Politics and Protest

An empty chair. A full binder. This election has had it all and remains quite a nail-biter to boot. There are plenty of talking heads trying to spin the exit polls today, but once you do vote, take refuge from all the punditry in the comforting dark-ness of SFMOMA’s Phyllis Wattis Theater. Free today (and every first Tuesday), the museum takes advantage of the syn-chronicity with Election Day this month to screen a lunchtime program called “Demonstrations.” Each in the trio of short films appropriates the familiar trademarks of activism — marches, signs, speeches — but twists them in subversive and often humorous ways. In Öyvind Fahlström’s Mao-Hope March, made in the halcyon protest days of 1966, unsuspecting bystanders are quizzed on the state of their happiness as placards featuring Bob Hope and Mao Tse Tung parade by with-out explanation. Mircea Cantor’s more recent piece, The Landscape Is Changing, also employs a march, but this time the signs are mirrors that reflect and refract the surrounding urban landscape of Tirana, Albania, in a statement about the shiftiness of reality itself. Meanwhile, in her 1999 video Everything You’ve Heard Is Wrong, Carey Young co-opts classic protest site Speakers’ Corner in London’s Hyde Park to deliver a seminar on workplace communication. It’s all a welcome distraction from worrying about election results.
Tue., Nov. 6, noon, 2012

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