A future where prisons nor police exist. While it may sound far fetched to some, that’s the vision of artist collective, fronteristxs.
The fronteristxs received a $30,000 from MAP Fund – a private funding partner to
performing artists working in non-commercial, disruptive and marginalized practices. The money awarded to fronteristxs is a fraction of the $2.6 million that MAP Fund granted to 300 live-performance artists across 88 projects.
The artist collective plans to use the grant towards their new project: The House of An-Aesthesia, an “experimental” runaway performance that fuses drag and protest of surveillance technologies into a pop-up event that has an undisclosed date and time. However, a video will be available for those who don’t happen to be in the right place at the right time for the show.
The project will imagine an abolitionist future where time-traveling prisoners free themselves and return to the present to intervene in policing and surveillance issues.
There will be seven local drag performers featured in the show.
“The funding will go towards the designer, working with the performers and the video itself. So all of that production is going to be supported by the grant,” UNM Associate Professor and fronteristxs member Szu-Han Ho said.
Ho criticized the use of surveillance by police department’s like APD. She said that she is concerned about the department’s use of helicopters, cameras and shot-spotter technology.
In 2018 APD admitted to using devices that were capable of spying on calls and texts from cell phones.
“People are concerned about safety, and rightfully so. Nobody wants to live in a world of crime and insecurity, but I think our approach is that policing impacts people of color dispaporitantley and low income people – working class people. We’re not living in a secure environment, the millions of dollars that APD is getting out of the city budget is obviously not keeping us safe,” Ho said.
Ho’s explained that the city should address inequality .Which is what she believes is the root cause of crime.
“It’s really about what do we need as society, rather than getting rid of all police and prisons today. It’s really about thinking about what kind of society we want. If we lived in a world where everyone had the healthcare they need, the housing they need, the food security, arts and culture. That’s what we’re fighting for. And we think that in a world where everybody has their needs met, we would not need police and prisons,” Ho said.
Ho is also critical of police reforms. While she’s not a fan, she said that she knows they are necessary to addressing harms that are happening today. Ho said one of the reforms she’d like to see is a reduce in police funding.
In 2023, APD will receive $255 million, about 18% of the city’s budget. Ho said she’d like to see some of those funds redirected to housing, healthcare, education and access to arts and culture.
The fronteristxs has taken a strong stance against detention facilities and police.