Moving Chains: Toward Abolition
May 21, 2023
Castle Williams - Governors Island National Monument - Castle Williams
Governors Island - Governors Island - Colonels Row Green
Rescheduled to Sunday, May 21, due to weather.
On the occasion of Charles Gaines’s monumental work Moving Chains on Governors Island, Creative Time and Governors Island Arts present a day-long public program on Governors Island bringing together an interdisciplinary group of artists, scholars, and educators working on strategies for abolition in art, law, education, and political action. This event is free with registration, click here to register.
The day’s workshops, talks, presentations, and walking tour center on the possibilities and limitations of achieving abolition through the law. The contested, moving, and blurred lines between people and property persists today as one of the foundations of racial capitalism, the economic and structural afterlife of slavery. As scholar, and panelist, Saidiya Hartman argues, while discussing the specters of freedom, the political and legal structure of liberty is a permutation of slavery — freedom can never be possessed, only shared. Moving Chains: Toward Abolition offers an opportunity to consider how freedom can be defined outside of the contours of property, considers past examples of movements using the law in the fight for freedom, and ultimately asks whether abolition and the law are compatible or not.
10 – 10:45AM: Black Gotham Experience Guided Tour, Soissons Landing
11AM-1PM: Morning Session, Castle Williams
- Grounding and Land Acknowledgement by Black Gotham Experience
- Presentation by Tali Keren and Alex Strada, 28th Amendment Project
- Panel Discussion: Abolition and the Law with American Artist, Albert Fox Cahn, and Kameelah Janan Rasheed, moderated by Che Gossett
- Presentation by Sarah Abdelaziz, Executive Director, Abolitionist Teaching Network
1 – 2PM: Lunch Break, Colonels Row
- Black Gotham Experience Lunch Circle
- 28th Amendment Soap Box Installation
12 – 3PM: Drop-In Workshops, Colonels Row
- Drop into multigenerational artmaking workshops and gatherings to collectively imagine freedom while learning about the possibility, necessity, and stakes of teaching abolition today. This program is organized by Tiffany Lenoi Jones with Akiea “Ki” Gross and Noor Jones-Bey, grantees of the Abolitionist Teaching Network.
2 – 5PM: Afternoon Session, Castle Williams
- Presentation by artist Russell Craig, Right of Return
- Panel Discussion: Architectures of Freedom with Torkwase Dyson, Cameron Rowland, and Rinaldo Walcott
- In Conversation: Charles Gaines and Christina Sharpe
Organized by Diya Vij, Curator at Creative Time, with Che Gossett, scholar of abolition and contemporary Black art, co-organizing the session panels; and artist and educator Tiffany Lenoi Jones, co-organizing the drop-in workshops.
See below for past programs and events on Governors Island.