Valeria Schwarz
Disobedient Coffee 2015

performative installation for collective action of civil disobedience
in the frame of Art in Resistance, Spielart München

Coffee houses have often being the breeding ground for political discussions and creative expressions regarding contemporary issues within society. Visions of possible futures as well as potential responses to the present situations intertwine in the frame of friendly talks and socially engaged positions. How can the act of discussing in a coffee contribute to be the creation of political consciousness and simultaneously be a tactic for direct action?

Disobedient coffee aims to join discursive strategies with direct action within the same project by fostering discussion and exchange about alternatives of resistance and, at the same time by offering a platform for economic civil disobedience. In order to be identified as civil disobedience acts, all intentional unlawful actions carried out by an organized group of people with a political goal have to be public. Besides, civil disobedience becomes specifically political by not defending personal interests but by privileging collective opinions that serve the common good. By consuming at the coffee stand each person is aware that he/she is not only supporting tax evasion. Furthermore the consumer will be asked to decide where he/she wants to assign the evaded taxes, which will be distributed at the end of the project according to the participant’s choices. In this way, each participant is accomplice of economic civil disobedience, turning it into a collective action rather than an individual initiative by an artist.

Picture 1 by Stefan Loeber. Picture 2, 3 and 4 by Franziska Schrödinger