Last Chance to Sign Up for the Spring 2020 ASSEMBLIES

Sign-up here

Spring 2020 ASSEMBLIES continues while our physical location is closed in light of COVID-19. The groups are meeting online until further notice. While most have already held their first meetings, they are still open to accepting new members, so we have extended the deadline to sign up until this Sunday, March 29 2020 by 5PM (PST).

On February 10, nineteen groups pitched their idea for the Spring 2020 ASSEMBLIES.

ASSEMBLIES is a platform for collaborative research, discussion and creation that invests in forms of learning that are open, cooperative and challenging. Community-led, these learning group form around a theme, practice, project or experiment. For a period of three months, NAVEL provides each ASSEMBLY with space, group facilitation training, support and resources—including access to our equipment, peer network, and micro-grant funding. Learn more about it here.

This Spring, NAVEL is supporting six ASSEMBLIES, which were selected via a vote by the NAVEL Collective Residents, staff, board members, previous ASSEMBLIES leaders, as well as those who proposed an ASSEMBLY for this term. The six selected ASSEMBLIES for Spring 2002 are listed below along with their schedule for the trimester. (please note: these dates are subject to change).

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 all ASSEMBLY meetings (if not, most of them) and being active in their participation and preparation.

Learn more about the sign-up process below.

Questions? Reach out to the ASSEMBLIES coordinator at for any inquiries regarding the ASSEMBLIES program and to the facilitators directly if your questions concerns their group specifically (find their contact info below)

Instructions for Signing Up to Participate

  • Peruse the information about the six ASSEMBLIES below. Pay close attention to the meeting dates and make sure you can attend all (or the majority) of the meetings. (ASSEMBLIES meet on average 6 times during the 3 months period)
  • 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 deadline to sign up.
  • Add a “ticket” to your chosen ASSEMBLY and pay the $25-75 suggested donation for participation.These fees will be distributed equally amongst the ASSEMBLIES, which can collectively decide to use the funds for materials, research, field trips, guests honorariums, etc. 10% of the funds are used for administrative costs and for group facilitation training for group leaders. Note that NAVEL members receive 50% off their participation fee for ASSEMBLIES at our FAM and BFF levels and free participation at our BFFFL level (more about membership here)
    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 with a few sentences about your need to wave the fee.
  • Attend your first ASSEMBLY meeting. Your group leader will be in touch over email with more information prior to your first meeting.


Dead Drop Main Image

Building a Radicalized Dead Drop Network
Organized by Renée Reizman

Meeting Dates: Sun 03/22, 04/05, 04/19, 05/03, 05/17, 05/31 (10AM-12PM)
Location: Online via Zoom (normally meets at Murmurs, 1411 Newton St, Los Angeles, CA 90021)

Sign Up Here
Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

This group is building a low-tech, smartphone compatible resource for Los Angeles’ homeless residents. A collaboration with local nonprofits across the Eastside, Westside, and Sepulveda Basin, this tool aggregates the numerous, but disconnected, services that take place across the city. People will easily find free meals, showers, clothing, physical and mental health services, legal aid, job placement assistance, veteran services, child and pet care, and more. It will also have an original newsletter, music, or artwork from other homeless residents and NAVEL community members. ASSEMBLIES participants might do community engagement, research for our database, or develop the tool’s technology infrastructure.

Renée Reizman is an interdisciplinary curator, artist and writer at the crossroads of curation, social practice and creative placemaking. By embedding herself in small communities or structured organizations for extended periods of time, Renée identifies object-oriented networks shaped by cultural aesthetics, urbanization, law, and technology. She is currently the 2019 - 2021 Creative Catalyst, an Artist in Residence situated within the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.
IG @reneereizman
Twitter @reneereizman

Get in touch: rlreizman[at]

Feature Extraction Main Image

Feature Extraction: The Aesthetics and Politics of Algorithms
Organized by Blaine O’Neill and Ulysses Pascal

Meeting Dates: Tue 03/17, 03/31, 04/14, 04/28, 05/12, 05/26 (7-10PM PST)
Location: Online via Zoom (normally meets at NAVEL)

Sign Up Here
Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Feature Extraction is a 3 month long series of talks, demos, workshops, and discussion groups that will bring together artists and researchers engaged with machine-learning. Under the banner of “artificial intelligence,” machine learning has become central to interlocking domains of political-economic control, including: predictive policing, financialization, ad-tech, social media, and logistics. Unlike the proprietary algorithms used in these applications, artistic uses of machine learning allow people to experience and engage with algorithms directly. In this series, we pair artistic uses of machine learning with scholarly research to explore the social repercussions of algorithmic governance under algorithmic capitalism.
No technical expertise required.

Ulysses Pascal is a PhD Candidate at the UCLA Department of Information Studies.

Blaine O’Neill is an artist, designer, web developer and disc jockey. Their research and work are defined by improvisation, intersubjectivity and failure.

