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The Alternative, Denmark: Political party-in-residence at the Faculty of Fine Arts

Weeks of 2018 | April 18-21 | September 14-17 | November 2-5

Who is The Alternative?

The Alternative is a generous, action-oriented international party based in Denmark that has a special focus on creating serious sustainable transition, introducing a new political culture, and harnessing the entrepreneurial creative power of society and individuals. The Alternative is more than a party. It is also a political movement and a cultural voice. Of particular interest to the Faculty of Fine Arts at Concordia University is the fact that The Alternative is one of the few parties to publicly emphasise the role and significance of culture and art in the development of other life values and life strategies aside from material consumption and financial gain. A very strong cultural and artistic commitment runs through all The Alternative’s political proposals, events and actions which creates verve, dynamics, and a feeling of freedom in everything they say, do, and recommend.

Session one: Making friends.

The Alternative will be hosted by the Institute for Urban Futures along with students enrolled in the Autumn course or independent study students. The purpose of the initial visit will be to introduce key participants to one another, to make “soundings” into the cultural and political landscape of Montreal, to gain basic knowledge of shared Danish and Canadian political preoccupations, to begin brainstorming approaches for the Autumn course, and to meet key individuals in the University and in the city.  

Session two: Making art. Making politics.

The purpose of the second visit is to create a curated set of immersive exercises for participants in the Making Art. Making Politics. residency so that they might experience firsthand the methods and modes of cultural production that are used to create and disseminate ideas and knowledge, e.g. critical/visual analysis; music and movement improvisation; ear and voice training; design ideation; art pedagogy; studio critique, etc. The second half of the visit will invite students and faculty to experience some methods used by The Alternative in their practice as politicians, e.g. political open source process, coauthorship, consensus-driven decision making, political laboratories, etc. Important in this session will be the full immersion of participants in actual practice guided by the motto don’t tell me, show me.  

Session three: Making change.

The purpose of the final visit will be to bring together the cultural and political methods, tactics, strategies, practices, tools, technologies, and positions that the residency participants have experienced and researched in the service of an authentic reality that faces the city of Montreal (as a microcosm of the larger body politic). The Alternative and individuals involved in the Making Art. Making Politics. project and course will have the opportunity to collaborate with other individuals and groups outside the university during intensive challenge sessions grounded in real scenarios, located in urban enclaves, and informed by municipal concerns.

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