Free with RSVP

Come learn about the proposed ASSEMBLIES for the second term of the ASSEMBLIES program. Each presenters will have 5 minutes to propose an idea for an ASSEMBLY they would like to lead.

Interested to propose an ASSEMBLY? Learn more and sign-up to present here.

More information about the ASSEMBLIES proposed

Speaking In Tongues: The creation of a secret kissing language
Led by Jasmin Blasco

This project takes the concept of body language literally, asking if kissing can become a tool for dissent. Speaking In Tongues is a workshop in which participants will jointly create a kissing code they can then use to exchange secret messages. Shared, embodied communication is unmediated, uninterceptable and immediate: the remedy to contemporary algo-surveillance.
Bring someone you are comfortable kissing; if this person is unavailable to you, the language can be developed using handshakes.

The assembly will meet regularly to quickly iterate the vocabulary for a simple kissing code. The language has been prototyped for the creation of this film:
This assembly should have the goal of further developing this language with the participants, expanding it’s vocabulary, form, and proceeding as an interrogation on structure of communication.

Ideal size of the group: No more than 10-12 participants, in order to quickly iterate the language.

Artists take on Time-Blindness/Intention-Deficit Disorder (a conference for artists by artists)
Led by Cedric Tai

I propose facilitating a research group that collects and digests current studies, theories and understandings of A.D.D./A.D.H.D. and other similar invisible disorders / forms of disability. The leading expert, Dr. Russell Barkley, came up with the alternative names I put into the the title, but unfortunately most research, including his, is either available as two-hour long videos specifically for the parents of children with ADHD, or 1” thick books for adults, which are inaccessible to those who the information is about.

I want to propose exploring two questions with the group: What is the relationship to ADHD and being an artist (using our own art practices as a starting point)? And could ADHD symptoms illuminate and even confront Capitalism, where those with the disorder who fail to meet its demands find solidarity?

The purpose of the ASSEMBLY is to be a holistically structured format that allows people to offer mutual support and destigmatize “laziness”. The assembly would be broken up into three sections starting with everyone sharing any goals, coping mechanisms, frustrations, our forms of prosthesis, doubts, and victories with each other. After a stretching break, the middle would be a focused discussion on what research or literature we would want to make more accessible, or possibly planning on getting a guest to come in, or a field trip to take. The last part would be to put that directly into motion whether that means using that time to create infographics, comics, recording an audiobook, or transcribing a long lecture, or other interesting forms of media so that it breaks down complex research first and foremost for the benefit of everyone in the group.

Ideal size of the group: Anywhere between 4 and 20 people meeting bi-weekly or weekly.

Building a Radicalized Dead Drop Network
Led by Renée Reizman

This assembly is a collaboration to create a dead drop network that is smartphone compatible. Dead drops are traditionally USB drives inconspicuously embedded into urban infrastructure where people find sensitive files to download onto their computers. The files could include things like radical literature, political dissent, viruses that block surveillance, un-doctored images. In 2019, we will to adapt the Dead Drop to be more accessible to homeless residents, who widely have smartphones but no personal computers. The Assemblies group will consider the needs for establishing a more accessible Dead Drop, including the technology, content, deployment, and outreach sites for the network.

This project will specifically cater to the growing homeless population in Los Angeles. Ideally, the contents will contain things like contact cards, which people can download to instantly connect with local community resources like street sweeping aid, shelters, public health clinics, and activists. It will have “know your rights” literature, contact for legal council, mental health services, food banks, and domestic abuse shelters, and instructions on how to get confiscated items, like medicine or electronics, back in possession. Finally, it may have original content, writing, or artwork from other homeless residents or NAVEL community members that enhance the materials. It should be accessible to people who are newly displaced.

Ideal size of the group: 10, but no limits.

Deep Adaptation for Artists
Led by R. Kauff and Jen P. Harris

Deep Adaptation for Artists is an assembly for cultural workers interested in forming community to support collective thinking about the probability of near term social and environmental collapse as a result of climate change. How can we form strong connections with other people who are actively engaging with the meaning of loss, collapse, and climate change through creative and scholarly work? We will use Jem Bendell’s Deep Adaptation Agenda as a starting place to think through this question together, drawing inspiration from existing working groups including Donna Haraway’s Extinction Studies Working Group. We envision a community that continues beyond the temporal bounds of this assembly. Our primary goal is to build a foundation that will allow for future collective study, learning, and thinking about this topic. The tangible outcome of this assembly will be documentation of the frameworks, structures, and cultures participants develop together to facilitate communication and strong relationships. We will tackle the problem of how to build and maintain community over time and distance in the face of relentless precarity, aiming for a form that could be reproduced and used by other like-minded working groups here or elsewhere. Our secondary goal is to study and learn together, now. The organizers have developed a preliminary curriculum. Participants will collectively build out the reading list and read/discuss texts throughout the assembly. Together we will build the ship while sailing.

