Updates and resources as Department of Transformation embarks on an experimental teaching tour
Dear dear friends & companions,
Today, I got up at 9:09 A.M., which used to be 8:09 A.M. Time is moving forward again—at least in some places. Yet although an hour is lost to the changing clocks, we’re lucky to get a glimpse into the next season.
I’m also peeking around the corner. A couple of weeks ago, the Department of Transformation Spring 2023 Teaching Tour began.
Over the next two months, I’m embarking on a multi-city journey to art & design schools, museums, and non-profit institutions across the US. It’s a prototype of things to come.
The intention is to share a framework for how art can be transformative at the individual, collective, and structural scales, as well as some strategies for how art & design can transform themselves to meet the challenges ahead. These are ideas I’ve written and talked about for years across different formats. This time, I’ll also be spreading the message of collaboration: ways to practice essential tools such as active listening, conscious feedback, and negotiating conflict—plus, a little karaoke!
These workshops and talks emerge out of my past decades of research and practice. They are informed by community-building frameworks such as Microsolidarity and transformational thinkers such as adrienne maree brown, amongst many many others. But while I’ll be sharing such ideas, I’m also hitting the road in order to hear how the next generation of creators consider their role in the world.
Our beautiful (and bumpy!) new D🌏T website captures the tour itinerary, companions, and an initial batch of reference materials with links—plus, a little background info + merch. It was created by the fantastic design duo MENSCHMASCHINE. The website has some fun treats, such as the ability to interact with other folks who are on the site at the same time. Try moving the tour stops and see what happens for other website visitors!
This tour soft launched at MACRO—Museum of Contemporary Art of Rome, and then kicked off properly with talks at Portland Institute of Contemporary Art and Portland State University, alongside studio visits with a bunch of incredible Oregon-based artists. Next up was a trip to the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis to start the Insights 2023 Design Lecture Series and teach a workshop with MCAD students. Right now, I’m about to head from Cleveland, OH (where I spent much of last year as artistic director of FRONT 2022) to New York City. After that, the trip will continue to Richmond, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Clarksville, and Austin to spread the good word of art, design, and transformation. If you’ll be near any of these places, drop us a line for details and come say hi!
A perfect time to all catch up in person would be from 31 March to 2 April, as my dear doppelgänger Asad Raza and I are organizing an experimental symposium called “How can we gather now?” with Washington Project for the Arts. This gathering represents the culmination of two years of research and collaboration; it convenes artists, thinkers, and organizers from all over the world as well as artworks and films. Participants include adrienne maree brown, Black Techno Matters, Hope Ginsburg, Lenka Clayton & Phillip Andrew Lewis, Mēlani N. Douglass, Mindy Seu, Naoco Wowsugi, Philippe Parreno, Renée Green, Richard D. Bartlett & Natalia Lombardo, Stefanie Hessler, Tiffany Sia, Tony Cokes, and many others. Plus, watch out for some crazy karaoke! There are still tickets available, so get yours before they sell out.
There’s always a lot more to share—books, podcasts, music, and more—but it’s a busy day ahead, so I’ll keep it concise for now. I do hope that we can meet up IRL or at least synchronously, soon. And please do stay tuned for future updates from the road!
In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a little listening, something that will be cranked up on the stereo as I make my way across the USA. Originally commissioned for FRONT 2022, artist Martin Beck’s long-form MP3 playlist, for days, hours, or weeks at a time. has kept me very good company during this past trip around the sun. Give it a spin and let me know what you think!
Here’s to the days ahead. Sending love, light, and godspeed your way—