The Situational Junta: What Lawman Saw

The Arts Economics


At the Situational Junta, Work was put on trial


I wasn't exactly sure what to expect at the first Situational Junta. To find some sort of footing, I mulled over potential meanings for the chosen nomenclature: situational, junta. The title of the three-part artistic venture, for me, was politically charged. My kind of event.


I kept my eyes (and ears) open for a challenge to the status quo. More trouble, though: which status quo? Political? Artistic? Cultural? Oh, the questions!


A pair of dancers performed above the crowd. An artist sketched in real time. A skeleton held court on stage. There was piano. I heard pleas. Interjections. Comical outbursts. Challenges. Affirmations. Poetry. And Work (not to be totally confused with or entirely differentiated from Capitalism or Labor) was put on trial, the standing room-only audience acting as the judge, jury, prosecution, and defense.


Thankfully, someone was there to help see the participants through choppy seas. Lawman Lynch, a Jamaican journalist experiencing his own kind of exile, emceed the evening. He'll be the steady hand to guide us through the next two juntas, too (details below). After the dust had settled I caught up with Lynch to get his take on the political-artistic mash-up.


What, I asked, was Lynch's first impression upon hearing the phrase "situational junta"? The man had ideas and expectations that differed from mine (and from those of others with whom I engaged that evening). Variation's a good thing—it keeps things in flux; a low humming chaos.


"My expectation was that politics would be ridiculed," says Lynch. "I expected comedy to break down political notions, and for art to convey a more compelling political message."


As an emcee he was, in a way, above or beyond the arts and politics at hand. His job was to see the performances and audience through the night. (He did, ably.) At a remove, could he make sense of the challenges to art, politics, economics, and labor unfolding on stage and in the audience. Did the evening, I wondered, spark any ideas for the citizen journalist?


"It certainly did," Lynch affirms. Politics in the diaspora, of which Lynch is a part, can be hemmed in by "in the box" thinking. "The Situational Junta expanded the way I think about delivering entertainment and political messages."


"For me," Lynch continues, "the night was not just different—it was groundbreaking."


There you have it. Preconceptions were challenged. Emotions were stirred. Ideas were spread. Something was up-ended. Let us have the courage to be bold... to think differently... to have a little more fun.


The second Situational Junta is nigh...


Click for details on Situational Junta 2 and 3.


Related media:


Radio archive, presented by Mikey Appuhn of Radio al Cabira


Transcript of Work on trial, presented by Citizens versus Work

Video archive, presented by


The next two Situational Juntas will take place at the Bowetry Poetry Club on November 18 and December 16, 6-8pm. 


Follow Shaun on Twitter @shaunrandol



Politics, Situational Junta