Episode 82 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast is up! I interview performance studies scholar and arts activist Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón about how women graffiti writers perform feminism on the global stage; who is excluded from the “respectable” street art model espoused by large creative cities; what a feminist approach to arts curating looks like on the ground; and why building feminist, queer, and decolonial bonds across the Puerto Rican diaspora is key to how Jessica imagines otherwise.
You can also read the transcript and show notes on the Ideas on Fire website, which have links to Jessica’s work and all the concepts, people, and events we discuss on the show (great for teaching!).
Guest: Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón
Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón is an assistant professor of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies at SUNY New Paltz. She is an interdisciplinary Latina feminist performance studies scholar working at the intersections of women’s, gender, and sexuality studies; cultural studies; Black and Latinx studies; and performance studies.
She is the author of Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in the Hip Hop Diaspora (NYU Press, 2018), a transnational urban and digital ethnography that centers the experiences of over 100 women graffiti writers in 23 countries to demonstrate how feminism emerges through individual and collective performances of belonging within a heteropatriarchal subculture.
Jessica’s research fuels her arts-based community activism: she has curated gallery shows and coordinated public mural productions with graffiti grrlz; published opinion pieces in graffiti magazines such as The Infamous Magazine and on feminist websites such as Muslima; lectured at community events like Wall Therapy in Rochester, NY; moderated discussions including “Art in Public” at O+ Festival in Kingston, NY; and appeared on Radio Kingston to discuss feminist activism at the Women’s Marches and women and deviance broadly.
“There’s a writer named Claw Money who said something to me at a book signing. She said, “Thank god for graffiti because it reminds us that we’re free and that we don’t have to obey their rules.” The world that I want to live in can be the world I’m already living in. There are already other worlds happening. We just have to support them. They’re already in existence.”
– Jessica Nydia Pabón-Colón on episode 82 of the Imagine Otherwise podcast