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New Day New Standard

A “public art nanny hotline” accessible by any kind of phone that informs New York State’s 200,000 domestic workers (nannies, housekeepers, elder caregivers) about the landmark 2010 Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights. Think NPR’s Car Talk — but for nannies.

El Bibliobandido

Developed in a region of Honduras with an 80% illiteracy rate, El Bibliobandido is a masked bandit who, starving for stories, terrorizes little kids until they write and offer him stories they've written.

Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition

A book that explores the productive possibilities of 'agonism,' or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle. Think: “productive friction.”

Marisa Jahn

Artist and writer.
Executive Director of REV-.
Fellow, MIT Open Doc Lab.
Artist in Residence, National Domestic Workers Alliance.
I cultivate productive friction.

Domestic Worker App

Creators: Marisa Jahn (project lead, lead artist), REV-, MIT Center for Civic MediaTerravoz, NuLawLab at Northeastern University, domestic workers.

Client: The National Domestic Workers Alliance's membership of 10,000 nannies, housekeepers, and caregivers nationwide.

Launch date: April 2014

Technology: Open Source Voice Over Drupal (VoIP Drupal)

Call in at any hour to hear humorous and informative episodes about domestic worker rights, health and safety essentials, and the growing movement. When users call in they hear a colorful cast of characters – a bevy of bedbugs, a pair of wheezing lungs from the Bronx, an early 19th century founder of Boston’s domestic worker movement, the voices of their fellow workers across the nation, and more! Users can also sign up to receive weekly text messages, participate in worker-led SMS surveys, be apprised of live conference calls, and be referred to legal resources. Call (347) WORK-500! 

Created by REV- (lead artist: Marisa Jahn) in collaboration with the National Domestic Workers Alliance. Key collaborators include with Anjum Asharia, Marc Shavitz, Steve Shada, and sound by Marijke Jorritsma (aka DJ Breezy Nix); NuLawLab; MIT Center for Civic Media, Brazilian Immigrant Center; and Terravoz. (2014) 

The NannyVan is a bright orange mobile design lab and sound studio that “accelerates the movement for domestic workers’ rights nationwide.” With its pull-out table, colorful design, and acoustic recording booth, the NannyVan convenes domestic workers workers and employers alike to produce and provide new fair care tools. You’ll hear it coming — think ice cream truck meets discotheque. 

Learn more here! 

Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition

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Editor: Marisa Jahn (2012)

Contributors: Anjum Asharia, John Seely Brown, D. Graham Burnett, Carl DiSalvo, Marisa Jahn, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Chantal Mouffe, Warren Sack, Steve Shada, Mark Shepard, Doris Sommer, McKenzie Wark, Cornel West, Colson Whitehead

Commissioned by: Northern Lights.mn and Walker Art Center for the symposium ”Discourse and Discord: Architecture of Agonism from the Kitchen Table to the City Street.”

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Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition is a book and set of playing cards that explore the productive possibilities of ‘agonism,’ or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle. Designed in black and blue — the colors of a good bruise — Pro+agonist brings together writings by interdisciplinary artists, scientists, CEO’s, crackpots, war strategists, psychotherapists, and philosophers who raise questions about the importance of political dissent, the function of discord in discourse, the rules of escalating conflict, the roles of parasites within systems, the ins and outs of concord and congress, and more. The book’s introduction, written as a disagreement between a cast of fictional characters, is (arguably) more stimulating than if it were written from a single, unified perspective. Readers will emerge with a greater appreciation for duking it out and taking it to the streets.

p.s. - There’s a half-inch hole running through the center of both the book and the playing cards so that you can peek through, frame the Other, and keep them with you as you read along. 

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Download the book, order the physical copy, and read more…

Bio

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Bio

Of Chinese and Ecuadorian descent, Marisa Jahn is an artist, multimedia designer, educator, and the founder of Studio REV-, a nonprofit studio whose public art projects combine creativity, bold ideas, and sound research to impact the lives of low-wage workers, immigrants, women, and underserved youth.

