We Are All Criminals artist partners, pictured in a composite graphic with seven photos, as well as logos and URL for the SEEN project

Spring 2021 Organization-in-Residence: We Are All Criminals

In spring 2021, We Are All Criminals will be the organization-in-residence at the Target Studio for Creative Collaboration, working with the Weisman to further develop a unique museum residency program for incarcerated artists. Our collaboration builds on the SEEN: a poetry and portrait project that challenges and disrupts mass incarceration by clearing the pathways for people behind bars to have their voices heard, faces seen, and humanity recognized. We are partnering with seven artists at the Stillwater and Moose Lake Correctional Facilities, who are themselves collaborating with artists in the wider community, to develop personal, new works that include multiple disciplines, from poetry to podcast.

Learn more about We Are All Criminals >>

About the SEEN @ WAM Artist Teams:

  • Von and D.A. Bullock: spoken word and videography. Working concept: A Love Letter to Von: envisioning/visions of community healing while fighting to come home.
  • Jeff and Korina Barry: podcast. Working concept: deeply raw, poetic, and personal dialogue, dissection of American life—past, present, future—behind and beyond bars. Focus on Black and Indigenous experiences, voices.
  • Sarith and Carl Flink: recorded memoir and choreographic response. Working concept: driven by the narratives of Sarith’s memories of life in Cambodia during the Khmer Rouge genocide and incarceration in the U.S., the movers of Carl Flink’s Black Label Movement examine the restrictions of life in a cage—war, a genocidal labor camp, refugee camp, prison, pandemic, and the lifelong effects of trauma on the body, spirit, and mind.
  • Fong and Kevin Yang: considering recorded poetry and videography. Working concept: exploring themes of loss and longing, isolation and death, funerals and Hmong ritual, and what is needed to begin to heal—particularly when the space to do so has not been granted—and how culture and language can create both distance and dynamic connection.
  • B and Danny McCarthy Clifford, Dr Andrew Oxenham and Dr Peggy Nelson: recorded poetry and visual art, in particular, lettering. Working concept: exploring the deleterious effects of prison’s cacophony on one’s physiology and psychology.

Additional artists with forthcoming projects include:

Learn more about the artists of SEEN >>

In fall 2020, We Are All Criminals teamed up with WAM to present a virtual event—created in partnership with CEDAR PUBLIC ACCESS CHANNEL, Cedar Artist Collective member RITIKA GANGULY. The video event was recorded live on Oct. 29 and is available as part of WAM On Demand via the Weisman’s YouTube channel.


CALL FOR COLLABORATORS: Are you a UMN faculty member, researcher, or staffperson with interest in the themes and subject matter of We Are All Criminals’ SEEN project? Would you like to get involved? For more information about ways you might connect your interests with this work, contact Boris Oicherman by email: boris@umn.edu.