Notes Towards A Municipalist Cultural Policy – by Marc Herbst

7 03 2018

Editor’s note: Marc Herbst has been researching the Spanish Municipalist Movement since 2013. Property ownership is a central value of capitalist society, and was the basis for the economic crisis that gripped Spain in 2008 when many Spaniards found themselves foreclosed upon by ruling banks. The success of political organizations like The Platform For People Affected By Mortgages (The PAH) and en Comú built upon the cultural move to raise up the renter as a viable and legitimate subjectivity. In this essay Herbst describes what it would be to institutionalize a cultural policy for this diverse and contradictory society. We present this original essay in relationship to Llano Del Rio’s forthcoming Rebel City Los Angeles Guide, which  is partly inspired by Spain’s Municipalist Movement.

A sustained focus allows one to build an argument that your line of thought, more-or-less, overlaps with reality. Though reality always exceeds description, we nevertheless describe and structure things in order to  manage them.

Any people’s common sense ultimately is what policies culture; within the totality of possible behavior their common sense of things defines the ultimate range of “normal” activity. What a formal ‘cultural policy’ allows for is a particular, interested, and systemic effort at intervening in this range of behavior through the force of things named ‘cultural’. Carried out through networked organizations, education, and with mediational, logistical, object-based and discursive encounters– cultural policies work to maintain and develop particular human ways and modes of relationality. Any formal cultural policy draws a  series of cultural, that is, relational, lines within a population that may or may not take up the formal thought as common sense.

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A People’s Art History Of Los Angeles

21 02 2018
Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 11.42.51 AM

Google maps our Peoples Art History of Los Angeles, inspired by Nicolas Lampert, compiled by Llano Del Rio Collective, Angelinos, and writer Nolan Boomer

A Peoples Art History Of Los Angeles is a Google map developed by the Llano Del Rio Collective with the help of Nolan Boomer. It sights over 70 locations that can begin to constitute a peoples’ art history of the city. It roughly sketches the story of those sights and provides some resources for further study.

In March, 2014 artists Nicolas Lampert visited Los Angeles during a national book tour for his publication, A People’s Art History Of the United States. The Llano Del Rio Collective hosted an event for Lampert at the Los Angeles Public School. With the aid of Lampert, during the event the Collective asked the gathered public to “share historic sites and art projects that can constitute a shared people’s art history of L.A.”. That list formed the basis of a research project followed out by the Collective and writer Nolan Boomer.

Our  partial Peoples Art History Of Los Angeles attempts to locate art, and culturally relevant sites, intrinsic to people’s history of Los Angeles. Compiled in 2015, the map can use some updating, and doubtlessly many additions. However with such art historical locations as Speak, O’ Speak, the Aqualine, and The Great Wall oF Los Angeles, and such social centers as Radiotron, Peace & Justice Center, and the home of Harry Hay, this Google Map begins to illuminate a history of the relationship between creativity and social struggle of Los Angeles. This history is not written by objects in galleries, but created by individuals and communities engaged in struggles for economic, racial, and environmental justice.





What Is The Recipe For An Illustration About A Municipal Movement?

30 01 2018

(This interview WITH Zemos 98 by Llano Del Rio Collective Member Robby Herbst was published in Critical Practice Notes then Lumpen Magazine’s Municipalism issue. )

What's the Recipe for Municipal Movement

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From Nowtopia To Rebel City – Interview With Chris Carlsson

30 01 2018

The world famous Hollywood sign on Mount Lee overlooks the city of Los Angeles, CA.

The Llano Del Rio Collective’s  Map For An Other L.A. was published in 2010; it was the collective’s first project. It proposed to map the creative and ecological practices that together may have constituted a mysterious city; one defined by creative potential rather then economic relationships. The map described a variety of Los Angeles enthusiasts, they may have had professional lives elsewhere, but came together to; keep-bees, make art, bake bread, glean, communalize food, cycle, present films, hack machines, share, and do-together. The big ideas behind the Other L.A. map was an appreciation for Gibson-Graham feminist economics, and a reading of the Italian Operaismo movement of the early 1970s. The biggest influence on the formation of the Llano Del Rio Collective’s Map was the book Nowtopia; How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today!, written by West Coast Zelig, Chris Carlsson.


Chris Carlsson is for full enjoyment.

Carlsson was a founder of the instrumental magazine Processed World, it published 35 issues between the years 1981 and 2005. Processed World chronicled the rise of, what came to be known as, the neo-liberal economy with a publication, which appeared purposefully to be produced on borrowed time and stolen office materials; this was in part the topics it covered. Carlsson is credited as the progenitor of the Critical Mass bicycle ride in San Francisco in 1992; then called the Commute Clot. Carlsson’s book Nowtopia ties together anarchistic currents into a cohesive politics of work refusal, creativity, hacking, environmentalism, and pleasure-seeking. In 2010, the idea of non-capitalist creative production being a politics was intoxicating, given that Los Angeles was experiencing the twin effects of the economic collapse of 2008 and the rise of the social practice art, discourse, and action. These phenomena had Angelinos experimenting with alternatives to competitive capitalism, and put a premium on collective action and utopian idealism within creative communities. A Map For Another L.A. is a snapshot of that Los Angeles.


How Pirate Programmers, Outlaw Bicyclists, and Vacant-Lot Gardeners are Inventing the Future Today!

