World Premiere of Short Film About “Beware of the Dandelions” Detroit

Posted on January 19, 2017

In the fall of 2016, Complex Movements presented its multimedia project Beware of the Dandelions in Detroit. Beware of the Dandelions is a mobile art installation that functions as a performance, workshop space, and visual arts exhibition. We are excited to share our new short film that showcases the Detroit performances, installation, and community events that took place throughout the month of October.

The film, made by Detroit filmmakers The Right Brothers, includes interviews with Complex Movements’ collective members and shares the story of how Beware of the Dandelions was developed, providing a behind-the-scenes look at the production of the event, the community workshops, and the evolution of the visual and musical elements.

If you missed the performances in Detroit, you can still experience the music that remains at the core of this project. The vinyl soundtrack for Beware of the Dandelions is available online at Emergence Media, DIRT TECH RECK, or download / stream the album on Bandcamp, iTunes, and all other streaming services.

Watch the video below!

Watch more Complex Movements videos here.

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Posted in Beware of the Dandelions

Beware of the Dandelions Soundtrack Available Now

Posted on January 10, 2017

Complex Movements is proud to release the Beware of the Dandelions soundtrack, produced by Waajeed and written/performed by Invincible/ill Weaver.

The soundtrack was recently featured in the Detroit Metro Times article “The best music from in and around Detroit in 2016”, Complex Magazine’s article “The Complex Staff Lists Their Favorite Songs and Albums of 2016,” and as one of MIMS’ Top 100 Tracks of 2016.

The soundtrack is the cornerstone of the Beware of the Dandelions project, a mobile art installation that functions as a performance, workshop space, and visual arts exhibition. The music immerses the listener in the experimental sounds of the multi-disciplinary project, combining elements of hip-hop, Detroit techno, house, and classical influences. Waajeed is joined by multi-instrumentalist Tim K on production, while Invincible/ill Weaver showcases their lyrical versatility through 12 different characters of the science fiction parable.

You can purchase the vinyl album online at Emergence Media, DIRT TECH RECK, or download / stream the album on Bandcamp, iTunes, and all other streaming services.

“The music itself is irresistible. It might be the first time I wanted to dance during an apocalypse.” - adrienne maree brown in the Detroit Metro Times
 
“The connection within the group is very strong, and with the music finally out, you can sense a feeling of relief and excitement for the future.” - Complex Magazine
 

Watch this video where Waajeed from Complex Movements shares how the music from the project evolved:

View more Complex Movements videos

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Posted in Beware of the Dandelions, new music, soundtrack, vinyl

Support the Detroit Anishinaabe Delegation to Standing Rock

Posted on November 08, 2016

Emergence Media supports the Detroit Delegation to Standing Rock in North Dakota. The Standing Rock tribe’s members and hundreds of other Native people have been protesting the construction of the Dakota Access pipeline since April. The delegation, planned by Aadizookaan and the Detroit Anishinaabe Family, will bring much needed supplies to the Standing Rock camp, provide workshops to boost moral, and build indigenous support.

#WATERISLIFE Poster

You can support the delegation by purchasing this limited edition #WATERISLIFE Poster, designed and printed by Elijah Ford in collaboration with the Aadizookaan and ill Weaver.  All proceeds from poster sales will go towards the Anishinaabe delegation to Standing Rock. Specifically, we will create zip -up hoodies printed with this design for members of the delegation and as gifts to give the water protectors at Standing Rock to keep them warm through the cold winter months.

This delegation will also make connections between the struggle in Standing Rock to the water warrior movements here on Anishinaabe land/Detroit addressing issues such as mass water shutoffs, water privatization, poisoning of water in Flint, and the building of Line 5 in Michigan.

We have a limited number of posters, so get yours today!  

 

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Posted in Aadizookaan, Detroit delegation, standing rock, waterislife

Complex Movements Hosts Community Events During Beware of the Dandelions Residency in Detroit

Posted on October 11, 2016

Complex Movements is presenting its project Beware of the Dandelions (BotD) in Detroit throughout the month of October. Read on to learn more about the special community events taking place this month.

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THEY: Interview with Mo Willis

Posted on October 04, 2016

 

Morgan Mann Willis is part of the team at bklyn boihood, lead editor of the anthology “Outside the XY: Queer, Brown Masculinity,” and is working on their novel “Politics from Nowhere”. Morgan offers organizational strategy and management consultation for community-driven collectives. She is also the program director of the Allied Media Conference.

This interview is presented as part of a series of "They/Them" interviews conducted by ill Weaver. ill Weaver and Wes Taylor have developed and are sharing a line of apparel for Emergence called "THEY". “THEY” is a strategy for signalling one’s self-identification with the gender nonconforming pronouns “they” and “them” in an affirming and aesthetically bold way. As part of the project accompanying this new apparel, ill discussed “they/them” with other inspiring individuals who use “they/them” pronouns.

