Surviving the Disaster

Join us for a presentation and discussion with Matt Peterson from Woodbine in New York City, which is currently celebrating its 10 year anniversary. For this event we'd like to have a conversation on the long histories of crisis and disaster we've lived through in the last two decades, from 9/11, to the Financial Crisis, to Hurricane Sandy, to Covid, and our experiments since 2014 with neighborhood self-organization and autonomy in Ridgewood, Queens. Amidst the ongoing deterioration all around us, and with each new catastrophe we face, it's clear that our horizon is one of survival rather than recovery. Four years since Covid, we'd like reflect together on what we mean by concepts like mutual aid, disaster relief, and autonomy. We will briefly trace the history of Woodbine since 2014, and our transition in March 2020 to becoming a full-time emergency response hub. We'll highlight our experiments with community organizing around food sovereignty, from our weekly Sunday dinners, community gardens, year-round community supported agriculture programs, free community refrigerator, seed library, and food pantry. How do we think together the extended time-frames of the political, economic, ecological, social, and biological crises we face, and how does it influence our longer-term visions of a life in common? And how do we make room for art, cinema, and poetry, as well as practices which strengthen our creativity, and physical and mental health? Matt Peterson is an organizer at Woodbine, an experimental space in New York City. He directed the documentary features Scenes from a Revolt Sustained (2015) and Spaces of Exception (2019), and co-edited the books In the Name of the People (2018), The Mohawk Warrior Society (2022), and The Reservoir (2022). Since 2014 he has collaborated with Malek Rasamny on “The Native and the Refugee”, a multi-media documentary project on American Indian reservations and Palestinian refugee camps.