Everybody knows the legendary American music and culture magazine founded in 1967, Rolling Stone, which has recently had a makeover for a more brilliant and modern look. On this periodical is now available, for free, the documentary “The art of protest” by Indecline.
Indecline is an activist art collective, founded in 2001, it includes photographers, graffiti writers and filmmakers. As stated on their website, it “focuses on social, ecological and economical injustices carried out by American and International governments, corporations and law enforcement agencies”. The group started working on this project in 2018, the initial goal was to make a journey through the history of art used as a symbol of resistance, but then, considering the restless period in the United States, the goal became a real call to action.
With this 45-minute movie the viewers can discover all the installations, graffiti, works and artistic events that have left their mark in recent years, in the United States as well as in Moscow.
16 July 2016 – Los Angeles. A date and a town to take us back to four years ago, exactly two days before the Republican National Convention. That day, the representations of President Donald Trump, completely naked, by Indecline, appeared in four different American cities (Los Angeles, Cleveland, New York, San Francisco and Seattle). Obviously, these statues caused stir, amusement, but also indignation and agitation throughout the United States.
Many artists took part in this project and with their words explained the importance of art seen as a peaceful weapon to communicate, to fight and to involve citizens on socio-political issues. For painter activist Jadie Herrera, the paintbrush is her weapon, “that is how I fight,” she said. According to another well-known artist activist, Shepard Fairey, the more people will give voice to their ideas, the more they will fight for justice in a creative way, the better the future will be.
The movie also shows us the behind the scenes of “The people’s prison”, an installation created by Indecline inside the Trump International Hotel and Tower. The artists converted one of the suites into a true jail, where a Donal Trump impersonator was locked in a cage with live rats and surrounded by portraits of American activists and revolutionaries such as Betty Friedan, Hunter S. Thompson, Angela Davis, Muhammad Ali, Noam Chomsky, Erica Garner and others. According to the creators, Trump is the opposite of what makes America great, “we wanted to surround him with these people. This is the America that we’re proud of, this is part of our history that we are inspired by, these are the people we look to as an example in these turbulent times.”
This journey also takes the audience to Russia, when the Russian punk group “Pussy Riot” was jailed following its performance in the Moscow Cathedral against Putin. Then the movie shows other activist collectives that fight against climate change, other initiatives by “The yes men” and many other representations such as “Freedom Kick” and “This land was our land”. It shows another installation by Indecline, “Grave New World”: the artists created the Trump cemetery to show what the president killed, some of the tombstones bear the name “decency”, “our future”, “the last snowman” referred to the Paris climate agreement.
The “Black Lives Matter” movement has an important role in this documentary, it fights against racism and protests against the incidents that occur with the police and which still cause too many deaths. Indecline filled the empty stars on the Walk of Fame with the names of some black Americans who died because of the police, as a sign of protest and to remind the black victims.
The documentary, sometimes funny and sometimes touching, makes us reflect on the importance of art that has the power to involve people and unite them to fight against injustice.
“Art can be an effective tool for bringing about change in the world”, Damien Echols.