Desconstructing the Archive as a Condition of Possibility for the Future

November 11th, 12pm - 4pm


Please RSVP to reserve a spot in the workshop!

“Deconstructing The Archive as a Condition of Possibility for the Future” is a 1-day workshop that aims to deconstruct what is an archive to explore the multiple ways the public and research can relate to an archive(s). We acknowledge the concept and environment of archival work is not always accessible and translatable to the community or an emerging arts professional but the archive is too valuable to be ignored.

The workshop is an effort to reclaim the purpose and relationship of the archive to the community. The archives power for knowledge sharing and as a tool to leverage equitable partnerships in the arts is needed now more than ever. Three experienced researchers and arts professionals share best practices and participatory exercises to empower the archive as a condition of possibility. 

The workshop is as an introduction to the archival process for individual artists and art organizations, and a platform to explore the intersections of engaging an archival “subject” via layers of the personal, the object of study, and the community. By deconstructing what is an archive and its purpose, we hope to develop an understanding that encompasses the multiple types of archives (animate and inanimate) holding and weaving experiences in the past, present, and future. Due to the opportunity to collaborate with the Emerging Arts Professionals SF/Bay Area network (EAP), the workshop will specifically address strategies and best practices that the archive can activate to resist and advocate for inclusion and equity in a changing arts and cultural environment.

The workshop will be co-facilitated by three artist professionals who share backgrounds in research, the arts, and collaborative pedagogies involving fringe and popular movements. Each co-facilitator will lead a 60-minute participatory intervention aimed to build clarity on the role, purpose, and agency of an archive. The interventions will be followed by a 90-minute collective participatory and dialectical exercise.

The following is a brief description of each intervention presentation and the culminating activity of the workshop:

Intervention #1: Deconstructing the “Archive” and Beyond

Enrique Arriaga Celis (Mexico City) will provide an introduction to the practice of working with the archive. He will guide participants through exercises on how to approach, interpret and construct archives by means of the subjective creative experience. More specifically, he will demonstrate how one’s own experience with creativity, based on their background and particular knowledge, is necessary and a valuable tool in the archival process. Enrique will draw from his work, Fanzinología Mexicana(2015), a 30 year compilation of alternative graphic art, comix and experimental illustration from an archive of fanzines and self published material gathered from the ‘Fanzinoteca’ project he founded at Museo del Chopo in Mexico City. The material contained in the publication is from a collection that portrays punk, queer, and alternative aesthetics. Enrique asserts the importance of not limiting research to an existing archives, but to take an active role to include the broader community and one’s personal archive.

Intervention #2: It is not about the past but the future: The archive as potential history

Andrea Ancira (Mexico City) introduces ‘counter-archives’ as a method to deconstruct archival approaches to create the juxtaposition of recovering long forgotten or un-materialized possibilities to reimagine our present. Counter-archives purposefully expose what is left out of institutional, mainstream archives to reveal the possibilities for a more complex historical record. They have a political aim, which is generally to recognize and include marginal experiences and social identities into broader historical frameworks. Drawing from her recent research on the archive of experimental Mexican filmmaker Teo Hernández, she will present ideas and examples of the archive acting as a platform of creation and circulation of knowledge rather than a fixed space of administration and preservation of documents. Andrea Ancira’s intervention will displace (but not overlook) the central figure of the sentries of the archive in order to focus on the public’s right to archive not as external to the archive, but rather as an essential part of it.

Intervention #3: Archival Work as Ceremony

Angela “Mictlanxochitl” Anderson Guerrero (San Francisco/Bay Area) introduces ceremonial practice and embodied inquiry methods as a way to deconstruct the reciprocal relation with the archival ‘object’. Archival work is the privilege of situating stories - acts of being- that represent people transformed, transforming, and living what they mean. Archives are the wombs, birthers, and keepers of those stories. Privilege and intergenerational trauma will center the context for which an archive as ceremony can be a restorative tool to generate transparency, trust, and responsibility to the subject and all those involved. Angela will share stories and offer different approaches for each participant to develop a ceremonial toolkit for their archival projects. 

