On January 21, 2017, young protesters Sarah Burke and Holly Meadows-Smith participated the Women’s March in Oakland to show their dissatisfaction with Trump’s horrible Tweets. At the same time, a local activist group called out for volunteers to assist them by building temporary housing for the homeless. The difference between interest in protesting and in a more practical form of activism was huge, and the girls asked themselves what could happen if all the demonstration’s participants would come together to do something more important? And what exactly could this thing be? And how could they motivate people to get involved? The Anti Lab, a resource center for creative resistance, came as a result.


Against the futile demonstrations, for global development

The Anti Lab raised as a try to hitch the energy of Women’s March into a more supported sort of activism. As the activity describes itself, it is ‘a space for assembling, for organizing, for educating, for rallying together, and producing aesthetic reminders of our demands: equality, justice, safety, respect’. It’s also a sort of clubhouse for those who want to meet interesting people, have meaningful conversations with them and educate each other. The place is perfect for that kind of meetings and includes a small library, space for discussion, coffee/tea bar, and, most attractive, a full calendar of seminars, art events, and actions that the Anti Lab provides. ‘We had been talking about how all of these artists we follow were putting out open-source projects that were different from the work they typically make,’ says Burke. ‘That got us thinking about this idea of resource sharing and the power of replicability in mobilizing people politically.’

Inside the Anti Lab we are all artists, activists, and authors resisting together as an open collective. 

Generating aesthetic forms of resistance is the main thing creators wanted their visitors to do, so the Anti Lab is completely outfitted for not only observing but also producing art posters individually. Free stations for sewing banners, xeroxing and printing posters, screen-printing shirts, flags, patches, pressing pins, and assembling personal information packets are waiting for their users to help them by performing a new form of self-expression and social resistance. Each ‘island’ is anchored by a reproducible model which was composed by a local artist and includes instructions and templates on how to recreate it. The working space of the Lab launches at the inviting Gallery 2301, Oakland and is open from April 6 through May 13, 2017, for all who’s interested in changing. Guests are welcome every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.


One more activity the Anti Lab leads today is to host several events, lectures, and workshops that are provided by local activists and artists. For example, the next day after Lab’s opening its founders organized the Resistance Bingo. This project was made by the Center for Story-based Strategy, a national movement-building organization dedicated to harnessing the power of narrative for social change, in cooperation with a regional alliance of community-led organizations working to address the crisis of inequality Bay Rising, and an independent design and communications spin-off of Inkworks Press Collective called Design Action Collective. The Bingo’s idea is to playfully motivate players to get involved in the resistance movement and participate at events prepared for commit changes.

On April 15, an action with the motto ‘Bring some old t-shirts to cut up and turn into undies!’ took place at the Anti Lab’s workspace. Kristi Holohan, a member of Rock Paper Scissors and the founder of Arts and Creative Expression (ACE Arts), taught the Lab’s members and gets to create their own ‘tighty-whitey’ undies. ‘Let’s make our own things out of what we already have and disregard the existing form of consumerism that degrades our environment and causes so much waste,’ she said. ‘’Cause we can put other things on our waists!’ On April 20, a morning event ‘Call Together’ brought together different people by drinking coffee, discussing current weekly and timely political issues, and calling the national and local representatives.

During the Anti Lab’s programming, guests are asked to fill out specially printed cards with the question, ‘If you could destroy anything, what would it be?’. This survey is held for generating a piñata installation by Sita Kuratomi Bhaumik and Piñatas Las Morenitas at last days of project’s presence. On May 13, by the time for Anti Lab close, everyone will have a chance to smash the piñata ‘charged’ with visitors’ reflections on things that have to be changed in the modern world. The finale of destruction must act as an invitation to go ahead and develop some new important things.

Keep going. Sustain each other. Resist.

If the Anti-Lab’s activities seem attractive to you, you probably should search for some more events at the Calendar page.

On May 6, the Resistance Art Party is going to happen at the Anti Lab center. The plan is to produce protest prints, signs, posters, patches, and buttons — and to get the chance to discover more about how they work. Three days after, on May 9, the Make Your Shit Accessible! – Planning event will take place at the Gallery 2301. At the workshop, the attendees will survey some basic event and grassroots designs and get a basic understanding of different ideas and expectations for friendly event planning, as well as leave with resources on how and where to promote the work of disabled people of color. On Saturday evening, all participants are invited to come and bring their favorite books, magazines and separate articles denouncing Trump’s policies, fascism, racism, bigotry, and media dysphoria to hang out and read in community. At the same time, on the last day of Anti Lab’s presence, everyone can visit the Gallery 2301 to celebrate Lab’s successful labor and to smash the What-To-Change piñata.

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