RiVAL, the ReImagining Value Action Lab, is a workshop for the radical imagination, social justice and decolonization, active around the world and located in Anishinaabe territories under the Robinson-Superior Treaty on the North shore of Gichigami, aka Lake Superior (Thunder Bay, Canada). It is co-directed by Dr. Max Haiven, Canada Research Chair in Culture, Media and Social Justice at Lakehead University and Cassie Thornton, artist and activist. 

Fall 2019 in review

  • THE BANK, THE MINE, THE COLONY, THE CRIME: In cooperation with Walking Lab, RiVAL hosted a walking tour in the heart of Toronto’s financial district where scholars, artists and activists explored and responded to the interconnection between Canada’s banking and finance sector and the violence of resource extraction in the territories currently called Canada and abroad.
  • LECTURE SERIES: In cooperation with the Thunder Bay Public Library, RiVAL co-director Max Haiven delivered three public lectures on his research: “The Power and Poverty of the Imagination” in September, “The Economy of Anxiety” in October, and “Our Age of Revenge” in November. 
  • FREE SPEECH/HATE SPEECH: Responding to recent events, including the rise of hateful speech on university campuses and the reactionary obsession with a decontextualized defence of “free speech” RiVAL hosted a discussion at The Study at Lakehead University with Dr. Toby Rollo of the political sciences department, with responses from Dr. Rachel Warburton (English) and Shadiya Hadid (grad student and poet). 
  • BEING A GOOD VISITOR: RiVAL was pleased to host poet and educator Smokii Sumach for a series of talks and workshops
  • THE ORDER OF THE IMMORTAL STRANGER: RiVAL co-directors Cassie Thornton and Max Haiven, under the guise of their art project The University of the Phoenix delivered the opening performance of Berliner Gazette’s MORE WORLD conference in Berlin in October.
  • INTERNATIONAL: Haiven delivered an invited talk in Rome on “The revenge of the radical imagination” and a keynote to the Integrated2019 conference (“The Radical Imagination”) in Antwerp on “The radical imagination and the avenging imaginary.”
  • BOOK LAUNCH: Thornton published a short book on her ongoing project Desperate Holdings and Landmind Spa with Tripwire Press. In October she continued the project in Oakland, California’s main plaza with “Free Luxury Real Estate Facials.”
  • EXHIBITION AND WORKSHOP: Thornton was included in the fourth iteration of Sick Time, Sleepy Time, Crip Time; Against Capitalism’s Temporal Bullying at Red Bull Arts in Detroit, an exhibition series curated by Taraneh Fazeli about the politics of health. Thornton’s ongoing project, Collective Psychic Architecture is available to view here. The workshop, Give Me Cred, is a part of a five year project where Thornton teaches people to make alternative credit reports. Press about the workshop is here.
  • THANKS TO MATTHEW AND ROCHELLE: RiVAL was fortunate to work, this fall, with Lakehead graduate assistants Matthew Benoit and Rochelle Lamarche, who this winter are on to other assignments but continue to be involved with RiVAL projects and initiatives.

Already in Winter 2020

  • SELF-PUBLISHING WORKSHOP: On February 1, RiVAL hosted a public workshop to train interested parties to use our print studio.
  • FILM-SCREENING AND FUNDRAISER FOR UNIST’OT’EN: On February 5, RiVAL, along with our friends at Wiindo Debwe Mosewin (volunteer street patrol) hosted a fundraiser and film screening to support lend defenders at the Unist’ot’en Camp.

Coming in Spring 2020

  • COMMON ANXIETIES PROJECT: Haiven is working with Dr. Aris Komporozos-Athanasiou, of University College London (UCL) on a new project exploring the shared political, social and economic roots of the ongoing “anxiety epidemic” on Anglophone university campuses on both sides of the Atlantic. In March they will be holding workshops with students at multiple universities in London, UK, with more sites to follow. In  late April they will host an interdisciplinary workshop for scholars at UCL’s Institute for Advanced Study, where Haiven will be a visiting fellow in Spring 2020.
  • THE HOLOGRAM: Thornton will be resident at London’s Furtherfield Gallery continuing work on her multi-year collaborative anti-capitalist feminist health project The Hologram. Thornton will also tour several European cities, including Vienna, Ljubljana, Rijeka, Dublin and more, to present this project in panels and workshops, TBA.
  • ABSTRACTION AS METHOD: Haiven and City University of New York professor Dr. Leigh Claire La Berge will host a one-day workshop on comparative methods in materialist cultural criticism on March 21 at UCL’s IAS.
  • ANOTHER MEDICINE IS POSSIBLE: Thornton’s 2017 text about experiments in non-hierarchical free medical care in Greece during the financial crisis has been included in an edited collection called For Health Autonomy: Horizons of Care Beyond Austerity — Reflections from Greece edited by Carenotes Collective, published by Common Notions, available here.
  • PALESTINE: Haiven will deliver two invited talks in Palestine in February of 2020: one at the Al Qattan Foundation on “Art After Money, Money After Art,” another at Al-Quds/Bard College on “The Radical Imagination.”
  • ECONOMIES OF DISPOSSESSION: Haiven will be keynote at OCAD University’s “Economies of Dispossession” conference in March 2020.
  • REMATRIATION: RiVAL is pleased to be working with the Thunder Bay Public Library on an exciting new project to explore the meaning of rematriation, land and decolonization. More details will be released soon.
  • GLOBAL PORTS AUTHORITY, RIJEKA: In cooperation with Oliver Lerone Schultz, and under the banner of the mythorealist organization the “Global Ports Authority,” Thornton and Haiven will be making a participatory contribution to the European 2020 Capital of Culture programming in Rijeka, Croatia, curated by the art centre Drugo More.

Coming in Summer 2020

  • REVENGE CAPITALISM: Haiven will be publishing his new book, Revenge Capitalism: The Ghosts of Empire, the Demons of Capital, and the Settling of Unpayable Debts (Pluto) in May. Stay tuned for book launch events.
  • SUMMER INTENSIVE: August 10-21 RiVAL is hosting a two-week summer intensive for inquiry, art and activism on the theme “connecting anti-capitalist and anti-colonial projects.” Students are welcome to take this intensive as a credit course. Members of the public are also encouraged to participate.
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