Category: Mass Media

γῆ

*~~GAY~~*

Our Utopia seeks to overturn a number of oppressive structures that currently jeopardize human posterity and earth’s well-being. We aim to upend the historically entrenched divide between nature and culture and the heterosexual matrix. Queerness is a living expression of anti-normativity. Our utopia aims to embody this and through doing so, refigure structures which rely on dominant heterosexual culture and capitalism to reproduce themselves. By subverting these toxic norms through our utopia’s architecture and social arrangements, we aim to do the following:

  1. Create a space that embodies queerness through its organic and unpredictable evolution and the queer people living within it.
  2. Break down the indoor/outdoor dichotomy by utilizing outdoor space for traditionally indoor activities, such as education.
  3. Challenging the dualism between living/nonliving entities and human/nonhuman forms of life.
  4. Supplanting the educational superstructure by finding new modes of creative and intellectual engagement through craftsmanship, art, meaningful consumption, and self-production.
  5. Depart from exploitative practices veiled in capitalist constructions of green activism and sustainability through materializing ecofeminist ideals, beliefs, and way of existence.
  6. Restructure the ways in which a society produces and interacts with food in order to emphasize sustenance as communal rather than individual.
  7. (Long-term) Goal: Taking down Asheville after we appropriate its resources and get our feet off the ground.

 

As queer people concerned about the earth and its human and nonhuman inhabitants, we envision creating a space where people feel comfortable, secure, and free in expressing themselves; where each person is able to thoughtfully engage and live sustainably with the environment. We thought it was important to rethink several structures that propagate within us and all other members of the planet that can be attributed to capitalism and the culture of heterosexuality. Therefore, we came up with a vision that prioritizes queerness as a generative horizon, responsible use of resources and reorientation towards the natural world and our human counterparts. We want to curate a space where the constant evolution and range of possible expressions beyond the normative confines of present reality. We believe queer expression is a way in which we can endeavor to achieve that. Some of the modes through which our utopia could become actualized is through a system of exchange based on kinship. Food and water and other necessities will be owned and accessed freely and communally. We also envision an architectural layout based in and around the landscape. This will enable intimate human engagement with it. Additionally, we plan to reinvent spatial notion of the home and family which Our utopian vision seeks to overturn a number of oppressive structures that currently stifle humanity hinder the historically entrenched divide between nature and culture escaping the heterosexual matrix.

 

The Floating Haven/ Suburbia a la Mer

  Manifesto: ملاذا عائم – Le Havre Flottant- The Floating Haven   Inclusivity Communication Open-mindedness   The world is watching as refugees are trying to access a better life, but the people who claim to care about migrants, such as governments and other international institutions, are either trying to solve the problem in the absolute wrong way or they’re doing…

Maga Collective – Master Plan

 

Manifesto

Puerto Rico has been subjected to colonial rule by the United States since 1898. The US stole any chance of independence Puerto Rico had when it defeated the Spanish and installed a military government on the island. The Foraker Act of 1900 was the beginning of a government in Puerto Rico that would be at the will of US power for over a century. Puerto Rico continued under US rule but with few accommodation or recognition of its people, despite having to be subjected to drafts and the political will of the US government. Independence movements began to rise, but the fear of communism during the time of the Cuban crisis created extreme repression by the US government. Gag laws were initiated in order to prevent political dissonance, where political opposition members were taken into prison and murdered. Puerto Ricans eventually became US citizens not having any real representation in the federal government. The people can only elect governors who must lobby their interests to a government that has continued to fail them. The countries economic conditions have created migration patterns that have left more Puerto Ricans in the US than on the island itself. The recent events of hurricane Maria have showed the minimum investment the US has in the Puerto Rican people. People were devastated as they lost their homes, agricultural production slowed down, and some still do not have electricity to this day. Although Puerto Ricans have voted in favor of statehood, but barely 20% of the population actually voted, the US has continued to ignore the desires of the people.

Statehood sounds like the best option, Puerto Rico must break the cycle of imperialism that have continued to promote assimilation and economic disparities.

An independent Puerto Rico will finally be able to determine their path of political and economic autonomy. Statehood would only continue to assimilate the people where they will continue to face discrimination. Independence will allow Puerto Rico to decide their economic and political policies and will not have to be at the will of the US. Governments must be cleared of these Puerto Rican Spanish elites that have continued to perpetuate disparities against the descendants of the Taino and African people. There will be an importance on reasonable sustainable practices and new trade options opened up to newer markets that do not exploit the nation. Agriculture will represent a range a produce but a continued excess of regional vegetation that can be donated to suffering communities after Maria and exported. Sustainability will be present in energy production as well. Puerto Rico gets large amounts of sunlight and needs to switch to a more sustainable energy source such as solar panels. Energy will be distributed to other peoples on the island that continue to lose power after the hurricane and little efforts by the US. Education must be focused on decolonization. The legacies of US rule lie not only via the institutions that were built by the US but were enforced by the perceptions of the Puerto Rican people needing to be dependent on the US. Attitudes like this only lead to inferiority complexes that continue to legitimize the rule of the US.

Developing practices that demand an autonomous way of life will be the only way to set Puerto Rico free from their colonial history with United States. The people must break the socialized illusions that have been indoctrinated into their thoughts through education that puts importance to the people.

