College of Tactical Culture

Event Type: 
Event Type: 
Event Type: 
programming series
Event Type: 
Programming Series: 
Summer School

College of Tactical Culture

A think tank on creative activism led by Stephen Duncombe and Steve Lambert, a program of Eyebeam's Summer School 2009

Summer School is an annual workshop and public presentation series designed to encourage the creative use technologies for personal expression, activism, communication, and community involvement. The College of Tactical Culture was established within this context to create an opportunity for creative activists to get together within a focused period of time to discuss ideas and develop strategies.

The College of Tactical Culture (CTC) examined questions such as:

  • How can we measure the impact of our work?
  • What lessons can we learn from popular culture?
  • How can we use humor to broach difficult content?
  • How can we reach new audiences?
  • How can we use new tools and technologies to organize and connect with audiences?

Participants in CTC were encouraged to draw from and build off of each other's experiences to inform their practices, build new relationships, and create space for new projects and collaborations. The group met in close-door sessions twice per week over the course of three weeks (June 30 - July 16, 2009), and participated in the public prorgram series, Summer School @ Night.


Larry Bogad, Writer/Perfomer/Activist; Associate Professor of Theatre and Dance, University of California at Davis
Andrew Boyd, DIY, BYOB, FtGPhD*; NYC
Rebecca Bray & Britta Riley, Eyebeam Residents, Artists, NYC
Ava Bromberg, Spacemaker, PhD Student @ UCLA Urban Planning Department; Los Angeles
Anne Frederick, Executive Director, Hester Street Collaborative, NYC
Packard Jennings, Artist, Oakland CA
Kristin Horton, Freelance Director/Clinical Assistant Professor of Theater, NYU's Gallatin School, NYC
Aaron Hughes, Artist and Organizing Team Leader Iraq Veterans Against the War, Chicago, IL
Laura MacCleery, Deputy Director, Democracy Program, Brennan Center for Justice, NYC
Ricardo Miranda Zuniga, Artist, Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies, CUNY Hunter, NYC
Eve Mosher, Artist, NYC
Brooke Singer, Artist and Assistant Professor of New Media, Purchase College, NYC
Ella Turenne, Artist, Activist & Educator, NYC

*Forgot to Get his PhD

About the College of Tactical Culture Class of Summer '09:

HughesAaron Hughes is a former Illinois Army National Guard (ILNG) Sergeant who after serving six years was discharged in June of 2006. He joined the ILNG in order to serve his community and get an education. In 2003 he was involuntarily deployed to Kuwait and Iraq with the belief he would provide humanitarian relief for the Iraqi people. As a truck driver he traveled throughout much of Iraq and quickly came to the realization that he was not providing any type of humanitarian relief, but in stead was contributing to the oppression, destruction, and dehumanization of the Iraqi people. Following a fifteen-month deployment Aaron returned home committed to ending the occupation and US corporate pillaging. He has dedicated his life to creatively fighting dehumanization and oppression.
Aaron Hughes joined Iraq Veterans Against the War in 2006 and has served as s Member, a Chapter President, a Reginal Coordinator, Board Member, and Organizer. He helped found the Winter Soldier Project, Operation First Casualty, the Warrior Writers Project, and the Chicago Chapter.

Aaron is currently working on developing a campaign called "Demilitarized U." to demilitarize the Chicago Public School District, the most militarized school district  in the states, with the largest JROTC program and six military high schools.

Larry BogadLarry Bogad
is an author, performer, and activist. His book Electoral Guerrilla Theatre: Radical Ridicule and Social Movements, is an international study of performance artists who run for public office as a prank. Bogad works on the intersection between art and activism, and on the role of humor and imagination in organizing social movements.  He has taught “Tactical Performance” workshops internationally, and as “Art and Controversy” Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University and “Humanities and Political Conflict” Fellow at Arizona State University.  He contributed to the Special Edition of the New York Times and recently co-wrote and edited a smiliar project: Bogad’s darkly humorous performances have covered topics such as the Haymarket Square Confrontation, the FBI’s COINTELPRO activities and the PATRIOT ACT, and global climate chaos. He is a veteran of the Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Laboratory, cofounder of the Clandestine Insurgent Rebel Clown Army, and has written and performed with the Oil Enforcement Agency, Reclaim the Streets/NYC, Absurd Response, and Billionaires for Bush, and in film, theatre, and street theatre across North America and the UK.  His writings include "Tactical Carnival", "A Place for Protest," "Carnivals Against Capital," "Radical Simulacrum, Regulation by Prank," "Upstaging the Establishment," and many more that try to examine with some rigor and a little humor the ways in which performance can be used, not only as decoration for "serious" activism, but as a central aspect and element of impactful work. Bogad has served people popsicles made from the last glaciers on earth, and led a Funeral for the Last Ice on Earth as ironic ritual in support of a lockdown blocking Chevron's headquarters. With Steve Duncombe, he was part of an radical labor drama with SuperBarrio in the streets of New York, starring hundreds of police.  With Steve Lambert, he staged the radical conversion of Ronald McDonald to the cause of eco-sustainability, biodiversity, and shawarma.