Space is limited, please RSVP. Please send any questions or other inquiries to Angela Mictlanxochitl at

  Lam Thuy Vo via BuzzFeed

Lam Thuy Vo via BuzzFeed

Fashion as Armor - Wearable Tools for Resistance Workshop with Jamica El

Sunday August 6th, 12 - 2pm

FREE // Registration Required - RSVP on Eventbrite

In this workshop, Jamica will lead participants in constructing a hat with an embedded camera for storytelling in resistance spaces such as protests, civil standoffs and encounters with authority. We will explore best practices for use, design intelligence and recording ethics. We also will discuss techniques of activating other materials to create your own storytelling wearables.

No prior knowledge is necessary, only a willingness to learn, play, make and collaborate. All are welcome and encouraged to join. Projects created during the workshop will be used as recording equipment loaned to various communities and newsroom for use in news gathering and to encourage citizen journalism in communities.

Jamica El is a co-organizer of Fashion as Armor and is a DJ and technologist. Currently she is at the BuzzFeed Open Lab, prototyping wearable surveillance gear by embedding cameras into clothing and accessories for news gathering.


Anti-Street Harassment Design Workshop with Mirabelle Jones

Fall 2017, Dates TBA

This anti-street harassment design workshop investigates a number of questions related to how street harassment and gender violence impact the body, our behaviors, and our mental health as well as how innovative wearable technology might provide awareness about the pervasive effects of rape culture or even provide solutions to feeling safer in precarious situations. How do our bodies adjust or adapt to environments where street harassment and gender violence are accepted and normalized in society? What are the pervasive effects of street harassment and gender violence on the body and how can we monitor these effects to better understand them using existing commercially available wearable technology? How do we process these experiences to maintain our psychophysiological health and wellbeing? In consideration of biomimicry and how other animals react to threatening stimuli, what might we imagine defense systems to look like and how could this influence innovative fashions which protect the wearer or express our emotions? 

Topics covered:
- Combating street harassment through wearables / fashion and biofeedback
- Effects of street harassment on the body and how we might measure these using existing commercially available wearables or building our own
- Biomimicry of animal behavior including: armor, weaponry, noise, playing dead, invisibility / camouflage, becoming unappealing as “prey” due to “gross” stuff, appearing larger or smaller
- Proxemics and public vs. private space
- Narratives of street harassment: ethos vs. logos, new techniques in gathering data, building awareness, and pushing back against rape culture in our communities

Artist Bio: Mirabelle Jones is a multimedia performance artist, writer, advocate, and visual artist from Oakland, CA whose works combine digital and analog processes with a focus on generating dialogues about safety, the body in public / private space, gender violence, and narratives of social justice. For three years she served as the Community Arts Director of Hollaback! Los Angeles: an international organization combatting street harassment as well as a CA-certified sexual assault and domestic violence crisis counselor for East Los Angeles Women’s Center. She is the founder and Chief Executive Artist at Art Against Assault: a grassroots arts organization which seeks to create public dialogue about sexual assault and domestic violence through survivor-directed creative projects. Portfolio: // Organization:


Emergent Media Lab

The Emergent Media Lab (EML) is a series of ongoing new media art events and exhibitions to serve as a platform for community for critical dialogue, and the showcasing of contemporary new media art in the Bay Area and beyond. EML is dedicated to diversity, research, and radical experimentation of form and content in technology and the arts. We give a priority to showcasing local emerging to established artists who identify as women, LGBTQI2-S, POC, and from other backgrounds that are underrepresented in Media Arts and Technology. The works shown include physical installations, video and screen-based work, performances, experimental artist talks, and more.

EML was founded by Tiare RibeauxMorehshin Allahyari, and Andrew Blanton in 2015. The founders invite one or multiple artists for exhibition focusing on a critical dialogue or thematic content between multiple works. The EML founders also invite guest curators to select the exhibiting artist(s) shown.