Cultural Hijack explores the role of activist art and public intervention as practices of resistance across the landscapes of contemporary crisis. Combining exhibition and live interventions throughout the city, Cultural Hijack brings together international and local artists, presenting critical perspectives on how cities both serve and perform power, shaping our everyday thoughts and actions.
Across the planet, artists are challenging the enclosed sphere of the art world, reclaiming the space of the city as situation and material for new, hybrid forms of art practice. These experimental practices are recycling tactics and toolkits from the histories of protest and seeding new ground. Cultural Hijack shows how this cross-pollination between art and radical politics opens up new spaces of resistance. Within these spaces of resistance, we encounter activists appropriating aesthetic, poetic and communicative techniques from art, and artists making work that aligns with broader social movements.
Capitalism continues to co-opt and transform public space to serve its needs, and the space to imagine real alternatives is continually shrinking. Thus, reclaiming the space of the imagination through creative disruption is a vital step in challenging conditions of subservience in a ‘control society’ and breaking out beyond the world as it is.
The works presented in Cultural Hijack, all made in the opening decades of the 21st Century, offer important questions about art’s political efficacy in times of global crises. What is the act of cultural hijack trying to achieve through these temporary reclamations? Can the language of civil disobedience and creative resistance help activate a critical conscience? Does this focus on 'symbolic action' distract from real change? Or can small acts of disruption and creative resistance 'build the muscles' of social movements?