Andrew BoydAndrew Boyd
is an author, humorist, and a 25-year veteran of creative campaigns for social change. As "Phil T. Rich," I led the decade-long satirical media campaign "Billionaires for Bush." I've written a few books, including two ironic manifestos published by W. W. Norton: "Daily Afflictions" and "Life's Little Deconstruction Book."  My writing has appeared in The Nation, Village Voice, Marie Claire,, Sun Magazine, and elsewhere.  For part of my bread and butter I do trainings and speaking engagements at campuses and conferences across the country.  For another part, I'm a founding partner of Agit-Pop Communications, an award-winning "subvertising" agency making viral videos for environmental & social justice campaigns. /

Window FarmsBritta Riley and Rebecca Bray
are artists working to create crowdsourced R&D solutions for environmental issues. Their inspiration for community involvement derives from concepts of local production (think of the coming network of 3D multi-material printers) and mass collaboration enabled by Web 2.0. They envision the DIY aspect, not as a nostalgia-inducing hobby or a compromise during hard financial times, but as a futuristic infrastructure-light alternative to big R&D. They work to frame a movement where people feel validated, welcomed into an effort to break apart scientific breakthroughs into actionable tasks, and motivated to contribute. They believe it's time to take the potential contributions of the general public to the environmental movement more seriously. They are currently residents at Eyebeam, the art and technology atelier in New York. Their work has been featured in ArtNews, Inhabitat and Treehugger, on the Discovery Channel, at the Venice Biennale and the Museum of Modern Art, and the A+C gallery in Chicago. They own an interactive design agency in New York, Submersible Design, through which they consult with science and art museums about creating participatory media.

Ava BrombergAva Bromberg
's research and practice focus on creative local economies, public and social goods, community-driven planning and responsible development. She is an institutional entrepreneur hybridizing ownership, governance, and financing innovations that stimulate dynamic community growth and grassroots investment. Ava is presently working on a social entrepreneurial model for commercial real estate, aimed at reinventing strip malls as neighborhood nodes for living local economies where people can shop, learn, socialize and create with the chance to own a piece of the value they help to generate with their presence and participation.

Ava was a 2002-2003 Thomas J. Watson Fellow, is a co-founder of Mess Hall, a storefront experimental cultural center in Chicago, co-organizer of the Just Space(s) exhibition and symposium series, and co-editor of the book Belltown Paradise / Making their own Plans. Ava has a Master’s Degree in Urban Planning from UCLA, where she is a doctoral student and former Managing Editor of Critical Planning (Volumes 14+15).

Anne FrederickAnne Frederick
As the founding director of Hester Street Collaborative (HSC), Anne Frederick has worked to develop a community design-build practice that responds to the needs of HSC’s local neighborhood of the Lower East Side/Chinatown as well as the needs of under-resourced NYC communities city-wide. Her unique approach to community design integrates education and youth development programming with participatory art, architecture, and planning strategies. This approach is rooted in partnership and collaboration with various community based organizations, schools, and local residents. Prior to founding HSC, Anne worked as an architect at Leroy Street Studio Architecture and as a design educator at Parsons School of Design and the New York Foundation for Architecture. Anne graduated from Parsons School of Design and The New School for Social Research in 1998, and has represented the work of HSC at various conferences, lectures, and exhibitions.  To date, she has coordinated design education programs in over a dozen schools citywide, has overseen community design initiatives in a variety of parks and open spaces on the Lower East Side, and has initiated partnerships with a range of local and city-level organizations to improve the built environment in underserved New York neighborhoods.

Packard JenningsPackard Jennings
says, "My art is born from a sense of blanket disenfranchisement; be it my feeling of powerlessness in the face of mega-corporations, my disgust with the stewardship of our country, or my broad ideological separation from American fundamentalism. I make work that delves into the realm of activism, not only to connect with individuals in provocative and meaningful ways, but also to recast my role in the system. I often put my work out into the world for chance interactions with people; this involves ad hoc installations and subversive infiltration of public and semi-public spaces, where the pieces are left to their own fate. I employ humor as a device for lowering a viewer's guard to the reception of difficult content."

The art of Packard Jennings has been published in New American Painting, Adbusters, Playboy, Anthem, Kitchen Sink, Scene Missing, New Art Examiner, and Atomica. His work has been reviewed in Art Forum, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Boston Globe, and the Boston Phoenix. Packard lives and works in Oakland, CA.

