TEN (The Emergence Network) is a fugitive, underground network of social artists seeking to create new openings to age-old problems. We aim to disrupt dominant modes of perception, engagement, and responsiveness in a time of crisis by disturbing modern notions of justice, power, and human agency. This is the work of postactivism, a concept developed by TEN’s visionary founder, Bayo Akomolafe. We do this work by instigating collaborative, creative processes in trans-local interventions as a cultural practice.
Our shared vision is a political emancipatory project of interdependent networks and ecologies of practice interested in shifting our ontological gaze beyond the staid confines of justice and inclusion. By engaging in deep inquiry, conversations, and experimental processes, we aim to nurture an underground movement at the end of hope.
Since 2016, TEN has been birthing curious events and encounters around the world – in person and online – around various topics including climate change, borders & immigration, radical hospitality, leadership & activism, and making sanctuary in the midst of systems collapse. In June 2022, a collective of incredible curators came together for nine months to reimagine TEN’s future by grappling with the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of TEN’s work and crystallizing a plan for our organizational structure and leadership. That group cohered a set of recommendations that form the starting points for the next iteration of the organism.
After a period of rest, dreaming, creative exploration and planning, we are now moving into the execution and manifestation of the next iteration of TEN. We are creating sanctuary for a growing community of people around the world who feel despair about the future, hopeless about conventional activism’s ability to change it, and lost about what else there is to do. Our ultimate goal is to cultivate a thriving underground network of postactivist practitioners interested in exploring other ways of knowing, being, sensing, relating and responding to the crises of our time. The provocative ideas and worldviews offered by TEN over the past eight years have inspired people to think and behave differently when it comes to modernity, activism, de-centering the human, and our entanglement with other agencies & places of power. Now is the time to animate these ideas through local and trans-local experiments and to deepen our understanding of postactivism by grounding it in ongoing praxis and (un)learning. This global community of practice will come alive through online connections, a vibrant and diverse membership platform, trans-local experiments, semi-autonomous pods, and gatherings, courses and festivals.
Beginning in 2024, we plan to germinate and support an emergent and underground community of practice that will come alive through trans-local experiments, semi-autonomous pods, events and offerings that are initiated by the TEN Core Team and participants. The underground community of practice will serve as the subsoil of our ecology; it is the crux of TEN’s mission. The community of practice will be experiential, emergent, radically participatory, and trans-local. This is where we wish to nourish postactivist praxis through theory, art, conversations, and ideas. The platform will also serve as a place for ongoing connection and experimentation for alumni of Bayo Akomolafe’s hugely popular online course, We Will Dance with Mountains, which will be offered in its sixth iteration in late 2023.