What is Subversive Mag and what do you stand for?
Subversive Mag is an informal publication that seeks to cast an alternative vision for a better and different world. We discuss pressing social, economic, political, cultural, and religious issues through a host of media forms. Subversive Mag supplements its attempts to expose injustice through utilizing poetry, graphic design, painting, cartoons, and other artistic expressions.
We stand for a world where all reality is valued as a gift from God. Gifts are not exploited, gifts are not objectified, gift are not entitled, gifts are not demanded, gifts are not horded. Gifts should be cherished, gifts should be appreciated, gifts should be preserved, gifts should be shared.
You use strong images in your ads/mag, what inspires your designs?
Our art is inspired by a number of things and people. For example, our iconic face was inspired the city continually taking down our posters. Discouraged by their relentless efforts to monopolize discourse, we developed our iconic face depicting the futility of censoring us. The words, “You cannot suppress the revolution of love” demonstrates to the city that we will not be silenced and deterred from loving them.
Your design is very professional, what is your background in terms of art/graphic design?
Our background in graphic design is all informal. We have learned our graphic design skills piece and parcel by friends, tutorial and books. Some of us have utilized our skills in screen printing as well.
Your content is well thought and intelligent, describe your religious background? Do you have a education in theology or is it self taught?
We are followers of a homeless refugee messiah: Jesus Christ of Nazareth. He is our Lord and God. We follow his way of life and politics. Three of us have formal post-graduate theological education. The rest of us have been educated through sharing books, attending discussions, listening intently and living intentionally. Pablo Freire, the author of “Pedagogy of the Oppressed“, states that liberation begins with education. We value our education as gifts of wisdom from God. Learning is the process by which we participate with God in his all knowing wisdom.
I have seen “guerrilla” type art advertising Subversive ideas within the streets of Carlsbad, what techniques do you use? Do you feel they are more successful compared to the more traditional forms of advertising?
Yes, you are correct. We do utilize “guerrilla” distribution practices. We do not call it advertisement though. We aren’t selling anything. Everything is a gift. We are going to start printing shirts soon, and they will also be free. There is an opportunity to donate money to cover the costs, but there is no obligation to donate anything.
How do you go about putting art within the streets? How do you choose you locations?
We feel that our techniques are effective. There are so many juxtaposed voices throughout Carlsbad that compete for our allegiance. People instinctually feel the war occurring over their bodies, souls, and consciousness. As a means to cope with this war, people have learned to “tune out” the media sponsored propaganda that contests for our allegiance. When people see our unconventional techniques and art, it is natural for them to be drawn to the wonder of our aesthetics. It is our hope that as people are drawn to our art and Mag that they will be awakened and stirred to live out an alternative kingdom. This Kingdom relies on the politics of love, forgiveness, and equity; not violence, profit or domination.
What is more important when choosing a location, the amount of minds exposed to your ideas or the amount of time your art remains in the location?
We choose our locations based on three criteria: 1) accessibility, meaning is it physically possible, 2) visibility, meaning how many people will see it, and lastly 3) symbolic exposure, meaning we choose places that mean something. For example, if we were to do a piece that exposed the exploitation of labor and the idolatry of consumerism and the market, we may choose to put this piece on display at state sponsored church where follower worship the market: the Mall.
When a piece comes down, who is responsible and why do you think they did it?
When a piece of ours comes down we do not blame the city nor the person who may have done it. Rather, the responsible party is what possesses people. Fredrick Nietzsche, a German philosopher of power, states that people do not possess power, but rather that power possesses people. We blame the evil systemic power that manifests itself throughout all history and all peoples. We learn about this power through the apostle Paul. He states, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 6:12). Because we do not battle with individual people, but rather what captivates people, it is our hope and effort to liberate people from this power.
Compared to other culture rich communities like LA, SF, Berlin and London, How does the community of Carlsbad react to “Guerrilla” art?
Compared to other cities, Carlsbad lives within an illusion. Citizens of the city tell themselves the fairytale of the American Dream. Anything that threatens that dream is suppressed and censored. Through our art we hope to transition Carlsbad to be like other cities. Such cities are more sensitively listening to the meek, quiet and censored voices of the poor, marginalized, forgotten and oppressed. We have them within our city, but we are blind and deaf to their plight.
How do you feel about those whom feel “guerrilla” art is a form of vandalism? Do you feel like you are invading space which is not yours or should public space be used as a public forum to express ideas?
We question the very existence of that which is “public”. If a thing such as “public” exists, then by virtue, a thing such as “private” exists also. We reject such a dichotomy. Private property is an illusion. People believe such a myth to control and restrict access to scarce resources. But if we see all creation, not as that which can be divided between public and private property, but as a gift from God, no one can claim ownership of anything. The placing of our art shakes people’s assumptions and questions their definition of that which is property.
How often is your mag going to be published and where can Carlsbad locals find them? What is the future of Subversive Mag and what other projects can Carlsbad expect to see?
Well, we can’t discuss our future projects, but we can tell you that the Mag will be published at least every other month. People can find the Mag in random places throughout the city. Check newspaper stands, coffee shops and Spin records. If people still can’t find a copy of the Mag, then they can message us on Myspace. They can send us their mailing address and we’ll send one over their way free of charge! People nationwide have taken advantage of this. So far, we have people in selected states distributing the Mag in their communities! THANKS EVERYONE!
What does Subversive Mag hope to accomplish?
We hope to inspire people that another world is possible. We hope to embody and live out the politics of Jesus the Christ.
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