un Magazine: ‘Mass Aktion Media’

‘Video still: Ende Gelände wrap-up video.’ 350.org, 2016.
‘I got two versions.’ 

My text ‘Mass Action Media:Ende Gelände, Break Free 2016’ has been published in un Magazine 10.2, an issue that concerns ‘the throng.’

For the second Ende Gelände, this year more than four thousand people converged in the Lausitz in the east of Germany for a weekend of actions (13–15 May) in the coal pits operated by Swedish state-owned energy company Vattenfall. In an effort to shift towards renewables, Vattenfall announced it would sell its lignite business to a Czech consortium of energy companies, EPH (Energetický a Průmyslový Holding), who would continue to operate the mines until 2045. In response, Ende Gelände declared itself to be ‘the investment risk’, telling potential investors that coal assets come bundled with a ‘wildly determined resistance movement’. Reflecting on my experiences with Ende Gelände, this text reviews its strategic use of media, and the aesthetics and innovations arising within climate justice movements following COP21.

Also, a slightly different version is available as a print yourself A3 ’zine here. Instructions on how to cut and fold are below c/o Dear Colleen.


Overland: ‘Power of Assembly: On the New World Summit’

‘Richard Bell, Callum Clayton-Dixon and Ilena Saturay, New World Summit Utrecht, 31 January 2016.’ Photo: Ernie Buts.
My short overview of the last New World Summit in Utrecht, January 2016 is now online at Overland.

‘Drawing on Rojava’s political experiment, the sixth NWS convened in Utrecht over the last weekend in January this year to consider the prospect of ‘Stateless Democracy’. It marked the culmination of a year-long collaboration between NWS, BAK and the University of Utrecht’s Centre for Conflict Studies. The Summit convened within a temporary architecture built inside the main hall of the university – where the Treaty of Utrecht was signed in 1579, the document by which the ‘free’ Dutch provinces claimed independence from the Spanish monarchy. In this latest iteration, NWS performed a historical intervention as a critique of the Dutch nation state, using the site of its foundation to stage an assembly of stateless organisations.’

Runway: ‘Institutional Reform’

‘Big Oil Out of Culture,’ Paris, December 2015. Credit: Sumugan Sivanesan

A new article, ‘Institutional Reform: Art as Anti-Statecraft’ for Runway #30, Ecologies is now online. 
Institutions that facilitate the coming together of cultural objects, historical narratives, philosophical concepts, the wealthy elite and their political interests can be understood as instruments of statecraft—the skill of governing, effecting and maintaining power. The formulation of counterpower through these same institutions is its antithesis.

RealTime: ‘Art versus the war against Nature’

Photo: Artúr van Balen / Tools for Action
My report from Paris COP21 for RealTime, re-titled as ‘Art versus the war against Nature’ is now online.
The second week of COP21 was notable for the influx of activists from around the world, arriving in anticipation of the December 12, ‘D12’ day of action . Daily activist training and ‘speed-dating’ sessions organised by Coalition Climat 21 helped strangers ‘buddy-up’ and ultimately took thousands of potential demonstrators through exercises concerned with spatial awareness and quick consensus decision-making, advised them on what to do if sprayed with tear gas and about what to say—or rather not say—if arrested. Despite the real consequences of defying the state-of-emergency laws, it was difficult not to become swept up in this sociable choreography of disobedience.