In addition to the artists and tactical magicians, political speakers—chosen by the Nation Institute—will also take the podium at the Convergence Center. The Nation has asked Al Sharpton to speak about the Sean Bell case, and author Naomi Klein might talk about disaster capitalism. "I hope," says Thompson, "that by bringing these political speakers in who aren't arty at all, there can be a dialogue between what's considered a more traditionally political discourse and the very powerful skill sets that artists bring to the table today. Getting a little more adept at the skill sets of cultural production is something that the political community could certainly use."

Still, though artists may have the skills, they have not been politically loud during the last eight years. By bringing so many voices together, Thompson is shooting for a high decibel level. "I think people want to know there is a political community out there. I want to bring them together, to say: 'You're not alone.' " By gathering so many voices, he might just help the left break its sound barrier.

Convergence Center at Park Avenue Armory, September 21–27, 643 Park Avenue, creativetime.org, 212-206-6674.

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