Get in touch: input[at]

Image by Feature Extraction

Queering Death Main Image

Queering Death
Organized by Ari Simon(-ofsky)

Meeting Dates: Wed 3/18, Wed 4/1, Wed 4/15, Wed 4/29, Mon 5/18, Wed 6/17 (6-8:30PM PST)
Location: Online via Zoom (normally meets at NAVEL)

Sign Up Here
Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

The act of dying is the most certain, shared experience had by all living beings. But publicly contemplating death and end-of-life planning remains a generally-held taboo. Even as we make large cultural shifts towards inclusivity, intersectionality, and deeper interrogation, end-of-life practices and death rituals are still predominantly dictated by powerful institutions such as major religious organizations, privatized healthcare providers, and government agencies. As a deeply personal, communal, mystical, and mysterious experience, death deserves to be queered – to be engaged with, deconstructed, and understood without defaulting to norms.

In this assembly, we will look beyond the norms and stigmas around death to:

  • explore making death ritual more meaningful, equitable, and ecologically sustainable
  • dive into the intersections of end-of-life and privilege
  • uplift the unique relationship with queer peoples and death experiences
  • hold space for grief
  • and come into closer relationship to end-of-life practices (and therefore life itself).

Through convenings and research sharing in our collaborative cohort, we will work together towards envisioning an accessible, replicable workshop and workbook about queering death.

Ari Simon(-ofsky) runs Inner & Outer Engagement, a practice of community engagement, facilitation, and coaching. Ari uses questions, activities, feedback, and analysis to explore what’s going on within ourselves, our organization, our community, or our city. We then create goals, actions, targets, and accountability strategies to better engage others, know ourselves, and gain personal, organizational, civic, and policy successes. Ari currently leads stakeholder engagement for the City of West Hollywood’s Climate Action and Adaptation Plan (CAAP), provides facilitation and strategic engagement to a range of organizations, coaches one-on-one clients, and leads a bimonthly men’s consciousness-raising group. Through writing, drawing, map-making, workshops, and more, Ari loves to explore topics such as civic engagement, the public realm, loneliness, personal geographies, queerness, and death. Ari resides in Los Angeles and Idyllwild, CA.
IG @ari_fyi

Get in touch:ari[at]

Image by Ari Simon(-ofsky)

Workshopping Work Main Image

Workshopping Work Beyond Capitalism
Organized by Colombene Gorton and Emaline Friedman

Meeting Dates: Wed 03/18 (7-9PM PST), Sun 04/05 (4-7PM PST), Wed 04/15 (7-9PM PST), Sun 05/3 (4-7PM PST), Wed 05/20 (7-9PM PST), Sun 06/07 (4-7PM PST), Wed 06/17 (7-9PM PST)
Location: Online via Zoom (normally meets at Murmurs, 1411 Newton St, Los Angeles, CA 90021)

Sign Up Here
Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Workers are becoming more critical of capitalism, recognizing how it foments social inequality and environmental degradation. Frustration, anger, and despair toward work have historically led to mass actions demanding more rights and better conditions for workers. But what happens to this awareness, and worker discontents, in the world’s wealthiest nations, where efforts at collectivizing were first met with anti-union actions and then with a systematic cultural separation of laborer’s bodies and minds? Our hunch is that the ongoing traditions of organizing, cooperative development, and democratic governance have lots to teach us. But what do they entail in the present? How do we enact them? That’s what we want to explore via the design and implementation of a new kind of “work skills” workshop.

This Assembly grew out of “The Future of Labor” from Q2 where we explored our work experiences from the trivial, to the absurd, to the profound. This Spring, we seek to grow this conversation and craft these impulses into something resonant, inclusive and useful to peers and colleagues. This assembly is for anyone interested in growing democracy, labor awareness and solidarity in their workplace, industry, network or community. We will get to know each other as workers, discuss what change we need in our work environments, brainstorm leverage points, and create the space and communication tools to share this work with others – all in a context of creating a collaborative work practice that embodies our values.

Emaline is an independent researcher and co-director of the Commons Engine, a distributed technology incubator. She recently finished her PhD in the University of West Georgia’s Psychology department, with a dissertation entitled “Internet Addiction and Network Production: Subjectivity in the age of Digital Capitalism”. She also loves singing in choirs, writing poetry, and playing miniature golf.

Colombene is a freelance digital experience designer & strategist. She worked over 20 years in tech, entertainment, media and marketing and now explores how design can serve a sustainable, cooperative economy. She has a podcast on the pursuit of ethical, meaningful work called The New Constructivist, organizes with Tech Workers Coalition and is a board member of Data Commons Cooperative. She’s a 3rd generation Angeleno and has a BFA in graphic design from CalArts.

