A shared workspace for the ongoing process of undoing racism on a personal level.
Dysfunctionalware 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 discussion.
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.
Many ceramists put great effort into creating a piece which is pleasing to use—“functional ware.” “Dysfunctionalware” describes the way discomfort with and avoidance of talking about racial issues can passively propagate inequality even when the intent is good.