Ideal size of the group: 10-15

Exploring potentials for developing sustainable pathways towards mitigating and adapting to climate change as outlined in the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15)
Led by Llyn Stransky and Grayson Vreeland

Last year, the UN released SR15, a document building on ideas put forth in the infamous Paris Agreement. Most media outlets described the report as depicting an inevitably bleak future, humanity doomed to its ill-fated, fossil-fueled choices; however, a closer examination of the report reveals opportunities for a significantly more optimistic future wherein societal transformation, wealth redistribution and poverty eradication is not only possible but crucial to humanity’s survival. This ASSEMBLY would consist of two key elements 1) a bi-monthly book club open to the public for reading this 700+ page report and 2) bi-monthly public speakers and/or workshops on sustainable development and limiting climate change. All speaking engagements would be livestreamed and made publicly available for later streaming.

The purpose of this ASSEMBLY is to provide community members with accountability and a support system for reading this important document and to provide a public forum for discussing how our individual communities might harness opportunities for radical societal transformation and eradicating poverty in the fight against climate change. The desired outcome is to facilitate community discussion about and, eventually, implement practical pathways towards sustainable development goals. Although the current zeitgeist would have us believe that apocalyptic climate change is inevitable and wealth redistribution is impossible, SR15 refutes these myths and dispels the notion that individual lifestyle choices have no significant impact on climate change. In fact, the report calls for radical societal transformation through participatory decision-making processes prioritizing resource and ecosystem conservation, sustainable energy and reduction of carbon emissions. Ultimately, our goal is to create a space for collaborative learning and exploring possibilities for a sustainable future in a tangible way.

Ideal size of the group:10-40

Reality TV and American Exceptionalism
Led by Adam Cohen

This ASSEMBLY’s research will analyze Reality TV’s historical and psychological relationship with American Exceptionalism. By tracing the shared cultural roots of globally syndicated “Reality” media and US-capitalist hegemony, we will clarify the social constructs that support the egos behind these modern phenomena and proactively suggest alternatives that can mitigate their most negative societal externalities. Research materials may include archived entertainment periodicals, cognitive scientific research on media and society, and a book or two on USA’s neo-imperialist efforts. Ideally a performance or media project to enhance literacy and awareness about Reality TV’s social effects. At least some written criticism should be produced from the ASSEMBLY.

Ideal size of the group: 5-7

Led by Nina Sarnelle

An improvisational physical workshop exploring touch as artistic medium & aesthetic gesture. Whether wanted or unwanted, positive or negative, most touching and feeling in our everyday lives happens for a reason: pleasure, healing, exercise, violence, accident, eroticism, therapy. But what if this logic was loosened — allowing us to contemplate touch for its own sake — like dance, or music? Dance and music are particularly useful analogs, with their long and complex histories, their diverse styles, techniques and intentions, their structures for improvisation…

Through a series of “hands-on” improv sessions, we will investigate the potential of this incredibly intimate and affective medium. I am inviting movers and improvisers that I admire from the community to lead one session based on an improv technique used in their practice. I’ve been trained in the SITI company’s Viewpoints methodology, and will adapt applicable Viewpoints like shape, repetition, duration and tempo to structure my sessions. We’ll also read some improv theory, including SITI’s concepts of extraordinary listening & soft focus, Pauline Oliveros’ deep listening, Contact Improv texts and other ideas from the group.” Each session will consist of equal parts improvisation and reflection. Combinations of choreography will be recorded and built upon to form works-in-progress for public presentation at the end of the assembly. I hope this assembly will inspire group members to work together (or separately) on future projects using the body of knowledge and experience we’ve developed.

Ideal size of the group: 4-9

Science in the media
Led by Yewande Pearse and Clare Reynell

Study Shows’ or ‘Trending’, will be a two-hour Journal Club, which takes a deep dive into the original research papers behind trending science stories in the media. A current scientific story in the media will be circulated ahead of the Assembly. During the assembly, participants will discuss the story before the original research is presented to the group, focusing on the way it was conducted, the context of the findings and why the study was sound/concerning. Participants will then discuss whether or not the media reported the research accurately, and propose ways in which it could be better reported. Focusing on Neuroscience, this Assembly takes the form of an intimate work-shop. The primary aim is to bring scientists and non-scientists together to encourage a mutually beneficial exchange of perspectives with regards to popular science. This Assembly is for scientists who want to improve their science communication skills and be more responsible about the way in which they communicate their research, and to give non-scientists the opportunity to look behind the media veil to inform their curiosity, art practice or personal well-being.

