Keep Hope Alive Block Party (KHABP), 2013


Whenever the inequitable distribution of resources crosses into territories once thought impossible, Critical Art Ensemble (CAE) has responded with a public party to highlight the achievements of various oligarchies and plutocracies in a manner that is less painful to those who must suffer the injustice. The first installment was in Sheffield, UK, highlighting the city’s twenty percent unemployment rate. The second installment was in Kyoto, spotlighting the failure of cultural institutions to function as public institutions. And now, here in the US, in Portland, we will party in recognition of a distribution of wealth reminiscent of the era of the robber barons. The vast majority of wealth may be in the hands of the very few, but the many have a handful of remaining assets to give us pleasure, and at the KHABP we shall indulge in them all: Sustenance (we cannot guarantee that it is delicious, healthy, or life sustaining, but the soup kitchen will be open and calories will be delivered all afternoon); Delirium (forty-ounce bottles of Miller High Life for those of age, and Big Gulps of Mountain Dew for our under-agers); and Hope (raffle tickets offering big cash prizes, so that for a lucky few, economic mobility will not only be downward). For just one dollar, this trifecta of resources for the poor and downwardly mobile is available to all comers. Let’s party like it’s 1929.