Kristin HortonKristin Horton
is a New York based director working primarily with new plays. Recent projects include RICHARD III at the Riverside Theatre Shakespeare Festival in Iowa City and HOME LAND by Christopher Cartmill at the Lied Center for the Performing Arts in Lincoln, NE. She is an Artistic Associate at the Lark Play Development Center in NY where she has recently worked with playwrights such as Arthur Kopit, David Henry Hwang, Sam Hunter, Dano Madden, and Chisa Hutchinson. In addition to The Lark, she has directed new work for New Dramatists, The Playwright’s Center and Workhaus Collective in Minneapolis, Riverside Theatre in Iowa City, and Commonweal Theatre in Lanesboro, MN. She is the recipient of several fellowships including the NEA/TCG Career Development Program for Directors, Sundance Theater Lab, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She began her career as a member of the Living Stage Theatre Company, the groundbreaking social change theater of Arena Stage, where she created performances for a diverse audience including incarcerated men and women. While in Washington, D.C., she also produced education programs for the Kennedy Center and served as artistic director of Full Contact, whose company-created piece based on the narratives of Kosovar and Serbian refugees premiered at the Studio Theater. Upcoming projects include DIRT RICH by Chisa Hutchinson for CityParks Summerstage in New York. Horton is a member of the full-time faculty at New York University’s Gallatin School.

Laura MacCleeryLaura MacCleery
thinks humor and art have a lot to teach us about reaching a larger audience for progressive politics. She is the Deputy Director of the Campaign Finance program and an experienced consumer advocate, campaign finance and good government expert.  At the Brennan Center, she does research, advocacy and writing about the public’s right to know who is seeking to influence lawmakers and elections, and has taught a public policy advocacy seminar at New York University School of Law. Her most recent work has focused on ways to enhance public engagement in governance. Prior to coming to the Brennan Center, she was the Director of Congress Watch at Public Citizen. While at Public Citizen, where she worked for more than eight years, she oversaw the federal regulatory agencies on transportation safety, vehicle fuel economy and related matters, and ran legislative and issue campaigns on campaign finance and lobbying reform, public funding of elections, regulatory accounting, and citizen access to the courts. She has appeared on NBC Nightly News, CSPAN-2, and other television broadcasts. Her opinion editorials have been published in periodicals such as Roll Call, The Boston Globe, and Politico; as well as in on-line venues such as The Hill’s Blog, Huffington Post, The Nation and She has been quoted by USA Today, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report and numerous other publications.

Ricardo Miranda ZunigaRicardo Miranda Zuniga approaches art as a social practice to establish dialogue in public spaces. As a child of immigrant parents and brought up in Nicaragua and San Francisco, Zúñiga’s awareness of inequality and discrimination was established at an early age. Themes such as immigration, discrimination, and the effects of globalization extend from highly subjective experiences and observations into works that tactfully engage others through populist metaphors while maintaining critical perspectives.

Eve MosherEve Mosher
is an artist and interventionist living and working in New York City. Her works use investigations of the landscape as starting points for audience exploration of urban issues. Her public works raise issues of involvement in the environment, public/private space use, history of place, cultural and social issues and our own understanding of the urban ecosystem. Her work has been profiled in international media including the New York Times, ARTnews and Le Monde. She has received grants from New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Department of Cultural Affairs and The City Parks Foundation.

Brooke SingerBrooke Singer
is a media artist who lives in New York City. Her work blurs the borders between science, technology, politics and arts practices. She works across media to provide entry into important social issues that are often characterized as specialized or opaque to a general public. She is currently Assistant Professor of New Media at Purchase College, State University of New York, and co-founder of the art, technology and activist group Preemptive Media.



Ella TurenneElla Turenne Ella Turenne is an artist, activist and educator.  She is currently an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Gallatin School and Director of Special Projects at Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts where she develops initiatives in civic engagement and diversity.  Her work has been published in various anthologies including Letters From Young Activists: Today’s Rebels Speak Out and Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets and Emcees, nominated for a 2007 NAACP Image Award.  She is also the editor of a volume of visual art and poetry commemorating the Haitian revolution entitled revolution|revolisyon|révolution 1804 - 2004: An Artistic Commemoration of the Haitian Revolution.  As a filmmaker, Ella’s work has been an official selection of various national film festivals including the Hollywood Black Film Festival and the Montreal International Haitian Film Festival where her short film woodshed was nominated for Best Short Film.

As an activist, she is an advisory board member of the Blackout Arts Collective, a grassroots organization whose mission is to empower communities of color through arts, education and activism. With Blackout, Ella participated in Lyrics on Lockdown, a national tour where she performed and facilitated workshops educating communities about the prison industrial complex. She works with incarcerated youth and has developed arts based workshops with youth whose parents are or have been incarcerated.  Ella is also co-founder of SistaPAC Productions, a multi-media production company working in theatre, film, television, new and interactive media.  Its mission is to create original works from the perspective of women of color.



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