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Fall 2019 Assembly with A Blade of Grass: Artists Challenging Normativity


A Blade of Grass Assembly is a biannual day-long learning exchange and magazine launch for creative changemakers to investigate the methods, ethics, challenges, and joys of practicing art that advances social justice.

Rooted in the themes of Issue #3 of A Blade of Grass Magazine, the Fall 2019 Assembly will be co-presented by Museum of the Moving Image and explore how socially engaged artists are challenging the way we see others and conduct our lives in ways that exclude the lived experience and creative potential of those who do not fit into the social norms and physical expectations of capitalist society. How can art turn the disabling gaze of normative society toward the liberatory possibilities of those at the so-called “margins?” Can art that centers non-normative experiences expand our collective creativity and wisdom? Can it provide strategies for making our world more just and inclusive?

Assembly is structured to be intimate and dialogical rather than presentational. After introductory remarks, there will be a special keynote presentation by activist, filmmaker, and writer Tourmaline, whose work highlights the capacity of Black, queer, and trans people and communities to make and transform worlds. The afternoon will be entirely devoted to a series of interactive workshops by artists, many of whom have collaborated with the Museum of the Moving Image. Some of these take place at nearby culture organizations serving immigrants, low income tenants, and those with mental health diagnoses. We’ll focus on questions like:

  • How would society be structured differently if those who don’t fit mainstream norms of behavior or embodiment were centered in decision-making and world-designing?
  • What can we learn from the artistry and mutual aid models of those who experience life with physical, emotional, or developmental differences or impairments?
  • How can artists challenge stigmatization of those who experience housing insecurity, lack documentation, or are otherwise blamed for their precarious position in our capitalist and carceral society?

Assembly attendees will be able to choose amongst seven experiences specially curated by artists and collaborating organizations including A Blade of Grass Fellow Sol Aramendi; Blue Bus Project; Maya Ciarrocchi and Kris Grey; members of Citiview Connections Clubhouse; A Blade of Grass Fellow Ras Cutlass; Emerald Isle Immigration Center with Third World Newsreel; Disability/Arts/NYC Co-founder Kevin Gotkin with Dominic Bradley, and Yo-Yo Lin; and Shireen Soliman. Each of these intimate experiences will provide an in-depth look at how artists, cultural organizations, and community members develop tools to create more inclusive spaces of care, creativity, and joy.

For a full schedule and to register, go to A Blade of Glass website.