A reflective morning trip to work through uncannily warm sunlight for a would-be bleak January day was followed by the happy realization that one of my favourite journals, the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest, out of Los Angelas CA (which was out of commission for so long that I nearly lost hope and gave up on them) had put out a book-length journal in November of 2008.
This was quickly dampened by the sad news that one of their contributing writers, Ben Schaafsma, only 26, passed away shortly after publication. One of his most recent articles can be viewed here. As one of the organizers of InCUBATE (Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and The Everyday), Schaafsma conceptualized alternative, collective funding and support for the arts modeled after examples from similar contemporary organizations in Latvia and Hungary. InCUBATE offers artist, writer, or researcher residencies (for folks who want to do “self-directed creative projects”) for one to three months at $250/month in Chicago, which includes a bedroom and communal space as well as studio and gallery space.
In his article, Schaafsma asked, “Is it possible to create new contexts for public support by looking towards the periphery of neoliberal economics, operating in the folds of established institutions?” The group answered their own question by working on the fringe with a traveling arts exhibition called Other Options and with their InCUBATE project. Schaafsma’s article looks into other examples of cooperative art spaces, taking its cues from another space called FOOD from 1970s NY. It’s worth a read for the energy and vision behind it, for the inspiration that it offers. My deepest sympathies to Ben’s family and friends.