As the Artist in Residency at Combine Studios, from June 1-7, 2014, I invited youth to a collaborative brief writing workshop on the dystopic future of living in a state that has banned ethnic studies in the public school system. It was held on Saturday, June 7th from 2pm - 4pm, at Librería Doncelles hosted at Combine Studies, in Phoenix, Arizona. Participants were asked to think about how the lack of ethnic studies has effected the urban and rural landscape, neighborhoods, and people we live or interact with. Youth will participate in a collaborative authoring of future stories of youth living in Arizona as well as had the opportunity to design what an ID would look like in 100 years. Will it be necessary to carry an ID at all times? What kind of information will be required? Can an ID to a personal story?
Otis Graduate Student Open Studios 2014 Getting to Know Your Neighbor: Experiment #2
This was the second iteration of the Getting to know your neighbor conversational table project that I have been experimenting with. The use of the table as a prop to facilitate conversation is explored in order to engage participants surrounding how one gets to know their neighbors/surrounding people. I questioned and wrote what sorts of questions or interactions solidify an in depth interaction with total strangers.
In continuation with experimenting on how to best use the table as a tool of facilitation to an experience, I decided to write questions on the table. They acted as visual prompts along with pens which initiated a call and response effect. While the few people wrote their responses I continued to ask probing question to get participants to elaborate on their experiences in getting to know their surrounding people.
This reflective project was inspired by group efforts of the MFA Public Practice first year students in Camino Verde, Tijuana, B.C. México.
Ni Chana Tijuana unpacked what happened when a group of people enrolled in a Public Practice MFA must, for the first time, develop fieldwork within a community across the border whom they have only previously encountered through theoretical frameworks, methodologies taken from books by specialists, and abstract discussions. What happens when these individuals arrive to that community of flesh and blood, full of knowledges, problems and questions wildly different from their academic abstractions? What types of cross-cultural connections can be created with people who have experienced three decades of issues that are far beyond the understanding of the average social practitioner? Not one or the other, neither here nor there, ‘ni Chana ni Juana’ is an expression used in México to emphasize the ambiguous nature of a given situation. In that spirit, this exposition deals with the contingent relationship between these artists and Camino Verde.
The experiment was inspired by talking with local Camino Verde community leaders, such as Alma Teresa, who stated “Ni nos conocemos los vecinos” (“We don’t even know our neighbors”). Camino Verde has built much of its recent infrastructure with the backing of the community. Yet as that concept was explored beyond the surface, implied or assumed connections presumely binding the neighborhood fell apart. Mario created Getting to Know Your Neighbor: Experiment #1 to explore dialogue as a foundational gesture to allow people to exchange ideas, common notions, and understandings involved in creating community.
Towards an Educated State of Mind is a collaborative art project curated by Graduate Student Mario Mesquita, Art & Social Practice MFA Candidate, former Academic Advisor and Admission Counselor, and Undocumented Students in the state of Oregon. This collaborative effort is designed to create an area open to talk about the importance of Tuition Equity and the pursuit for higher education today for all.