Philadelphia Assembled is the process of over a hundred people putting their creative inputs into an ecosystem of programming. It would never - could never - be just one thing. The Art Museum and its staff have done a heroic job of wrangling everything together through the forms of a mural, exhibition spaces, and programming in the Perelman Building.
For my contribution the day of the PHLA Opening Celebration at the Perelman Building, I hosted a world-building workshop. The workshop consisted of a changing crew of about six people as folks walked back and forth through the exhibit, some leaving partway through, and some joining partway through, talking about the future and how to meet its challenges by imagining it through the lens of creating art.
Maps are everywhere around us, ever present to help us navigate both public and personal geographies, or orient ourselves in communal and universal landscapes. But all maps come with an agenda - as much as maps can reveal about a place or idea, maps also have the power to hide or distort truths.
Coinciding with May Day, a historic day for labor activism, Futures on Strike consisted of a workshop, open conversations with passersby, and spoken-word performances that draw on stories of freedom and just futures.
The tension in our bodies, sparked by the future’s difference from the present, is the precursor to art. You see something that isn’t there, and then you create it. At the nexus of uncertainty and competence, all this energy & vision & where can it be put? The Philadelphia Museum of Art, as a keeper of history, is a residence for such stories transformed into engraved gestures, scraps of fabric, splashes of paint and more.
People say the future is in the hands of the youth, because adults are stuck in their ways. The future consists of living in the moment while holding onto a direction. As adults, our lack of futurity derives from our distance from the present moment - we are stuck in the past.
My favorite part of Philadelphia Assembled is the wide range of interesting people I meet and places I visit in the process of making things happen. This month, I had the privilege of spending time at Traction Company, an art studio, mechanic workshop, and all-around mad wizarding collective located in West Philly.