Dysfunctionalware creates a shared workspace for the ongoing process of undoing racism on a personal level.
Dysfunctionalware is a series of dinner dialogues and a participatory art experience which establishes a shared work space for people interested in combatting racism by spending an evening exploring their personal experience in their own skin.
It features a set of china dishware illustrated by local artists with images intended to spark dialogue about what their race may encompass, allow, provide, influence, and get in the way of. Guests sit and eat a meal, bite by bite uncovering the artists’ images as facilitators guide the table through discussion.
Dysfunctionalware takes place at various donated venues around the city, where host organizations and small businesses can invite 10-16 of their members, staff, friends, or volunteers.
Through a multi-course meal, each guest’s cleaned plate will reveal a new work of art for one-on-one sharing or group conversation. The goal is not to "solve racism" in a dinner, but to untangle more of the issues surrounding race in our own minds and lives, and share resources for next steps.
The fine china used in this project is meant as a symbol of the benefits associated with not having to walk through the world thinking about race. China is often inherited along family lines unearned and unchosen, and--despite its size and significance--seldom examined or considered in the course of day-to-day life.
The title ‘Dysfunctionalware’, a ceramics reference, describes the way the discomfort with and avoidance of talking about racial issues can unfortunately passively propagate inequality even when the intent is good.