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Dread Scott

American Newspeak...Pleaase Feel Free (installation view, detail); Installation for Audience participation: Silver Gelatin print, offset prints, text on signs, books, pens, shelf, audience; 1987; 80 x 28 x 12 inches

American Newspeak…Please Feel Free is series of 12 “installations for audience participation.” They are comprised of black and white photographs, offset prints (reproductions of the photographs), text on signs, pens, shelves, books (originally with blank pages), and an active audience. Below each photograph there is text on the wall that has instructions/questions to which the viewer may respond. The basic format of these instructions is: a “political” statement followed by text that informed the viewer/participant that if they agreed with the “political” statement, that they could feel free to take one of the offset prints. The “political” statement is also reprinted on the prints but instead of instructing the viewer to take a print if they agree with the text, it states that the person who owns the print agrees with the “political” statement. There is also a sign which requests that anyone who takes a print please explain why in the books provided. The audience response/ writing therefore became part of the art. Both the prints and the books are placed on a shelf which is directly below each photograph and its related text. What is the Proper Way to Display a U.S. Flag?, the last piece in this series, had a real U.S. flag spread on the floor below the shelf and there are no prints for people to take of this piece.


More information on

What is the Proper Way to Display a US Flag?

Political statement associated with each installation

War is Peace:
If you believe that the United States of America should be overthrown through armed revolution and are currently participating in activity to do so, please feel free to take a print.

Freedom is Slavery:
If the Following relates to you, please feel free to take a print:
…And when I speak, I speak as a victim of American democracy.  You and I have never seen democracy–all we’ve seen is hypocrisy.  When we open our eyes and look around America, we see America, not through the eyes of someone who has enjoyed the fruits of Americanism.  We see America through the eyes of someone who has been a victim of Americanism.  We don’t see the American dream–we’ve experienced only the American nightmare.
—Malcolm X

Ignorance is Strength: (1987)
If you’re constantly being told that, “you’re not good enough,” or that, “you can’t make it,” or that “you can’t go in there,” or that you’re dumb.  If they always tell you that you can’t spell simply because you can’t leave the “KKK” out of Bernard Goetz, or because you spell Cabrini Green, South Central L.A., Bedford-Styvesent, East L.A., and Harlem the same way — “APARTHEID!”, then please feel free to take a print.

Ignorance is Strength:
If you’re constantly being told that, “you’re not good enough,” or that, “you can’t make it,” or that “you can’t go in there,” or that you’re dumb.  If they always tell you that you can’t spell simply because you can’t leave the “KKK” out of Bernard Goetz, or because you spell Cabrini Green, South Central L.A., Bedford-Stuyvesant and Harlem it always looks like  “APARTHEID!”, then please feel free to take a print.

Be All That You Can Be:
If you agree with the following statement, please feel free to take a print:
In all bourgeois-democratic countries – and this is no exaggeration – from the earliest age, through the educational system, the mass media, and in other ways, the people are systematically misinformed and lied to about significant questions of current world history, and are systematically indoctrinated and imbued with an upside-down worldview and errant methodology.  And this takes place, not through the kind of extreme, and exotic measures of the totalitarian state of Orwell’s 1984, but through the “normal” oh-so-democratic functioning of the bourgeois-democratic society and its state.
— Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

We Serve and Protect:
When they kick out your front door,
How you gonna come;
With your hands on your head,
Or on the trigger of your gun?
When the law break in,
How you gonna go;
Shot down on the pavement,
Or awaiting a death row?
— The Clash
If you’re not going to “come out silently with your hands up”, please feel free to take a print.

War on Drugs:
What would you think if you knew that thousands of Black people were rounded up in mass arrests?  What would you do if tens of thousands more were being stopped, searched, degraded at gunpoint and often beaten?  Would you speak out?  What would you think if the U.S. military were given police powers for the first time since reconstruction and charged with “sealing the southern boarder”?  What if tanks rolled down the streets of Los Angeles using a battering ram to destroy occupied homes in the Black community?  What if the police followed these tanks, throwing explosive devices into homes?  Would you speak out?  What if city governments were forcing the eviction of Black tenants on the basis that they were “undesirables” and seizing the property of landlords who refused to comply?

What if they called this a “War on drugs”?

War on Gangs:
Sometimes a government can perpetrate a crime so large that the people just don’t see it or don’t believe that it can happen here.  BELIEVE IT!

War on Crime:
“You’re quite hostile.”
“I got a right to be hostile.
Man, my people been persecuted!”
—Public Enemy

If your people are being persecuted and you’re quite hostile, please take a print, kick some science, and say what needs to be said.

Simpson-Rodino Amnesty Act:
“All Americans stand to benefit from the successful implementation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act”
–Alan C. Nelson Commissioner U.S. Immigration and  Naturalization Service

If these words and the pogrom behind them have forced you even more up against the wall and you yearn for the chance to not only strike back at the system, but to bury it once and for all, you are not alone.  Please feel free to comment on the situation.

Si te han pisoteado aun mas palabras yesta represion y anhelas la oportunidad, no solo para dar golpes contra el sistema, pero para enterrarlo pa siempre, no eres el unico.  Has el favor de comentar sobre la situacion.

Don’t Suspect a Friend, Report Him!:
There are two main trends in the world today — the trend towards world war and the trend towards proletarian revolution and both are intensifying.  Which side are you on?

This System Is Doomed…Let’s finish it Off!

Marxism Consists of a thousand truths, but they all boil down to the one sentence “It’s right to rebel against reactionaries…”  And from this truth there follows resistance, struggle and there fight for socialism. —Mao Tsetung

If you grasp this truth and are applying it to transform the world, please feel free.