Read on for ill’s summary of their conversation with Morgan. Read more thoughts from ill Weaver on the THEY campaign here.

ill discusses THEY with Morgan   

Morgan shares their initial reasons for choosing the pronoun They:

“‘They’ feels like a really important pronoun to use.  I think I started using They as a pronoun because I heard myself often refer to women as if i'm not a part of that group and I still do that.

I found myself creating this separation, which was really telling a story of my gender experience. It felt like instead of this They that's meant to separate me the pronoun became this tool of inclusion. So that I feel like I can exist. There’s a tremendous amount of pressure within the most broad thinking queer spaces to fucking make some concrete decisions about whatever you are how you identify, how you present and I'm just not there, and I never was. They allows me to identify with all these other parts of myself.”

Morgan reflects on their given name, Morgan Mann Willis, in the context of their complex identities and relationship to pronouns:

“I identify in terms of my pronouns as she/they. And I've recently been thinking a lot about just using my name. My full name is Morgan Mann Willis which is the most fucking androgynous and also just masculine name ever which I love. But it took me a very long time in my life to get to a place where I felt like it wasn't embarrassing and I think that in some ways connected to the relationship i've had with my own gender identity. Especially because it doesn't necessarily fit on the trans masculine spectrum and it definitely doesn't entirely fit into this binary of male/female, woman/man spectrum. But I do identify as a Black woman. I also identify as genderqueer. And They feels really important and can hold both of those things.”

Morgan is a writer who recently published her first book . They break down the poetics of the word They:

“It's a word that implies layers. And as a writer I fuck with it because I love imperfection and I love the idea that it's doing all this work. It's like plural in that it's holding all these multiple spaces. It's both referring to yourself as someone else but also as yourself I love the way that it could be either yourself personally or talking about another group of people I like the way it stretches as a word.”

We also spoke about the double edged sword of grammar how They is both invalidated by grammar police, and more recently institutionally validated by grammar scholars and journalists.

“I have a lot of thoughts on institutions and spaces giving people green lights when the green light was already lit. We didn't need your [permission] it was real whether or not this conference or committee or whoever made that decision. But it's infuriating to me. It's ridiculous because we all are waiting.

And we're all really compelled to wait for that institutional message: ‘you're real now.’ Same way that we waited for marriage. Gay marriage. All marriage. Being legal for some folks gave them permission to do what other folks had been doing since the advent of love. And wanting to license somebody. It just feels like the whole They thing sort of reaches these points of...grammar is the same kind of institution. The whole world is determining whether what comes out of your mouth is valuable. So to think about that as it relates to our identity is so hurtful.

There are many ways in which I have had to unlearn these colonial notions of the proper use of language. And how to not value it over other forms of more basic or rudimentary expression or whatever the language is. To unlearn the value of institutional backing when it comes to expression.”

Morgan also speaks about their frustration with how binaries are perpetuated within queer and trans spaces:

“It's about people's discomfort. For example, we privilege folks who have transitioned and who give you realness people who are able to make us feel in our deepest selves a little bit more comfortable. Because then we're able to understand. And this thinking is within our most loving and radical communities. I think it just speaks to the ways in which queer culture still has a lot of work to do to undo this binary thinking. They is in resistance to binary thinking.”

Morgan recently shared a story of how her three year old niece outsmarted all the grown folks who can't seem to grasp the layers of their identity:

“Kids are awesome. My niece Raeya she was three when this happened and we were playing castle and she was giving my sister, her mother, her little sister, and me and her dad all these different characters inside of the world and I got crowned “King Auntie” which is the best thing I've ever heard. She just read energy in a way where you would think this is the hardest thing in the world, but you're three you don't even know anything and you just figured it all the way out.

It's the best. You spend all this time trying to get all this acknowledgement from adults around you and shit and she just naturally has this very very clear sense that I'm holding masculine and feminine energies and not even necessarily equal parts. It's like the ultimate proof that people can ultimately get it the fuck together and just move on.”

This led Morgan to reflect on their own childhood experiences with being forced to gender conform, and how their mom had their back in the process.

“When I was a child someone asked me in a disrespectful way are you a boy or a girl and I remember I told my mom and her answer to me was you just tell them that you're Morgan.

I think about that a lot as I think about my expansion and understanding of pronouns. My name itself is doing a “They” thing. It's telling a lot of different stories. My mom set me up. She's the highest femme in all of creation so for her to say that was similar to my niece having this very raw reaction to who I am.” //cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0346/2897/files/YUNG_MOMO.png?v=1475269279

Posted in them, they, theythem

THEY: Interview with Nico

Posted on September 28, 2016

 

Nico is a non binary fat femme Afro Tainx Boriqua and lifelong brooklynite. They are the campaign organizer of TransJustice program at the Audre Lorde Project. Nico is fiercely committed to his communities. He is a cultural worker who uses multiple mediums to document history, share knowledge and create avenues to reconnect to the ancestors. On their many journeys, they are learning history and using it to fuel their fight for the revolution. 

