Skip to main content
decorative shadow image decorative shadow image

Summer Sessions: Dependence / Independence

Jul 1, 2019 – Jul 7, 2019

Commonwealth is a principle of sharing and co-ownership. It asks us to recognize our interdependence with each other, as individuals, as communities, as nations. Many countries celebrate their historical independence from others, yet all countries continue to be dependent on others in old and new, visible and invisible ways. Independence and dependence are intertwined.

The Fourth of July is a holiday in the United States, and for Summer Sessions as well. This week, in lieu of scheduled programming, writers connected to the program share their thoughts on the nature of dependency, either at a personal or political level. Because, in any kind of commonwealth, we cannot truly celebrate independence without, at the same time, celebrating dependence.

Contributors Include:
Marshall Brown, Duron Chavis, Heather Davis, Patton Hindle, Rebecca Keel, Pablo Guardiola + Michael Linares + Sofía Gallisá Muriente (Beta-Local), Giancarlo Mazzanti (El Equipo Mazzanti) + Carols Medellin (Fundacíon Horizontal) + Quilian Riano (DSGN AGNC), Gregory Sholette, Noah Simblist (VCUarts), Stephanie Smith (ICA), Dominic Asmall Willsdon (ICA), and other Summer Sessions: Commonwealth collaborators


Heather Davis

Mel Chen writes in their beautiful book Animacies that the fiction of independence and inviolability is one that only a few bodies can sustain. By this they mean that independence and inviolability can only be achieved through the practices of barricading: through wealth, power, through an abiding refusal to acknowledge the interdependencies of mammalian life, through a willful denial of the ways in which we are always indebted to others... Read More

Gregory Sholette

As part of an ongoing lexicon of imaginary idioms my contribution to the prompt “Declaration of Dependence” offers a newly amalgamated term that nevertheless riffs off of the more familiar concept of commonwealth, or common weal: a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good.¹ Read More

Patton Hindle

I woke up this morning to discover a friend and artist with whom I worked had unexpectedly passed away. Instinctually, the first decision I made was to cancel my day and stay at home. The last 12 months have been a rollercoaster of unexpected tragedies and monumental life shifts...Read More

Marshall Brown

1] This declaration is a civic charter. 2] The city is a micro-region. Micro-regions do not create false divisions between downtown, suburb, and countryside. Micro-regions are constellations 3] Micro-regional territories are flexible. The movements and desires of citizens produce geography. Geographic evolution is necessary over time... Read More

Duron Chavis

What do you do if the grocery stores close? This question was posed to me by an African American farmer more than 15 years ago. It haunted me then and haunts me now. Food security, i.e. the ability to feed oneself, family and community has been my Sisyphus boulder since... Read More

Rebecca Keel

Culture is dependent on the rules we have to express it. These rules, called policies, create and govern the ways in which we can or cannot move freely in our environments. Take for instance a bustling old city park filled with tall trees and flower beds surrounding the entrance... Read More

Headshot: Noah Simbilist

Noah Simblist

1] That all artworks are dependent on currency—political, social, intellectual, or actual capital—and these forms of capital are directly tied to power. 2] That all artists, curators, and other cultural workers are dependent on systems including influence, production, and dissemination... Read More

Headshot: Andrea Quilici

Quilian Riano

Body. Body has limited power. Body seeks another Body to create a larger Body. Bodies listen to each other’s lived experiences as one Body does not experience the same oppressions and privileges as another Body. As long as one Body faces oppression all Bodies cannot be free... Read More

Headshot: Dominic Willsdon, Executive Director

Dominic Asmall Willsdon

When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one each and every people to dissolve redesign the political bonds which have and must always connected them with one another, and to assume among the powers of the earth that the planet may allow... Read More

Stephanie Smith Chief Curator

Stephanie Smith

Declarations of independence enact separation. They assert boundaries between one entity and another, dividing nations, communities, and people. Declarations of dependence embrace connection. We are inextricably bound to each other: politically, socially, spatially, economically, and emotionally. Differentially felt, these bonds are partial, always shaped by power. Some are stronger or weaker, desired or resisted, more or less visible... Read More

Summer Sessions: Commonwealth

Jun 15, 2019 – Aug 18, 2019


Summer Sessions: Introduction

Saturday, Jun 15

1:00 PM–5:00 PM


Summer Sessions: Natural Resources

Jun 18, 2019 – Jun 23, 2019


Summer Sessions: Built Environment

Jun 25, 2019 – Jun 30, 2019


Summer Sessions: Dependence / Independence

Jul 1, 2019 – Jul 7, 2019


Summer Sessions: Assembly

Jul 7, 2019 – Jul 14, 2019


Summer Sessions: Public Domain

Jul 16, 2019 – Jul 21, 2019


Summer Sessions: Reflections

Jul 22, 2019 – Aug 11, 2019


Summer Sessions: Closing

Aug 13, 2019 – Aug 18, 2019