[Proposal for Occupennial/NYCGA AC]

Name of collective:
Low Lives
Title of project: Low Lives: Occupy!
Mission: To enable artists, audiences, and presenting venues worldwide to support the occupation from anywhere an internet connection exists.
Description of work:
Low Lives is an international exhibition of live performance-based works transmitted via the internet and projected in real time. Low Lives offers local and global audiences a critical and contextual frame from which to consider live performance in both the physical and virtual space. The project celebrates the transmission of ideas beyond geographical and cultural borders, and opens multicultural and intergenerational dialogue through visual language, new technologies, and contemporary expressions.  Low Lives is about both the presentation and transmission of performative gestures from a particular place and time.

Low Lives is now in its fourth year, and has expanded every year since its inception in 2009.  Low Lives 3 (April 29-30, 2011) was a two-day international festival involving:

  • 55 live performance-based works
  • 21 venues around the world
  • Over 1,250 people attended
    • 520+ people at the physical venues
    • 720+ unique online viewers
  • 30 presenting partners in the United States, Mexico, Spain, Japan, India, Trinidad and Tobago, and Austria
  • Artists broadcasting from 31 cities in 11 different countries.

Low Lives proposes to organize and transmit an exhibition of live, networked performances/actions/happenings occurring in real time in the United States and around the world. Selected artists and artist collectives for Low Lives: Occupy! will expand the reach and visibility of #OWS by involving an international community of artists and audiences. Low Lives: Occupy! will maintain #OWS as a point of origin, while amplifying the protests via the existing Low Lives network.

Low Lives: Occupy! artists will be selected through a national/international open Call to Artists, as well as through a request for proposals to over 120 artists who have previously participated in Low Lives. Performance-based works included in Low Lives: Occupy! will include experimental art performances, group performances, actions, happenings, acts of protest and civil disobedience, public interventions, and performances in Second Life.

Over the past 4 years Low Lives has developed a platform that invites and enables artists, audiences, and presenting venues to "plug in and participate" from anywhere an internet connection exists. This technological platform which brings a history of supporting artists’ full creative freedom to imagine new worlds, is ideally suited to be the support structure to enable artists from around the globe to present work in solidarity with #OWS.

  • Theme: Networked Performances by Artists in Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street
  • Online Network:
  • Online Location: or
  • Format: 5 min. limit for each performance. (We will consider, as an exception, up to 15 minute performances where deemed appropriate and/or necessary.) 
  • Number of performances: 60
  • Event Duration: 2 days - 4 hours each day. (This enables artist and audience participation in all time zones)
  • Project Date: Can be scheduled between late November 2011 until February 2012
  • Venue: Possible venues include Liberty Square
  • Timeline:  6 weeks from proposal acceptance and venue confirmation to exhibition Timeline includes:
  • Artist selection – 3 weeks
  • Pre-production – 2 weeks
  • Production – 3 days
  • Post-production catalogue – 10 weeks
  • Note: It is anticipated that the first Low Lives: Occupy! will add critical and unique support to #OWS, and that this will ultimately be the first of a series of live performance-based events that enable artists, regardless of geographic location and financial means, to create and present work in solidarity with #OWS.

•    Artists/Artists Collectives broadcast performances from their location of choice (e.g., art venues, studios, public spaces) using live video streaming networks such as
•    Performances are presented consecutively, one after another. All of the performances are fed through one channel and projected at the presenting venue.
•    The exhibit will be available for online viewing, both in real time as it unfolds across political boundaries and time zones, and on a pre-determined website after the event.
•    Online chat allows artists and online audiences to interact by commenting on the work as it occurs.  Call and Response is another way that physical audiences will be able to interact with the online performers. 

Presenting Partner:

  • Presenting Partner projects the live performances in their venue in front of a live audience.
  • Technical support is provided in advance of the event date to facilitate Presenting Partner preparation and to coordinate overall production.
  • Co-Presenting Partners worldwide are welcome to “plug in and project” the event in their local communities.

Technical requirements:

  • 3 computers (MacBooks or iMacs preferred)
    • 1 to transmit and project the show
    • 1 to capture and broadcast live performances
    • 1 for live production of the broadcast
  • Broadband internet connection
  • Internet cables for 3 computers
  • 1 high lumens digital projector with cables and attachment for computer
  • Projection screen/wall
  • House sound system
  • Technical crew to set up system


  • Major expenses include:
    • Producer honorarium: $800
    • Round-trip airfare provided for 2 people (Producer and Production Assistant) from Salt Lake City to New York City
    • Website development: $200
    • Tech Requirements/Support: No cost if provided by Presenting Partner
  • Optional:
    • Artist Fees: $3,000 ($50/ 60 Artist) Low Lives recognizes the importance of providing a small stipend to broaden the base of artists who can participate. A $50/artist payment will enable some artists to participate where he/she would otherwise perhaps be unable to due to financial constraints. All artists will be given the alternative to donate his/her fee to #OWS)
    • Soft copy catalogue: $1,000 (pdf version only)
    • Hard copy catalogue/DVD: $5,000 (300 copies, and includes soft copy)

Short description of why this work supports and reinforces the #OWS protests:
The #OWS protests, and the myriad of perspectives and experiences related to this unique moment, will benefit from the presentation and amplification available through Low Lives’ internet-based creative platform, and worldwide network of artists and presenters. Low Lives: Occupy! will enable selected artists worldwide to participate, and any audience member or venue with an internet connection to watch and/or present in real-time. It is our intention to project Low Lives: Occupy! at Liberty Plaza, Zuccotti Park, Times Square, and/or other #OWS partner locations. After the live event, Low Lives: Occupy! will continue to reach online audiences around the world.

