Summer Sessions: Assembly
Assembly refers to the ways in which we organize, socially or politically, around resources and to accomplish goals. We will address histories of art and activism and the ways in which cultural producers have engaged with politics. And we will consider how we might assemble minds and bodies, working across and through difference(s) toward common good(s).
What forms of assembly are most effective in creating commons, today? What could we learn by thinking about assembly in relation to common wealth and common debts? How are these issues being explored by artists, designers, activists, and local organizations?
Facilitator: Rebecca Keel
Session contributors include Gregory Sholette (Queens College, New York), Sarmistha Talukdar of Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Chaz Antoine (6Pic + VCU, Richmond), and Ice Cream Social.
Wednesday, July 10 // Social Session, 6–9 pm
Open to the Public
For this week’s Social Sessions, the ICA’s Gallery 1 will be turned over to Ice Cream Social, a Richmond-based DIY dance collective centered around giving a space to queer and trans people of color. Hosted by Chaz Antoine, the evening will be a celebration of black joy through movement, music, and bodies in the space. Cash bar. All ages. Runs until 9 pm.
Saturday, July 13 // Program Session
Open to the Public
Program Sessions invite us to go deeper into each week’s topic through a mix of discussion and experience, and to reflect together about what to carry forward.
1:00–1:15 pm | Welcome:
Rebecca Keel and Noah Simblist
1:15–2:15 pm | Talk
Artist, activist, and writer Gregory Sholette considers recent intersections of art, activism, and assembly, drawing on writings collected in his 2017 book Delirium and Resistance. Sholette is a Professor at Queens College, CUNY, where he co-runs Social Practice Queens with artist Chloë Bass.
2:30-3:30 | Workshops
This workshop will focus on the creative potential we have to collectively assemble for social change. Led by members of SONG (Southerners on New Ground)—Dr. Sarmistha Talukdar and Rebecca Keel MSW—participants will be guided through a conversation about Demystifying the Creative Process, Deep Listening, Applying a Theory of Change, Intelligent Mischief, Visionary Thinking, and how these principles can be applied to Assembly.
3:45–4:15 pm | Reflection
What should we carry forward from this Session? We will reflect, discuss, and take notes on the gallery walls.
4:30–5:30 pm | WRIR “Local Voices Live”
Reflecting on “assembly” with leaders of this week’s Session. Moderated by Chelsea Higgs Wise, host of WRIR’s “Race Capitol.”
Ongoing video screening: Jonas Staal, New World Summit – Brussels, Video (2014)
Rebecca KeelRebecca Keel is a community organizer, facilitator, and local advocate. With a background in youth justice, campaigns, strategic community engagement, and conflict resolution, they have a longstanding history of advancing a liberation-focused agenda in Richmond. Rebecca graduated from VCU in 2013 with a dual degree in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies and Psychology, then again in 2016 with a Masters of Clinical Social Work. Rebecca ran for city council at the age of 24, and has been involved for many years with grassroots organizations such as Justice RVA, RISE for Youth, and Southerners on New Ground (SONG). Her work focuses on issues of prison reform, police accountability, and disability rights, among others. They received the VCU School of Social Work Social Justice Award in 2016. As part of “Summer Sessions” at the ICA, they will be hosting weekly activities around the themes of Assembly (July 9-13) and Public Domain (July 16-21).
www.riseforyouth.org // www.southernersonnewground.org // @campaign_mama
Queens College, New YorkGregory Sholette is an artist, activist, and writer. In dozens of essays, three edited volumes, and his own Delirium and Resistance: Activist Art and the Crisis of Capitalism and Dark Matter: Art and Politics in an Age of Enterprise Culture, Sholette has documented four decades of activist art that, for its ephemerality, politics, and market resistance, might otherwise remain invisible. He has contributed to such journals as e-flux, Critical Inquiry, Texte zur Kunst, October, CAA Art Journal and Manifesta Journal among other publications. His recent art installations include Imaginary Archive at the ICA Philadelphia and the White Box at Zeppelin University, Germany. He is an Associate Professor in the Queens College Art Department, CUNY where he helped establish the new MFA Concentration SPQ (Social Practice Queens).
Southerners on New Ground (SONG)Southerners On New Ground (SONG) is a regional Queer Liberation organization made up of Black people, people of color, immigrants, undocumented people, people with disabilities, and working class and rural LGBTQ people in the South. Since 1993, SONG has been known, both regionally and nationally, for its organizing and training work across issues of race, class, gender, culture and sexuality with both LGBTQ people and allies. SONG envisions a sustainable South that embodies the best of its freedom traditions and works towards the transformation of our economic, social, spiritual, and political relationships. They are committed to restoring a way of being that recognizes our collective humanity and dependence on the Earth.
6Pic + VCU, RichmondChaz Antoine is an emerging public media-arts scholar and PhD candidate of VCU's Media, Art, & Text (MATX) program. He founded I AM MY LIFE, an education and arts-based program that centers diversity within Black queer experiences through youth and community arts projects and workshops. Chaz’s scholarly practice brings together Black feminist auto-ethnography, Black popular culture & performance studies, and Black queer world-making. Chaz directed #DONTTOUCHMYHAIRrva, a short film project that circulates knowledge rooted in diverse Black experiences. As part of his dissertation, he is currently developing a podcast called Black Matter in which he collects oral histories from local Black queer folks to create knowledge and center black joy as a critical practice in space, place, and time. Chaz was raised in Connecticut and has been active in the Richmond nonprofit scene for over six years, currently serving as the 'Blackademic in Residence' at Six Points Innovation Center.
Chelsea Higgs Wise
WRIRChelsea is a mom, clinical social worker, and dialogue practitioner who offers facilitated deliberation services for topics around politics, race, history, and feminism. She's a regular contributor to RVA Magazine in political and artistic commentary and founder of Race Capitol on WRIR LP 97.3 FM.
Race Capitol, Wednesdays at 10:00AM on WRIR-LP 97.3 FM
Southerners on New GroundSarmistha’s community engagement and activism started at the early age of 8, when they were a student of St. Joseph and Mary’s school. They became an active member of youth led organization INTERACT which raised funds and provided education to children who couldn’t afford to pay for tuition in marginalized communities of Kolkata. This foray into activism continued in different aspects of their life, such as medical justice and art. They have volunteered with organizations such as ICE out of RVA, Girls Rock RVA, Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Richmond Reproductive Freedom Project, Virginia Anti-violence Project, Nationz Foundation, Cancer Action Coalition of Virginia, and Southerners on New Ground (SONG).
Ice Cream SocialIce Cream Social is a DIY dance collective which seeks to provide a safe space for queer and transgender people of color. Co-founder Jafar Flowers, aka DJ ARCHANGEL, spins an eclectic mix of genres––combining techno, electronic music, trap samples, R&B, and dancefloor classics. Inspired by the way that dance parties can bring people together regardless of their identity, sexuality or status, Ice Cream Social envisions dance events as a space for healing, catharsis, and joy.