ideas of four collectives working on projects at the WEF protests.

Projects include: modified bikes for printing messages on the streets as you ride by the Bikewriter/Affectech group from Boston, “Pret-a-revolter” (ready to revolt) protest fashions, New Kids on the Black Block dancing, and decorative Ya Basta! Style sheilds by the Barcelona Las Agencias, Rapid message placement system and other protest technologies for inserting your message into public space as well as large scale graphics displaying our desire to deface powerful people by the Street.rec collective, I-see is a web-based application developed by the Institute for Applied Autonomy, which shows users the location of surveillance cameras in Manhattan and allows them to chart their own paths of least surveillance.

The video has recently been shown at ATA/Other cinema (SF), Visualized Film fest (Denver, Version03- Digital arts convergence (Chicago), anti-FTAA training workshop (Lousville), and various other locations.

Street.Rec was a radical arts collective that existed for about 9months. Our life was short but our flame burned bright. We were bornout of the protests against the World Economic Forum in New York City, and were more generally an evolution out of the organizing and different projects that DSLR spawned. This was our first attempt at aclosed collective made up of a fixed group of people. Street.Rec first created a series of projects for the WEF Protests, including the now infamous Dick Cheney "Got Oil?" head. We also held a number of events in Chicago, sharing our experiences at the WEF and the tools we used there as well as holding a forum for the Reverend Billy to speak. Retooling Dissent is a video we created to document the creativeprotest strategies used by a number of groups during the WEF.

Hidden from public scrutiny and armed with the protection of the Chicago Police, the Trans-Atlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) Conference brought together large European and North American corporations with high-level government officials to develop the public policy of corporate globalization and set the agenda for the WTO. An ad-hoc group researched and produced educational media for the mobilization, including the "Trans-Atlantic Business Monologue" wheatpaste poster and a bilingual TABD "disinvitation". They distributed hundreds of CEO Vampire Teeth to police and protesters and followed the actions with a raucous Business VS. Pleasure wrestling party.

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