A Blade of Grass Announces Curriculum for the Future, A Series of Programmatic Initiatives Launching in March


We are pleased to announce a series of programmatic initiatives, under the umbrella title Curriculum for the Future. Kicking off in March 2021, Curriculum for the Future features three panel discussions, four multi-part, artist-led workshops, and three artist-developed participatory projects. The initiatives are being created in collaboration with four artists and artist collectives, including Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine, Stephanie Dinkins, LaJuné McMillian, and Cassie Thornton. The programs and projects within the Curriculum are envisioned as additive and responsive, building on each other to explore important questions about social structures, systems of care, the dynamics of power, and the ongoing impact of this pandemic moment on all aspects of contemporary life. The overarching program centers artists as essential to developing solutions to the challenges being faced by our communities.

The Panels

Join us for three panel discussions to explore big picture questions about how forecasters imagine and predict the future; care-based alternatives to capitalism; and responding to this particularly divisive moment in our social and political lives. The panels create context for  themes further explored within the artist-led workshops. All of the events will be held virtually and will include Q&A portions for participants. The panels are free to the public. 

March 4, 2021, 6:00 PM (EST)
Making Change Now: Contextualizing Cancel Culture, Hyper-Partisanship, and the Politics of Progress
Featuring Activists and Historians Scot Nakagawa and Loretta J. Ross in conversation
Register via Eventbrite

Featuring Scot Nakagawa, a community organizer, activist, cultural worker, and political writer, and Loretta J. Ross, an award-winning, nationally-recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women’s rights, and human rights, this panel discussion will explore the power of the media landscape, from partisan news reports to social media activity to the proliferation of algorithm-driven online environments. The conversation will focus in particular on the ways this media landscape accelerates divisions, stifling meaningful dialogue and mutual understanding, as well as the opportunities and threats it poses to progressive social change. Among the key questions posed are: In what ways is the media landscape changing how we learn about our world and form beliefs? Is this landscape creating cultural shifts or simply amplifying existing narratives and power structures? How are people across the political divides changing because we create and consume media differently? 

 

March 17, 2021, 6:00 PM (EST)
Practicing the Future with Ari Melenciano, Samuel F. Reynolds, and Colin Rusch, moderated by Roderick Schrock
Register via Eventbrite

What is the future and how do you predict it? This simple question has taken on new and profound meaning in our contemporary moment, bringing both anxiety and hope. Join four practitioners of the future—artist and founder of Afrotectopia Ari Melenciano, predictive astrologer and former skeptic Samuel F. Reynolds, and Oppenheimer and Company Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst, Sustainable Growth & Resource Optimization, Colin Rusch—for a conversation, moderated by Roderick Schrock, Executive Director of Eyebeam, about how they view time, conduct research into the past, consider the unknown, and imagine and predict the future. Bringing distinct and dynamic perspectives to the conversation, the panelists provide insights into how we might shape our own futures.

March 23, 2021, 6:00 PM (EST)
Radical Care with Miki Kashtan and Cassie Thornton, moderated by Kaira Jewel Lingo
Register via Eventbrite

In our capitalist society, people try to meet their needs by earning enough money to take care of themselves. This system puts us out of relationship with one another and creates real scarcity, allowing people who have power and resources to more actively meet their needs. What if we imagined a different future—one that would allow us to live in a state of abundance and connection? What if we chose to believe that everybody’s needs are powerful and valid and are intended to be met through relationships with others, rather than through money or other forms of exchange? This kind of shift could create a world that is healthier, more connected, and equitable. Join Miki Kashtan, the founder of Bay Area Nonviolent Communication and Cassie Thornton, an artist creating an alternative care network in a conversation moderated by Kaira Jewel Lingo, a Dharma teacher whose work includes both imagining alternatives to capitalism and healing racial trauma.

 

Artist-Led Workshops and Projects

From March through June, we will work with artists LaJuné McMillian, Cassie Thornton, Stephanie Dinkins, and Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine (comprised of Mildred Beltré and Oasa DuVerney) to develop digital, multi-part workshops as extensions of their artistic practices and as a means of engaging audiences in collaborative artmaking, radical pedagogies, and new skills and practices. These workshops are expressions of an artist or collective’s larger project, body of work, or community-based practice, and will each offer a direct, participatory experience that deepens understanding of their work and visions. Several of the workshops will also culminate in a public performance or installation. 

March 24 – April 28, 2021,  5:00 – 8:00 PM (EST)
Understanding, Transforming, and Preserving Movement in Digital Spaces
To register, please email info@abladeofgrass.org

This first workshop will be led by LaJuné McMillian, a new media artist, maker, and creative technologist based in New York. Held on Zoom, the six-part workshop will kick-off on March 24, 2021, from 5:00 – 8:00 PM EST, with additional sessions taking place across the following five consecutive Wednesdays at the same time. It is free of charge to the public and doesn’t require any prior knowledge or technological skills. Participants do not need to commit to all six sessions in order to engage in the workshop.

Through the workshop, participants will learn about extended reality(XR) tools and their relationship to race, gender, and culture. It will explore issues of cultural representation, erasure, and exploitation through readings and discussions as well as provide an introduction to motion capture, avatars, rigging, and 3D environments. Core elements of the class will integrate performance, virtual reality, and physical computing to question access, control, and representation inherent in these technologies. Together, McMillian and workshop participants will also use various free software to co-create a live performance that we will produce this summer. Additionally, the group will build and continue the development of an online archive of ethically digitized Black movement for the Black Movement Library.

 

Workshops led by Cassie Thornton, Stephanie Dinkins, and Brooklyn Hi-Art Machine are slated to begin throughout April and further details will be announced in March.

 

 

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