American University Museum Presents Raw Hope of Humanity Rising

By Editorial Team on March 2, 2020


The State of Things, Republican Convention 2008, St. Paul MN by LigoranoReese – photo credit: Nora Ligorano.

A series of public dialogues entitled Raw Hope of Humanity Rising will be Webconferenced via the Third Space Network from the American University Museum in 2020. Four Interdisciplinary panels made up of artists, activists, curators, scholars, media critics, cultural and government officials will engage in participatory online roundtables during the run-up to the 2020 presidential election.

Raw Hope of Humanity Rising is intended to address critical arguments emerging in the current political climate, in which hope is as raw as our democracy is faltering. These arguments concern core principles of democracy that are increasingly challenged, in which freedom of the press is threatened, elections are undermined, and constitutional guardrails are pushed to the limit. In the current climate of fear, tribalism, disinformation, abuse of power, and the abandonment of democratic ideals, we see a steady erosion of the most fundamental qualities of humanism and embrace of the common good that binds us all.

We ask: can art actively mediate political turmoil to bring new insight and perspective to partisan conflict that is gripping the country? To this end, Raw Hope of Humanity Rising proposes a much-needed public conversation that transcends boundaries between the arts, media, and government: critical to illuminating the complex social, cultural, technological, and political issues we face. We intend to extend this conversation even further, using the Internet as a platform that invites online audiences across the third space to be involved in civic engagement that is freely accessible, participatory, and global.

These panels are free and open to all, no RSVP required. For more information, visit

Online viewers can save your spot and participate by visiting:

Democracy vs Authoritarianism
March 4, 2020, 6:00-7:30PM ET
The hijacking of democracy through intentional manipulation of the levers of power, thus undermining systems of government and the voice of the people.

  • Randall Packer, Moderator (Artistic Director, Zakros InterArts)
  • Roberto Bedoya (Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Oakland)
  • LigoranoReese (Collaborative artist duo)
  • Renée Stout (Artist)

Information vs Propaganda
June 17, 2020, 6:00-7:30PM ET
The manipulation and distortion of truth and information through techniques of propaganda and disinformation that falsely attempt to persuade public opinion.

  • Leanne Mella (Independent cultural producer)
  • Hasan Elahi (Artist, Director, School of Art, George Mason University)
  • Will Stevens (U.S. Dept. of State Foreign Service Officer, Former Spokesperson, U.S. Embassy in Moscow)
  • Siva Vaidhyanathan (Professor, Modern Media Studies, University of Virginia)

Idealism vs Cynicism
July 22, 2020, 6:00-7:30PM ET
The disruption of idealism essential to the core principles of democracy though cynical disdain for the rule of law, wisdom, and logic.

  • Randall Packer, Moderator
  • Zoë Charlton (Artist, Associate Professor, American University)
  • Lee McIntyre (Research Fellow, Center for Philosophy and History of Science, Boston University)
  • Monica Montgomery (Executive Director, Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center)

Real vs Fake
September 2, 2020, 6:00-7:30PM ET
The intentional public confusion of a clear distinction between what is real and what is fake, what is truth and what is fiction, and what is fact and what is a lie.

  • Randall Packer, Moderator
  • Martha Rosler (Artist)
  • Douglas Rushkoff (Author/host of Team Human, Professor, CUNY/Queens)
  • John Sipher (Former Deputy Chief, Russia Operations, CIA)