For more than ten years, the Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination has been bringing together artists and activists in order to co-create new forms of resistance and disobedience existing somewhere between art and activism, poetry and politics. Their aim is not to represent the world and its crises but to transform it, by using social movements as its material and creating a culture of resistance. Through a myriad of experiments from launching a rebel raft regatta to shut down a coal fired power station, to turning bikes into machines of disobedience during the Copenhagen climate summit, to touring the UK recruiting a rebel clown army, to running courses in postcapitalist culture or moving to a land based collective in search for reconnection as well as a desire to build a territory in resistance, they have explored various ways in which liminal spaces are the most productive.
Isabelle Frémeaux was a senior lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck College-University in London until she resigned in December 2011 to escape wage labour and academia. Her action research explores popular education, storytelling and creative forms of resistance. John Jordan is an art activist. He co-founded the direct action groups Reclaim the Streets and the Clown Army , worked as a cinematographer for Naomi Klein’s The Take and co-edited the book We Are Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism (Verso, 2004). Together they co-founded the art activism and permaculture collective The Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination whose infamous interventions continue to erupt across Europe. They published the book/film Paths Through Utopias (La Decouverte, 2011) after which they set up the community la r.O.n.c.e (Resist, Organise, Nourish, Create, Exist) among others. Lately they co-organised the Climate Games, the worlds largest disobedient action adventure game for the Paris UN Climate Summit in December 2015. They both currently live in ZAD (acronym for Zone to defend in French). An autonomous territory intended to physically blockade an airport development project in Nantes, France.
Laboratory of Insurrectionary Imagination is not an institution or a platform, not a network nor an NGO, but an affinity of friends who recognise the beauty of collective creative disobedience. They treat insurrection as an art and art as a means of preparing for the coming insurrection. Creation and resistance are the entwined DNA strands of their practice. They see art and activism as inseparable from everyday life. Their experiments aim not to make art but to shape reality, not to show you the world but to change it together. They champion artists who escape the prisons of the art world, who stop playing the fool in the corporate palaces and apply their creativity directly to the engineering of social movements. They befriend activists who value their imaginations listen to dreams and play with the political as they would stanzas of a poem. At the heart of their experiments lie new ways of relating to each other and organising ourselves: working without hierarchy, taking direct action, practising self management and living ecologically. They refuse to wait for the end of Capitalism, but attempt to live in spite of it.