A Common Thread
A Common Thread will transform Recess into a collaborative weaving studio that explores craft—specifically the physical transformation of material through the body—as a framework for envisioning and enacting transformative justice. At the beginning of the Session, the space will open with a few woven objects on display that were formative in their thinking about these issues, organized around a 25-foot long warp-printing/painting table and loom. Over the course of the Session, they will activate the loom as a place to explore ideas of transformative justice that have played a role in their own personal journey as an artist and a person dealing with familial and structural violence. The meditative act of weaving is offered as a non-verbal and embodied cultural ritual for experiences that are excluded from other public modes of healing, often because of persistent taboo, social shame or stigma. Through co-weaving sessions with community members and thematic public conversations with transformative justice practitioners, the project brings together artists, activists, and community members—particularly those who have been personally affected by the criminal legal system—to fundamentally rethink how society thinks of crime and punishment while exploring art-making as a system of care and healing.
The artist invites community members who have an experience that they would like to process through the lens of transformative justice to bring material (fabric, paper, imagery or text) to contribute to a collaborative weaving during open studio hours or by scheduling a co-weaving session with the artist. Those unable to come in person can contribute material remotely via email to email@example.com with “A Common Thread Contribution” in the subject line. Contributed imagery will be incorporated by the artist themself and through making these materials available to others who come to participate in the weaving process. In this way, the labor of transformation will be shared across a community of participants. For those who contribute remotely, they are putting their materials in the care of others to be transformed; for those who contribute in-person, their own experiences will be in direct conversation with others who have worked on the same textile or have contributed materials to its creation. As the textile grows over the duration of the Session, it will become a visual representation for what a community-driven transformative justice process could look like.
Conversations with Transformative Justice Practitioners
These one-on-one conversations will invite practitioners of Transformative/Restorative Justice to join Rowan Renee in a public conversation that incorporates art-making and somatic movement around the weaving table and loom. Each conversation will address a specific issue or community that has experienced harm, particularly at the intersections of sexual abuse, gender-based violence, systemic racism and discriminatory policing. The conversation will explore different cultural and political strategies being developed and practiced in every-day life to deal with those harms outside the current criminal justice system. These conversations are conceived as part of community-building and collective-envisioning processes that offer a structured way to consider the intersections of art and healing, and the possibilities of art to transform trauma that is carried in the body. They will help inform the artist’s methodology of a full day workshop combining weaving and transformational justice principles that will be the eventual culmination of the Session project.
On view: November 11, 2023–January 25, 2024
Marcela Torres and Assembly
September 14–November 10, 2023
KING COBRA and Hue Hallums