Reading the News—a 34,000 Pillows workshop

$0    |  Jul 20, 2019  |  12:00PM - 5:00PM
Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles

Join the artist collaborative Díaz Lewis for a 34,000 Pillows workshop to collaboratively create pillows from recycled clothing and learn about current US immigration issues.

Each pillow becomes a part of 34,000 Pillows—an ongoing project that addresses the system of detention centers and its treatment of detainees.

In 2009, the US Congress mandated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) maintain a quota of 34,000 detained immigrants per day in its 250 facilities around the country. This “bed quota” inspired Díaz Lewis to create a participatory artwork where pillows made from clothing donated by undocumented immigrants, prior detainees, and their allies to form a collective patchwork of individual experiences.

For their workshop at ICA LA, Díaz Lewis will to recreate the format of the Lectores de Tabaquería (Cigar Factory Readers), a tradition that originated in Cuba in 1865 when Nicolás Azcárate, a leader of a movement for political reform, proposed the practice of live reading in the factory as a way to educate workers and relieve tedium. It is believed that cigar workers, inspired by what they learned in the readings, helped win Cuba’s independence from Spain and later founded trade unions.

Díaz Lewis will invite musicians and poets to read fragments of news, literature, and poetry to the participants of the workshop as they create pillows in the space.

Each completed pillow will be priced and sold by the artists at $159—an amount that reflects the average amount of taxpayer money spent each day by Congress to detain one person daily. 100% of the proceeds for this project support the efforts of national and local immigration organizations whose efforts are dedicated to revealing the injustices of the detention centers and to restoring human dignity to those formerly detained.

The workshop is free and open to anyone who would like to participate.