Complex Movements launches "Beware Of The Dandelions" tour

Posted on January 20, 2015

After over five years of community conversations and creative development exploring the concept of complex science in juxtaposition with social justice movements, Complex Movements will begin touring Beware of The Dandelions, a collaborative art installation, performance, and workshop series.

Sage Crump, producer, has developed a unique community engagement strategy for the project that goes beyond simply touring an art installation and performance, and works towards broader cultural organizing and movement building.

The Beware of The Dandelions community engagement strategy begins with building community cohorts and advisory circles consisting of artists, organizers, and other community members in host cities. Through these community cohorts we listen and learn about community resistance and resilience in the face of challenges, and exchange stories and strategies between each city and Detroit.

Complex Movements community cohort

The community cohorts are in motion in five cities: Detroit, Seattle, Dallas, Washington DC, and Miami. If you are in one of these cities and are interested in supporting or getting involved, please contact us. Throughout the coming year, the Complex Movements artists will work in each city to deepen connections, support local organizing, and collaborate with the community cohorts on evolving the art installation and performance content of Beware of The Dandelions.

Complex Movements will return to Dallas twice in 2015, including a community residency and a performance engagement, presented by the SMU Meadows School Art and Urbanism Initiative.

On the Boards will host Beware of the Dandelions for an engagement in Seattle, April 17 through May 10. This month of programming includes performances a visual art exhibition, and a workshop series. 

During the Allied Media Conference, June 18 - 21 in Detroit, we will convene the Complex Movements' Art, Science and Social Movements Cohort. This network gathering is an opportunity to connect members from the community cohorts in person to cross pollinate strategies and nurture critical connections. 

Stay up to date on upcoming performances by signing up for our email newsletter

You can also support Beware of The Dandelions by purchasing a Complex Movements t-shirt or tote bag

Text of this blog post by ill/Invincible. Photos by Alexis Lim and Kim Leeson.

New merch: Spikes and Florals (VIDEO)

Posted on January 18, 2015

Welcome to the new! As part of the new website launch, we are excited to present two new Emergence designs: "Spikes" and Florals." These designs were dreamed up and designed by Wesley Taylor. They were printed by Wes with assistance from ill/Invincible, in the Emergence Print Shop, which we share with One Custom City on the east side of Detroit.

The Spikes and Florals designs come in various color printed t-shirts and hoodies. 

You can check out behind-the-scenes footage of the screenprinting, in this video filmed and edited by ill/invincible:

These are the first in the series of new limited edition designs and other items that we will roll out on the Emergence store. Stay tuned!

I Do Mind Dying Live Action Mixtape Series (Video)

Posted on December 15, 2014

Emergence presented the "I Do Mind Dying" Live Action Mixtape on July 19, 2014 at Detroit's New Center Park. The event was hosted by and featured performances from Invincible, Miz Korona, and Tunde Olaniran. 

This trailer is the first of a series of installments documenting the I Do Mind Dying: Live Action Mixtape event. Stay tuned for more!


I Do Mind Dying: Live Action Mixtape

by invincible/ill Weaver

Please Mr. Foreman,
Slow down your assembly line.
I don't mind working, but
I do mind dying.

The last line of this lyric by legendary Detroit Blues artist Joe L was tattooed on the back of our dear friend Cheri Sheddy Rollins Sanchez's neck. We were reminded of it while we mourned Sheddy's life being stolen, on March 12th, 2014. Sheddy, a beautiful soul who was put on this earth to love, got those words inked into their skin nearly a decade ago, while living in the Motor City and working with Detroit Summer, after having read a book by that title. The book title, Detroit: I Do Mind Dying, was inspired by that Joe L lyric as well.

Detroit, I Do Mind Dying is a book about Black workers in Detroit area factories, fighting injustices brought both by foremen and white racist union leaders, forming the Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement (DRUM) and numerous other RUMs. That book prominently featured General Gordon Baker, a lifelong Detroit activist with the mind of a historian and the heart of a warrior. Gen Baker joined the ancestors the day before what would have been El Hajj Malik Shabazz (Malcolm X)'s 89th birthday, May 19th, 2014.

Vincent Harding (a dear friend of Grace who visited us often in Detroit to share his kind gentle spirit and powerful songs and wisdom), William Worthy (another comrade of Grace who was a radical journalist), and Sam Greenly (the author and filmmaker of The Spook Who Sat By the Door) all made their transitions the same week as Gen.

In that time period the legendary Mabel Williams, Ruby Dee, and Maya Angelou all joined the ancestors. Each of these women made huge impacts on our lives, world, and movements.

The following week our beloved water warrior Charity Mahouna Hicks was put into a coma by a hit and run driver. The fight to end the water shut offs ramped up even more in her absent presence. The morning of the I Do Mind Dying event was Charity's homegoing ceremony. The week of the "I Do Mind Dying" Live Action Mixtape event also commemorated three years since David Blair's passing.

