In August, a few Chicago correspondents from the People’s Tribune organized events for a new festival in Chicago called “Perform/Transform.” Originally inspired by a game that used the hashtag #nomoneynoborders to introduce ideas and questions about what a free world might look like into internet conversations, the festival was designed to bring these conversations to the public in real life. On the first day, groups hosted open mics with performances that offered a vision of a world where people’s basic needs are met. The second day focused on workshops of various kinds. People Tribune correspondent Michelle Saltouros interviewed the lead organizer for the events, local artist Plus Sign, about the festival.
Michelle Saltouros: What did you hope to accomplish with the festival/what were the outcomes?
Plus Sign: I hoped to save the world! I wasn’t sure what that looked like, but it ended up looking like lots of people getting together all around to tell their truth and help each other relax. It produced gorgeous online content of people getting along and making art. We decided together (and individually) that utopia looks like being able to move around and work and play and communicate freely. So now we’re using our connections to build the structures of utopia that will allow us to do that.
MS: Could you describe some events that took place or that you visited?
PS: We did a . . . parade from one Perform/Transform venue to the other. It was amazing! We got to know each other, shared music, inspiration, took pictures with flowers, and enjoyed the summer night air. The next morning, after a long night of dancing and partying, a few of us gathered in a garden on the South Side to meditate while in the North, the People’s Tribune team led a guerilla gardening workshop, and in Bridgeport, women talked about vaginal health. It was a large, wonderful multi-faceted thing.
MS: Could you tell us about the origins of #nomoneynoborders?
PS: #nomoneynoborders came from wanting to start a game that could save the world! We knew that money and borders were the problem, but wanted to find a way to make solving that problem fun and inclusive. My partner Sasha and I made it into a reality!
MS: How did #nomoneynoborders turn into the Perform/Transform festival?
PS: We played the game for a half year all around this city and continent. We hosted shows, artists did installations, videos, photo shoots, live feeds—as many ways we could connect people to the concept of no money and no borders while expressing themselves about what a free world looks like to them. The festival felt like the next logical progression, a massive event where we could save the world once and for all.
MS: How can people get/stay involved?
PS: Anyone can use the #nomoneynoborders hashtag to connect with others building utopia and/or talk about what it means to them. Throw a #nomoneynoborders-themed event! Come to someone else’s! Check out all the happenings that pop up when the tag is clicked across the internet! Also, we’re fundraising for another festival (and much much more)! Check it out at tinyurl.com/fundutopia/