Tag Archives: Tattoo Circus

Until it Breaks!: RtR @ 3rd Berlin Tattoo Circus

Until it Breaks!: RtR @ 3rd Berlin Tattoo Circus

View from the table at Berlin 3TC
View from the table at Berlin 3TC

Tattoo Circus? …what’s that?

The Tattoo Circus began 2007 in Rome and since then, activists from all around Europe (Barcelona, London, Thessaloniki, Bern, Athens, Madrid… etc) took on the concept for supporting those people who can’t be among us.
The idea behind this solidarity event is to create a space where tattoo culture and political engagement come together. Several tattoo artists will provide their creativity, experience and as much ink as possible, in order to support the anti-prison struggle and to become a part of it.
The principle of the Tattoo Circus is that nobody earns anything from this event – neither the tattooists, nor the piercers, the bands, performers or speakers will work for their own profit-and the complete proceeds will get to those people who fight against the state and capitalism.
It is also important that, as opposed to some established conventions, Tattoo Circus takes place in a non-competitive, non-commercial and non-hierarchical atmosphere. Every euro collected in TC goes directly to structures supporting prisoners and the Anti-Prison-Fight.

During the event there will be information provided about the cases of comrades behind bars like about carceral system more generally.

Tattoo Circus won’t limit itself to the tattoo culture, therefore, a rich program is being prepared. It will include lectures, workshops, readings, exhibitions, info points about prisoners, a mail corner to communicate with the detainees and an anti-prison film festival, as well as entertainment in form of extreme art-performances, theatre, concerts… And of course there will be also food and (at least!) a bar!
We cordially invite you to join, help and enrich this project. Because the solidarity with our detained comrades is the measure of our strength!

The preparatory committee

For a society without prisons and repression!
Until it breaks!

Heeding the call from our friends in Berlin, and following up on our fantastic experiences with similar events in Thessaloniki and Zurich, RtR was proud to support artists George F. and oneslutriot to attend the 3rd Berlin Tattoo Circus on the 9th-11th September. Here’s some words from George on his experience:

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The sun was hot and the beer was cheap. There must have been 50+ tattoo artists working 12 hours a day, each donating all their labour to raise money for prisoner support. We met friends from Thessaloniki and London, unexpected faces emerging out of the Berlin crowd with smiles and support. We set-up a table in the yard and distributed our zines and books, chatting to people from all over about their experiences with the ‘in’justice system, discussing the current state of the situation with the Warsaw 3 and the East Street 3. Friends at home were already organising benefit support and the true scale of the international solidarity and cooperation became apparent from coming together in Berlin to do what we could. I felt truly connected to a movement bigger than London, bigger than myself and my friends. Many thanks to the volunteer table crew!

George F. + support
George F. + support

“Friday we spent the day in the amphitheatre watching street performers and amazing circus aerial shows on a massive rig. A crowd swelled as it grew dark, and the only thing I felt missing was a fire show to blaze in the darkness. The next day, I was booked to perform. Originally intended for the theatre space, the organisers felt that it was such a nice day, I should perform outside. So I ended up between the children’s area and a paddling pool, on a cycle path, surrounded by a gaggle of kids who I got to sing a song about gummi-bears before launching into my usual tirade of anticapitalist antagonism. The crowd was generous, although they seemed very far away. Most gratifyingly was afterwards, when many people approached our little table and chatted for hours about the situation for them in Turkey, in Serbia, about what their situation was, sleeping in parks and travelling across Germany for free.

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“We sold several copies of the book, and many copies of the zine, the surprisingly most popular one being Brexit Blues – a collection of poems and scribblings all about the brexit farce. It continues to be so encouraging to travel around performing and sharing with people about political issues through poetry. We had a real adventure in Berlin, having to spend a few nights sleeping in the parks ourselves due to being locked out of our accommodation, and I am indebted to RtR for making it possible for myself to attend! Many many thanks. Until it breaks!”

Tattoo Circus

Tattoo Circus, May 2016, Thessaloniki, Greece

 

THESSALONIKI TATTOO CIRCUS

In May 2016, RTR sponsored tattoo artist Sierra Weppla aka oneslutriot to attend the Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus. Click here to read her blog post on her experience.

