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LAist Interview: Jessica Lawless and Sarah Ross of the Audacity of Desperation

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Photos of the exhibit/gallery by Von Edwards/Used with permission | Drawing by Ryan Griffis

Jessica Lawless and Sarah Ross are both artists and educators. They met in graduate school at UC Irvine. Because they share a similar sensibility about art making and politics, they decided to collaborate on a project together. The Audacity of Desperation is the result. The exhibition is in Los Angeles from October 26th through November 16th.

LAist: So, what *is* the Audacity of Desperation? And how did you come up with the concept?

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Jessica Lawless and Sarah Ross: We started this project more than a year ago. We were thinking about how the stakes had changed so much since the 2000 elections. Folks who are far left had abandoned any discussions of third party candidates and were putting their hopes in Obama or Clinton. What does it mean when those of us who remember that the Clinton years were supposed to be some sort of renewed belief in “the system,” that he was supposed to be “our” JFK, but what happened was “don’t ask don’t tell” Monica Lewinksy, and corporate globalization. It was under his tenure that the international anti corporate globalization movement took shape. We were interested in the idea of being both excited and skeptical at the same time. And we were interested in the idea of “political depression” that Feel Tank, an artists group in Chicago, was addressing after the 2004 elections. We felt putting faith in an electoral system was a desperate but necessary action. We thought, is it possible for desperation to be a place to act from to create change?