Ideal size of the group: 10 - 12

Creating a sustainable artist handbook
Led by Sara Drake & Maru Garcia

We are two artists who are increasingly freaked out by our current planetary ecological crisis and our respective governments’ lack of public urgency towards climate change. We refuse to be nihilistic and/or give up on our species! And endeavour to create a hopeful, practical, and defiantly playful approach to sustainability. For our assembly, we intend to foster a collaborative research group that will develop a bi-lingual, sustainable artist handbook. We will hold monthly meetings to discuss and develop our relationship to creating sustainable artist practices and organize field trips to various e-waste and plastic processing facilities around Los Angeles. The handbook may include sections on how to host your website on servers powered by renewable energy, the ins and outs of e-waste and how to dispose of digital equipment/batteries, render farms, etc. Our bigger aims are to re-aestheticize sustainability to encourage artists to incorporate sustainable practices in their own processes and to deepen our understanding of our present reality.

We want to materially explore e-waste and disposal in LA as a way to tangibly cultivate awareness and to create a well researched handbook/guide that helps artists incorporate sustainability into their own practice.

Ideal size of the group: 10-12 participants but we are open to adjusting depending on interest

Feeling Fuckable. Advocating for historically marginalized and disenfranchised folks to reclaim pleasure in our daily lives through a radical holistic self-care.
Led by Vasilios Papapitsios

Feeling Fuckable aims to reclaim pleasure. Feeling Fuckable is a conversation that focuses on the collective and individual healing from trauma, guilt, and shame around our experiences of sex, intimacy, and pleasure. We will investigate the role of pleasure in both life and liberation work. We will interrogate, through embodied practice, with a phenomenological approach, that is- the studies of the structures of experience and consciousness. In a comfortable environment we create safe(r) space; welcoming vulnerability and expression. We will attempt to set aside biases & preconceived assumptions about our experience, feelings, & responses to pleasure via a holistic research model and praxis. We will start by addressing our limits to ‘feeling fuckable’ by recognizing the trauma we have. Attempting to reclaim pleasure through collective healing. Healing from stigma rooted in violence. By addressing different forms of stigma we wish to illuminate a culture of desire that is shrouded in delusion from the white heteropatriarchy that perpetuates internalized pain and trauma we experience in the assemblage of our bodies. Feeling Fuckable may cover topics along the intersections of masturbation, disability justice, racism, kink, body dysmorphia, HIV & STI’s, intimacy, narcissistic/physical/emotional abuse, love potions,chronic illness & pain, wellness, sexual education, holistic health, guilt & shame, sensual foods and mindfulness through radical self-love & sex-positivity. We aim to build community, craft kinship and cultivate connection through sharing our stories.

Feeling Fuckable is an experiment in calling ourselves in; to hold space for our pleasure, activate ourselves and rebuild an intimate relationship with our own intuitive sensual self. What does sexual wellness feel like? What is sensual self-care? How do we map a holistic understanding of pleasure? What makes you FEEL FUCKABLE? We aim to build connections between different embodiments of physical, mental, emotional, psychic, spiritual, and ancestral challenges to our realizing the joy & pleasure of radical self-love. This is an experiment with the goal to call in our own bodies and rediscover what feels good for our own being. The goal is to create a collective body of knowledge grounded in homegrown & holistic self-care techniques, products, and healing wisdom and practices. As our own resource, we will research, study, practice and bring together around the world making wellness products, writing on the subject, creating digital and material creative content for raising the vibration of personal connection to pleasure. This assembly will center our bodies as our own feedback and test subjects as we create this bank of information through our findings…we may even generate some original ideas, products, or media. This will bring into focus the holistic synthesis of mind, body, emotion, and spirit work we discover in the 3 month period to be able to share in what will ultimately become the “Feeling Fuckable: Practical Magic Toolkit for your Everyday Hoe.” It will be community generated and support local, sustainable, and ethically based small businesses, thinkers, and creatives within our evolving networks of pleasure. This toolkit could be an anthology of stories, qualitative research, visual ethnography, a protocol or framework for others to follow, and products to use.

Ideal size of the group: Ideally I’m looking for 10-12 people but would be satisfied with a range of 5-18 engaged and committed individuals.

Identity Activism — “Appearance as a Form of Belonging / Resistance”
Led by Sophie Hardeman


How does what you wear defines who you are (perceived)
If how you present yourself defines how you are percieved how does that relate to how you feel about yourself. WE DO/DO WE have preconceived notions about appearance and if that’s true --- what does that say about


How free are we in our choice to be unique human beings?
Not only the way we dress but more importantly the way we dress/appear
How do we place another (with)in society and how do we see another.
And how do those notions come about????

Part 1. - in conjunction with Navel.LA Hardeman wants to research/theorize how fashion allows you to be who you want to be , in the contemporary world. Physical identity and psychological identity will be placed on a grid whereby which cultural difference could be wiped out to be replaced by multiple grids that enable us to see fashion as a social relationship whereby we communicate through the meaning of the utopia we are trying to (re)present and then internalize “the we act” as “the way we do”. Whereby fashion becomes the language communicator - more generally the (re) presentation of authenticity - considerably taking notions of factors such as class, gender, race, and sexuality, and the fact they are differentially available to those in different locations in the field of power.

