Solidarity with Venezuela in Berkeley

There's still time to see the first installment of an ambitious, year-long cycle of five exhibitions organized by Chris Gilbert, the curator of the Berkeley Art Museum's contemporary art program, MATRIX. The clunkily titled "Now-Time Venezuela: Media Along the Path of the Bolivarian Process'' documents key changes that have occurred in Venezuela since 1998, when President Hugo Chavez launched a popular movement of paricipatory democracy projects intended to transform all levels of Venezuelan life.

What makes Gilbert's effort unique is that he wants the show to go beyond documenting changes to actually affecting them. The first part of cycle. "Part 1 Worker Controlled Factories'' consists of a mult-screen projection by Dario Azzellini and Oliver Ressler of interviews with workers who have formed cooperative and co-management plans to help run factories throughout the country. Workers, like the woman pictured here, speak directly to the camera of their experiences. In addition to screening the interviews at the museum, they are being copied to DVD and circulated among the Venezuelan workers around the country so they can learn what others are doing.

Gilbert says injecting the art into the real unfolding events is an attempt to show that, unlike the typical exhibit about political art, which reflects what is, this show is intended to help foster the political activity.

The next installment of the cycle, "Now-Time Venezuela, Part 2, Revolutionary Television in Catia, will open May 14 and continue through July 16.