The importance of art and artists to social movements cannot be overstated. From the eye-catching and thought-provoking expressions found during large demonstrations, to the effective alternative media of street art that reaches around the globe daily, the use of creativity for positive social change has a strong history. Low Lives: Occupy! recognizes the powerful opportunity that is the presentation of performances from around the world, within which artists are invited to facilitate the process of opening eyes and minds – and present a radical reimagining of possible ways of existing and relating.  

Reference Materials and work examples:

- Low Lives 3 Catalog (attached)

- Performance Videos (Note- The following videos are samples of past Low Lives performances, not necessarily related to #OWS)

Artist: Tzitzi Barrantes
Title: Solar
Location: Bogota, Colombia
Artist: Jayson Keeling
Title: The Marked Man
Location: Aljira, A Center for Contemporary Art, Newark New Jersey

Artist: Heather Warren-Crow
Title: Bedtime Ritual for Suffragettes (At Any Given Time, Someone in
the World is Taking to Her Bed)
Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Artist: Kristin Lucas
Title: Everyone Love My Cocoa Crispies
Location: Utah Museum of Fine Art, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S.A. 

Artist: Martin Zet
Title: Night Averment
Location: Libusin, Czech Republic

Low Lives Production Team:

Jorge Rojas - Founder/Producer/Curator

Rojas is a multidisciplinary artist, curator, and educator whose work centers on the creation and processes involved in artistic production. Rojas engages both traditional and new media as well as performative elements to investigate communication systems and the effect of technology on artistic production, social structures and communities. He studied Art at the University of Utah and at Bellas Artes in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Rojas’ work and curatorial projects have been exhibited in galleries and museums worldwide including Museo del Barrio (New York), Queens Museum of Art (New York), Museo de Arte Contemporaneo Oaxaca (Oaxaca, Mexico), Galería de la Raza (San Francisco), New World Museum (Houston), Project Row Houses (Houston), Utah Museum of Fine Arts (Utah), Portland Institute of Contemporary Art (Portland), Taller Boricua (New York), Bronx Blue Bedroom Project (New York), Diaspora Vibe Gallery (Miami), Ex Convento del Carmen (Guadalajara, Mexico), White Box (New York), Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions (Los Angeles). He has received grants and fellowships including National Performance Network’s VAN Residency, Experimental Television Center’s Presentation Funds Program, and Vermont Studio Center. His work is included in numerous private and public collections including The Mexican Museum (San Francisco) and Museum of Latin American Art (Long Beach). Since 2009, he produces and curates Low Lives, an international, multi-venue exhibition of networked performances. Rojas recently moved from New York City to Salt Lake City, Utah. He was born in Morelos, Mexico.

Christina deRoos - Co-Producer

Christina deRoos is an artist, activist, and nonprofit administrator. As a visual artist, Ms. deRoos' primary mediums are video/photo, installation, and mixed media. The themes and imagery in her work are inspired by her participation in communities contributing to positive individual and group evolution, including animal rights, feminist, civil rights, yoga therapy, and Vipassana communities.
Ms. deRoos is currently the Managing Director of performing arts nonprofit Chez Bushwick, and co-directs alternative art space Spread Art. Previous leadership positions with arts organizations include Development Director for therapeutic theater nonprofit Creative Alternatives of New York (NY), Development Officer for performing arts and public affairs nonprofit The Tank (NY), and Curator for live music venue The Rainbow (Seattle). Additionally, Ms. deRoos was instrumental in the startup of NY grassroots art nonprofits Bushwick Open Studios/Arts in Bushwick and No Longer Empty. 

From 2007-2009 Ms. deRoos lived and worked in Mexico, founding and directing a yoga, art and community organization. Ms. deRoos continues to design and present workshops internationally that unite yoga and meditation techniques with creative expression, primarily focusing on fostering the voices and perspectives of children whose creativity is otherwise given minimal support.

Ms. deRoos holds a B.A. (Political Science, with a concentration in Philosophy) from the University of Colorado, and a J.D. with Honors from the University of Washington.

Juan Obando - Co-Producer

Born in Bogotá, Colombia, Juan received a BA in Industrial Design with a minor in Architecture and Urbanism from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá. In 2005 he started the ongoing BZC Media Corporation Project (an international art unit based in Bogotá, with cells in Venezuela, USA, and The Netherlands,) and has subsequently been exhibiting throughout The USA, Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Colombia and Venezuela. His work has been selected twice for Colombia’s “Salon Nacional de Artistas” (2008, 2010) and reviewed by different international publications. After receiving an MFA in Electronic and Time-Based Art from Purdue University, Juan currently works between Colombia and The USA and holds a position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at Elon University in North Carolina.

For more information on Low Lives, participating artists, presenting partners, and Low Lives exhibition catalogs, visit:  
Note: Website is currently being updated.

Contact information:
Jorge Rojas
c: 917.757.7626