Home / Portal: Christopher Cozier and Friends This Thursday!


HOME Series: The Portal

How do we find home?

DS4SI wraps up this season's HOME Series with a return visit from Trinidadian contemporary artist Christopher Cozier. Cozier will present on his piece Home/Portal, inspired by his time in the Upham's Corner area, that has since engaged artists from Kingston, Jamaica to Bogota, Columbia, Port of Spain, Trinidad and here in Boston. Collaborating artists from those cities will join us via Skype, while local artists from HOME 1 and HOME 2 (Intelligent Mischief and Keith Deviere Donaldson) will join us in person. Together we will explore how we find--and make and connect--home in a time of global environmental and political crises. 


THIS Thursday, November 9th, 6-8pm

Design Studio for Social Intervention
1946 Washington St, Roxbury, MA



HOME Series continues with Future Shock Disco!


Future Shock Disco

What does home sound like? An immersive, generative and evolving sound sculpture.

Keith DeViere Donaldson (Boston) and Jamal Moss, aka Hieroglyphic Being (Chicago)
The Future Shock Disco is an immersive, generative, and evolving sound sculpture that will elicit a journey through time – past, present, and future, by enabling participants to communicate with the space and other beings within it using the universal language of music. In Mark Dery’s 1994 essay, “Black to the Future,” he asks, “Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out, and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history, imagine possible futures?”
Sound sculptors Moss and Donaldson have created interactive sound panels that will both trigger and manipulate a series of sounds when they are touched or a body comes near. Participants will be able to interact and engage with one another as they explore the relationship between interface, interaction, and sound. The output of the interaction will be a generative soundscape, which will continue to evolve as the piece is interacted with and as participants engage with one another and create a sense of place through sound.

Location: Dorchester Arts Collaborative,


HOME Series Kicks Off !

Come check out this week-long cross-border collaborative art making intervention along Dudley and Upham's! We're so excited to be working with Chris Cozier, Bruce Cayonne and Intelligent Mischief!

 The Art Talk with Chris Cozier, Bruce Cayonne and Intelligent Mischief has a home! We will be at the beautiful Shirley Eustis House, 33 Shirley St, just behind DSNI (off Dudley St.). You can find out more at the  facebook event page  too!  See you there!

The Art Talk with Chris Cozier, Bruce Cayonne and Intelligent Mischief has a home! We will be at the beautiful Shirley Eustis House, 33 Shirley St, just behind DSNI (off Dudley St.). You can find out more at the facebook event page too!

See you there!

Black Citizenship Project Updates

Event Descriptions:

Kizzy's Appeal—by a collective of artists

A performance comprised of spoken word, visual art, and dance.  This performance started from the maternal question, "Have you seen my child?"  Kizzy's Appeal mirrors the impact, historically and currently, of systemic violence that robs black and brown communities of loved ones.

Two Things –by Letta Neely

A spoken word performance that expresses the current state of black emotions and feelings amidst the backdrop of state sanctioned violence and the recent Charleston massacre

Blind Spots—by James Montford Jr

A performance to explore, expose, and discuss the social construct of exclusion and through a performative process manifest potential for change. The artist will tell several short stories about "difference" and intimating/identifying the cause being Blind Spots in our behavior.

Of / From—by Sheldon Scott

Performative intervention interrogating the 14th Amendment

Divided We Fall—choreographed by McKersin Previlus

John the Baptist was something of a biblical spectacle—a long locked, loud-voiced, wild gesticulator.

This dance performance brings his central question to mind: what did you come here to see?

Black Body Survival Store—by Intelligent Mischief

A pop-up store featuring the Black Body Survival Guide—a compilation of rules and regulations for surviving in the U.S. as the owner of a black body—and related products  

Terror, Beauty, Pain, Solace—by Marlene Smith

We know, and have been reminded, against our will, that we can hurt and be hurt in public. This spiritual intervention asks the question, can we heal and be healed in public?

Frederick Douglass—Annual Reading “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?”

A communal reading of the fiery July 5, 1852, speech in which Frederick Douglass took exception to being asked to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

Midnight Vigil—by Boston area Youth Organizing Project

A midnight to noon vigil asking the question, “Are blacks citizens?”

DS4SI Black History Month Series 2014

We're excited to announce the 3rd annual DS4SI Black History Month Series. This year our theme is "REEL Blackness" This series explores black creativity through film. It's particularly geared to creatives looking to explore or venture into some aspect of video, film, acting, etc.  In addition, we'll conclude the series with a special tribute to Nelson Mandela.and a look forward to how his legacy can create a "regeneration of liberation."

