CareForce One tour:
Open Engagement and Brooklyn Museum
The CareForce One is a head-turning 1967 Mercury Colony Park station wagon modified with spectacular transmedia graphics by artist Marisa Morán Jahn that portray caregivers as superheroes. Touring this spring at museums, libraries, transit stops, and worker’s centers, the vehicle enables organizers to meet domestic employers and workers where they’re at and amplifies the voices of caregivers—America’s fastest growing workforce. Initiated as a socially-engaged public art project by Studio REV-, the CareForce One connects participants to care-work in order to help advocate for affordable and quality-care options while strengthening the socio-economic security of caregivers.
Visitors to the CareForce One can point their phones at the vehicle’s superhero-themed graphics to activate videos, animations, and danceable songs featuring the stories of caregivers and care-receivers. CareForce Toolkits distributed at stops on the tour contain information about new local and national laws concerning carework, as well as collectible playing cards that use an augmented reality app to trigger 30-second animated videos. Jahn also facilitates group dances (the CareForce Disco) using playful gestures (shaking the sheets, cleaning windows) as a way to increase public awareness of caregiving.
The CareForce One’s transmedia initiatives aim to increase public awareness of how domestic labor was rendered invisible in the United States’ earliest worker’s rights legislation. Because domestic workers were predominantly African-American at the time, caregivers were excluded by Southern lawmakers in the 1930s and ’40s from receiving the same rights as other workers. Thus, despite the fact that the labor of caregiving can be physically demanding and perilous—lifting a heavy individual out of a slippery bathtub, providing daily intravenous injections to those with bloodborne diseases, performing the repetitive motions of cleaning—the caring body was proscribed from the law. Current immigration laws likewise do not recognize the millions of undocumented careworkers who undergird the US economy.
“By presenting the caring body in public space as self-possessed, powerful and invigorated, we’re rendering carework visible,” says Jahn. “We’re countering the racial and legal injustices mapped onto the caring body. We’re inviting caregivers—paid and unpaid—to proudly identify their role as solution seekers to the nation’s care crises.”
These components—including an audionovela domestic worker app named by CNN as one of five “apps to change the world” and an earlier mobile studio (the NannyVan, 2014)—comprise the multiplatform CareForce project, displayed and performed in public spaces, universities, and museums across the United States, including artworks currently on view in the Agitprop exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum (April 7–August 14).
CareForce One tour sneak peak:
April 29, 6–7pm
Oakland Museum of California to kick off Open Engagement conference
May 7, 11am
Residency May 3–9
18th Street Arts Center, Santa Monica, CA
May 7, 7–10pm
Santa Ana Artwalk
Grand Central Art Center, Santa Ana, CA
June 4, 6–8pm
CareForce Disco workshop + performance
Brooklyn Museum’s Family Day
Other upcoming locations include SPACES (Cleveland), Pacific Northwest College of Art (Portland, OR), Chicago, Washington DC, and other venues. See www.careforce.co for booking information.
The CareForce was created by Studio REV-, a non-profit organization that involves artists, media-makers, low-wage workers, immigrants, and teens in producing public art and creative media about urgent issues. Other collaborators include Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yael Melamede (SALTY Features), curator and former New York Hall of Science director Eric Siegel, pioneer breakdancer Ana “Rokafella” Garcia, artists and caretakers Anya Krawcheck, Anjum Asharia, and others. Organizational partners include advocacy groups including the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Caring Across Generations, Brazilian Worker Center; arts organizations including SpaceWorks, Dancing in the Streets; and public interest law groups including the Urban Justice Center and NuLawLab.
Funders include Tribeca Film Institute, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Miller Innovation Fund, New York State Council on the Arts, Franklin Furnace, Fledgling Fund, MIT Open Doc Lab, Northeastern University, and Creative Capital’s MAP Fund.
For more information:
Marisa Morán Jahn, Lead Artist, CareForce / Executive Director, Studio REV-,
T 917 902 5396 / firstname.lastname@example.org