Alex Strada and Tali Keren: Proposal for a 28th Amendment? Is it Possible to Amend an Unequal System (2021-present) will be installed in the Museum’s Sculpture Garden, the first time this project will be presented outdoors on a long-term basis. Strada and Keren’s work will be free and open to the public from dawn until dusk on the Museum's grounds from July 15 to September 17, 2023.
Strada and Keren ask visitors to engage with the United States Constitution via sonic soapbox sculptures by listening and contributing to questions of systems repair and abolition. The sculptures, a range of interactive wooden painted objects, build upon the history of the soapbox as a site of collective struggle, while also emphasizing listening, mutuality, and access. The artists pose two questions for visitors to record responses to: What 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would you propose? And: Do you think it is possible to amend an unequal system?
Opening with the phrase, “We the People,” the United States Constitution, the oldest functioning constitution in the world, was written in 1787 by and for wealthy white male property owners. To date, of 11,000 proposed amendments, 27 have been ratified to change the document. The artists’ proposed questions illuminate this legacy and ask for a collective response interrogating the Constitution’s embedded issues of structural racism, settler-colonial violence, heteropatriarchy, reproductive injustice, labor inequities, and non-human animal and climate neglect.
The soapbox sculptures take several distinctive forms including an ADA soapbox that is fully wheelchair and stroller accessible, a two-person soapbox for collective listening and dialogue, a daybed soapbox for visitors to recline upon and politically imagine, and an individual soapbox. Each soapbox sculpture includes headphones which emit an evolving oral archive of responses to the project’s questions recorded by visitors. At the time of this project’s installation at The Aldrich, the audio will include responses from the project’s former installation locations at the Queens Museum in New York City (October 2, 2021 to February 13, 2022) and the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, CA (October 20, 2022 to March 12, 2023). Visitor responses will be collected and added to the project’s oral archive to be shared in future installations. Following the presentation at The Aldrich, the installation will travel to Project Row Houses in Houston, TX.
Proposal for a 28th Amendment? Is it Possible to Amend an Unequal System? is organized for The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum by Namulen Bayarsaihan, Director of Education.
2. Speaking into your phone’s microphone, you may choose to introduce yourself and respond to the questions below. Your response can be in any language and any length you choose.
What 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution would you propose? How would this amendment impact your life?
Do you think it is possible to amend a system that from its founding is inherently unequal?
Please upload your audio file here.
By uploading, your voice will be included in the oral archive to this evolving installation!
We thank our friends at Yerba Buena Center For The Arts for sharing their instructions for submitting to the oral archive.
Alex Strada (she/hers) and Tali Keren (she/hers) are New York City-based artists and educators who have been collaborating since 2016. Their projects have been shown at the Queens Museum, New York; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; Anthology Film Archives, New York, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, New York NY; Goethe-Institut, New York, NY; Museum of Moving Image, New York, NY; MuseumsQuartier, Vienna, Austria; Kaunas Biennial, Kaunas, Lithuania; and on the screens of New York City’s Times Square with Times Square Arts’ Midnight Moment. Strada and Keren both received an MFA in Visual Arts from Columbia University. They are recipients of the 2022 New York Artadia Award and are 2022-23 artists-in-residence at the Wexner Center for the Arts.
In addition, Keren has had solo exhibitions at the James Gallery, CUNY Graduate Center, New York, NY; Eyebeam, New York, NY; Ludlow 38, New York, NY and MOCAD, Detroit, and she is the recipient of the Jerome Hill Artist Fellowship. Strada is a recipient of grants from NYFA, NYSCA, and the Graham Foundation, and she currently serves as the inaugural Public Artist-in-Residence with the NYC Department of Homeless Services and the Department of Cultural Affairs.
Top image: Photo: Gloria Perez