Now in 2018, a decade on from the 2008 crisis, the Llano Del Rio Collective is preparing to release its guide Rebel City Los Angeles. Like A Map For Another L.A., this new guide seeks to plot practices that together can constitute an arrangement, pointing at an alternative meaning for the topography of the city. The inspiration of Rebel City is the urban Marxism of David Harvey’s book Rebel Cities, and the “city from below” made visible through the lives of the trans sex workers of Hollywood in the 2015 Sean Baker film Tangerine. There’s a distance between the politics of “the city from below“ represented within the Rebel City Los Angeles guide, and the creative post-capitalism of the Map For An Other L.A.. Yet both guides share the idea that reframing how we imagine the city, holds power.


In the spirit of learning about the distance Llano Del Rio has traveled between these two guides we reached out, via email, to interview Chris Carlsson. We wanted to know where he has gone in the ten years since he penned Nowtopia.


The official seal for the City of Los Angeles.

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Minneapolis Municipalist Research Group

19 01 2018

Editors Note: The Llano Del Rio Collective has been working symmetrically with artist Sam Gould (while producing our Rebel City L.A. Project) regarding his activities addressing the theorization of, and agitation for, people oriented approaches to urban politics. Along with Macalester College professor John Kim, Gould is organizing a symposium in March of 2018 called “What Can A City Be? A Municipalist Gathering“. We asked Kim and Gould to share with Llano Del Rio the scope of there activities.

what can a city be?.jpg
Since the 2016 presidential elections, the Twin Cities based City as Commons, or Municipalist Research Group, has been meeting to discuss, learn and find out more about municipalism. The group, open to everyone, has been developing collaborations among Twin Cities-based academics, activists, and artists interested in urban governance and social reproduction and putting them in conversation with colleagues across North America, Europe, and South America who are studying, and/or experimenting with, municipalist forms of governance.

Since we started meeting, we’ve hosted a wide range of meetings. Some of these have included: a conversation with Alan W. Moore and Fernando Canteli De Castro to update us on municipalist activities internationally; reading group meetings of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri’s Assembly; discussions and critique of a draft version of a USA statement of municipalist principles, entitled “Municipalism: Winning Back the USA Street by Street”; and more.

We are now preparing for What Can a City Be? A Municipalist Gathering (March 22-23 2018), two days of talks, panel discussions and workshops by local artists, academics, activists, and thinkers, along with three international and rural activists and scholars whose work has explored municipalist movements and bottom-up organizing.

To find out more about our activities, visit Beyond Repair

Power Points, Available Free Now

20 01 2016

Free guide #5 Available Now – Power Points



The Power Points guide offers its users a group of exercise helping them visualize their evolving relationships within partisan, issues based, strategic campaigns. For this guide Artist Rosten Woo transcribed the Power Analysis tool developed by the South Los Angeles based community organization SCOPE (Strategic Concepts in Organizing and Policy Education) as a commission for the Llano Del Rio Collective. The guide asks its user to name and frame a cause they are committed to, and then provides them with activities to help map strategic relationships, allies and antagonists. Additionally in Power Points, Woo discusses the historic development of power analysis mapping from Saul Alinsky to SCOPE founder Anthony Thigpenn. The Power Points guide is best experienced as an active process, by working through the exercises Woo provides inside. Power Points will be helpful to anyone considering embarking on a political campaign or immersed in one. Los Angeles County residents may find free copies of the guide at the locations listed below, and may also obtain a free guide by contacting the Llano Del Rio Collective (at with their postal address.

You will also find this free guide at these locations (Hitting the streets next week, cool yer heals ya hot head.).

UCLA Downtown Labor Center
Southern California Library For Social Studies
Libros Shmibros
The Public School
Womens Center For Creative Work


Rosten Woo makes educational displays. He works in long-term collaboration with grassroots and non-profit organizations to illuminate the politics of places and the mechanics of large systems.  He has produced public artworks for the city of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, clockshop, and the California State Parks System. His work has been exhibited at the Cooper-Hewitt Design Triennial, the Venice Architecture Biennale, Netherlands Architectural Institute, Storefront for Art and Architecture, and various piers, public housing developments, tugboats, shopping malls, and parks. He is co-founder and former executive director of the Center for Urban Pedagogy (CUP), a non-profit organization dedicated to using art and design to foster civic participation. His first book, Street Value, about race and redevelopment on Brooklyn’s Fulton Mall, was published by Princeton Architectural Press; most recently he was a contributor to LAtitudes: an Angeleno’s Atlas published by Heyday Press in 2015.


Mapping Power: A Workshop Exploring Intersubjective Power Relationships With Rosten Woo

11 06 2015

Sunday June 14th  12- 2
Armory in Pasadena


In 2014, the Llano Del Rio Collective commissioned from Rosten Wooa printed guide to understanding power relationships in the City of Los Angeles. Woo choose to do a study of the “power analysis tool” used by the LA based community organization SCOPE LA to map social dynamics in strategic social change campaigns. This popular organizing workshop uses a visual methods to organize and develop knowledge within a group that seeks change.

In this workshop, Woo will guide participants through creating their own modified power analysis, which they can use to approach their own political and social constellations. The workshop will include a short introduction by the Llano Del Rio Collective.