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Click to read the Project Proposal

 

 

 

 

 

Solidarity Is Our Weapon – RtR Newsletter August

Solidarity Is Our Weapon – RtR Newsletter August

Dear friends, allies and accomplices,

Hello to you all! Welcome to our irregular Reboot The Roots newsletter …

In these times of Brexit and growing hostility to persons from other places, RTR proudly stands for solidarity with all oppressed peoples, and continues to champion the use of creative arts practices to promote multicultural harmony. We believe in direct action and unremitting creative resistance to all forms of domineering behaviour.

As long as there is an oppressed, we are on their side.

It has been one of our busiest years yet, with over a dozen new associate artists and facilitators sponsored by RtR to do what they do best – create and facilitate social and personal transformation through the arts! However, a key feature of that work this year has been to do with self-care, burnout, and creating resilience.

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Highlights include:

-workshops for 60+ people at the COP21 protests in Paris in December, taking a de-escalation bloc (BEEVA BLOC!) to the streets in clown-army fashion to keep the cops on their best behaviour whilst supporting the family friendly and accessible atmosphere.

– a dozen change-agents from across Europe trained in theatre of the oppressed at Ecodharmain October, exploring how we can use Rainbow of Desire and forum theatre to promote unity and liberation.

– we visited Budapest twice to deliver a two-week theatre project around the theme of response to the refugee crisis, returning again to explore therapeutic theatre for healing in February.

– we funded artists to attend festivals in Switzerland and Greece to exhibit their artworks and perform in autonomous spaces, in support of anti-elitism and prisoner solidarity.

– we supported facilitators to return to Cluj in Romania to deliver workshops on the feedback method, feminist history and theatre for social change.

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But we’re not through yet!– in August, RtR is partnering with the Eroles Project to facilitate two weeks of arts-activism on the theme of borders and creating resilience in these troubled times, providing funding and training for a team of facilitators to work with a team members to explore how to keep on keeping on in the face of burn-out and sometimes overwhelming resistance.

– still upcoming this year, we will rejoin Focus Atelier for the inaugural platform event in Chiesenau, in the Republic of Moldava. This will be the first time RtR and Associatia Reciproca are holding this event in one of the poorest countries in Europe.

– we hope to attend the Berlin Tattoo Circus in September with associate artist Sierra Weppla and Creative Director George Wielgus to support prisoners and generate dialogue around the injustice system through Theatre of the Oppressed.

– for this year’s Theatre of the Oppressed Training Week in Ecodharma, Cataluyna, we want to sponsor two emerging facilitators to attend to expand our network and support their development as trainers and artists.

– in 2017, we will launch the Ouroboros Exhibition in London – our first major UK Project – featuring a range of multidisciplinary artists with experience of social exclusion. The theme is around creative responses to the destructive nature of crisis. Watch this space for the upcoming indiegogo campaign and future updates.

 

 

How You CaTeatru-Forum-si-Teatru-Invizibil-Focus-Atelier-44n Help

– join us! On September 4th we are having our annual general meeting for all our members and supporters. More details to follow but feel free to write to us to express an interest.

Solidarity is our weapon. Come vote on our decisions, stand to be a trustee, pitch us an idea, get involved, you are most welcome, the house is yours!

– share our website & social media to promote our work

– write something for our blog on your experience. Did you attend a workshop or performance? Has RtR helped you? We would love to hear about it …

sign up as a regular donor … as little as £2 a week will help us to continue to support the development of artists with experience of social cohesion, assisting them to gain access to new audiences and achieve our vision of a united, multicultural society.

bung us some cash … one-off donations make up nearly 50% of our funding each year. Maybe you participated in one of our free workshops and enjoyed it, maybe you were funded yourself to attend something, now we need your contributions to make these amazing events keep happening!

– watch out for our upcoming indiegogo campaign to raise £3500 to host a multidisciplinary arts exhibition in Tower Bridge in 2017, featuring a range of artists from socially excluded backgrounds.

