The Protest Artist is like the ice upon a body of water; it’s the frozen lake – enabling the Activists (realizers of the vision) to carry themselves OVER the water to the other side,
the artist is the bridge
the crossing is the activist, the arrival is the fight (revolution). You can’t have one without the other.
The artist receives the prophecy, the activist must decide what to do with the prophecy.
The artist is the seer
the activist is the doer
(Somewhere in between…is the Actor)
—-preface to the poem “Coda for My Shadow”
Angela Davis and Jean Genet in conversation, New York City 1969 at an Arts Festival. (Photo by Robert Cohen, circa 1969 – from page 69 of Art of Protest by TV Reed)
The spring of 1969: as the Paris rebellions failed, a conference about the Black Panthers Theater took place in Oakland, which ended in an argument about the direction the theater should take – which by this point was in demise due to FBI infiltration...Angela Davis and Jean Genet confer before embarking on two separate routes to the same ultimate destination.
ANGELA DAVIS: If only I could only revolt as well as you create plays
JEAN GENET: No, if only I could write as elegantly as you revolt…if my words were as dangerous as your eyes I would not have the urge any longer to dream of a future. Instead I’d be living it.
AD: Yes but I was endgaming to the end of our imagination; I picked up a gun while you could still pick up a pen.
JG: The pen is not mightier than the sword. It’s just more scary.
AD: If our words and actions were one we wouldn’t have to have this discussion. We could overturn society’s injustice with the swivel of a gun and the precision of a play and so…the world would not be a stage it would be our sun. And the sun is merely a star.
JG: But unfortunately for a star to exist one must be surrounded by darkness.
AD: “Let’s make new light out of love and erase all the darkness that comes with it.” (I read that somewhere last year. I think it was Bullins or Jackmon who wrote it; Huey had it painted on the back wall of one of Fred’s theater spaces in Chicago.)
JG: Is that act one or two?
AD: It’s the whole play
Or when the play –
JG: ceases to to be a play.
— Teeming Towards Triple Threats: Revolution in Radio Drama for a Podcast Age Vol. I
Stay tuned for further information regarding transmission and production of the recorded podcast series: “Rebel Radio: Audio Works for a New Age” – coming this fall in conjugal with Speller Street Films LLC.