BID Lecture 5: Artivism

Delivery Date: 11 February 2020 | lecturer: Fenia Kotsopoulou

Summary | What is “artivism” and why should it matter? In what ways do the arts precede activism? In what ways does activism provoke the arts?And how do the comings together of the arts and activism enable people to re-experience the potentials of the world?

Introductory Reading

Compulsory Reading

  • Poch, D. and Poch, A. (2018). ARTIVISM. Carpet Bombing Culture, Pp. 7-9, 116-119, 130-133, 164-169
  • Elliot, D., SIlvermann, M. and Bowman, W. (2019). Category: Artivism | Artistic Citizenship. [online] Artistic Citizenship. Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2019]
  • Artivism online. (n.d.). [online] Available at: [Accessed 6 Nov. 2019]
  • Kershaw, B. (2003). Curiosity or Contempt: On Spectacle, the Human, and Activism. Theatre Journal, 55(4), 591-611. Available from: (Accessed on 6 November 2019)

Recommended Reading

  • Kara, S. (2015). Rebels without regret: documentary artivism in the digital age in Studies in Documentary Film, 9(1), Pp. 42–54
  • Klanten, R., Bieber (2011). Bieber, A., Hubner, M. (2011) Art & agenda: political art and activism. Die Gestalten Verlag, Pp. 216-225


“The function of art is to do more than tell it like it is – it’s to imagine what is possible.” – bell hooks

Failure opens up possibilities for the use of “negative” feelings and thoughts to become sources for creation and imagination.

Art as a tool to raise social consciousness (awareness, change, provocation, sign of resistance)

Importance of images, POSTERS (protest art) – need to mobilize people to create social changes

Ai Wei Wei – was arrested when researching the death of 5000 children in the Sichuan earthquake

Pyotr Andreyevich Pavlensky – Nails himself to the ground naked. Protested for Pussy Riot with his lips sewn.

Preach R Sun – self-proclaimed fugitive – “Fugitivism” is the name he adopted to describe his purpose and voice

Zanele Muholi (South Africa) – photographer – she made a photo exhibition portraying trans women

Tania Bruguera – work centers around censorship, issues of power and control, and several of her works interrogate and re-present Cuban history

Regina Jose Galindo

Guerrilla Girls

CIRCA: Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army

Interlude: Zapatistas – Jeff Conant: they understood history as performance, and using the stage of history, they used the popular revolutionary myths of Mexico, and the deep symbolism of ancient indigenous myths

Suzanne Lacy – “The Crystal Quilt” (1987)

Pixo (São Paulo) –