Sign Up to Participate in Fall 2019 ASSEMBLIES

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On Tuesday, September 3, sixteen groups pitched their idea for the Fall 2019 ASSEMBLIES. ASSEMBLIES invests in forms of learning that are open, cooperative, challenging and initiated by members of the community, and is a platform for collaborative research, discussion and creation. For a period of three months, NAVEL provides each ASSEMBLY with space, support and resources—including access to our equipment, peer network, and micro-grant funding.

This Fall, NAVEL is supporting eight ASSEMBLIES, which were selected via vote by NAVEL Collective Residents, Staff, and Board Members, as well as previous ASSEMBLIES leaders and those who had proposed an ASSEMBLY for this quarter. The eight selected ASSEMBLIES for Fall 2019 are listed below.

Participating in an ASSEMBLY is an opportunity to dive into a topic of interest and commit to it for a period of three months in a collaborative group, guided by a group leader(s) who will facilitate research, learning, and discussion.

Group leaders are looking for folks who will commit to attending as many ASSEMBLY meetings as possible and being active in their participation and preparation. Meeting dates for each ASSEMBLY are published below (please note: these dates are subject to change). Some ASSEMBLIES have a maximum capacity, others do not. Please see notes below each ASSEMBLY for maximum capacity info.

Fall 2019 ASSEMBLIES will culminate with public presentations by each group on their research and findings in a ASSEMBLIES meeting on Sunday, January 12, 2020. We are so excited to hear about what each group learns over the course of the quarter.

Learn more about the sign-up process below, as well as more information on each ASSEMBLY. The deadline to sign-up is Friday, September 27 at 11:59PM.

Questions? Reach out to

Instructions for Signing Up to Participate

Please read these instructions closely, as some changes have been made since the last term of the ASSEMBLIES program. To sign up for an ASSEMBLY:

1.Peruse the eight offered ASSEMBLIES below. Pay close attention to the meeting dates and make sure you can attend the majority of the meetings.
2.Click the “Sign Up” link next to your chosen ASSEMBLY to be taken to our WithFriends ticketing site. Please note that the date listed on the ticketing site for your ASSEMBLY is the date of the first ASSEMBLY meeting.
3.Add a “ticket” to your chosen ASSEMBLY and pay the $25-75 suggested donation for participation^
4.Attend your first ASSEMBLY meeting. Your group leader will be in touch with more information prior to your first meeting.

Participant Fees: This quarter we are asking ASSEMBLIES participants to make a $25-75 suggested donation in order to participate. These fees will be distributed equally amongst the ASSEMBLIES for materials, research, field trips, etc. 10% of the funds are used for administrative costs and for group facilitation training for group leaders.

No one will be turned away for lack of funds. If you’d like to participate in an ASSEMBLY but funds are tight, reach out to and we’ll work something out.


Building a Radicalized Dead Drop Network
Organized by Renée Reizman
Max. # Participants: No limit
Meeting Dates & Times: 10/06, 10/20, 11/03, 12/01, 12/15: 1:30-3:30PM, 11/17: 10AM-12PM
Sign Up Here

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, or 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. This ASSEMBLY will consider the needs for establishing a more accessible Dead Drop, including technology, content, deployment, and outreach sites in Los Angeles.

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Creating a Sustainable Artist Handbook
Organized by Sara Drake & Maru Garcia
Max. # Participants: No limit
Meeting Dates: 10/07, 10/22, 11/04, 11/18, 12/02, 12/16: 7-10PM
Sign Up Here

For this 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.

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Decolonizing Augmented Reality
Organized by Jessy Escobedo & Selwa Sweiden
Max. # Participants: 8
Meeting Dates: 10/20, 10/27, 11/03, 11/17, 12/01, 01/07: 5-8PM, 12/08: 7:30-10:30PM
Sign Up Here

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.

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Deep Adaptation for Artists
Organized by R. Kauff & Jen P. Harris
Max. # Participants: 17
Meeting Dates: 9/30: 7-9PM, 10/13, 10/27, 11/10, 11/24, 12/08: 6-8PM
Sign Up Here

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.

At the first meeting we will discuss a short selection from Haraway’s 2016 book Staying with the Trouble (Introduction and Chapter 4: Making Kin). You can download PDFs of the text excerpts here.

Get in touch with the leaders of this group at this email address:

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Food, Gift-giving, and Diaspora
Organized by Hannah Kim Varamini
Max. # Participants: 15
Meeting Dates: 10/15, 10/28, 11/11, 11/25, 12/09: 7-9PM
Sign Up Here

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.

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

The Future of Labor
Organized by Colombene Gorton
Max. # Participants: No Limit
Meeting Dates: 10/06, 11/03, 12/01: 11AM-1PM, 10/16, 11/20, 12/19: 7:30-10PM
Sign Up Here

This ASSEMBLY will 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.

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Science in the Media
Organized by Yewande Pearse & Clare Reynell
Max. # Participants: 15
Meeting Dates: 10/3, 10/16, 10/30, 11/13, 11/27, 12/11: 7-9PM
Sign Up Here

Science in the Media 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 each 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.

Get in touch with the leaders of this group at this email address:

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Organized by Nina Sarnelle
Max. # Participants: 15
Meeting Dates: 10/6, 10/20, 10/27, 11/10, 12/1, 12/15, 1/5: 11AM-1PM
Sign Up Here

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, and their structures for improvisation. Through a series of “hands-on” improv sessions, we will investigate the potential of this incredibly intimate and affective medium. 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.

Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.