ideas for creative actions : LUSENET : Chi Activist Meta : One Thread

It was suggested in the "why is Chicago so apathetic?" thread that we come up with ideas for creative actions. You know, something beyond the usual march/chant/candlelight vigil formula. So I'm starting this thread to encourage others to post any unusual ideas they have for actions...things that will get people's attention, and encourage people to listen to the issues and get involved. Don't be shy or feel silly! The sillier, the better, as long as the message gets across.

I'll start. Someone directed me to this site. It's a Revolutionary Knitting Circle:

Here is their "statement of purpose" (for lack of a better term):


We are a loosely knit circle of revolutionaries.

We seek to revive and expand the social traditions around textiles and other hand-craft work.

We foster community and provide opportunities for dialogue across class, gender, ethnicity, age and other social boundaries.

We engage in the sharing of skills, knowledge and ideas.

We promote small-scale, local production and trade.

While our focus is on knitting, we welcome other forms of textile hand-craft such as quilting and crochet. Some of us feel that macrame is not a tool for social change ;-)

Some people see the word "Revolutionary" and automatically assume violence. The knitting circle is not a revolution of violence and destruction. The knitting circle is a constructive revolution - we are creating community and local independence which, in this corporate society, is a truly revolutionary act.


Sounds pretty cool to me. Anyone else have any ideas?

-- Jen (, March 20, 2002


Derry Air, you've got an e-mail about the slide thing. I hope you get it. Sorry, last week was really, really busy.

-- J.Yes (, April 02, 2002.

By the way, I forgot to add, the Revolutionary Knitting Circle (the one I listed is based in Canada) organized a Global Knit-In, on June 26, a day of action to challenge the G8. Any knitters out there who are interested, check out their website for details ;)

-- Jen (, March 20, 2002.

how about a pirate radio station... there are lot's and lots of them popping up all over... there are at least two in chicago. guerrilla love radio in west town, and red line radio in rogers park.

someone could go to these folks, or start there own and broadcast things like free speech radio news: or democracy now:

there are tons of ways to get info out to people.

-- clownpants (, March 20, 2002.

Since there are 10 men on Illinois Death Row that were torured by Chicago Police detectives working under Jon Burge and nobody has ever been indicted for these crimes----a People's Tribunal could be organized to hear testimony from family members along with human rights workers and lawyers. If Jon Burge is found guilty , a team could be dispatched to Florida to serve a symbolic arrest warrant on him. (After being forced into early retirement after extensive coverage by the Chicago news media, Burge spends his time fishing on his boat in Florida). The team could be "trailed" by news reporters and it would be a creative way to bring police brutality into the spotlight of the media.

-- (, March 20, 2002.

I think these are all fantastic ideas. The last one, especially, has an urgency about it. Sending people down to Florida would cost $$$, of course. There could always be a hook-up with people in Florida.

I've always thought that there should be some creative committee that just devotes itself to coming up with creative ideas ALL THE TIME, lending its services to different causes. It just seems that different causes I've been involved in always struggle with getting the creative stuff done --> new ideas for actions, artwork, graphics, etc. A group that would do ongoing graphic campaigns but also other forms of creativity -- street performance, guerrilla art & sculpture, even the writing of tracts.

I realize that the Dept. of Space and Land Reclamation was trying to do this (in a loose fashion), but that doesn't seem to be an ongoing thing.

And then there's this division between the officially designated 'artists' - whether students, recent graduates, or professionals - and the laity. That bothers me. I was once in a meeting - there was an art school grad there - and I felt that she was sort of condescending to me and the others, making all sorts of assumptions about our education levels and understanding of art (if she only knew my background, which I don't rub in people's faces), simply because we hadn't 'earned' the right to call ourselves artists.

-- Jane Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 21, 2002.

Jane-- Your idea about the creative committee is good, but what I would worry about with something like that is having the creativity become stifled by the very fact that there is a committee organized in the first place to produce it. You know what I mean?

I know that this is all theoretical, but it's just something that occurred to me. The best art and creative protest comes from the heart. It comes from the people who truly believe in what they are doing....whether that is anti-corporate globalization, or anti police brutality, or feminist activism. I would want to let the people who feel really passionate about these individual subjects come up with their own creative actions that are specific to their cause. What I would worry about, if there were such a thing as a creative committee, would be that something would be lost in the translation. I'm not saying that WOULD happen, but it could.

Not to nitpick or anything ;) It is an interesting line of thinking though. What if there WAS a Committe of Activist Creativity? I wonder how that would pan out...

-- Jen (, March 21, 2002.

Right. Maybe 'committee' is a bad word. Actually, it is a bad word - it smacks of voting and having to 'get permission' from everyone else. I totally understand about the stifling thing, because that happens to me all the time.

