PUBLIC SECRET SOCIETY OF CONCEPTUAL MIGRANTS

PSSCM is an intervention project created by artist Patty Ortiz as part of her continuing performance series Work Won’t Kill You. PSSCM is built around the word migrant, its specific definition and common assumptions. Ortiz proposes to take the historical concept of a secret society and turn it inside out, building an underground association of people who openly agree to identify as migrant based on the fact that they have moved because of their work. This secret society will then openly proclaim its private covenant through a public exhibition that nurtures a compassion and creates a new context and understanding of the migrant experience.

Working with students from Emmanuel College initially through a series of workshops, Ortiz will enlist a group of recruiters to roam the two college campuses, Emmanuel and Wentworth, as well as other parts of Boston, engaging the general public, enrolling society members. and documenting diverse migrant paths. Ortiz will also record numerous stories from its membership that illustrates the diverse experiences of the movement of labor across the US.

 

A primary concern is to show that the word migrant does not necessarily mean immigrant, foreign or undocumented. Ortiz’ father and grandparents were all born in the US. Her father’s family chose to be migrant because of their need for work. To this day Ortiz herself has moved throughout the US for work as an artist and an arts museum director and curator.

Ortiz’ premise is that the word migrant is loaded with negative connotations that ignores the fact that the United States is, and always has been, one of the most geographically mobile countries in the world. Forging a voluntary category of conceptual migrants who agree on their common experience might help erase the stereotypical stigma.

 

All members will be given a variety of membership freebies such as PSSCM membership cards, lapel pins, key chains, hats, frisbees, stickers, handmade patches as well as a membership tote bag at the conclusion of the project so as to continue proudly displaying their PSSCM pledge. The project will culminate with a public exhibition at Casella Gallery from November 11-22, 2019, with a closing reception on November 19, 2019 at 5pm, followed by a public lecture at 6pm.

I am a

Conceptual

Migrant!

I am a

Conceptual

Migrant!

I am a

Conceptual

Migrant!

I am a

Conceptual

Migrant!

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mi·grant /ˈmīɡrənt/

noun: a person who moves from one place to another, especially in order to find work or better living conditions.