This interview is presented as part of a series of "They/Them" interviews conducted by ill Weaver. ill Weaver and Wes Taylor have developed and are sharing a line of apparel for Emergence called "THEY". “THEY” is a strategy for signalling one’s self-identification with the gender nonconforming pronouns “they” and “them” in an affirming and aesthetically bold way. As part of the project accompanying this new apparel, ill discussed “they/them” with other inspiring individuals who use “they/them” pronouns.

Read on for ill’s summary of their conversation with Nico. Read more thoughts from ill Weaver on the THEY campaign here.

ill discusses THEY with Nico

Nico is the lead organizer of the TransJustice program as part of the Audre Lorde Project, but they started out organizing as a member of FIERCE!. In our interview, they talked about the feeling of being a street-based youth:

“There's this thing that happens here where you become homeless, and your biological fam doesn't accept you, but then you also find this deep sense of freedom of 'I'll be homeless, and I'll go to the pier everyday, and I'll go steal an apple from the store, but I will be so fucking queer and free to be in my queerness.' So I was really in that place of investing my energy into everything I was. I really did admire that these folks, like Emerson, were going by They, and there wasn't any way that they were gonna let you categorize them. That really encouraged me to find out what pronoun it was that I wanted to use. And to really fucking hold on to it and be proud of it. They demands that folks who use it do the work to break down gender as they understand it.”

Nico uses both They and He as their pronouns. They made this decision after years of going by both He and She, but experienced too many people wrongly defaulting to using She to describe him. He explained the reasoning for utilizing both pronouns:

“I wanted to reclaim what I define as masculine and what I define as feminine because if I let the world define that for me then there's many parts of my physical body, identity, and history that will be masculinized and held to this fucked up standard of masculinity. So if I can reclaim that and define what my masculinity looks like and what my femmeness looks like, then it's a way for me to reclaim my body as a fat disabled person and uplift the feminized and therefore often invisibilized labor and work I do for my people.”

They went on to break down some commonly held false perceptions of fat folks in relationship to race and gender – as well as the underrepresentation of femmes who use They and Them pronouns:

“There's definitely more representation of people who identify with They and Them pronouns who are masculine presenting or just gender neutral or who try to be andro but even that in terms of bodies – fat folks can't really access androgyny as it is defined by thin, white, eurocentric standards – this widely embraced definition of androgyny does not fit fat Black and Brown people. Femmes [are] resisting the idea that they need to use She or Her or any societally defined characteristics of femmeness and reclaiming who and what we are, what we look like, how we love. My rage and my commitment to my people, that's my femmeness.”

Nico spoke about the layered meanings of They and the importance of making space for their multitude of stories and identities:

“I've experienced mad violence in hospitals, the medical industrial complex, policing and sexual violence, all these experiences I carry and how that related to me being fat and being disabled and also even being from New York. Being from Brooklyn, being displaced and being pushed out. All of those things are relative to my gender expression. And the more that I can reclaim and define shit for myself, the more free I feel. So using They is more than just about gender, it's about the multiple layers to our identities and why They fits all of our identities as one intersectional representation.”

He discussed the ways that gender binaries are perpetuated, even within queer and trans spaces where they receive criticism of their pronoun:

“I get it mostly from other trans folks who are like 'you have not transitioned'. But there are so many transitions actually. There are social, spiritual, mental, emotional transitions and people put all of it into one physical transition. I think that is also obviously real and rooted in deep trauma of what you have had to do to validate who you are. And sometimes we start doing that to each other. We're actually really violent to the people who haven’t medically transitioned or will not. Or cannot. And also violent to people who have. Like we're never gonna be able to actually one hundred percent become cis, if you do identify with the binary. And then for some of us, we don't have a specific way that the gender we identify with is supposed to look, but there are so many reasons why someone would not take T or not bind, or not get top surgery, or whatever. We can really limit each other and ourselves.”

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Complex Movements’ “Beware of the Dandelions” Opens in Detroit, October 6-31

Posted on September 08, 2016

Allied Media Projects and Talking Dolls are excited to present Complex Movements’ Beware of the Dandelions in Detroit, October 6-31. Beware of the Dandelions is a mobile art installation that functions as a performance, workshop space, and visual arts exhibition. The piece is created at the intersection of community organizing, visual design, hip-hop and electronic music, architecture, and theater.

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Posted in Allied Media Projects, Detroit, Installation, Performance, residency, Talking Dolls

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