I have been reading this book: . It's about different projects that have engaged people to reclaim public space is some way, while working outside the framework of an institution. I wish I had read this book sooner, particularly while i was working on my Agrifitti project [read more].
The book is actually two books. Read one, flip it upside-down, and read the other. Brett Bloom writes in an introduction in both, and about The Spot in Belltown Paradise. Tonight, I also read an interview he conducted with a couple of others, entitled The Folds of an Institution. I found it very blunt, in that he talks about all the shit that goes along with working within an institution. It was also very inspiring, because the DAAC has also engaged in similar conversation, as we have been courted by larger institutions - which we declined for many of the reasons Bloom talks about in the interview [ie the oppresiveness of institutions].
This is not an novel idea, I mean most of you reading this - we all operate with this mentality everyday. I mean how DIY is G-Rad, the DAAC, etc. But I think it is interesting how he relates this idea to the 'art world.' But he brings up many good ideas: 1) How do you find a way to be autonomous within an institution and 2) If you spend so much time working in opposition of an institution, isn't it just an extension of their power?
Last summer I really wanted to tour the country and document the stories of DIY spaces/projects - very similar to this book. I would really love to have Brett Bloom come to Grand Rapids and speak. I think I will consult him on how to halt gentrification on the 100 block of S. Division, or at least offer an alternative.