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If you're tired of culturally deprived politics and politically deprived culture, then Art Threat magazine may be the very thing. "We looked at the print world, in the on-line world," Art Threat editor Rob Maguire told me, "and you could find publications that were about art [or] about politics. But we could not find any real publications where everything was about the intersection of art and politics."


Visit Art Threat's website and you'll find topics like these: Iraqi artist Wafaa Bilal raises awareness about the lives of Iraqis by allowing viewers to remotely shoot a paint-ball gun at an Iraqi (himself); a project enabling cell-phone users to write graffiti via interactive text-messaging billboards; the MIX NYC queer film festival; new U.S. radio legislation and how it threatens media diversity; and how to replace online ads with artwork.

"If someone said, 'I'm a political chef,' we'd be interested in writing about it," Maguire says. "A lot of people say cooking is an art. If there's a political Jamie Oliver out there, we'd say, alright, let's talk."

The magazine's website went up in January. Maguire hopes the online edition will act as a springboard for the print edition's fall release by generating visitor traffic, drawing media attention and establishing contact with artists.

Maguire also believes the print and on-line editions will complement one another. "[The Internet] is a place where you can have discussion, right? On-line, people are likely to read short pieces. But they're going to come to that website on a regular basis, where they can get fresh, fresh perspectives. And then they can engage and reply and get conversations and kind of create a community around that.

"Print publication, on the other hand, gives you a lot more space for long pieces. People are going to sit down with that magazine on the couch, in the coffee shop, or on the Metro. They are going to engage with that paper product and read longer pieces. And it also gives you ... a lot more space for art."

The pieces that most interest Maguire "are the ones that we've put online [where] people have responded." Following a Concordisa University screening of the film Reel Bad Arabs, the magazine ran an interview with author Jack Shaheen, upon whose book the film is based.

"That got a lot of interest. Particularly, a lot of Arab and Muslim blogs, Middle Eastern blogs, picked it up. And they started linking to it and writing comments on their websites.... It's one thing to say, here's our take on something--but it's another to get into conversation with others about it."

Art Threat is a project of the uberculture collective, a non-profit organization committed to "reclaiming culture." Previous uberculture projects include Cinema Political, an international political-cinema network, and the Wal-Town tours, which expose Wal-Mart's virulent business practices.

Maguire underscores the importance of culture in political life. "If you're trying to tell a message through your art, generally speaking you want that message to reach as broad a sector of the population as possible. Which is one of the reasons why a lot of people turn to the arts to get politics across. Because it is the great equalizer, and so many arts speak a universal language."

Check out Art Threat at

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Title Annotation:Art Threat magazine
Author:Janzen, Ed
Publication:Canadian Dimension
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Sep 1, 2007
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