Even the most abstract, formalist art has been politicized in the era of President Trump, but how can artists and citizens avoid indulging the sudden trendiness of political art while remaining politically engaged? That, in a nutshell, is the question Just Situations hopes to answer through a range of collaborative performances, workshops, and interactive presentations.
Billing itself as part festival, part conference, and part “political science fair,” the 10-day affair features an impressive lineup of nearly 60 artists, duos, collectives, performance troupes, and more. As its name indicates, the festival’s overarching principle is justice, whether it’s manifested in the ways we organize responses to crises and injustice — the subject of July 13’s program, “Situation Room”; how we think of and examine ourselves as we go about political actions — which will be covered during July 15’s “Embodied Politics” activities; and how we move from criticizing existing conditions to crafting new ones — the hefty agenda for July 21’s “Moving between manifesto and manifestation” evening.
And if the festival’s event descriptions occasionally sound like things a self-help guru might say — “How are we orbiting, channeling, tunneling, magnetizing as political, social, and spiritual agents?” — the featured artists are a promising group, from the survivalist aesthetics of the School of Apocalypse (July 15) and the inventive situationist Miao Jiaxin (July 16) to the taxing and tactile performances of Rex Delafkaran (July 22). This science fair for political art has all the elements of a major breakthrough.