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Preserving the stories of experimental arts spaces in DC

About this event

Rhizome DC is a community space dedicated to art, activism, and community power. Last year, threatened with the loss of the organization’s longtime performance home, the community embarked on an oral history project to preserve stories of building and re-building of experimental arts spaces in the capital. Twelve members of the Rhizome DC core community were interviewed by Tatev Sargsyan and filmed by Mai Nolasco. These interviews, house footage, and Rhizome DC programming record are now available in the DC Public Library’s Dig DC archives.

Next up, the interviews and additional footage of the house and performances will be released in the form of an experimental documentary film in October of this year. The timing is significant, because around the same time Rhizome will have to move from its current home in Takoma DC.

This Coffee Chat will explore Rhizome DC’s oral history project inspirations. Join us as we chat with some of the interviewees and project coordinators, and look at the road ahead.

Meet the Panelists:

Tatev Sargsyan is a multi-media artists and community organizer, based in Los Angeles. Tatev has presented visual arts and participatory exhibitions at Rhizome DC, including facilitating a listening room to accommodate artmaking and conversing among experimental soundscapes of the purple house. She designed and conducted the oral history interviews of Rhizome community and is currently working on producing and directing the experimental documentary film about this community and the spirited house it occupies.

Mai Nolasco is a videographer and journalist, based in Queens, NY. She produces important stories about immigrant rights and current events within a news agency and explores local stories as an independent artist. Mai assisted in interview design and led video and recording efforts for the Rhizome DC oral histories project.

Layne Garrett is an artist, who has been a part of Washington DC’s experimental DIY community for a long time. As a founding member of Rhizome DC and current director of affairs, Layne wears many hats: he answers emails, oversees digital assets of Rhizome DC, facilitates instrument building workshops for people of all ages, performs with many local artists, does the sound sometimes, and more.

Laura Irene is a visual artist, sound artist, and art critic based in Washington DC. She organized annual Dia de los Muertos, Day of the Dead, celebration at Rhizome DC, inviting the community to remember and celebrate their dead. She created a space, commemorating LatinX people, killed by the police. Laura also helps curate programming at Rhizome DC.

Thomas Stanley (a.k.a. Bushmeat Sound) is an artist, author, and activist deeply committed to audio culture in the service of personal growth and social change. He is a writer and presenter, who has been involved in organizing events, hosting residency lectures and performances at Rhizome DC.

Khalid Thompson is an artist, who has been a part of Washington DC’s experimental arts community, painting alongside local and visiting musicians, hosting creative expression workshops at Rhizome DC through series of “Painting the Moment” events, and through exploration of his own mediums of expression.

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