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Free Space: Art Acts Out

June 2003

AGO Teen Council Artist Kathy Walker & Open-call Participants

ATTENDANCE 150

LOCATION

Queen & John Street
Walker Court, AGO

PROJECT COMPONENTS

Workshops
Performance
Event

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

Free Space: Art Acts Out was a performance and happening that took place at the AGO in June 2003. In tandem with the exhibition on at the time, Rebecca Belmore: The Named and the Unnamed, which featured the artist’s political performance and installation work, Free Space: Art Acts Out aspired to showcase socially conscious art by youth.

The central idea was to reclaim the T-shirt and use it as a personal symbol, in reaction to its co-optation as a vehicle for brand imaging. Participants and passer-bys were asked to ‘take back the t-shirt’ and write their own messages on it. These were strung up on a clothesline in the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Walker Court, creating a visual installation. At the end of the night participants were encouraged to take home each others creations.

The event took place in Walker Court, with performances from deepsix and representatives of the Radical Cheerleaders Squad 416, talks from representatives of the Paperfire Arts Collective, (who also created an anti-war installation) and City Beautification Ensemble, and an open-mic session.

The concept for Free Space: Art Acts Out was developed through a series of workshops with young activists, recruited through an open-call process, led by artist Kathy Walker and guest artist Rebecca Belmore.

Kathy Walker is the director of The Political Touch Project www.yorku.ca/kathy/politicaltouch; a freelance writer published in FUSE, THIS, and Shift; editor of j_spot: journal of social and political thought www.yorku.ca/jspot; a philosophy teacher at Ryerson University; and a PhD student at York University.

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