Part 2. - in conjunction with Navel.LA + other institutions/ guests/ collaborators After which Hardeman wants to take time to put this theory to practise whereby the workshop / theory investigation - leading to a physical presentation in such a way to create a fully immersive experience where guests are invited to participate - with the aim of creating an inclusive community in which both performers and guests, present and attending, to participate in an ever-changing social experience. This presentation will act as a platform by giving voice to a variety of artists who all embody the special event program, organized by creatives from various disciplines through lectures, workshops and performances.

Ideal size of the group: 20-30

Led by Joscelyne Castaneda

This Assembly - EVERY MEAL IS A STORY - will be a series of gatherings that use food as focal point to tell our stories. Linking words, feelings, and histories that are personal through the food that we eat. Our food serves as a preservation of history, and it’s apropos that we eat with our mouths and speak the words that our bellies also consume. I hope these dinners can provide a small audience by which one can feel heard.

We will address contemporary belief systems surrounding food. The policing and labeling of food as bad or good. “I shouldn’t eat this…but maybe just this time.” Shifting the various narratives that exist around food and meal time. Each time different participants will take turns to bring a dish that’s meaningful to them. These participants will then be given the space to introduce their dish with a short story, poem, set of images, anything that conveys their food narrative.

Ideal size of the group: 8-12 people

Decolonizing Augmented Reality
Led by Jessy Escobedo, Selwa Sweidan

In this Assembly, we’ll be engaging in design research and hands-on “making” with the dual intent of making Augmented Reality (AR) technology accessible while also co-creating a critical vision of how AR can serve as a decolonial tool (as opposed to a pervasive software/hardware model of distribution where authored techno-aesthetic experiences do not include our demographics, identities and geographies). We imagine this group as a half reading, half design workshop group that fosters interdisciplinary discourse, critically re-imagining and co-designing alternative futures.

Decolonizing Augmented Reality is the purpose of this assembly. We wish to start by developing a reader together that includes a short selection of critical texts to help us think about decolonization of place, critical geography and critical human computer interaction. 4 of the 9 meetings will be to discuss concepts from our reader. These discussions will help us refine our inquiry. 5 out of the 9 meetings focused on “making” through workshop style design sprints where we create analog and digital prototypes that reflect the guiding inquiry which arises from our discussions.

Ideal size of the group: 5-10 people

The Future of Labor
Led by Colombene Gorton

This assembly would explore the labor movement’s resurgence in the past couple years and how we can build on it. We aim to replace “the future of work” (an inevitability we must adapt to, driven by automation and machine learning to reinforce concentrations of wealth and power) with “the future of labor” (emerging from workers collectively to better serve society and the planet.) To do this work, assembly meetings will include discussion of readings, sharing workplace experiences, and workshops with emerging and experienced organizing groups across sectors.

The goal of the assemble is to identify how we can use the learnings to start transforming our workplaces and ultimately our everyday lives. Labor organizing theory and practice has become lost or abstract to many workers after decades of decline, but to reverse these tendencies we will explore how to make labor organizing accessible and relevant. We will identify strategic entry points to organizing/participating for interested individuals and how to build, support or facilitate them. This session may culminate in a collective work to share the learnings with others such as a zine, online group, podcast, guide, live event/workshop or other artifact or process (TBD by the group).

Ideal size of the group: 15

Food, Gift-giving, and Diaspora
Led by Hannah Kim Varamini

Refracting the form of the potluck through the idea of gift exchanges (a la Marcel Mauss) and also analysis on the form of the meal (a la Roland Barthes), this Assembly begins with research and culminates in one or more communal meals. The group will focus on researching the form of the potluck/potlatch historically, food as activism and aesthetic practice more recently (from the Futurists to Fluxus to Relational Aesthetics), and food on the formation of diasporic identity. Under particular consideration is North Korean food as a case study, raising questions around access, authenticity, and ideology.

This Assembly begins with reading/researching the intersections of food, gift-practices, and diasporic identities, along with the development of one or a series of communal meals (potentially open to the public).

Ideal size of the group: 5-10

Psychogeographies of The Los Angeles Archipelago
Led by Mieke

An exploration of the conscious and unconscious spaces, habits, habitats, experiences, situations, architecture, language, and psyche of Los Angeles and neighboring cities. We will explore our personal stories here in Southern California and depending on group interest we will explore how architecture affects us by meeting in different locations around LA discussing narrative theory, time, books, the ocean, communication theory, and infrastructure.

The likely outcome of this ASSEMBLY will be to publish our results to a community communication archipelago

Ideal size of the group: 10-60