Co-designing Labor


Sept. 8, 2020

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Held the day after the historic holiday - Labor Day -  that once stood for the rights of workers, but now mostly marks the beginning of Autumn. Labor Day was born 150 years ago out of a horrific time in American history where workers toiled 12 hour days, 7 days a week, some as young as 5 and 6 years old. On September 5th, 1882 the Labor Day parade saw 10,000 workers march on Union Square in New York City to demand better conditions. We would like to resurrect Labor Day to reflect on what it means to be a worker in America today. We find ourselves once again in an era of extreme income disparity where predatory employment practices leave many Americans overworked and underpaid.

At Salon No. 8, artist Marisa Morán Jahn shared her dynamic and interactive practice on what it means to co-design new infrastructures with low-wage workers, immigrants, youth, and women. As a response to Labor Day, Jahn drew from her recent body of work with migrant workers, domestic workers, and immigrant communities to share surprising outcomes and practical takeaways.

Presented By: The Artist

Marisa morán Jahn


Of Ecuadorian and Chinese descent, Marisa Morán Jahn is an artist whose work redistributes power, “exemplifying the possibilities of art as social practice” (ArtForum). Characterizing her playful approach, MIT CAST writes, ‘[Jahn] introduces a trickster-like humor into public spaces and discourses, and yet it is a humor edged with political potency.” With the National Domestic Workers Alliance, Jahn created CareForce, a project that amplifies the voices of America’s fastest growing workforce, caregivers. CareForce includes two mobile studios (NannyVan, CareForce One), an app that CNN named as “one of 5 apps to change the world,” and a PBS/Sundance-supported film produced with Oscar and Emmy-winning filmmaker Yael Melamede. A Creative Capital awardee, Jahn’s work reaches wide audiences at Obama’s White House, the United Nations, New Museum, Creative Time, Tribeca Film Festival, The New York Times, BBC, Univision, etc. Jahn is the founder of Studio REV- which codesigns public art and creative media with low-wage workers, immigrants, youth, and women. She is a collaborating artist on the “Open Collectives” station at the 17th Venice Biennale of Architecture led by MIT Associate Professors Rafi Segal (architecture) and Sarah Williams (civic data design) with Greg Lindsay. She regularly teaches as MIT’s Art, Culture, and Technology; Columbia University; and is an Assistant Professor at The New School. Twitter, Instagram: @marisa_jahn