Baba Charles Simmons said he couldn't remember a time since the 60s where we lost so many of our most committed comrades all at once like this.

We wondered what event could we produce as a collective healing space, a way to honor and uplift so many ancestors, so many still fighting to live full lives of dignity and joy. The title of our event was also a symbol of so many forces that threaten the life of our cities, and the ways our communities continue to resist and affirm our fullest humanity.

I Do Mind Dying became that collective expression of gratitude for all of our loved ones named above, and many others. Each artist, performer, participant, and unexpected light brigade was shining Charity's well-known mantra, "Wage Love."

Emergence produced this epic experience in collaboration with Miz Korona and Tunde Olaniran. The event was created with support from the illustrious Detroit filmmaker and event producer Njia Kai, and in conjunction with The Praxis Project's Roots and Remedies gathering.

Tunde, Korona, and ill were interviewed by WDET's Travis Wright about the event. Listen here:


Charity Mahouna Hicks: Wage Love

Posted on December 15, 2014

"Wage Love" is a call to action shared with us in Detroit by Charity Mahouna Hicks, who joined the ancestors in July 2014.

Charity is a beloved water warrior and activist in many movements that she contributed to and helped shape, in both her lifelong home of Detroit, and internationally. She is also a healer, a philosopher, and a spiritual practitioner. Below is a video created in collaboration with Halima Cassells, Lottie Spadie, Kate Levy, and ill for Charity's home going ceremony:

Charity urged us to Wage Love for an end to the water shut offs targeting Detroit's low-income residents, and for the keeping of water in the public trust.

To Wage Love to end genetically modified foods seeds and the privatization of biology, and toward seed saving.

To Wage Love for true food justice.

To Wage Love for climate justice.

To Wage Love for Black Women's leadership.

To Wage Love for the African Diaspora and decolonizing Africa.

To Wage Love for the liberation of all people.

To Wage Love to end land grabs and for communities determining their own development.

To Wage Love for the work of reframing the We.

Most importantly, Wage Love is a call to sustain ourselves and our relationships in this long-haul struggle before we burn out. It acknowledges that rage is what ignites us but love is what sustains us. That we have to truly love ourselves and each other in order to do what needs to be done.

What are you Waging Love for?

Facing Race Spotlight: Detroit Artist Collective Complex Movements

Posted on December 14, 2014

Complex Movements at Facing Race 2014

Colorlines interviewed Complex Movements at the recent Facing Race conference. The interview explores the artist collective's interdisciplinary media-based organizing model.

After nearly two decades of rapping around the world, Detroit MC invincible ill weaver* had grown bored with the standard format of hip-hop shows where there’s a rapper who is backed by a DJ or a band and separated from the audience by the steel curtain of a stage. Other members of the Detroit-based artist collective invincible belongs to, Complex Movements, felt the same way. “We were really just sick and tired of the old ways we were doing things,” invincible says of their* co-members, music producer/filmmaker Waajeed, technologist Carlos “L05” Garcia and visual artist Wesley Taylor.

Out of that restlessness came “Beware of the Dandelions,” Complex Movements’ traveling installation that fuses interactive hip-hop performance, visual arts and video projection mapping with community organizing. In each city “Beware of the Dandelions” visits, invincible ill weaver and their crew make connections with local activists and students. The premise, according to its web site, is that “change occurs through critical connections rather than critical mass.” The work of Grace Lee Boggs is a major influence for the project.

Colorlines caught up with the Complex Movements as they were gearing up for a Nov. 14 event in Dallas at Facing Race, the biennial conference held by Colorlines publisher Race Forward. Complex Movements members and “Beware of the Dandelions” producer Sage talked about connecting people, self-expression and art with a purpose. 

Read the full interview here.

SF Guardian: La Peña takes a deeper look at hip-hop inclusivity

Posted on January 28, 2014

The Bay Area's SF Guardian recently sat down with Emergence's Invincible, Bay-native Chinaka Hodge, and Oakland-based Tru Bloo in preparation for a groundbreaking concert series at La Peña in Berkeley, CA called Hip-Hop Beyond Gender.

The series features monthly installments of live music and poetry to better represent the intersection of gender and hip-hop. In the article, SFBG inquired about the experiences and thoughts about representation in hip-hop.

Read the full SF Guardian article, here.

Be sure to check out 'Event Horizon' on March 15th featuring Invincible, Las Krudas, and Micah Domingo. More information, here.

Knight Foundation: Complex Movements for Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Award

Posted on January 28, 2014

Complex Movements is a nominee for the Knight Foundation's Knight Arts Challenge People's Choice Award. The winner of this award will receive $20,000 in funding support for their project.
The People’s Choice Award is part of the Knight Arts Challenge, a community-wide contest funding the best ideas for the arts. Winners of both the challenge and the People’s Choice will be announced in September. Voting is now open. You can vote for Complex Movements by texting Art1 to 22333.