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Disobedience: an ongoing video archive / MIT Media Lab Complex Lobby E14 / Boston

Disobedience Archive brings together a series of practices and forms of individual self-representation just as they are finding the key to their strength in an alliance of art and activism: a transformation in the languages that society produces as a political subject and as a media object. What matters in Disobedience is not so much an ‘alliance’ between activist demands and artistic practices in order to achieve common goals: it is more that of a common space or a common base that is emerging. This space is not clearly defined, thus making it impossible to draw a precise line between forces and signs, between language and labor, between intellectual production and political action. It functions through a display of the archive format, in which all the materials on show share the same level of equivalence – without hierarchies and without exhibiting any preordained set of institutional rules. It is up to the public to choose and to organize their vision of the available material: turning the archive into a toolkit ready for use.

The Disobedience Archive has been organized and exhibited in many different venues across the World since 2005. In the installation at the Lobby of the Media Lab Complex at MIT the Disobedience expands to include cases of political and artistic action that have manifested in the geographic and historical terrain of Boston. In addition to this, new student works that critically interrogate concepts of Disobedience are exhibited in conversation with the pre-existing body of works that comprise the archive.

Here, the archive itself takes the form of a garden “corridor” arranged on an axis that disrupts the traditional logic of the existing space and makes an allusion to the spatial and urban politics, from community gardens to self-reliant tent cities, that have characterized many instances of activism in the Boston area.