3.4 / Of Friction, Of Location, Of Context

November 3 2011


November 3, 2011. Last night, the cranes at the Port of Oakland, which protestors had shut down as part of the general strike, weren’t illuminated. Their darkness made stark silhouettes of the stacked shipping containers, which stood out as deep, black rectangles. The containers first appeared so flat that I imagined the protestors racing through the Port to scramble onto ships and hang banners that could be visible from the highway. But then image and comprehension merged, and the aesthetics of protest gave way to that of capitalism momentarily dormant. I thought of Lea Feinstein describing Richard Serra’s drawings as preserving the energy of the actions that created them, even in their blackness. And Bean Gilsdorf unpacking the allegory Serra puts forth in his video: in the creative process, potency comes not from freedom, but in the repeated exertion against confinement. The daily gatherings and hand gestures of the general assemblies that Elyse Mallouk describes in her feature take on new resonance juxtaposed against these readings; the accumulation and repetition of actions, not their resolution into form, is what matters. - PM


Aesthetic Events in Occupation

Aesthetic Events in Occupation

By Elyse Mallouk

A gesture is aesthetic when it verifies the value of a previously undervalued voice. An action also has aesthetic impact when it enables access—physically, to a space, or metaphorically, to a symbol.

More »