Guerrilla is a non-elitist network of alienated wage slaves, community
organizers, and media activists who seek to creatively promote social awareness
and initiate social change. Our tools of revolution consist of multimedia
events and spontaneous acts of silliness that serve as a forum for the
open exchange of ideas and self-expression. We want your ideas. We want
your sense of humor. We want your life back. We invite you to Go Guerrilla
and save yourself."
--Go Guerrilla mission statement
In 1998, I graduated from the University of Buffalo with a media studies degree. I set out to face the "real world" armed only with the "practical" knowledge of how to make experimental film collages. Grudgingly, I worked at Blockbuster Video, freelanced at an ad agency, and occasionally videotaped weddings to make ends meet. Eventually I landed a job at WUTV, the local Fox TV affiliate, where I aired bad sitcom reruns. Many of my college friends were also grudgingly employed by coffeehouses, record shops, offices, and factories for menial wages. It seemed we were all doomed to a life of misery and artistic burnout.
Dreading this world of monotonous and franchised toil, I enlisted the help of several friends to plan, promote, and host an art event entitled Go Guerrilla (GG) that would serve as an open forum for disgruntled wage earners. The event incorporated poetry, music, visual and interactive art, video, spoken word, and street theatre. We held this event at Squeaky Wheel, a not-for-profit media arts center that had just acquired a screening and performance space. The event, which brought in approximately 75 attendees, created a great deal of excitement, and unbeknown to any of us, wound up shaping our creative lives for the next couple years.
Go Guerrilla continues to promote a revolution in everyday life by realizing the artist inherent in all of us. We believe artistry is not just recognized by formal institutions such as the National Endowment for the Arts or museums, but also by family members, friends, and neighbors coming together around issues of common concern. GG knows that art is something breathing, living, and manifesting within each and every one of us. GG can happen anywhere at anytime and demands space and attention through feelings of passion, love, joy, resistance, liberation, and revolution.
GG follows in the wake of several art movements. Dada performances, counter-cultural happenings, the Youth International Party, the Situationists, punk rock, and hip-hop culture are all influences. We take from many of these currents and rewire them to present issues of current importance.
Many events have sought to unify the national political scene with localized issues. In the past, we have worked with numerous local not-for-profits tackling issues such as environmental deregulation, housing discrimination, privatization of public space, labor struggles, U.S. foreign policy, poverty and hunger issues, corporate exploitation, trade issues, and human rights. Our events have been held at local art not-for-profits, community centers, schools, nightclubs, and coffee shops. Many of us have collaborated on several political rallies and campaigns, including the formation of Buffalo Critical Mass, the Save Our Libraries campaign, and the evolution of the Buffalo Activist Network.
The Institute for Community Arts Studies unless otherwise noted;