As usual, it will happen every Tuesday night in February and include good food and great conversation. Hope you can join us and our fabulous hosts and presenters!

Mini-Grant Opportunities @ Public Kitchen

DS4Si is excited to announce two mini-grant funding opportunities during our Public Kitchen. First, we will be hosting an information session for the new Expressing Boston mini-grant from Boston Foundation on Tuesday, October 23rd, from 5:30-6:30 at the Public Kitchen Hub (at Upham's Corner Main Street Office, 545 Columbia Road, Dorchester).

ExpressingBoston is a new Boston Foundation initiative that will celebrate the diverse cultural identities of Boston's over 140 ethnic communities through cultural flash mobs in all of the city's neighborhoods.  This initiative is a small grants opportunity for individuals, groups, and organizations that seeks to challenge and destabilize normalized notions of what qualifies as art, who can create art, how art should be made, where art should be exhibited, and how audiences should engage with art, while uplifting the rich history and identities of Boston's ethnic communities. Grants will be awarded in 2013.

Don't consider yourself an artist? Don't have 501(c)(3) status or a fiscal sponsor? That's okay!  ExpressingBoston is open to everyone.  If you'd like to learn more about applying for or participating in ExpressingBoston, please come to this information session! (Download application here.)


On Saturday, October 27th, Feast Mass will fund one project completely from the donations made towards that night's meal at the Dudley Greenhouse (15 Brook Ave, Roxbury):



Saturday – Feast Mass!

Feast Mass, Dudley Greenhouse,  7-10pm, $15 suggested donation

Feast Mass is a recurring dinner party in Boston. During the night, people present proposals for creative, community-engaged projects that need funding. Everyone votes, and the winner receives a grant funded entirely from the night's donations. 100 tickets will be available throughout the 10-day Public Kitchen.  The call for proposals is open now and will continue until the day before Feast. To find out more or submit a proposal, go to We expect the grant to be in the neighborhood of $700–$1,000. 


Public Kitchen Update

Our Public Kitchen team is working 'round the clock to make Public Kitchen our biggest social intervention yet. We are working with Uphams Corner Main Streets to secure a pop-up kitchen space that will be a resource and refuge for the neighborhood, a place where anyone can stop by to get a bite, borrow a recipe, or join a cooking or art project.

Our slate of events for the week includes the amazing Jemima Code Art Project (below), an activist cooking competition, a Night Bazaar, farmers' market cooking, and much more... 

Want to learn more, volunteer, compete in our activist Cook Off, sell at our Night Bazaar or apply for a Feast Mass mini-grant?  Find us at…


Twitter: @ds4si


Dance Court II this Saturday!

Dance Court II will be held at the tennis courts across from the Studio this Saturday, August 11th, from 4-8pm. DJ Keith Donaldson will be spinning.

(The courts are next to Jim Rice Field and across from us @ 1946 Washington Street, Roxbury.)

Dance Court is an urban research and development project of the Design Studio for Social Intervention. It asks the question, “If dance courts were part of the ubiquitous landscape like basketball and tennis courts, how would they be used?”

Our first Dance Court experiment included a sound system and DJ that we set up in the local unused tennis court across from the Studio. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, unlike basketball and tennis, the idea of a casual impromptu dance space required tons of paperwork and pre-planning. Permits were required and expected to be applied for literally weeks ahead of time. It is this sort of public space policy that can get in the way not just of dancing, but of a vibrant public life. Multiply this by the fact that poor communities and youth of color are hyper-policed, and you have a tremendous barrier to civic life. It is also an example of what we call spatial injustice.

P.S. If you are interested in bringing Dance Court to a park near you or want more info about this event, contact Kenneth Bailey at kdb [at]

DS4SI Action Lab @ Roots & Remedies Conference in NOLA


We set up our first "pop-up studio" for the Roots & Remedies conference in New Orleans this past weekend. The conference brought together over 200 organizers to think about transformative community organizing and policy work towards creating healthy, just communities.

We invited them into a creative design space and challenged them to think both linearly and nonlinearly about creating effective social interventions and cultural tactics that could support their organizing work.

Here was our Action Lab design tool before...



And after...

Other folks got more 3D with it on our less linear tables...

We'll post more photos and videos when we get home. Many thanks to all our visitors, volunteers and to The Praxis Project for inviting us!

Youth 2 Youth Action Shots...

Our first ever Youth 2 Youth Action Summit was a big success this past weekend. The exhibits highlighted work the Design Studio has done with teens around youth violence over the last 4 summers. Close to 100 participants dug in for interactive activities, Let's Flip It button-making and t-shirt design, mini-discussions and more. Thanks to all who came out, and we look forward to continuing to build on the momentum. And many thanks to our alumni and volunteer facilitators, as well as our curator, Kelly Sherman.

In the top photo Youth Activism Design Studio alum Olmis Sanchez talks about how they designed and played Big Urban Games in communities that were seen as dangerous and negative. In the above photo, she gets a group out to play!



The interactive exhibit is still open for youth groups by appointment. Please contact lori [at] ds4si [dot] org. We'd love to have you! A video of the 3-day event will be posted in the coming weeks as well... Finally, more Let's Flip It pins, stickers and flyers are available too.

Aaron Levy, Director and Curator of Slought Foundation to talk at DS4SI

Aaron Levy is the Executive Director and Chief Curator of Slought (, a small Philadelphia-based institution whose programs focus as much on histories of cultural experimentation and political advocacy as on the creation of social practices. Levy has developed an approach to the curatorial which mobilizes historical models, and which imagines small organizations as agencies that produce correspondences, relationships, and practices of engagement.


A Future History

Thursday, April 5, 7 p.m. Design Studio for Social Intervention 1946 Washington Street, 2nd floor, Boston Free and open to the public


This talk will take the form of a casual workshop/conversation around the process of developing Mixplace, a collaborative project that provides an alternative education model in order to address the crisis in community participation and political representation.

The project aspires to enable conversations between individuals and institutions within West Philadelphia to circulate different ways of thinking and making, linking the specialized knowledge of institutions with the everyday knowledge of communities. Slought, People's Emergency Center, and PennDesign are the primary Philadelphia institutions who are coming together to form this alternative educational model. The primary collaborators will be neighborhood youth and university students, who will interact with a diverse faculty of of curators, community activists, artists, architects and researchers. The project is being developed in dialogue with Teddy Cruz at the Center for Urban Ecologies at the University of California, San Diego.

Youth 2 Youth Action Summit @ Studio

We hope you can come and please help spread the word! Even if you do not work directly with youth or directly on violence, it is an opportunity to see how the Design Studio's Youth Activism Design Institute has taken on violence in some unique and broadly applicable ways.

Also, if you are interested in contributing to the Summit, we are still looking for partners to lead DIY arts activities, and we're open to other ideas as well!

You WILL See Me: Amah Edoh and Barbara Lewis

The third installation of our Black History Month series can be best described by the term "mind trip." Amah Edoh's talk challenged our notions of essence, fixity and identity through her investigations of "African" wax print cloth. Instead of having exclusive origins in places like Ghana, Togo or Cameroon, many of the prints, patterns and actual production of the fabrics we see in African markets in Harlem have their origins in places like Holland. (Funny given that Harlem is a shortened version of the Dutch city Haarlem.) 

We also learned that many of the patterns we conceive of as originally "African" were inspired by Indonesian fabrics and patterns. For everyday folk in Lagos, Accra or Dakar, the origins and foreign productions of these cloths are given. For people of African descent in other parts of the diaspora, not so much. 

For Amah, the fact that we were ever allowed to imagine a fixed point of origin to something as complex and hybrid as cloth point to how we often yearn for fixity in our complex and hybrid identities as black people. Coming to terms with our complexity may require that we all spend more time as "lost in translation." For many of us, it was the first time we heard that many of the most popular African print cloths were designed by a still living 80 year old white Dutch guy! 

Following Amah, Barbara Lewis wove together stories and images of Black style from history and the present. She described Black style as that of jazz: full of surprise, syncopation and a bringing together. She spatialized comtemporary Black experience and hitstorical Black experiences through her treatment of "The Strip." During slavery, Black people found expression of their humanity on the outskirts, on the strips, of the panopticonic plantation. The strip shows up again in the making of African-American quilts, and she would like to see the strip continue to be explored in the making of Black style.

Barbara also touched on some of the controversies in contemporary Black style,particularly the styles of Black youth. She complicated the immediate dismissal of the "sagging jeans" style that is so popular with many youth regardless of class and color, though it is thought to have origins with the Black community. She talked about it as being both a tip to prison culture and a tip to refusing to fit in to the status quo. The sag functions to say, "We aren't part the mainstream, so why fake it."

And she eloquently pointed to the need for Black people to continue to work on our our gender relationships, particularly with each other, given the decimation of gender in our experience of slavery. She talked aobut how we used and continue to use style in ways that counter the decimation of gender in the Black experience.