“Beautiful Trouble is essential reading for the socially engaged artist.”Ken Krafchek, Graduate Director, MFA in Community Arts, Maryland Institute College of Art
The Center for Tactical Magic (CTM) is a Bay Area collective that creates installations and exhibits that subvert the role of illegitimate power in society. Notable for the historical and technological components of their actions, CTM often re-purposes established symbols of oppressive power in unexpected, anti-oppressive ways. One such action involved a Merry Pranksters-like VW bus filled with waterbeds and suspended from a crane — a participatory experience that was also an allusion to a form of medieval torture called a “witch net.” Not all their actions have grim back stories; CTM exhibited “magic wands” of all kinds (including vibrators and airport security metal detectors) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and designed a system that could detect illegal logging by recording the distressed chirps of crickets. Their patron saint would be the early twentieth-century magician and polymath Aleister Crowley, whom the group frequently quotes in their erudite and sometimes arcane literature.