Get in touch: colombene[at]

Image by Colombene Gorton

exploring sleep main image

Exploring Sleep and Dreams as a Collective Resource
Organized by Sara Suárez

Meeting Dates: Sun 03/22, 04/05, 04/19, 05/03, 05/24, 06/01 (7-10PM)
Location: Online via Zoom (normally meets at NAVEL)

Sign Up Here
Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

Sleep and dreams are vital to human health, imagination, and experience, but they are hard to defend from bright screens, light/noise pollution, work schedules and other stressors. What roles do sleep/dreams play in shaping our society and relationships, and how are new technologies changing our relationship to sleep? Can sleep/dreams themselves be technologies to improve our lifestyles and relationships? We will explore how sleep/dream experience could be a shared “natural resource” at risk of degradation (like water or land); seek ways to protect it, and imagine sustainable ways to use it to benefit human experience.

We will research the physiological functions of sleep/dreams, current trends in sleep-related technologies, and work to imagine ways to use sleep/dream experience for both individual and collective benefit. Practical goals include experimenting with group dream discussion and creative projects, and developing a project that shares our findings with others.

Sara Suárez is a film and sound artist who makes experimental documentary/nonfiction work. Her work has been presented at LA Filmforum, ICDOCS, Chicago Underground Film Festival, and Slamdance. She has developed several courses at CalArts on psychoacoustics and sound art. She is researching the physiological effects of cinema, sound and other media, and how they create collective experiences, and is interested in how these experiences relate to the experience of dreaming.
IG @metempsychosis

Get in touch:[at]

Image by Tomas Robertson

digital matterealities main image

Digital Matterealities
Organized by Alice Yuan Zhang

Meeting Dates: Sun 03/29, 04/12, 04/26, 05/10, 05/24, 06/07 (4-7PM)
Location: Online via Zoom (normally meets at NAVEL)

Sign Up Here
Click here to watch this ASSEMBLY’s full pitch.

We have always taken the material world for granted, depending on it for safety, sustenance, and meaning. Just as climate crisis unravels this relationship, we find ourselves in a digital zeitgeist, increasingly inhabiting ‘material-less’, representational environments. In this ASSEMBLY, we will juxtapose the two phenomena, using accessible digital reality tools to recreate, distort, eliminate, or replace various ‘material’ from our daily lives. Along the way, we’ll discuss their value and reflect on our current and potential future relationship to them, with the intention to clarify what we really need in order to lead sustainable, meaningful lives.

PROGRAM PLAN: (1) Begin with light readings and discussion to sharpen our definition of ‘material’; (2) get hands-on with a range of XR technologies: 3D capture using an iPhone, 3D modeling, augmented reality, virtual reality, sensors, and projection; (3) host an exhibition in which we showcase the various digital-real material we have generated, enriched by a brief analysis on each, (4) take a field trip to an immersive exhibit in Los Angeles.

*** There is absolutely no technology prerequisite to this exploration.
If you are knowledgeable about this field, please reach out and connect with me. I’d love to involve you in our exploration.

Alice Yuan Zhang (she/hers) is an experiential artist born in Northern China and based in Los Angeles. Deriving material from across digital, physical, and spiritual spaces, she develops mentalscapes that reflect on the inner human experience. Zhang holds a B.A. from University of California, Berkeley, and is influenced by a blend of Eastern philosophy, Surrealism, metaphysics, sacred architecture, object-oriented ontology, and contemporary digital phenomena.
IG @aliceyuanzhang

Get in touch: intrinsicolor[at]

Image by Alice Yuan Zhang

What about the other proposed ASSEMBLIES?

We received 19 strong proposals for ASSEMBLIES Q3, and we wish we had room to support all of the them. If you are interested in the proposed topics, you will find the organizers’ contact information below so feel free to reach out to them! Note that all proposed ASSEMBLIES will be invited to propose again for Q4 in 2020. Learn more about them here.

Art History for Artists (and Everyone Else)
Organized by Daniel Spaulding - daniel.m.spaulding[at]

Theorizations of Power
Organized by Brandon A Joyce - brandonjoyce[at]

Reenchanting Healing
Organized by Laura Paul - lauranpaul[at]

unstacking the web ep 1: the meme
Organized by davíd padrón - meta[at]

Collective Selve[s]-Actualization through Collaborative Movement, Play-making and Alternative Archive
Organized by Chelsea Zeffiro - chelsea.zeffiro[at]

Pietra: an active introduction on how to change the world through art
Organized by Jordan Service - JordanService[at]

Organized by Adriana Widdoes & Emma Kemp (Which Witch) - whichwitchla[at]

Creativity Clinic - Tapping into your subconscious mind
Organized by Marina Kurikhina -  info[at]

With as many distractions as possible: how to make the most of our cooperative visions
Organized by Irina Contreras - irinaambrizcontreras[at]

Identity Activism
Organized by Sophie Hardeman - hardemansophie[at]

Los Angeles Archipelago: Exercises in Psychogeographies & Communication Infrastructures in the Urban Jungle
Organized by Mieke McGowies - mcgowies[at]

Art Making, Community Building
Organized by Taegen Meyer - txgen[at]

Help me take this seriously!!
Organized by Claudia Grigg Edo - cgriggedo[at]