Marginal Utility's early 2012 Center-funded exhibition, Five Acts: Chronicles of Dissent, could not have come at a more relevant time in contemporary society. The year leading up to the exhibition saw an influx of marginalized peoples who finally found their voices, and the world watched as protesters in the Middle East, the United States, and Russia mobilized grassroots support to challenge higher, and often more corrupt, powers.
The artists in Marginal Utility's show took two separate approaches to interpreting and highlighting the culture of protest through various means. Some used recent protests around the world and their 21st-century approach to disseminating a united message, whether it was through newspaper, television, street protests or social media. The other angle took a look back through history to give contemporary relevance to an issue no longer salient to society.
The participating artists—Yael Bartana, Andrea Bowers, Sharon Hayes, Naeem Mohaiemen, and Mark Tribe—used photography, text-based works and video to convey these messages, often highlighting the sensitive political, social and religious issues of our time.