Jahn originated El Bibliobandido (or ‘story thief’), an ongoing living legend built around a masked bandit who, ravenous for stories, roves the jungles of Northern Honduras — a region with an 80% illiteracy rate — terrorizing little kids until they offer him stories they’ve written; Video Slink Uganda, a project that transposes experimental videos by African diaspora video artists into the Ugandan black market; and a public art nanny hotline (think NPR’s car talk but for nannies) about the New York State’s Domestic Workers Bill of Rights; and The NannyVan, a bright orange mobile design lab and sound studio that “accelerates the movement for domestic workers’ rights nationwide.”

As a multi-media designer and educator, Jahn’s clients include The American Museum of Natural History, Unesco/Adobe Systems, The National Domestic Workers Alliance, Urban Justice Center, Stanford University’s Cantor Art Museum, under-resourced public schools in San Francisco and New York City, and grassroots organizations internationally.

Jahn’s work has been presented at The White House, IDEO NY, Lincoln Center, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, Walker Art Center, MIT Museum, The Power Plant (Toronto), ICA Philadelphia, The New Museum, Asian Art Museum, as well as museums in Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Estonia, Russia, and Taiwan.

Jahn has edited three books about art and politics: ‘Pro+agonist: The Art of Opposition’ explores the productive possibilities of ‘agonism,’ or a relationship built on mutual incitement and struggle. ‘Recipes for an Encounter’ examines anticipatory nature of recipes together with their promise of what will unfold, take place, be consumed. ‘Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices’ investigates art embedded within governments, industries, and electoral politics to produce byproducts of the system itself. She has written about, interviewed, and edited texts by artists and thinkers such as Cornel West, Claire Bishop, Jean-François Lyotard,Michelle Kuo, Billy Kluver/Experiments in Art and Technology, John Seely Brown, Kristin Lucas, Pedro Reyes, Antanas Mockus, The Yes Men, Chantal Mouffe, D. Graham Burnett, Joseph Grima, Sofia Chong Cuy Hernandes, Colson Whitehead, Doris Sommer, John Searle, Artist’s Placement Group, Michel Serres, more.

Jahn has curated and produced over 33 socially-engaged art exhibitions and events in the U.S., Uganda, and Estonia featuring art practitioners such as Paul Miller aka DJ Spooky, Tom Finkelpearl, Rashaad Newsome, Hank Willis Thomas, Carin Kuoni, Amy Franceschini/FutureFarmers, Gregory Sholette, Harrell Fletcher, Marisa Olson, Otto von Busch, Judi Werthein, Lize Mogel, Noam Toran, Robby Herbst, Natalie Jeremijenko, Steve Lambert, Saya Woolfalk, Sarah Oppenheimer, Conrad Bakker, Vahida Ramujkic, and Kamau Patton.

A graduate of UC Berkeley and MIT, Jahn has received numerous awards and distinctions including a CEC Artslink Fellow; a 2007-9 artist in residence at MIT’s Media Lab; a 2013 MIT Open Doc Fellow. Jahn and Studio REV- have received numerous grants including Rockefeller Foundation Cultural Innovation Fund, apexart’s Franchise Art award, Open Society Foundation, and Tribeca New Media Fund grant for interactive media. She is also an Advisor of NuLawLab, a design+law initiative of Northeastern University’s School of Law.

Jahn’s work has been reviewed in hundreds of international publications including The New York Times, BBC, ArtForum, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, Boing Boing, Make Magazine, Art in America, and Discovery Channel

Byproduct: On the Excess of Embedded Art Practices

Editor: Marisa Jahn (2010). 

Publisher: YYZ BOOKS and REV-

Contributors: A Constructed World, Paul Ardenne, Grant Arnold, Artist Placement Group (Barbara Steveni), Claire Bishop, Andrew Boyd, John Seely Brown, Joseph del Pesco, Peter Eleey, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), Luis Jacob, Marisa Jahn, Janez Jansa, Michelle Kuo, Kristin Lucas, Antanas Mockus, Darren O’Donnell (Mammalian Diving Reflex), Reverend Billy (Billy Talen and Savitri D.), Pedro Reyes, John Searle, Michel Serres, The Yes Men, Stephen Wright — and many more. 

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Byproduct presents texts from a variety of artists, activists, curators, and interdisciplinary thinkers that interrogate projects by cultural practitioners “embedded” in industries, the government, and other non-art sectors. Working with the physical systems and symbolic languages of these institutions, these cultural agents develop projects—or “byproducts”—that produce meaning contingent on their hosts.

