Aesthetic Resistance: Our Radical Poster Contest
Seize the means of the production of meaning…
Social media saturates most of our lives. Though it connects us to each other across vast distances, it often alienates us from the environments and people around us. Though our networks span across the globe, we often don’t know the names of our neighbors. When a viral meme explodes our social media accounts, at the end of the day we’re left with the sense it was only just pixels. Worse, we remember that those media networks we use are owned by the very capitalists we wish to fight.
Uprisings, revolutions, strikes, revolts, and mass environmental and labor actions happened (and happened more often) before we were all connected to screens. To communicate their collective desire with each other, radicals, subversives, dreamers, and propagandists used one of the most simple tools: the poster.
The poster is maybe one of the most democratic forms of communication. Anyone can make one, anyone can reproduce them, anyone with a little time on their hands can wheat-paste them on walls and lamp-posts. And though a simple form, the poster is also a canvas for deep creativity: art is subversive, and poster design specifically has a long lineage as radical propaganda and aesthetic dissent.
Gods & Radicals Press wants to revive the art of the poster, and towards that end we’re hosting a recurring poster challenge for artists and designers.
Every two months, we’ll announce a theme and a call for designs, and then begin accepting submissions for that theme. 30 days later, we’ll select a few finalists and put them to a public vote. The winner will receive $100 US, and we’ll offer the poster for distribution through our site.
Our First Theme: Borders, Barriers, Boundaries
The governments of the world are obsessed with borders. Borders to keep people in: prisons, no trespassing signs, private property, fences. Borders to keep people out: walls, citizenship, immigration enforcement. But not all barriers are visible: poverty, racism, class, and other discriminations act like invisible fences to keep some people in while keeping everyone else out.
At the same time, the powerful and the systems they put in place constantly violate our boundaries. Constant surveillance and data collection destroy our sense of the private; demands to be constantly connected to work erase the boundary between self-time and work-time. Consent culture, #metoo, and many other organic movements, on the other hand, are helping us learn to resist violations of our rights over our own bodies.
For this month’s contest, we challenge you to create a poster inspired by the question of borders, barriers, and boundaries. Posters can focus on any one of these aspects or the interplay of all three.
Deadline is 1 March, 2019.
Finalists will be selected by 7 March 2019
the winner will be chosen by public vote by 15 March, 2019.
All entrants will receive our entire digital catalogue for participating.
We are working with our friends at the worker-own Radix Media in Brooklyn, NY to print these posters. To make their work as smooth as possible, please follow these specifications in you design submission:
Dimensions: 11 x 17in (any orientation) with .25in bleed
Color: 2 Pantone spot colors
File type: PDF with assigned spot colors or native Illustrator or In Design
Content: The content is entirely up to the artist. Posters must convey the theme, but they can be executed in any style. They can be typographic, illustrative, rendered digitally or by hand in whatever style and using whatever aesthetic you like. Any amount of text (including no text) is acceptable.
The winner will be compensated $100 US on 1 April, 2019. They will also receive 10 printed posters when production is completed (and additional copies available at production cost plus postage)
In return for payment, the artist grants Gods&Radicals Press the right to produce and distribute the poster through a Creative Commons license. This license will also grant others the right to download and print .pdf versions of the poster without cost.
Gods&Radicals Press will offer the selected poster for distribution through our site in two ways. Printed versions will be sold and distributed with post-cost revenue directly supporting our non-profit work. In addition, a free-to-download and free-to-print digital version of the poster will be available on our site so others can spread it in their communities.
A rotating group of people from Gods&Radicals Press will select finalists for each poster theme. Our finalists judges for Borders, Barriers, and Boundaries will be Alley Valkyrie and Casandra Mae.
After finalists are chosen, Gods&Radicals Press will host a public vote on these finalist posters to choose the winner.
Send your poster in .pdf form by 1 March, 2019 to Distro@abeautifulresistance.com. In your email to us, please also tell us your name and where you live in the world. We’d also love to hear a sentence or two about your process in creating the poster!
We’ll send an email to confirm within a few days and will notify all artists by 7 March whether or not they were selected as finalists.
Resources and inspiration
We appreciate that not everyone is a designer or has access to expensive design software. For folks using more traditional media or working with other programs, here’s an article on creating PDF files for spot color jobs
If you’d like inspiration, consider checking out the following links: