FKA Twigs & MikeQ Come to Creative Time's BRING DOWN THE WALLS

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FKA Twigs & MikeQ Come to Creative Time's BRING DOWN THE WALLSThis weekend, Creative Time, The Fortune Society, artist Phil Collins, and over 100 collaborators hosted the second weekend of Bring Down The Walls.

The night brought together hundreds of New Yorkers for MikeQ's famous House of Vogue Ball dancing battles, where musician FKA Twigs participated as a judge. Guests danced until the morning to special performances from the Bring Down The Walls album and music by MikeQ, Justin Strauss and Qween Beat.

During the day visitors attended a school for radical thought, with workshops and conversations that examined the expansion of punitive and carceral practices beyond prison walls - through policies on immigration, surveillance, drug laws, and bail - and introduced some of the campaigns and organizations focused on dismantling these practices, such as The Fortune Society, The Rikers Debate Project, and Critical Resistance.

IMAGES: Available for download here.
CREDIT: Photos by Mel D. Cole for Creative Time.

For more information on daytime programs and nighttime lineups, visit or call 212-729-3481.

Bring Down The Walls Weekend 2. Photos by Mel D. Cole for Creative Time.

Next weekend, May 19, we will discuss the radical impact of social violence and how vulnerable communities are impacted by the justice system. At night, feminist skate collective Brujas will take over the dance club with local hosts, special performances, and DJs.


Week 3 | Saturday, May 19
2-9PM | School for Radical Thought: Social Violence
Week 3 at Bring Down The Walls considers the radical impact of social violence and how vulnerable communities are impacted by the justice system. We will unpack the ways in which the effects of the prison industrial complex extends into our everyday lives, and particularly brings pervasive harm to women, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, and people living with mental health challenges.

Participants include Survived and Punished, working to end the criminalization of domestic and sexual violence survivors; Five Mualimm-Ak, a human rights and mental health advocate who spent five years in solitary confinement; Critical Resistance, building an international movement to end the prison industrial complex and challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe; and Black & Pink, an organization of LGBTQ prisoners and "free world" allies who support each other.

10PM - 6AM | Nightclub: Brujas
Brujas, "a radical collective of activists, skaters, musicians, healers, and hustlers" convenes a night of local hosts, performers and DJs for the third Saturday of Bring Down The Walls. Brujas is an urban, free-form, creative and autonomous organization of born-and-bred New Yorkers that seeks to build radical political coalition through youth culture; expressing community through skateboarding, art and political organizing. The night's lineup is inspired by their new spring collection Seize Bellevue that calls for a compassionate and radical reconception of one of our more insidious carceral institutions - the pharmaceutical industry and mental health crisis system.

Week 4 | Saturday, May 26
2-9PM | School for Radical Thought: Radical Futures
On our final weekend, the conversation at Bring Down The Walls looks toward the future, inviting participants to boldly imagine a society without prisons. We will propose visionary ways of evolving beyond punitive justice, and consider the most forward thinking approaches to achieving real change.

Participants include the Bronx Freedom Fund, a revolving fund to pay bail for people accused of misdemeanors; Common Justice, fostering racial equity and identifying new solutions beyond the spectrum of incarceration; and Rise and Resist, a direct action group committed to opposing, disrupting, and defeating any government act that threatens democracy, equality, and civil liberties.

10PM - 6AM | Nightclub: Papi Juice
Closing out Bring Down The Walls with an all night bash is Papi Juice, an art collective composed of DJ/producers Oscar Nñ and Adam Rhodes, and illustrator Mohammed Fayaz, that aims to celebrate the lives of queer and trans people of color. Structured around curated events, Papi Juice lives at the intersection of art, music, and nightlife. For the past five years, the collective has been changing the face of nightlife in New York City and beyond with intentional platforms for artists of color including panels, artist residencies, performances, and, of course, fabled DJ sets and legendary parties.

Bring Down The Walls pulls into focus the dichotomy between the sense of freedom, unity and joy ingrained in house music, and the punitive control and violence-physical, mental and emotional-perpetuated by the U.S. prison system. Set up as a deeply collaborative framework defined by the impulse to meet, listen and cultivate more comprehensive knowledge about mass incarceration, the project is inspired by the ethos of early house music venues, which often functioned as hubs of political engagement as much as spaces of personal liberation and collective transcendence.

