DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency

The first article I read was “An Ethnography of the Poetry Insurgency.” The post lays out an explanation of who takes part in this movement. They mention that although they are located in D.C and have meetings in a central park in DuPont, they have participants from all over the world. The group has a large age range between those in their late teens to those in their early forties. The variety of the life paths of each of the participants shows the unique voice this group has. They aim to create “participatory social change.” The use of different instruments in a public space, as well as offering the chance for passersby to get involved in the art, sounds like a powerful way to reach out to individuals, not just gain the attention of a crowd. The combination of both music and poetry, as well as a platform for freedom of expression, makes their group meetings the perfect environment for social change. The article goes on to explain that they have small protests about any number of things, from local homelessness to globalization. The writer, Brendan Kiernan, mentions that the group struggles with trying to be welcoming to new members. Apparently, this is an issue with a lot of social movements, as outsiders interested in joining may not feel comfortable without an inclusive environment. As I read this article, I realized that I probably would not have a solution to this problem. The group seems to use a lot of audience participation, so taking the next steps to keep new people involved probably takes a lot of interpersonal strategies.

The second post I read was a poem titled “Baghdad Blues (Corporate Asshole Remix).” The poem is a facetious critique of corporate corruption, from the point of view of a CEO executive. It covers the attacks on Baghdad and the way in which large corporations and governments can get away with murder by simply paying off a corrupt judicial system. The poem is clear with its message, and I could see it being accessible for a large age range of people to connect with. In this type of artwork, the use of humor and direct language creates a clear and accessible message.

The third post was a video of activist Shahid Buttar outside of the FBI headquarters. He recited a poem about the loss of liberty with a message against intelligence collection. He explains that those who choose to accept intelligence collection are sacrificing their own liberty. He repeated the phrase, “We follow, but don’t think.” His message was powerful, and you can hear the audience cheering him on behind the camera. His speech again mixed humor and information, like the poem above. This style of social art certainly catches the audience’s attention, and then the message is concisely delivered with his informative but still engaging speech. I’ve witnessed a lot of protests, and I think this style would be a lot more engaging than others which are delivered with anger and a less informative approach. Overall, it seems like this group is skilled in delivering engaging messages to a large audience in public formats. I think this would be an interesting approach to our own artwork.

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