Nicholas Mirzoeff is a Professor of Media, Culture and Communication at NYU. His many publications include How To See The World (2015) and as editor The Militant Research Handbook (2013). He's been an activist and organizer since Occupy Wall Street with groups like Strike Debt, Free University NYC and Global Ultra Luxury Faction. As a participant in #BlackLivesMatter, he's given talks on the movement across the US and in Europe and Canada. He is an editor at Tidal: Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategyand has written extensively online in places ranging from the literary magazine Blunderbuss to Waging Non Violence, The New Republic and even Time. He is also a member of the art-activist collective MTL.
How do we decolonize the imagination? For the activists working performatively as the Decolonial Cultural Front, museums and other cultural institutions are the building blocks of the imagination of global capital. Culture is visible capital in the era of invisible electronic finance capital from the David Koch Plaza at the Metropolitan Museum to the gentrification of Brooklyn (to use NYC examples). We ask: of over 200 million hours of coerced labor in the Americas, how many are now incarnated in museums? No more human remains in museums. No expropriated colonial plunder. No products made with colonial goods or colonized labor. Why do you still have to be naked to be a woman and get into the Met, as the Guerrilla Girls have it? In NYC we call for cultural institutions to divest from Israel-Palestine and the prison-industrial complex and to offer a $25 an hour minimum wage in all cultural institutions. We occupy spaces, conduct alternative tours, demand transparency on budgets, trustees and boards of directors. This workshop will share ideas and projects with the goal of developing transnational networks and actions.