Emergence Media explores the power of creative expression to activate social transformation. We work with a core group of artists and projects, and a wide network of collaborative partners to produce music, multimedia, installations, tours, workshops, and special events. We are based in Detroit, Michigan.
Our current focus is supporting Complex Movements, an artist collective exploring the relationship between complex science and social justice movements. We also produce special events, for example, the recent "I Do Mind Dying" multimedia performance at New Center Park.
Emergence was started in 2007. Read about the co-founders of Emergence Media below.
Invincible/ill Weaver is a lyricist with the heart of a healer, and the mind of a physicist. In addition to their work as a performing artist, they have over a decade of organizing experience with Detroit Summer, a multi-racial, inter-generational collective in Detroit that is transforming communities through youth facilitative leadership, creativity, and collective action. They were also the co-coordinator and co-founder of the Detroit Future Youth network to support social justice and media-based youth projects throughout the city. Over the years they have produced events, organized actions, designed curriculum, facilitated workshops, woven participatory community media projects, and more while simultaneously creating music, media, and touring.
They co-founded Emergence after years of turning down record deals and rejecting the music exploitation industry. During a trip to Palestine with Detroit Summer in 2007 they met with and learned about the Palestine Fair Trade Association. They left wondering what a fair trade, cooperative economics model could look like in the context of music, media, and cultural work. Emergence was partly inspired by that vision, and continues to be a practiced experiment of how mutual support and cooperative autonomy can replace the crabs in a barrel/fighting over crumbs approach most artists are pitted against each other through.
The name “Emergence” grew from a conversation with mentor Grace Lee Boggs, when Grace mentioned that one of the main lessons she took from the women's movement was that "we should not be waiting for singular charismatic leaders to tell us what direction to go, but instead be like midwives, supporting the birth of movements that are already emerging." This led to exploring the scientific concept of Emergence.
"In philosophy, systems theory, science, and art, emergence is conceived as a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties." (Emergence - Wikipedia)
Wesley Taylor is a graphic designer, fine artist, musician, and curator. He started out as both an emcee and graphic designer in the hip-hop group, Athletic Mic League. He got into making music partly as an excuse to make album covers. He became a co-founding partner of Emergence as an excuse to make art and conceptualize creative projects.
Emergence has provided a way to teach himself how to be an artist, and face the challenge of developing imagery that aligns with identities that are shifting and evolving, and for playing with new aesthetics. He values being part of broadcasting subject matter and stories that aren't regularly shared in a popular way.
"With this work we set out to create a new model based on principles that were new to all of us going into this. The whole process has been an education; we learn as we go, and we don't have a formula. Whatever we find out that works, we are willing to share with others to support their success, however they define it. We are a lab of cooperative economics, and our understanding of that evolves over time, and better applies to our practice. It's an imperfect system that we are always trying to tweak, and can be a great alternative and an ongoing solution to the various challenges that many artists in our community face."
Wes is also a co-founder and co-owner of Talking Dolls design studio. He is a professor at Lawrence Tech University in Detroit, and has taught at Eastern Michigan University, and Wayne State University.
Mike Medow is a voracious consumer of and participant in independent culture. He spent his teenage years absorbing all the good, bad, and in between of Michigan’s dynamic punk scene of the late 90s. His college years at University of Michigan were spent activating a cornucopia of student organizing efforts and promoting visual art, film, and performance events. Mike connected with Invincible through booking them for performances and workshops on campus.
When he moved to Detroit in 2005, Mike joined the Detroit Summer Collective as a volunteer and bookkeeper, through which he began working more directly with Invincible and many other artists who would later contribute to Emergence-supported projects. In 2007, Invincible was seeking a business partner to support the release of their debut album and ongoing collaborative arts projects. As a fan of Invincible's music and artistic vision, Mike made a small investment to support the start-up of Emergence and has served as the company's business manager ever since. His goal is to build a solid foundation for independent artists to support their craft and amplify their work to affect culture shift and social change.
Outside of Emergence, Mike is the chief operating officer of Allied Media Projects. He also serves on the board of directors of FoodLab Detroit, an organization supporting the development of triple-bottom-line food businesses in Detroit. He is a 2013 Marshall Memorial Fellow of the German Marshall Fund. Mike collects records and regularly DJ’s around Detroit, playing all vinyl house music sets.