Over the course of the next year, in addition to his own work, Hughes will invite artists from around the world to take action: to participate in discussions and programs on democracy, present pop-up exhibitions, design and disseminate posters via institutions, communities and wheat pasting actions.
Autonomous Democracy begins with a series of posters inspired by the vibrant history of agitprop and the dissemination of political graphics during popular uprisings from the 1871 Paris Commune to the current movement for racial justice in the United States. Hughes’ 1st poster celebrates the direct action and the manifestation of real democracy during the Wisconsin uprising.
In February 2011, rejecting the undemocratic actions of the then Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, and in an act of direct democracy, thousands of people occupied the Wisconsin State Capital Building in Madison to defend worker rights. The occupation followed the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia and coincided with the mass movement in Egypt’s Tahrir Square which lead to the overthrow of dictator Hosni Mubarak. Later that year, inspired by these actions and demanding a truly democratic response to the economic crisis, people began occupying Zuccotti park near Wall Street in New York launching the Occupy Movement. These are just some of the moments in the long history of the growing global movement for direct democracy.
We invite you to participate, download poster #1 here and share with your community.
Aaron Hughes (US, b. 1982), is an artist, curator, organizer, teacher, anti-war activist, and Iraq War veteran. He works collaboratively in diverse spaces and media to create meaning out of personal and collective trauma, deconstruct and transform systems of oppression, and seek liberation. Working through an interdisciplinary practice rooted in drawing and printmaking, Hughes develops projects that deconstruct militarism and related institutions of dehumanization. These projects often utilize popular research strategies, experiment with forms of direct democracy, and operate in solidarity with the people most impacted by structural violence. Hughes works with a variety of art and activist projects including Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project, Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative, About Face: Veterans Against the War, and emerging Veteran Art Movement.