In addition to fostering synthesis and collaboration between artists, designers, activists and institutions serving the common good, ModNomad Studio seeks ways to expand and heal our too-narrow and dysfunctional political dialogue in the US. This begins with a commitment to truth, curiosity and empathy, and to finding the best ways to inform and educate ourselves and our fellow citizens in order to better prepare for the complex challenges we must face together. If we are to succeed in creating a society that better meets the needs and aspirations of all citizens—not just a wealthy few—we must move from estrangement to engagement, and stop allowing ourselves to be distracted, divided and pillaged by a corrupted system.
ModNomad is always interested in learning about new ideas and potential collaborations, and we offer free residencies in our guest suite, providing space and time for inspiration and creativity, and opportunities to connect with other artists and activists. Get in touch.
Current Projects & Collaborators
Possible: A Conversation / Raquel Varela
The United States is in the midst of an existential and Constitutional crisis.
Our broken elections system resulted in a candidate who received 2.9 million fewer votes than his opponent becoming president. Orchestrated by right-wing extremists, the Trump administration is up-ending democracy, diplomacy, financial security and ethical standards by rapid-fire executive orders and issuing bans and religious tests. A Republican-led Congress is willing to suddenly deny as many as 30 million Americans access to healthcare with out offering a better and cheaper alternative plan, and these are just a few of the regressive developments in the first weeks since the inauguration.
This is government run amok.
It will take all manner of resistance to thwart Trumpism and what Reuters has deemed "authoritarian" rule. We'll need inside- and outside-political-party strategies, but the real energy and leadership that can unify the vast majority of Americans who did not vote for Trump and who do not support or recognize him as a legitimate president must not be subjected to party politics and divisions.
To sustain and cohere the disparate engagement and resistance efforts, we need a citizen-led campaign built around a big unifying cause that can mobilize all people of conscience from across the political spectrum to defend this democracy.
To get there, we must expand our imaginations and political discourse about what is possible and get creative about how to end this extremist tyranny sooner rather than later.
Toward that end, ModNomad Studio co-founder Jennifer Nix is collaborating with renowned historian and social critic Raquel Varela to organize an instant book and media campaign that will share the empowering and recent history of a nonviolent and democratic movement in Portugal, which in 1974-75 carried out a peaceful, citizen-led transition of power that ended policies of empire, removed a 48-year dictatorship and restored democracy.
"I discovered this previously untold history--and our government's malevolent role and disinformation campaign--while in Lisbon in April 2016. In the midst of the wretched 2016 election, this story blew my mind."
-- Jennifer Nix
This book (distributed on multiple platforms and channels) will provide a central interview that boils down Raquel's definitive book, A People's History of the Portuguese Revolution (Bertrand/2016. Currently available only in Portuguese), to its essentials for an American audience and will include analysis from Raquel about the parallels and lessons that could be adapted. The book will also present reactions, cogent commentary, bold vision and potential next steps from movement and religious leaders, visionaries, technologists, scientists, economists, independent journalists, teachers, health care providers, elected officials, business owners and others about how we can create a movement around a people-led and peaceful transition of power and changing our system of governance.
A Herculean task, yes, but the moral and civic imperative of our time. And, as we learn from Raquel Varela's seminal work...possible.
GoGo in Brooklyn
ModNomad Studio is thrilled to be involved in a major collaboration between three New York non-profits and the office of the Brooklyn Borough President. The project synthesizes art, design and activism into a creative program that will bring nourishment, services and education about nutritional and healing food preparation to underserved communities in Brooklyn. We are designing a GoGo Kitchen to be used for these cooking demonstrations, as part of Bridging Access to Care’s mobile set for a web/TV series that will teach ways to turn food pantry offerings provided by CAMBA and City Harvest into delicious and healthy meals. The project is supported and funded by Eric L. Adams, Brooklyn Borough President.
That’s all we can say for now, but stay tuned! Press conference coming soon.
ModNomad is currently seeking nonprofit partners in the San Francisco Bay area. We provide fundraising, public relations and media outreach services, as well as our design/build expertise. The idea is to build a campaign to help elevate your mission and broaden your outreach efforts, and provide a mobile kitchen for creative and office-use purposes.
With so many nonprofits housed in rented office space, a GoGo Kitchen means you can take it with you when you move and cut down on construction costs and waste. GoGos are made of all salvaged materials and energy-efficient appliances, and built by sculptor Jeff Smith, whose work is featured in the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Boston.
Contact us at: ModNomadStudio@gmail.com
Radical Democracy / David Olson
Income inequality. Racism. Workers rights. Ecological crisis. Endless War for profit. From protests in the streets to mainstream calls for political revolution, people are losing faith in our basic social, political and economic systems and institutions. Rediscovering our own agency, we are collectively imagining what a truly free and democratic society would look like–and organizing and acting to make that vision real through fundamental, systemic, radical change.
"I use the term radical in its original meaning–getting down to and understanding the root cause. It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system." —Ella Baker
Radical Democracy is digital publishing project that connects social and political movements of the past with those of today through original analysis, interviews with movement activists, organizers and thinkers, and an archive of important radical documents, essays and other writings.
From the Freedom Movement, Feminism and New Left of the 1960s through Occupy, Black Lives Matter and beyond, Radical Democracy explores ideas and movements devoted to creating a more just and truly democratic society. Activists, organizers and writers share stories, experience and insights from struggles past and present, and discuss collaboratively creating a new “movement of movements” for social, racial, political and economic justice. Featuring an archive of radical documents and essays, with extensive links to oral histories, speeches, photos, book excerpts, video, websites and more.
"America was begun by its radicals. America was built by its radicals. The hope and future of America lies with its radicals." —Saul Alinsky
"Sit down and read. Educate yourself for the coming conflicts."—Mary Harris “Mother” Jones
"Nothing terrifies those running America more than the danger of true democracy breaking out." —David Graeber
Producer: David Olson is an independent media producer, artist and activist. He is co-founder of digital communication agency speakeasy productions, and former executive director of
MediaChannel.org, a non-profit media watchdog group in NYC. ModNomad will be helping with outreach and editorial contributions to this important effort aimed at expanding our individual and collective imagination about what is possible for our democracy.