 

Designer Statement

I approached my project with a more realist view of how I understood a utopia. Rather than creating a fictional world of what Puerto Rico could have been, had it been independent, I wanted to create a model to aspire towards independence. My utopia was supposed to provide another way of structuring life in Puerto Rico that would challenge the rooted inequalities that the society faces. The goal was to create the environment where political, economic and social autonomy would develop during a time of hurt for the people. The recent hurricane brought these issues to light, where a people who are supposedly living under democracy have had limited resources and no self determination.. The largest problems I wanted to solve were that of education, agriculture, architecture as they relate to the socio economic and political spheres. I saw the issues of public education lacking funding and being structured to make people infatuated with the US and not question its actions to other nations, similar to the education system in the US. The agriculture of Puerto Rico has been devastated after the hurricane making them dependent for food and aid, which hinders the ability to self support and sustain. Architecture plays a similar role as after the hurricane hit, people were left with no homes and forced to relocated or even migrate to the US. The economic conditions that the US has continued to not fix on the island has caused extreme migration patterns to the US, so much that there are more Puerto Rican people in the US than in Puerto Rico itself. Those who stay in Puerto Rico face harsh economic and political challenges that go unaddressed. The island has accumulated over 70 billion dollars in debt which only continues to perpetuate the structural dependency of Puerto Rico to the US. I wanted to challenge these narratives on what people think Puerto Rico should and shouldn’t do, showing alternatives to statehood, which would only continue these dynamics of inequality, and make people think about independence differently. By people I mean those who have been most affected by the conditions of territoriality rule. I focused on some of the most disenfranchised areas and peoples that have been forgotten by the US government and efforts by local governments have not been enough. My utopia was trying to give a support network for people who have been lacking in power, food and shelter since the hurricane. I wanted it to be an initiative made by the people who support independence. These people would help the restructuring of society but contribute resources to those in need. I decided to collage images to give a more abstract understanding of what the community would look like and produce. The important aspects of the community are those who live and work to provide na autonomous region in Puerto Rico that would eventually present itself as a model for the rest of the nation.

 

Kentucky Center for Rehabilitation

Master Plan

 

 

Detail

Portrait of the people

 

 

Manifesto

 

Broadside

 

 

Artist Statement

The state of Kentucky is predicted to run out of space in its prisons by the year 2019. The Kentucky State Reformatory stands as the second largest prison in the state, and it exists amidst Oldham County, the wealthiest county in the state of Kentucky and the 20th wealthiest county in the nation; the Kentucky State Reformatory is not comprised of people who share socioeconomic commonalities with the citizens of Oldham County. The issues with the Kentucky State Reformatory are representative of the issues with the U.S. prison system as a whole.

The prison system is centered on the act of dehumanizing rather than rehabilitating. Prison duplicate the motives of slavery in their exploitation of labor and their efforts to capture people deemed “undesirable.” Prisoners are objectified through a property-owner dynamic; they are paid little or nothing and are vastly isolated from their labor. The overcrowding, dirtiness, and absence of nutrition and fresh air in prisons leads to health issues among prisoners, and a lack of prison healthcare worsens such issues. Officials are frequently unable to protect prisoners from physical violence, and mental health issues are left ignored. In turn, prisoners are often unable to lead healthy lives following release from prison. Incarceration places extreme strain on the family structures and communities of the incarcerated, and this issue is made worse by restrictions placed on prisoner visiting time. Upon release, many prisoners struggle to find income and housing.

My vision of utopia obliterates the existing structures of the Kentucky State Reformatory, preserves the population, and transforms the land into a center for rehabilitation. Members of the utopia are treated as humans who are valuable to both the utopia and the outside community. Labor exists only as a necessary force in the upkeep of the utopia, and a majority of daily energy is invested in learning, restorative justice, and rehabilitation. The utopia is staffed by doctors, teachers, and therapists, rather than punishing figures. Physical and mental well-being is prioritized, and healthcare and living conditions have been altered accordingly. Community members are viewed as people who will soon re-enter society. Family call and visiting time is regular, unrestricted, and accommodating of a family’s needs; on-site housing is available for those visiting. Several regular bus routes run from the surrounding counties (Trimble, Jefferson, Shelby, and Henry County) to the rehabilitation center, picking up at county libraries and allowing those with limited transportation access to their loved one.

In terms of outreach, because the Kentucky Center for Rehabilitation serves as a model of what all prisons could become, the outreach is not contained to a particular area. The broadsides created for the utopia summarize the philosophy of the rehabilitation center with “rehabilitation not dehumanization” and mention the Kentucky Center for Rehabilitation so that people can find more information. The posters can be printed by anyone and hung anywhere.

The site features housing for community members, housing for friends and family, a transportation hub, an educative center, a therapeutic rehabilitation center, an outdoor leisure center, a healthcare facility, a gym, an arts center, a dining hall, a garden and monument to rehabilitation, and a walking installation and museum about the former grounds and issues with the U.S. prison system. Outsiders, including Oldham County residents provide funding for the utopia by paying to use the utopia’s facilities. Outsiders are allowed to enter the utopia only through the walking installation, titled “Barred”, to ensure they are aware of prison issues and the prison that formerly stood in place of the rehabilitation center. The installation is a path surrounded by 22,000 poles—one per person incarcerated in the state of Kentucky. The poles increase in density from the inside to the outside and go from light at the entrance to completely dark at the end of the pathway. As visitors look left and right, they can see poles continuing to multiply in the distance, until they reach a point so dense that they form a sort of wall. Though the viewer does not get an aerial view of the installation, the lengthy walk and repetition of poles leads the brain to imagine that the poles expand infinitely, drawing light to the extent of mass incarceration in Kentucky and the U.S. as a whole. A museum about the Kentucky State Reformatory and the U.S. prison system is at the end of the installation path.

Overall, I hope that my utopia serves as a model for how the U.S. prison system could be transformed into a system that values people and restores.