We couldn’t do this without each other,

Love and solidarity, and many thanks to all the people who have touched our lives,

The RtR Bloc

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Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus – from Sierra

Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus – from Sierra

 

I am a really hardworking full time artist who invests 5-7days a week working on many different projects. I have been invited during my visit to Zurich (which was sponsored by RtR) to participate in this year’s Tattoo Circus in Thessaloniki. The organizers had offered to pay a part for flights and travel expenses, as well as to provide space and all needed materials, which in the tattoo world means a lot – you save a lot of money. I am trying to build my social platform around Europe. Knowing that nowadays most tattoo artists are usually not just tattoo artists – often they are specializing in many other fields like I do, I asked RtR to support my trip to Greece, as it would hopefully benefit my future projects, expanding my contacts and hopefully ccreating new events in the future. Thessaloniki Tattoo Circus (TTC) was promoting a strong collective of artists who specialize in many different fields – from sculpture, to digital art, painting, and obviously tattoos. It was very important for me to take part as a tattoo artist – where I can learn and make contacts with other tattooists – as well as an artist – and also allowing me to see other’s peoples work and hopefully create opportunities to collaborate in the future.

One of the designs I made in preparation of the circus …

As a self- taught tattooist I was wondering if my skills would match with all those professionals working for many years in studios. I was hoping to get contacts and to open gates for guest spots in different studios around Europe.

The Tattoo Circus itself is non-profit event that supports prisoners’ and ex-prisoners’ re-integration into society. The Tattoo Circus as well organizes workshops like letter-writing to prisoners, sending books/magazines and supporting charities that help to integrate those that come out and have to ‘restart’ their lives. TC promotes social change – where the ones behind bars should not be forgotten and left alone, as well as when they come out from prisons they shouldn’t be socially excluded, rejected and incapable of starting to follow their dreams in the same way all of us try to do. I found it a morally valuable subject to support, especially in a world where, for example, while the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners.

The door at Terra Incognita, where the event took place …

I had a great time at the Terra Incognito social centre in Thessaloniki. A great time in terms of working hard, up to 12 hours a day, and in terms of communicating with other participants and festival visitors. It was just stunning to see how people managed to organize such a big event completely DIY, as well as provide all the materials, space and furniture necessary for 25 artists over 3 days. It has really left a big impact on me – why couldn’t I start organizing events myself again? It led me to start putting up a concept and discussing with other artists, and here we are, slowly moving towards next step – a huge art project right here in London.

I most definitely succeeded in the fields that were important for me: I have made new conctacts in Berlin, Prague and Lausanne, where I was invited to come to tattoo and exhibit. As well, I expanded my contacts throughout other European countries. Most importantly – it lifted up my self esteem, as I realised I am not worse at tattoos than others – just different. (: As I wrote in my proposal letter- my theory about other tattoo artists specializing not just in tattoo – confirmed itself and I met alot of creative people with whom we will cooperate in the future. Besides that, my success as a tattooist in the festival was satisfactory – I received quite a lot of attention, created new works, updated my portfolio, plus raised some funds for the prisoner support groups.

One of my designs at the Circus, requested to look like one of my paintings …

I found it quite difficult to operate inbetween another 25 artists. I learned about interpretations of my technique and style – lots of people like it, but it’s ‘too dark’ to have it. Pretty much the same as with my paintings and everything else I do. When there are so many tattooists in one location there is always a lot of competition. I am happy I did some of my designs (which was rare at this event– usually people were bringing their own ideas), meanwhile, there were few tattooists who didn’t do a single piece. I believe they were anticipating a bigger crowd this year.

I am grately thankful to RtR for supporting my way to the event, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to attend. Because of the funding I received I was able to book my flights and survive throughout the week in the city.

Where I’m going next?

Where to start? The next project is a big collective exhibition in London – inspired by what I saw in Thessaloniki. Perhaps it is a semi-autonomous space, or hopefully in more established gallery. Meanwhile, I will be guestspotting as a tattoo artist around Europe, and in September attending the Tattoo Circus in Berlin –the second capital of Art in Europe. There is a possibility to exhibit there too, and I will be working really hard to make all these projects to happen.

Thanks again for the ongoing support … be sure to check out my new website at www.oneslutriot.com!

 

Empowering change through dialogue