-- Jane Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 21, 2002.

The thing is, there is always this tension between your 'pure' concept and having to get other people to do it with you. I've found that things don't always turn out the way I thought they'd be, and that the project I'm doing isn't always the one I'd hoped for, but what comes out is equally satisfying and sometimes I learn from that. It's just really hard to do things on your own - everything you communicate has the potential to be renegotiated and/or misunderstood. I think the trick is to allow for variances in interpretation in the conception of your project, to borrow a principle from design.

I don't like working in large groups because there is too much stifling going on - I don't like large group dynamics, but I find that in smaller groups, I am willing to do a lot of negotiation. I don't care so much about being an 'auteur'. So I was thinking of people bringing things to larger groups, and then smaller groups agreeing to take on that project.

It's just a pipe dream. But it's actually kind of inspired by ad agencies and design firms...I'm sure someone's gonna ream me for drawing inspiration {horrors} from the corporate world, but it's that kind of nay-saying that is really turning me off to a lot of activism. No humor, no irony.

-- Jane Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 21, 2002.

There have been peoples tribunals on Burge before... but the idea of going to Florida is really excellent and can't be mudded down with a bunch of recruiters from some anachronous office furniture factory, dues seeking trots.

i anyone is really serious about that idea. i can put you in touch with the kind of people who could work with you on that.

-- apdc (, March 21, 2002.

I have two comments specifically.

I would like to address Jane Yes comments toward artists, or "trained" artists (whatever they are).

I think it is a bit of "rotten apples" metaphor, some and many times amounts of artists can be annoying and hold their education above the rest. that goes with any bullshit specialization or "inner circle";ie, punk rock lifestyle vs. ostensibly traditional lifestyles, long term activists vs. new comers, even vegan vs. vegetarian and non-vegetarian . but I hope the generalization does not stick. Working and collaborating within the activist scene where I am from, the "educated" artists and "lay" artists were indistinguishable. As far as I could tell most of the artists worked along and with each other regardless of education. To be honest, most "educated" artist I know feel their degress were pretty much unnecessary as far as creative output.

I do remember one person calling artists some perjorative phrases which reminded me of some anachronistic communist rhetoric, but if weren't for the art collectives contribution the protests and demonstration would be dull. I have an "education" in art, but actually I never mention it (except for right now) and would never hold it above anyone's head just because they don't..

Please don't let one snob spoil all "educated" artists.

anyhow, on to other matters. I want to dress up in costumes or some sort of fun work garb wearing signs saying "anti-gentrification team" and volunteer around the community picking up litter and other things. Of course, this idea is definately up for modification and collaboration. If anyone likes it and wants to join in that would be great.

also some real cool sites with creative ideas are adbusters is clever crimethink is always fun

and so many more

-- derry air (, March 21, 2002.

Many years ago during the Vietnam war a small direct action group dyed the Chicago River red because the blood was still flowing in Vietnam as U.S. bombs fell. It got great press and it was a situation "free" arrest situation----the charges were dropped the same day because we used the same type of non-polluting food coloring as the city does on St. Patrick's Day ! It seems to me (and I'd NEVER advocate anything illegal) that if the U.S. attacks Iraq--this could be a good response. It could also be used to show that capitalism "bleeds" the people of the world every single day.

-- (, March 21, 2002.

light shows on buildings are so fun. bring projectors with political and social concerns. of course, maybe a focused topic would be good. but it reaches people, can be done guerrilla, and there can be some empowering moments. i guess, it is one way to reclaim the streets any night of the week.

anyone else like?

-- derry air (, March 21, 2002.

Posting in a small font is a very good idea.
I want to dress up in costumes or some sort of fun work garb wearing signs saying "anti-gentrification team" and volunteer around the community picking up litter and other things. Of course, this idea is definately up for modification and collaboration. If anyone likes it and wants to join in that would be great.

I had an idea along these lines. I was thinking of altering 'for sale' signs or signs advertising new condos or corporate big box developments, etc., adding sarcastic messages. Also, you can buy 'for sale' signs at places like Home Depot and the hardware store and probably do all sorts of creative things with them.

I cannot recommend enough the act of shopping as a brainstorm tactic - hardware stores, thrift stores, home improvement places. Also this store called American Science & Surplus is really excellent - you just get ideas looking at things. I've got a pile of plastic army guys that I bought at a dollar store. Maybe I'll hang them from trees or something.

I did a bad thing this weekend - I st#le a huge 'God Bless America' sign that was sticking in one of those grassy patches between the sidewalk and the curb. I don't know if that counts as theft. It's taking up lots of space in my apartment...I'm gonna alter it.

