Relational Reconstructions: Creative reconnection and immersive counter-archival practices
Jeffrey Yoo Warren, Dri Chiu Tattersfield
January 20, 2024 to March 23, 2024
Applications closed on
November 22, 2023
Experiences with archives, their gaps and harms, can be both painful and fruitful for people of color, as despite themselves, these materials offer glimpses into possible pasts and futures. In this class we will use creative means like Saidiya Hartman’s critical fabulation, interactive historical fiction, 3D and photographic worldbuilding, and multisensory immersion to develop relationships with possible ancestors, using archival records as building materials. We will explore techniques for weaving ancestral spaces into our lives, while learning about the work of artists, writers, poets, and game designers who have written themselves into their own pasts in many different ways.
Images courtesy of teachers.
Course of Study
- Week 1: Grounding with ourselves, our pasts, and each other
- Week 2: Digging into & outside of archives
- Week 3: Crafting ourselves into ancestral moments
- Week 4: Reconnecting with ancestral crafts, practices, and knowledge
- Week 5: Evoking non-visual senses
- Week 6: Hiding virtual artifacts & portals
- Week 7: Making paper worlds
- Week 8: Prototyping projects
- Week 9: Workshopping projects
- Week 10: Sharing projects
- This is a class made for BIPOC participants. Asian, Black, and Brown applicants will be especially prioritized in the application review process.
Time & Workload
- You can expect to do assignments between classes, including small projects, drawing/journaling, reading, watching, or listening. Expect about 3-4 hours each week.
- Over the last 3-4 classes, this will increase somewhat as we prepare our final projects - this could take the form of virtual enclave-building or possibly paper enclave building using techniques we’ll learn in class.
- You can expect to learn a variety of creative techniques ranging from digital to papercraft as forms of reconnecting with ancestors, to build skills and self-support systems for engaging with archives and ancestry, and to be in a mutually supportive group who are taking steps on similar journeys.
- A laptop and smartphone. Some family or archival photos you are in relationship with or wish to deepen your personal relationship with.
Is this class for me?
This class may be for you if:
- You are on a journey of reconnection with your heritage or ancestry
- You are interested in how your creative process (be it writing, crafting, singing, cooking etc) helps you on such a journey
- You are navigating a complex relationship with archival materials (and potentially their colonial legacies)
- You wish you could step into a picture of your grandparent and look around
This class may NOT be for you if:
- You want to build advanced 3d modeling skills
- Your interest in archival materials does not feel deeply personal
- You think you would probably be perfectly comfortable if you were transported into the past
- “I really loved learning about how this new tool could be used to create a multi-sensory, multi-dimensional, spatial memory of a place/feeling of a place. I loved how it was taught in an entertaining way (our instructor as a bird), and just really helped me put myself out of the box to think differently.”
- “It felt both cozy and vastly magical.”
- “Loved the chances for small connections and shared insights across memory enclaves -- that's what makes memories so wonderful, the capacity for people in your present to build upon them! Also the specific suggestions that were preemptively typed up prior to the workshop -- felt like they were not just wonderful suggestions but that they also came with readily available pathways of execution on that day.”
Meet the Teachers
Jeffrey Yoo Warren
Jeffrey Yoo Warren (he/him) is a Korean American artist-educator, community scientist, illustrator, and researcher in Providence, RI, who collaboratively creates community science projects which decenter dominant culture in environmental knowledge production. His recent work combines ancestral craft practices and creative work with diasporic memory through virtual collaborative worldbuilding. Jeff is an educator with Movement Education Outdoors and AS220, and part of the New Old art collective with Aisha Jandosova, hosting art-making and storytelling events with older adults; he is also the 2023 Innovator in Residence at the Library of Congress.
His current artistic practice investigates how people build identity and strength through their interactions with artifacts and histories, and the ways that objects can tell stories that people can be part of in the present.
Dri Chiu Tattersfield
Dri Chiu Tattersfield experiments with zines, games, and speculative fiction towards futures that hold everyone they love. They are interested in connecting with alternative histories of science and ancestral ways of knowing, both as a high school physics educator and in their (inter)personal art practice. He dreams about memory, zines as altars, and altars as portals. Dri’s friends joke that he thinks everything is a zine, which he does. They are a member of NEW INC Year 10 in the Creative Science Track and a fellow of the 2023 Lambda Literary Writers Retreat in the Speculative Fiction cohort. Dri lives in Taipei, Taiwan.
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