York Is Us Collective
Gita Hashemi, Roberta Buiani, Krys Verrall, Elena Basile, Jennifer Cypher
York Is Us came together as an autonomous collective within CUPE 3903, the union representing contract faculty, teaching and graduate assistants at York University, Toronto, Canada, during the recent labour strike which started on November 6, 2008. Collective members are artists, cultural workers and contract faculty at York U and other universities, part of a large number of precarious intellectual workers who carry 40-60% of teaching load in North American universities without job security and in poor working conditions. Where York University uses the motto “York Is U” to sell itself locally and internationally, we stake our claim to the university. We are not disposable. York Is Us.
York Is Us
year of production
This project is currently in progress.
used technology (software etc)
social intervention, xhtml and a number of other image and text production software
Blurring the boundaries between the virtual and the real and using viral techniques, York Is Us is a networked project that intervenes in the politics of CUPE 3903 labour strike (ongoing since November 2008) in real time. The website http://yorkisus.org is a sign-post, a portal and an archive. It poses as a spoof of York University’s official website, but it does not hide its oppositional identity. It is a hub for creative interventions that expose the Kafkaesque ways of thinking and working in the academic citadel. It also documents and archives these interventions including our counter-propagandistic response to York U’s YFile bulletin in the form of the popular satirical XFile bulletin. Ultimately, York Is Us is in a direct symbiotic relationship with union members, picketers and activists in pushing the agenda of a labour strike that stands as one model for fighting back neoliberalism in academic institutions. As such, it is part of a global resistant network that increasingly ties together art and activism.