Exhibit in Philly explores ways and means of dissent

An exhibition about the art of protest has opened in a small gallery space in North Chinatown in Philadelphia, featuring installations of sound, video, and photography about acts of dissent from around the world.

The Occupy movement is notably absent.

The idea for the show, “Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent,” was hatched over a year ago. New York-based curator Yaelle Amir began working with Marginal Utility at 319 N. 11th St. (aka the Vox building), to put together a show with diverse modes of protest: such as living in a tree, Israeli and Palestinian teenagers recreating a street demonstration as a form of play, and reciting gay love letters on the sidewalks of Manhattan.

But since the show was conceived, large-scale protest movements have rippled across the globe, from the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement.

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“I did struggle with the show a bit once Occupy became present — especially in Philly.,” said Amir, who participated in the Occupy Wall Street demonstration. “In New York, there was a long discussion of avoiding co-option.

“People were using the Occupy brand, it became trendy very quickly. I struggled about how to have the show speak for itself and its original intent,” said Amir.

Amir did not want Occupy to cast a shadow over other forms of creative protest. The exhibition explores five different ways, some complex and others blunt, to communicate a message of dissent.

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