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Realizing the Impossible: Art Against Authority Paperback – January 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 225 pages
  • Publisher: AK Press (January 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904859321
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904859321
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,247,848 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Josh MacPhee is an artist, curator, and activist. His work often revolves around themes of radical politics, privitazation, and public space. Josh organizes the Celebrate People's History Poster Series and runs a political art distribution website. He is also the author of Stencil Pirates: A Global Survey of Street Stenciling, published in July 2004. Erik Reuland is a Minneapolis-based print-maker and puppeteer. He explores the intersections of art, radical politics and everyday life in his zine, Trouble in Mind. In collaboration with incarcerated illustrators, Erik creates political storytelling posters for the Prison Poster Project.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Abyss on March 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
On receiving Realizing the Impossible, I was immediately reminded of Walter Benjamin's 'The Author as Producer'. Taking consideration of art, literature and print newspaper, Benjamin contends that a revolution occurs in such mediums only when there is a reformulation in both form and content. This reformulation Realizing the Impossible accomplishes to an outstanding degree. The eye looking over its pages is confronted not only with a distinctly anarchist analysis of art-something not achieved in a systematic way since Herbert Read's work on poetry and children's drawings-but also with a wholly 'anarchic' design. Text and image merge and collide with the promise of insurrectionary potentialities. Footnotes jut from left and right; things are not where they are 'expected' to be. Chapters blur and speak to each other. Headings slope, text moves vertically. Realizing the Impossible is indeed a wonderfully designed book, fully practicing the ideals of anarchy.

Apart from an excellent design, Realizing the Impossible undoubtedly provides a challenging, inspiring, and well-needed account of art's relationship to anarchism. The long history of this relationship is one of the most interesting aspects of the book. This is so, for much of this history is unknown or even forgotten. For those who seek an understanding of the history of anarchist art, Realizing the Impossible provides an excellent overview, with more specific discussions of indivdual artists: Clifford Harper, Flavio Constantini.

Contemporary anarchist art movements are a feature of the second section of the book, covering topics such as anarchist film interventions in Scandinavia, print art in Indonesia, and puppet-making across Europe and North America.
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Format: Paperback
Realizing the Impossible is a wonderful, passionately and intelligently compiled collection of art and writing with strong political messages. An anti-authoritarian, anti-capitalist persuasion carries from cover to cover and is expressed throughout. Through their work, the featured artists reveal messages and statements and resistance to globalization, state authority and oppression. Interwoven into their social critiques is a common belief that a new world is necessary.

The collection contains three sections: "In Print," "Moving Images and Interventions" and "Theories." Within each of these sections are essays, interviews and art that focus on specific events and people ranging from the Haymarket Riot, radical puppetry, queer art and the politics of space and land reclamation.

The reader is taken all over the world and to generations past as Realizing the Impossible brilliantly educates about global resistance to the rise of corporate power. After reading this book, it's obvious that movements of resistance cross boundaries, cultures, time, and are expressed in many ingenious ways. Prints, photographs, street art, paintings and more go hand in the hand with the text and together they provide powerful statements. The art is beautiful, the writings are poignant and the reader is left with a perfect opportunity to reconsider and evaluate the world context in which we live, and the history behind the radical movements against traditionally dominant world powers.
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Format: Paperback
Beautifully illustrated, "Realizing the Impossible" is a fascinating collection of interviews, essays, and artwork celebrating the politics and aesthetics of anti-authoritarian visual arts. From stencil art in Argentina to The Bread and Puppet Theater in Vermont to radical video collectives in the US and Mexico, "Realizing the Impossible" documents the creative genius of a broad range of cultural workers utilizing art as an instrument of social change. Among the numerous interviews, I especially enjoyed the ones with the illustrator Clifford Harper and the painter Gee Vaucher, a member of the legendary British anarcho-punk band Crass. Reading this incredible anthology is truly inspirational. It will challenge the way you perceive public space and encourage you to incorporate beauty into your everyday activism. It will also remind you of the enormous power of art to transform human consciousness in a way that political slogans seldom can. By liberating our imaginations and providing visions of a better world, anti-authoritarian artists play a vital role in our movements for peace and social justice. Thank you AK Press for what might easily be your best book yet!
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Format: Paperback
Compiled, organized, and co-edited by artist, writer, curator, and activist Josh MacPhee in cooperation with Erik Reuland (sometime editor of the radical political and art zine 'Trouble in Mind'), "Realizing The Impossible: Art Against Authority" is an anthology of commentaries on the relationship of aesthetics and politics in anti-authoritarian social movements which today are principle focused on opposing corporate globalization and its authoritarian governmental enablers. Profusely illustrated throughout with black-and-white images, "Realizing The Impossible" is arranged into the major sectional themes of 'Print'; 'Moving Images and Interventions'; and 'Theories'. This compendium of articles, essays, and writings is especially recommended reading for anarchists, political activists, political science students, and counter-culture enthusiasts. Indeed, "Realizing The Impossible" is a particularly important and timely addition to academic and community library Political Science reference collections.
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