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I dream of being a part of a social movement around care, and not a competitive art market that only thinks and critiques but doesn’t DO anything. Please contact me to tell me about your post-capitalist, revolutionary, anti-racist care projects. Let’s start something we haven’t seen before.

Cassie Thornton is an artist and activist who makes a “safe space” for the unknown, for disobedience, and for unanticipated collectivity. She uses social practices including institutional critique, insurgent architecture, and “healing modalities” like hypnosis and yoga to find soft spots in the hard surfaces of capitalist life. Cassie has invented a grassroots alternative credit reporting service for the survivors of gentrification, has hypnotized hedge fund managers, has finger-painted with the grime found inside banks, has donated cursed paintings to profiteering bankers, and has taught feminist economics to yogis (and vice versa). Her 2020 book, The Hologram: Feminist, Peer-to-Peer Health for a Post-Pandemic Future, is available from Pluto Press.

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Q) Are you an artist?


I don’t know. An artist is what they sometimes call you, if you’re lucky, when you insist on surviving without a capitalist job. In another, non-capitalist time, and in a time that might yet come, I may have a more central role: problem solver, wizard, professional emoter. I believe that art should be democratized and the art world in all its preciousness should be abolished. But for now I use my role as an artist to do things that surprise people. I call it art to move these projects outside of our world of bureaucracy, regulation and skepticism. I do most of this art without money. I use art to make interventions because calling it art somehow allows people to be surprised, awed and open in ways they would not otherwise be. For many years I have worked as an artist, sometimes under the banner of the The Feminist Economics Department (me and occasional accomplices) to make “art” about and against what capitalism does to our imagination. A lot of that work is tied to activism, for instance against debt, the focus of my work for many years. Recently I’ve became more and more interested in collective debts and their impact on the physical, mental and social health of individuals and collectives. 

Q) What is the point of art in the apocalypse?


Sometimes, calling something art means you don’t get arrested. Like once, on my birthday, I had a birthday party where me and my friends took rocks and placed them in a huge circle around the police department to block their bad energy from leaking all over our city. We called it art, or even anarchist landscaping, which meant that it was not as illegal. Another time, I built an illegal house on top of another building under construction in Bangalore, India. We told the building inspectors it was a sculpture, and so they didn’t mind if we slept in it. Maybe it is a decoy, a tool, a place to experiment for the people who know to use the magic word. Unfortunately maybe not everyone has access to this magic word. But then maybe they have access to other magic words.



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