Photo cred: Anthea Black, 2012
As part of the new artist in residency program at John Snow House in the Beltline area of Calgary, The Ladies Invitation Deadbeat Society (LIDS) have reconvened for a month long stint to re-examine precarity in Canada’s Artist-Run Culture.
Consisting of Anthea Black (London, ON), Nicole Burisch (Montreal, QC), and Wednesday Lupypciw (Calgary, AB), LIDS has been responding to burn out and inequity in artist run centre since 2006. For their month long residency, LIDS graciously invited me to participate in their first public Sunday afternoon discussing the topic of “The Value Of Our (Collective) Work.”
Formally, LIDS describes the event as “a conversational skill share on resiliency in these challenging times of austerity budgets, privatization of culture, and eroding public funds. We looked at the work of several other collectives including Temporary Services, CARFAC, Working Artists in the Greater Economy (W.A.G.E.) and Artivistic.”
Recollecting over all the conversations that have transpired over the past few days, as I am now currently squatting on their residency for a few days, a flood of rigorous and truly systematically disturbing discussions have unfolded and reminded me why it is so important to have these critical discussions within an actively engaged artist-run culture — especially for this generation born after 1975.
Issues raised and debated included the class war struggles of cultural workers, self-perpetuating myths of artistic production, the invisibility of labour, the glamourization of poverty, ethical stewardship and best practices, and the liberation revolution of art and activism amongst many more within an open forum. A Skype in from Montreal-based Artivistic opened up the discussion to their current research, Promiscuous Infrastructures: experiments in art + information + activism.
As a gesture, I listened, engaged, contributed, and transcribed everything we talked about in the form of repetitively writing out the line “We’re all in this together.”
Collectively, as everyone in the room joined the conversation over a span of two hours, LIDS continually approached and re-routed current practices within a lineage of historical representations that reverberate across class, gender, and race. Destroying empires through their sophisticated no-bullshit foundation of theory AND praxis, LIDS is for real. Apathy is boring. We’re all in this together.