At the heart of Bring Down The Walls is the pairing of knowledge built from research with that which has been gained by experience, including a wide range of views and a focus on prison abolition. Daytime programs will be primarily led by people who have experienced the system and those working to change it, drawing powerful new connections on the issues and campaigns around decarceration, immigrant rights, ending cash bail, closing jails and prisons, and improving reentry. By night, this communal space will also convene DJs, musicians, performers, and other influential contributors to New York City's current club scene, acknowledging the history of nightlife as a haven of abandon and temporary relief in which divisions of race, class, gender, and sexuality are often crossed in unexpected ways.

The unusual connection between house music and incarceration comes from years in which Collins worked with men serving long-term sentences at Sing Sing in New York. Structured around the formation of an unofficial band, sessions repeatedly turned to a canon of dance floor anthems, which were a formative influence for both the band members and Phil. Deepening this personal connection is the historical context, as in 1980s the exponential rise of mass incarceration in the U.S. coincided with the emergence of a new dance sound coming out of the communities disproportionately targeted by regressive criminal justice policies. This experimental electronic music soon took over downtown Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Manchester in England, where Collins grew up, as well as, in quick succession, the rest of the world.

In the artist's words, "All social interactions are inherently political. Historically, house culture has often been a mode of resistance, opening up new understandings of community and solidarity. Its radical proposition of simply being together offers another way of engaging the conversation around the prison industrial complex, which sentences discriminately and disproportionately, but impacts us all. Even after their release, people remain confined and punished by invisible barriers - physical, emotional, economic. The very real human cost of systemic regressive policies comes sharply into focus through sharing time and space, and in direct exchange with one another."

Creative Time, the New York based public arts non-profit, is committed to working with artists on the dialogues, debates, and dreams of our time. Creative Time presents the most innovative art in the public realm, providing new platforms to amplify artists' voices, including the Creative Time Summit, an international conference convening at the intersection of art and social justice. Since 1974, Creative Time has produced over 350 groundbreaking public art projects that ignite the imagination, explore ideas that shape society, and engage millions of people around the globe. Since its inception, the non-profit organization has been at the forefront of socially engaged public art, seeking to convert the power of artists' ideas into works that inspire and challenge the public. Creative Time projects stimulate dialogue on timely issues, and initiate a dynamic experience between artists, sites, and audiences.

ABOUT Phil Collins
Phil Collins' films, installations and live events explore the intersections of art, politics and popular culture. Often working with disregarded or marginalized communities, Collins looks past conventional media portrayals, aiming instead for a more nuanced and empathic vantage point. Since the 1990s he has collaborated with, amongst others, disco-dancing Palestinians; Kosovan Albanian refugees; the youth of Baghdad; teachers of Marxism-Leninism from the former German Democratic Republic; a leading anime studio in Tokyo; anti-fascist skinheads in Malaysia; a homeless centre in Cologne; and prisoners, pensioners, school kids, and a symphonic orchestra in Glasgow. Reflecting critical consciousness, immediacy and commitment to myriad forms of experience, Collins' projects question the cut-and-dried meanings of social situations and definitions of language, economic status and locality. Solo exhibitions of his work have been presented around the world, including Museum of Contemporary Art, Cleveland, OH (2017); Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL (both 2016); Gallery of Modern Art, Glasgow (2015); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2013); and British Film Institute, London (2011). Collins is Professor of Video Art and Performance at the Academy of Media Arts in Cologne, Germany.

Founded in 1967, The Fortune Society has advocated on criminal justice issues for five decades and is nationally recognized for developing model programs that help people with criminal justice histories to be assets to their communities. Fortune offers a holistic and integrated "one-stop-shopping" model of service provision. Among the services offered are discharge planning, licensed outpatient substance abuse and mental health treatment, alternatives to incarceration, HIV/AIDS services, career development and job retention, education, family services, drop in services and supportive housing as well as lifetime access to aftercare.

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