celebrating protest camping: the new “doing something”

There's a man on the roof

This is the view from the window of my Wednesday and Friday Morning 3d Design class. I have to say, it’s not all that bad. Looking out over the city, and at back cove, I think “this could certainly be worse”. I often look at that rooftop space and think how much I’d like to live in that. Unfortunately it’s abandoned or used for storage. That man is fixing one of its many broken or missing window pains. That would be a great apartment.I love this old architecture. The streets, as you can see are a mess, so I can’t keep up my SoCal rollerblading regiment, but the buildings are just the way I like them.

Speaking of the streets of Portland, the occupy Maine movement seems to have moved on to phase two of their plan to change the world through vagaries and casually preaching to the choir. This phase, really begun a few weeks ago, is much less… existent, than the first one. The movement started, in Maine at least, with a large group of protestors rallying in monument square every morning and doing the standard protester sign holding and chanting, with the occasional solicited horn honk. Now, as I mentioned in a prior post, I am behind the fundamental underpinnings of this Occupy movement. Especially, the more appropriate Occupy Wallstreet movement. However, I have not yet seen what an occupy Maine movement intends to accomplish, particularly, in Portland, the state’s most progressive and metropolitan city. (the capital, “occupied” by a seemingly retarded neo-fascist goon, is in Augusta.)

Anyway, phase two, which seems now to have been going on for longer than the actual protesting phase, is more of an extended camping phase. For several weeks now, the entirety of the group’s effort has been focused primarily on erecting and expanding an encampment within Lincoln Park on Congress st. I’m not sure if this is in fact a strategy. Is the idea that traditional protest doesn’t really work (which is probably accurate) so instead, go camping in a park? If so, I think it’s misguided. Now I don’t want to be confused with a group of people championing the eviction of protestors in Zucotti Park in NYC. It’s not so much that I care for the restrictive no-camping laws established by our police and parks departments. I just don’t see the goal here. The group’s Facebook page states a list of their demands (among them requests as justifiably humble and righteous as reduced rate heating oil for Mainers, ending corporate personhood, public transportation, and repayment of bank bailouts) but it seems that they long ago became content with being allowed a place to camp for the fall. Some of the people in the encampment are in fact Portland’s homeless, and others are those who have traveled and left jobs or homes to come here.  There are a smattering of rotting signs attached to the fence surrounding the park, and if you walk by at night, you will see a small group gathering by lamplight to discuss revolution and trash patrol, but for the most part, I feel like my daily walk takes me past a symbol of our inability to progress as a nation. When protest is more about being seen protesting than even knowing what you want or how what you are doing will get it, you end up blending into the day to day of a city that doesn’t care that you put a tent in a park.

Occupy Maine: Occupying Maine since september 2011

To the credit of the Occupy Mainers, This encampment does seem to be growing. However, it is simultaneously becoming less and less active outside of its own walls.

On a related note, in the final days of the recent Mayoral election here in Portland, I encountered this, just on the periphery of the Occupy site…

here is a closeup

All joking aside, did I tell you I finally got my studio space organized and cleaned up? well, I did…

And just in time. Matt Hutton and I will be showing together in a Gallery here in Portland during next summer’s Furniture Conference, which we are hosting, and it’s time for me to start some new work.

I have been so busy teaching and getting settled in that it has been hard to think about starting new work, but I am starting to go crazy not making things. Up to this point, it has been a welcome break. Those three years of Grad school require a little bit of post-processing, and what better way to do that than a brief forced hiatus in work in order to start being a teacher. Totally worth it.

So, stay tuned for updates on upcoming work and ideas. I think I need to scale back a bit, at least for now, and do some good old fashioned artsishness.

until next time,

here is this…

In New York, they just do everything to the extreme. This guy  fucking hates campers. “You want some of this too?”

what a douche. That’s the perfect way to convince a protest movement based around altering the power structure and a shift towards a government for the people that they are wrong and should stop. I’m convinced. This guy looks like a comic book version of an asshole cop.



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2 responses to “celebrating protest camping: the new “doing something”

  1. Heather McCalla

    At least your Maine occupiers set up camp in a park. Ours pitched their tents in a nasty, abandoned parking lot by my house. Don’t they know asphalt is harder than grass? Dummies…

  2. J.Kramer

    This is great, the Occupy San Diego deal is getting pretty outrageous as well. You can only image the stench of all the patchouli oil, I’m beginning to believe that I can smell it all the way in La Mesa. Nice work on the studio by the way, it’s very dapper. I can’t wait to see whats next my friend. Glad to hear your doing well and I’ll be seeing you sooner than later!

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