Who is the GPI?
WHO IS THE DC GUERRILLA POETRY INSURGENCY? The DC Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency (GPI) is an anti-authoritarian, collaborative pro-humanity artists' collective incorporating music, rhythm, spoken word, community and resistance. The GPI is part of a community of artists of all persuasions from D.C. and around the nation. Some of these groups include: The Rhythm Workers Union; Young Women's Drumming Empowerment Project ; Word of Mouth; DC Poets Against the War; The Collaborative Arts Insurgency in San Francisco; The Fuse in New York City; and The Guerrilla Poet Insurgency in Richmond, VA. We also support allied groups with similar means and ends, such as The Blackout Arts Collective and the Supersonic Samba School in San Diego.
WHAT IS THE GPI TRYING TO ACCOMPLISH? The GPI assertively wields and empowers creative voices to promote progressive social change . GPI's primary goals include: inventing new media, reclaiming public space, building diverse communities of artists and activists, and facilitating the expression of individual convictions. One way to conceptualize our action model is as "push marketing" for political perspectives in real space. Performing on the streets, in trains, malls, anywhere with high pedestrian traffic, the GPI literally gets in the public airspace that passersby might otherwise ignore. The Guerrilla Poetry Insurgency model can be manifested anywhere (see our Lyrical Ambush Recipe), and we plan to support any artists seeking to start a new dialogue and create a new world wielding words instead of weapons.
WHAT DO WE DO? The GPIâ€™s signature action is a bi-monthly â€œLyrical Ambushâ€ in Washington DCâ€™s Dupont Circle every first and third Monday at 7:00pm. We blur the line between audience and performer, welcoming everyone to linger and participate. We use art to explore themes such as racism, social justice, war vs. peace, corporate domination vs. meaningful democracy, the "war on drugs" and the misuse of fear to degrade civil liberties, and whatever you or your kids bring to the mic. Ambushes include whoever shows up to listen and share their truth. GPI actions are community-building events.
Performing as requested, the GPI serves the broader activist community by bringing talented artists, DJs, drummers and poets to organizations in need of fundraising entertainment for their events and rallies. We also conduct workshops in the community and at local schools; visit universities; and perform in public spaces both in DC and around the East Coast. The GPI has conducted workshops at conferences including the National Conference on Organized Resistance and the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, as well as on campuses including Wells College and Woodrow Wilson High School, among others.
Like any insurgency, the GPI is more a loose and flexible network than a formal organization. Public events often consist of picking a time and place to create a varied and diverse artistic result composed of whoever shows up. Bi-weekly organizing gatherings are a forum to share information on various projects and help individuals create their own projects and shows. There is no "approval" structure, as individuals are empowered to envision actions and make them a reality by garnering the support of both core members of the GPI and an expanding network of artists. Recently, GPI assisted a high school peace initiative needing trainers on a wide range of subjects by compiling a contact sheet including over 30 organizers throughout the city.