Saturday, March 31, 2012

Twinkle Fingers Are No Way To Decide A Death Match, or: Why I Won The Flux Factory Art & Occupy Debate

I couldn't find a picture of my Deathmatch opponents, so I tried to approximate the best I could (I imagine Hrag is Master)

This past week Paddy Johnson of Artfagcity, Hrag Vartanian of Hyperallergic, the artist Bill Powhida, and I were invited to debate the topic of the art community's place within the Occupy Wall Street movement. The debate was hosted by Flux Factory and organized and moderated by Douglas Paulson & Christina Vassallo. The debate is now available as podcasts. As I told my fellow panelists, the debate format made this the single most enjoyable panel I've ever been on. It helped that I know and like everyone else on the panel, respect their work and opinions, but I really enjoyed that there was no pretense at agreement, no impulse to reach a consensus. It made for a fun night of arguing with a group who all enjoy arguing. Perhaps because it was billed as a "Deathmatch" I swore like a sailor (or maybe because I always swear a lot), so by that metric I clearly won the debate (except the method actually used: twinkle fingers).

The podcast allows me the opportunity to listen, as I was not able to listen on the evening the event (because while the others were speaking I was busy thinking about what I would next). In review I'm impressed by everything my fellow panelists had to say. While the format was playful I think we managed to touch on a lot of important points. A few points I made during the debate that could use a little background:

I will continue to write about OWS. Those posts will in some of the links that are have not yet been made. In the mean time anything I write in relation to Occupy will be labeled. The two books I mentioned at the end of the debate were Oppose and Propose by Andrew Cornell, and The Spirit Level by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

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