Critical Tactics Lab (CTL) Thursdays

The Revolution Will Be Debated

Come meet the revolutionaries and activists who have changed or are changing the world, and those who study them. We’ll be meeting many Thursdays for a series of lectures, workshops, and other events focusing on the potential for societal change, and what we can do to bring it about through creative tactics and strategies.

Unless otherwise indicated, all events are held at:
20 Cooper Sq. 5th floor
New York, NY 10003

All events are FREE and open to the public. Photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings.

Zach Blas: Facial Weaponization Suite and Face Cages

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December 11, 2014
7-9 pm
This event will take place on the 2nd floor of 20 Cooper Sq.
Livestreaming statrts at 7pm.  Click here to view the live video feed.

The success of today’s booming biometrics industry resides in its promise to rapidly measure an objective, truthful, and core identity from the surface of a human body, often for a mixture of commercial, state, and military interests. Yet, Biometric machines often fail to recognize non-normative, minoritarian persons, which makes such people vulnerable to discrimination, violence, and criminalization. Face Cages and Facial Weaponization Suite dramatize and protest against biometric facial recognition–and the inequalities these technologies propagate. 

Zach Blas is an artist, writer, and curator whose work engages technology, queerness, and politics. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art at the University at Buffalo. Blas has exhibited and lectured internationally, most recently at Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; the 2014 Museum of Arts and Design Biennial, New York; the 2014 Dakar Biennial; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; and The Moving Museum, Istanbul. Zach has published writings in The Journal of Aesthetics and Protest; Women Studies Quarterly; and You are Here: Art after the Internet. His work has been written about and featured in Art Review, Frieze, Art Papers, Hyperallergic, Rhizome, Mousse Magazine, The Atlantic, and Al Jazeera America.

Wine reception to follow.

Hemispheric Institute of Performance & Politics
20 Cooper Square, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10003

This event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required for entry to NYU buildings. This venue is wheelchair accessible. 

Past Events

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September 18, 2014  7pm | The Ancient Practice of Shit Disturbing: What Trickster stories tell us about direct action and migration in an era of climate chaos

This event will be livestreamed.

Across the globe we find old stories about characters who travel between opposing spaces. Without invitation they find their way into the realm of the Gods, returning to world of mortals having acquired some gift to share. The Trickster crosses imposed boundaries and reshapes culture in the process. As our climate destabilizes and communities yearn for transformation, people are recognizing the ancient responsibility to break boundaries and cross borders.

Sean Devlin is part of a network of artists that launched, an online campaign targeting the Canadian Prime Minister that went viral during Canada’s 2011 federal election. He currently serves as its Executive Director. His workshops help artists and activists channel their Trickster spirit. 

The Hand That Feeds: A conversation with the undocumented workers and organizers of the Hot and Crusty labor victory, and the filmmakers who covered it

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November 6, 2014
7-9 pm
This event will be livestreamed. Click here to view the live video feed.

At a popular bakery café, residents of New York’s Upper East Side get bagels and coffee served with a smile 24 hours a day. But behind the scenes, undocumented immigrant workers face sub-legal wages, dangerous machinery, and abusive managers who will fire them for calling in sick. Mild-mannered sandwich maker Mahoma López has never been interested in politics, but in January 2012, he convinces a small group of his co-workers to fight back.

Mahoma López and Virgilio Arán of the Laundry Workers Center, the main subjects of the film and organizers of the Hot and Crusty campaign, will join filmmakers Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick in a simultaneously translated discussion. They will relate the strategies it took to overcome a two-month lockout, back door legal battles, a picket line that divided a neighborhood–and the soul it took to ensure they would never be exploited again.  

Wine reception to follow.

This event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings. This venue is wheelchair accessible. 

Directed and Produced by Rachel Lears and Robin Blotnick,
Photo: Eleazar Castillo 

Zona Intervenida // Colectivo Andén, A film preview and talk with Nitin Sawhney

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November 20, 2014
7-9 pm

Zona Intervenida // Colectivo Andén is an artistic exploration of the historic memory of violence, civil war and apathy in Guatemala. It follows a collective of young artists who use dance, performance, and poetry to intervene in a former train station in Quetzaltenango, which was converted to a military base during the worst atrocities of the war. Through movement, music, seeds and spoken word, the artists seek to activate and transform the dark memories of the space, while engaging public imagination and bringing light to Guatemala’s silenced past. More about the project: http://www.ZonaIntervenida.orgView the trailer HERE.

Nitin Sawhney speaks about his upcoming documentary , co-produced with the Andén Collective in Guatemala, with a limited sneak preview of the work-in-progress film. He will also briefly discuss his emerging curatorial research project, Guatemala Después.

Nitin Sawhney, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at the New School. His research, teaching and creative practice engages the critical role of technology, civic media, and artistic interventions in contested spaces. Nitin previously taught at the MIT Program in Art, Culture, and Technology (ACT) and conducted research at the MIT Media Lab. He examines social movements and crisis contexts, though forms of creative urban tactics, participatory research, performance and documentary film. His first feature-length documentary film, Flying Paper, showcased the creative struggles of Palestinian children in Gaza flying kites to break the Guinness World Record; it has been screened in over 25 international film festivals and is being distributed by Journeyman Pictures.

Wine reception to follow.

This event is free and open to the public. A photo ID is required to enter NYU buildings. This venue is wheelchair accessible. 

Check out Creative Activism Thursday Past Presenters here.

Creative Activism Thursdays is co-sponsored by NYU Dean for Social Science, the Hemispheric Institute, the Yes Lab, the Humanities Initiative at NYU Working Research Group on Artistic Activism, CAA, and Not an Alternative.