Mardi Gras Indian Community

Since the 1800s, working-class Blacks in New Orleans paid tribute to Native Americans who aided escaped slaves on their routes to safety by “masking Indian”: building and donning elaborate costumes for Mardi Gras, fashioned from layers upon layers of feathers, beads, sequins, and billowing fabrics dyed in energetic colors. For 52 years, Allison “Tootie” Montana, […]

In 1993, artist Rick Lowe purchased a row of abandoned shotgun-style houses in Houston, Texas’, Northern Third Ward district, a low-income African-American neighborhood that was slotted for demolition. He galvanized hundreds of volunteers to help preserve the buildings, first by sweeping streets, rebuilding facades, and renovating the old housing’s interiors. Then, with funding from the […]

For one afternoon in 1994, two hundred and twenty high school students in Oakland, California, sat in parked cars on a rooftop garage and talked to each other about violence, sex, gender, family, and race. The teens spoke candidly, without any kind of script, while an audience of nearly one thousand people–including numerous reporters and […]

For eleven years, Helena Producciones’ Festival de Performance de Cali played a key role in the cultural life of Cali, Colombia, a city with a notable shortage of resources and support networks for the arts. The festival provided a forum for both emerging and established international artists to create performances that were interactive and politically […]

In 1991, five Iranian artists, Farid Jahangir and Sassan Nassiri, Bita Fayyazi, Ata Hasheminejad, and Khosrow Hassanzedeh, took over an abandoned house in Tehran, Iran, and used it as both studio space and found object–a place to collaborate, and also explore the physical and political meaning of urban architectural detritus. They spent two months creating […]

Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency is a Palestinian art and architecture collective and a residency program based in Beit Sahour, Palestine. Organized by architects Sandi Hilal, Alessandro Petti, and Eyal Weizman, DAAR examines the possible re-usage of existing architecture in occupied territories–a process they refer to as “Revolving Door Occupancy.” In 2006, the Israeli army evacuated […]

On the 100th anniversary of the first Russian Revolution, collective Chto Delat? (What is to Be Done?) organized activists in protest of contemporary labor inequities on the square at Narva Gate in St. Petersburg, the site of the original uprising in 1905. In this contemporary staging, Chto Delat? invited low-income workers who normally wear sandwich […]

When former DJ Nick Szuberla launched the only hip-hop radio program in the Appalachian region, inmates from the two neighboring SuperMax prisons began writing him letters, recounting the racism and human rights violations they suffered while incarcerated. He responded by initiating an on-air chess game with the prisoners, a simple gesture that acknowledged, and provided […]

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