Read more or buy the book here.

Recipes for an Encounter

Editors: Marisa Jahn, Berin Golonu, and Candice Hopkins. Publisher: Western Front and REV- (2009)

Contributors: Lisa Anne Auerbach, Adrian Blackwell, Center for Tactical Magic, Max Goldfarb, Karen Hakobian, Marisa Jahn & Noa Treister, Janice Kerbel, LIGNA, Jaime O’Shea, Kristina Lee Podesva & Alan McConchie, Vahida Ramujkic, Francisco J. Ricardo, The Shakers of Enfield, Matt Volla, Sharif Waked & Molly Keogh

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Above: Andrea Macias-Yanez reads up on recipes. 

Recipes for an Encounter is a book of instructionals, architectural diagrams, and codes that explore the anticipatory nature of recipes together with their promise of what will unfold, take place, be consumed. 

The act of writing a recipe always occurs as a deliberate pause, temporally displaced from its moment of realization. Consider, for example, computer viruses whose execution might result in a technological disaster; architectural plans for the creation of a utopian city; instructions for a Molotov Cocktail; or preparatory directions for the antidote to a life-threatening poison. Each of these are written with the intent of preserving the past or changing the future. The recipes themselves are written either in the moment preceding or succeeding the act they describe.  

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In keeping with the book’s inquiry into the promissory and regenerative nature of instructionals, Recipes for an Encounter concludes with directions on how to blow up the book itself by lacing its pages with flowers of sulpher, saltpeter, and charcoal. The result: an energetic recombination of words. A new book of irregular dimensions in seven seconds.

Learn more; download the book; or purchase it here. 

Artist’s Statement

My work hijacks icons of high and low culture to generate meaning anew. I make art based on the freebies offered by telecommunications companies, the timing of apple harvests, the traffic patterns of soccer moms, and the ineffable Santa Claus logic that prompts terror. My work depends on these contingencies; to understand, I slip and slink into new surrounds. I package the sacrosanct; I embrace the bastard.

My work often functions as a ‘frame tale’; like Arabian Nights — an overarching narrative with stories tucked in between — I initiate a creation and invite others to join by making. Most pleasurable and rewarding are those moments where difference engenders a productive friction. Both the work’s aesthetic caliber and the thrill of seeing how it will next unfold drives the collaboration forward.

In The Parasite Michel Serres describes participation as a game of catch. “The ‘game’ emerges not from the individuated players but when the ball passes from person to person. The ‘we’ is less a set of I’s than a set of its transmissions,” he writes.”The speed accelerates him and causes him to exist… It appears brutally drunkenness and ecstasy, both annihilations of the principle of individuation.”

I’m driven by the challenge to create works that function doubly as art and tool. The former invites exploration and fundamental, open-ended questions. The latter requires in-depth knowledge about the issues faced by communities with whom I collaborate (artists, media makers, low wage workers, immigrants, and teens). To satisfy both mandates, I collaborate with organizational hosts who share their expertise and in turn recognize the role that art can play by inviting public participation in the creation of new narratives and myths. 

REV- (as in, to “rev” an engine”)

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Founder / Executive Director: Marisa Jahn

REV- is a non-profit studio where artists, media makers, low-wage workers, immigrants, and youth combine bold ideas and sound research to produce creative media about the issues they face. 

A women and minority-led team, REV-’s key projects include El Bibliobandido (or ‘book bandit’), a living legend produced with denizens from a region in Honduras with an 80% illiteracy rate that centers around a story-eating bandit that terrorizes little kids until they write and offer him stories; Video Slink Uganda, a project involving burning experimental videos by contemporary African/African-American artists onto pirated DVDs and circulated through Uganda’s black market cinema; a public art nanny hotline that informs New York’s 200,000 domestic workers about their rights; and publications that trammel the boundary between the printed word and public sphere. 

Recognized for its unique perspective, REV-s work has been featured at venues such as The White House, Tribeca Film Festival, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The Museum of Modern Art, and the Walker Art Center and has received critical acclaim in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Art Forum, The Los Angeles Times, and more.

Learn more here.

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