This 'art committee' thing can even be like a secret society - we don't have to have meetings or anything - people can claim membership and act in the name of the committee if they so desire. I suppose it's not secret if I post about it here. There was some artists group posting shit on Indymedia several months ago that made similar claims.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 21, 2002.

adding on to my previous post.

i am pretty sure slide projectors and sometimes moving projectors can be checked out at the local library or at least the big one. they can be found at thrift stores, pretty economical too. plug into some outdoor socket.

then, images can be found at local libraries and art centers. sometimes they have pretty open access to slides and film trays. also, many times people have their own from growing up.

or one could take the found slides (i find them frequently) and just marker whatever suitable message.

one could sort out to find Picasso's "guernica" which was an anti-war statement and many more.

if you get a group of people doing that, that would be great.

-- derry air (, March 21, 2002.

J. yes just submitted an idea i really like.

but instead of secret society, it would like more of an open and anonymous collective. it would operate more in cells with a hub to post actions. of course it would be reminiscent of dslr, but it would be great to have a website which posted it and announced the creative chicago actions.

-- derry (, March 21, 2002.

There was one anti-war protest where they projected images from Al-Jazeera on a building. That was one of the best things that was done at any rally I've been to.

I might want to borrow that slide concept for one of my own concepts, which is a symbolic 'moving' of the landfills south of the city. Most of the city's garbage goes to the south of the city to these gigantic landfills, and people who live around there, like in Altgeld Gardens, and also the people who live opposite the river, have claimed high rates of cancer and such. It really smells around there. I wanted to photograph or document the landfill in some way and symbolically 'move' all of that waste to the north side or suburbs somewhere. It's just a very rough concept that I play with in my head sometimes. It might be something to think about for Earth Day, but it may be too late for that.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 21, 2002.

I think that a slide show / light show is an excellent idea.

I have access to an old slide projector, I don't know if it works, but it did last time I used it.

In my line of work, I may be able to buy some slides of anti- war artwork if they are for sale (with my own money, not the boss'). I may also - no, scratch that- I can obtain any images you want - not just art but ironic images or whatever. Slides are easy enough to get made - the trick is photographing the images so that the slides turn out well.

I wonder if digital projectors can be rented. They use them in art classes. Increasingly, art schools are dumping the old slides and slide projectors in favor of digital images. If we could get our hands on one, that would be really easy for me, since I have access to all the facilities for scanning and producing digital images. And the possibilities would be endless : we could make collages, informational text arranged artistically...then scan it all. I can look into this. I'm serious - if people want to do this....well, get in touch because I can look into it and I may be able to bring this to other interested folks. --J.Yes, you know the address.

-- Ann Cognito (, March 22, 2002.

well of course i am up for the idea. i have access to at least two slide projectors which i am pretty sure work. i can also get many slides too.

contact me

-- derry (, March 22, 2002.

i also would like to be part of the slides for a better world! although i don't want to post my address to everyone, is there anyway to find out how to link up? a common meeting place?

that sounds like a good, fun, effective idea.

-- interested in slides (, March 26, 2002.

i don't kno w what is up.

i have a number of slides and i have made some, but there has been not contact.

i put my email, i don't care, if it gets fucked up i will get a new one

i will probably do it by myself


-- derry (, March 26, 2002.

Please be patient - I am having a very bad and busy week. Also, I have trouble accessing my bust account from home, so I can't e-mail from it on weekends anyway. Tomorrow and Friday are the only days that are not bad for me. I want to do it, but please be patient.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 27, 2002.

Next week is Spring Break for me. Friday I am v. busy, Sat. is occupied as well, Sunday I'm spending Easter with the family. I honestly can't spend much time on e-mail right now, so that is why I haven't e-mailed. Next week will be much clearer for me.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), March 27, 2002.

Last night I attended a presentation by a Voices In The Wilderness activist and it got me thinking about the slide show idea. I suspect that VITW has some slides of the devastation that has been caused by U.S. bombs and the embargo that could be used in a slide show action. It would be wild to show 2-3 slides like this followed by one that says "NO WAR" or "RESIST". Anyway, to make a long story short--the slide show could be used as a tool to counter the drumbeat of war that smirking GWB keeps putting out. I'd be willing to assist with whatever effort is made-----so keep me posted.

-- (, March 27, 2002.

anyone interested in public/street anti-war slide/light show? does a preemptive meeting at the a-zone for thursday sound good or is it too short of notice.

any suggestions and interest email me or post here.



-- derry (, April 02, 2002.

i could do a Thursday night meeting but it would be best if everyone that has expressed an interest could be there. Since i'm low-tech ---i'm not sure what i could contribute other than ethusiasm.

