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Project Premiere: Brad Butler and Karen Mirza’s "Direct Speech Acts" at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis

February 14, 2013



Brad Butler (2012 Film/Video) and collaborator Karen Mirza premiere the Creative Capital-supported project, Direct Speech Acts, in the exhibition The Museum of Non Participation: The New Deal at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, April 18 – July 14. In conjunction with the opening of this exhibition, Butler and Mirza will also host a community-based workshop and performance, The Exception and the Rule, on April 18 at 7:00pm.

Direct Speech Acts is a film series made in collaboration with non-actors, dancers, theorists and activists performing urgent forms of fearless speech in attempts to create new languages for resistance. These videos are part of Butler and Mirza’s ongoing project The Museum of Non Participation, a fictional museum that serves as the conceptual platform for questioning and challenging current conditions of political involvement and opposition. Through film, sound, text and performed actions, the artists ask: How does one participate in or withdraw from political realities individually and collectively? What social spaces support or deter such actions? And how can art represent, facilitate or intervene in this process?

For the U.S. debut of The Museum of Non Participation, Butler and Mirza transform the Walker’s Medtronic Gallery into a multilayered installation and evolving social space that interrogates the shifting allegiances, contracts and “new deals” between nation states and their citizens. A selection of video works highlights the precarious nature of this relationship as witnessed through significant geopolitical events, from the Lawyers Movement protests in Pakistan to the Arab Spring and widespread austerity rallies in Europe.

Watch video works from the Direct Speech Acts series and read more about the project on our blog, The Lab.

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