Episode 46 of Future Memory features artist, scholar, and composer, Nathan Young. Young is a member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians and a direct descendant of the Pawnee Nation and Kiowa Tribe, currently living in Tahlequah, Oklahoma. His work incorporates sound, video, documentary, animation, installation, socially-engaged art, and experimental and improvised music. Young is also a founding member of the artist collective, Postcommodity. He holds an MFA in Music/Sound from Bard College's Milton Avery School of the Arts and is currently pursuing a PhD in the University of Oklahoma's innovative Native American art history doctoral program. His scholarship focuses on Indigenous Sonic Agency. Nathan talks with Co-host Li Sumpter about his art and practice and a public art project at Historic site Pennsbury Manor entitled nkwiluntàmën, funded by the Pew Center for Arts & Heritage and curated by Ryan Strand Greenberg and Theo Loftis.
Future Memory welcomes El Sawyer and Jon Kaufman of MING Media. MING stands for Media In Neighborhoods Group – words that speak to WHERE Jon and El have been focusing their documentary work and the community-centered stories they’re known for telling. It’s been almost 10 years since the debut of Pull of Gravity, their first film and breakout project that shaped their future path in collaborative filmmaking. Pull of Gravity offers a rarely seen perspective on the prison system and those it impacts through the process of re-entry and the almost inescapable force of recidivism. In this episode, El and Jon share their own story of how they met, their style of collaboration and documentation, and how their non-linear, “human” approach to storytelling has taken them to neighborhoods around the world and ultimately changed both of their lives. We also talk about MING’s recent work with Monument Lab on projects like Re:Generation and Beyond Granite: Pulling Together that underscore both partners’ connections to the power of truth-telling and the understanding that like monuments, the permanence of media can be hurtful to those it represents or misrepresents and to the communities who will remember its record.
In this episode co-host Li Sumpter receives a history lesson from Jesse Hagopian, Seattle-based educator, activist, and die-hard advocate for antiracist education. He shares childhood memories that impacted his view of himself, his future path, and his role in the Black Freedom Struggle – a fight that has deep roots in Seattle and the very high school Jesse attended as a youth. He is a true master of the art and science of education guided by great icons of critical pedagogy like bell hooks and Paulo Freire. Jesse is an organizer with the Zinn Education Project, author of the upcoming book Teach Truth the Attack on Critical Race Theory and the Struggle for Anti-racist Education and co-editor of the books Black Lives Matter at School: An Uprising for Educational Justice and Teaching for Black Lives.
Concluding the Plot of Land series, we look at the work being done across the United States to repair our relationship with the land, from the Tongva conservancy in Los Angeles to the Sea Islands of South Carolina. What will it take to imagine a radically different future? With the stakes rising along with the temperature, what is the scale of change we need to shift power and build a more just world?
We return to Louisiana and the Joneses, where in recent decades family members have moved away for work and to escape the increasingly toxic air and water leaking from the neighboring chemical plants of Cancer Alley. As stronger hurricanes and vanishing wetlands reconfigure Louisiana’s topography, new industries continue old patterns of environmental harm. What will this mean for the future of Jonesland? What can their story on the front-lines of climate change teach us as the nation faces the dire consequences of extractive economies?
We learn the incredible story of Sedonia Dennis, a woman once enslaved in Louisiana, who came to own a piece of the plantation that had once claimed ownership of her family. And we explore how, over time, the plantation economy gave way to the petrochemical industry. Join us as we spend time with Sedonia Dennis’s descendant, Jazzy Miller who is documenting her family’s fight to exist at the intersection of each of these forms of extraction.