-- (, April 02, 2002.

i don' t think low tech matters. there are ways to make slides. they don't need to be slick and that is what i personally like about them. if you want to get involved and don't mind just cutting and pasting. one could make slides with a marker, thin boardstock or thin cardboard and cellophane (or any thin transparent sheet). i have made some with clear candy wrappers i have found. some of the wrappers have "pop" colored print on them which make them real nice when projected.

i am sure there are many cool things to do and interesting approaches without having access to projectors or slides.

i just thought of another one (it's not mine, many people do this one), the walk/don't walk pedestrian signs at corners can be manipulated with some tools and a little effort. instead of walk./don't walk it could read make love/not war. the possibilites are endless.

-- derry (, April 03, 2002.

Derry - I posted another reminder about the group on Indymedia, so we may attract some more people. The Walk / Don't Walk thing is fantastic. I am on the DSLR list - should I let those people know, or are there sensitivity issues with regard to privacy here? Of course, this is not private, so I don't know why I'm asking. DSLR people might be *very* interested.

Also : if I tell other people, what should I tell them about time?

-- J.Yes (, April 03, 2002.

I think the a zone closes at 7 pm.

what do people think about meeting at 5 pm? is that good?

-- derry (, April 03, 2002.

The A-zone can stay open later depending on whether an A-zone member is there and willing to 'sponsor' this (basically just be there for the duration of the meeting). I've been there as late as midnight.

I get off work at 5, so it's a little tough for me to make it at 5 exactly.

Then there's always El Cid, the Mexican place down the street. I've been to meetings there when there's been an overflow at A-zone.

-- J.Yes (, April 03, 2002.

i can't do thrusday, but i'd like to be involved! could we do next monday, at A-zone, and then maybe move somewhere? at about 8?

-- chichi rodirigeuz (, April 03, 2002.

the a zone says they charge 20 bucks for a group meeting,

i don't really know the deal. i am not a member.

do they charge members? if they want us to pay, i would rather go to another place for nothing.


-- derry (, April 03, 2002.

Jane Yes says we could obtain a room at Columbia College next week which seems more workable for many of us.

Does anyone have any days and times which would be prefered?

I would prefer evenings myself.


-- derry (, April 03, 2002.

wow. a-zone charges $20? that would be funny if it wasn't so strange. wait, it is just funny. $20 for a meeting. radical a-zone, you are the bomb! step right up, only $20 and you too can join the movement against money. lol.

yeah, lets meet somewhere else. no biggie.

-- chichi rodiriguez (, April 04, 2002.

I now cannot do a meeting this evening but an evening meeting at Columbia might be possibe next week.

-- (, April 04, 2002.

Wednesday through Friday is good for me.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), April 04, 2002.

How does Wednesday at 7 sound? Or Thursday at 7, if we need more time to gather people? I can come at 6 at the earliest, but later is better for me.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), April 05, 2002.

Wednesday is out for me but Thursday at 7PM would be good.


those times seem good for me. Thursday sounds best.

-- derry (, April 06, 2002.


Okay, Thursday at 7 it is. I think the Conaway Center in the 1104 S. Wabash building would be best for now. If I can find some info on an open classroom closer to the Loop, I will post here, but as of yet, I don'tknow. 1104 S. Wabash - that's one block north of the Roosevelt stop. The Conaway is a big cafeteria-type thing - go in the front doors and make a right at the security desk. I've held meetings there before, and security has said nothing, but I'll be around anyway to clear up any potential ??s from security.

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), April 08, 2002.

i didn't check the site till monday, and so the meeting happened. y;all having another one? sorry, i was actually shocked it got settled so quickly, the date. my bad.

-- missed meeting (, April 08, 2002.

No, no - we did not have the Thursday meeting, since we couldn't find a spot or generate enough interest in time.

-- J.Yes (janeyesx@bust.comxx), April 08, 2002.

So....who is still on board for tomorrow night?? I want this thing to fly!

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), April 10, 2002.

if anyone's going, I may be a little late. It turns out that I had this other function that I must go to that I had forgotten about. The function is slightly earlier. I will head over at 7 and get there between 7-7:30. That is, if anyone is showing up. I'm not the one w. the slide projectors...

-- J.Yes (janeyes@bust.comxx), April 11, 2002.

i will be there with slide projectors

-- derryair (, April 11, 2002.

anyone interested in marching in the april 28 carnival against capitalism with a may-day type group wearing orange safety/construction vests, hard hats, and try to aquire/obtain orange construction/barrier nettings found everywhere there is street construction? hoping to make hammocks as protest...

anyone interested contact the above email or just show up on the streets.

-- derry air (, April 25, 2002.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