no. NOT EVER. is a living, growing archive of memories and stories that capture a snapshot of 1980’s and 1990’s rural and suburban Pacific Northwest activist political imaginaries and strategies for countering white nationalism. The installation combines video and audio footage from interviews, interactive research and cultural organizing stations, and various community engagement resources. The exhibition functions as a participatory teaching tool and as an intergenerational bridge to support ongoing efforts to say “no. NOT EVER.” to white nationalism in a wide range of communities and contexts.
[The image is from a version of no. NOT EVER. at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, WA (2017). There are three small video screens featuring interview footage with activists on two walls with red and white resource cards hanging next to them and headphones and chairs. There is a larger rectangle screen hanging from the ceiling on the right with multiple video clips of interviews running at the same time. In the center of the gallery is a red picnic table on a rectangle of bright green astro turf. Behind the table there is a timeline on the wall with yellow sticky notes posted by viewers. The notes describe white nationalist violence they have seen, felt, or heard.]
Background: In 2016, If You Don’t They Will began interviewing rural and suburban activists who were part of a Pacific Northwest network to counter white nationalism in their communities in the 1980’s and 1990’s. These activists were organizing during the peak of the Northwest Territorial Imperative, a white nationalist declaration intent on creating a white separatist homeland in the Northwest. This “call to action” drew a wide range of white nationalist individuals and groups who relocated to take over local community infrastructure and shift the culture to make it (even more) inhospitable to anyone who did not believe in, or uphold, white nationalist values and ideology. The activists interviewed for no. NOT EVER. have informed decades of regional, national and international opposition research, community organizing, and social movement theories. Their stories, political sensibilities, and labors have been greatly under-recognized.
[Three images in a line across the webpage. The first image is a close up shot of a black timeline with years 2014 and 2016 in closeup focus. The timeline is surrounded by yellow sticky notes where people have posted descriptions of white nationalist violence they’ve seen, felt, or experienced. The second image shows a monitor with a mid-shot of a person wearing a red sweatshirt on it. A quote above the monitor in red text reads: “We need research and to see ourselves as researchers because it helps us understand a given context and powerfully informs our strategies. Anybody can be a researcher; everybody is a researcher. -If You Don’t They Will”. Headphones and white information cards hang on the wall below monitor. A black timeline stretches to the right of the screen starting at 1970 with yellow post-it notes surrounding it . Text above the the timeline reads “Join the movement against white nationalism.” Two scenario cards, one red, one white, hang below the timeline. The third image shows a outline map of Washington State and other Pacific Northwest states with hundreds of red pins marking locations of white nationalist violence they have seen, felt, or heard. Text above the map reads: “Join the movement against white nationalism”. Two scenario cards, one red, one white, hang below the timeline.]
Hoping to host an installation of no. NOT EVER. ?
no. NOT EVER. is committed to celebrating, engaging, and transmitting these cultural histories as part of a larger effort to energize current struggles against white nationalism, smash white supremacy, and create spaces to imagine the kinds of worlds we want to live in. Some installations of no. NOT EVER. may include If You Don’t They Will workshops, performances, talks, and other community events co-curated by local hosts. The show is intentionally designed to be mobile, adaptable, and easy to install in a wide range of venues.