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Strange Futures

Strange Futures is a column hosted by Willa Köerner of The Strange Foundation, which features artists and organizers who are actively creating transformation in this moment.

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08.21
On Unlearning Conceptions Around Disability
I first learned about Taeyoon through his visual artwork—which often features abstract human figures and other whimsical characters rendered in bright, painterly colors—and later got to know him quite well as a collaborator, friend, and thought leader in the creative tech space. A gentle soul and a co-founder of the School for Poetic Computation in New York City, Taeyoon has a refreshing way of looking at technology as a tool for practicing care. In his work, he explores science, technology, society, and relationships through computer programming, drawing, and writing—often with other artists, experts, and communities. Over the past few years, he’s been collaborating closely with various disability communities, and through this work, he’s learned a lot about how arts and culture organizations can do a better job welcoming people with disabilities into their spaces and programming.
03.21
How to Process the Existential Dread of the Climate Crisis
This interview is part of Strange Futures, a column hosted by Willa Köerner of The Strange Foundation, which features artists and organizers who are actively creating transformation in this moment. Here, Willa talks to climate-focused broadcaster and author Britt Wray, PhD, who is a Fellow at Stanford University and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, about her work to better understand the emotional and psychological toll the climate crisis is taking on us, and what we can do to cope.
02.21
Strange Futures—Austin Robey & Danny Spitzberg
This interview is part of Strange Futures, a column hosted by Willa Köerner of The Strange Foundation, which features artists and organizers who are actively creating transformation in this moment. Here, Willa talks to two proponents of cooperative business models—Ampled co-founder Austin Robey, and coop-focused user researcher Danny Spitzberg—to learn more about the possibilities of bringing shared ownership to the web, how humans are naturally more generous than selfish, and what it takes to start a coop from scratch.
12.20
On the Resilience That Grows Out of Destruction and Decay
This interview is part of Strange Futures, a column hosted by Willa Köerner of The Strange Foundation, which features artists and organizers who are actively creating transformation in this moment. In this conversation, Willa talked to organizer and educator Sawdayah Brownlee, Board President of the Brooklyn Queens Land Trust, to hear how their 35+ community gardens are run, what Sawdayah has learned from years of farming and teaching, and how she’s keeping her faith that a greener, more resilient future is possible.
10.20
How to Make a Progressive Political Agenda Go Viral
This interview is part of Strange Futures, a column hosted by Willa Köerner of The Strange Foundation, which features artists and organizers who are actively creating transformation in this moment. In this conversation, Willa talked to Melissa Saenz Gordon and Glenn Robinson of Soft Power Vote to hear how they’re working to mobilize progressive, digital-native voters in the run up to November 3.
09.20
The Black School
This interview is part of Strange Futures, a new column hosted by Willa Köerner of The Strange Foundation, which features artists and organizers who are actively creating transformation in this moment. In this conversation, Willa sat down with designer Joseph Cuillier and artist Shani Peters—co-founders of The Black School—to hear more about their work to establish a model for community-based education in New Orleans.
08.20
How to Make Mutual-Aid Work Sustainable
This interview inaugurates Strange Futures, a partnership with The Strange Foundation to highlight how artists and organizers are seeding transformation in this moment. Here, Willa Koerner, Director of The Strange, caught up with Zenat Begum, a community organizer and owner of Playground Coffee, located in the Bed-Stuy neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY.
07.20
On Practicing Liberation
Ahead of the sixth annual Software For Artists Day on July 18 and 19, Willa Koerner spoke with participant Tsige Tafesse, one of the five founders of By Us For Us (BUFU), a Brooklyn-based collective focusing on the discourse of Black and Asian cultural and political relationships. The founders are a collective of queer, femme, Black, and East Asian artists and organizers who emphasize building solidarity, de-centering whiteness, and resurfacing our deeply interconnected and complicated histories. Representing BUFU, she has been invited to speak by various museums and institutions, including most recently the Brooklyn Museum and the Rubin Museum.