By Andrea Slavik
(WINDSOR, ON) – Annually, the area’s labour and arts communities join with other cities across Canada to present the MayWorks festival in Windsor to celebrate labour, arts, and community. In celebration of MayWorks Windsor 2015, Artcite, Windsor’s only artist-run centre for the contemporary arts, is presenting the group art exhibition Détournements: activist strategies in text, printed matter, and culture jamming.
Featuring works by activist artists Emily Davidson (Halifax, NS) and Steve Lambert (Beacon, NY) as well as by Windsor-Detroit area artists, arts groups, and social service organizations.
Détournement translates into hijacking or diversion, and is a tactic coined by the Letterist International, and the Situationist International in 1950s France. From the trajectory of the détournement emerged numerous historical and contemporary cultural practices such as socially engaged and activist art, culture jamming, punk, and DIY.
Like the Situationists and their efforts to meld art and politics, as exemplified in their major involvement in the general strike of May 1968 in France, many artists that operate within these genres strive to have an actual sociopolitical effect.
The Adbusters poster that became a catalyst for Occupy Wall Street and the term 99% is one high profile instance of Social Activist art that had the power to effect real-world change.
The Détournements exhibit features work by Davidson and Lambert who each challenge neoliberal narratives at work in our everyday environment by engaging with various community groups through projects that lie at the intersection of art and activism.
Détournements also features a social justice-themed library of print publications, workshops, and performances produced by local artists, activists, collectives, and non profit organizations. This exhibition is free to the public and runs from May 1 through June 6 at Artcite, 109 University Ave West, Wednesdays through Saturdays from noon until 5:00 pm.
There will be an opening reception today from 8:00 pm until 10:00 pm with Ken Lewenza, Jr, as the keynote speaker.