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The Forum // New Red Order

December 3, 2020 @ 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm PST

A laptop in a dark room with a glowing red screen on which the word "Savage" is displayed in white, sans serif font with a black line through the text.

Thursday, December 3, 2020; 5pm PST
40 minute talk followed by 30 minutes of public debate broadcast live at thelab.org

New Red Order (NRO), a public secret society that works with networks of informants and accomplices to create grounds for Indigenous futures. If America is premised both on desires for indigeneity and the violent erasure of Indigenous peoples, NRO asks how those desires can be routed into something productive and perhaps even sustainable. Here, core NRO contributors Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys discuss the group’s savage philosophies and use of humor, all while reflecting on what it might mean to become an informant. You can initiate your own informancy by calling 1-888-NEW-RED1 or visiting newredorder.org.

Indigenous artists are often invited to redwash institutions and check boxes, and also to fulfill a pedagogical function, to teach people about Indians. We are continually called upon to inform on our own communities. We wonder: If those familiar dynamics, with their attendant desires, were seemingly unavoidable, how could they be leveraged toward and through power? How to amplify the agency of the informant, rather than capitulate completely to compromised positions where we’re helping non-Indigenous people extract information from our communities in nonreciprocal ways?

“Decolonization is not a metaphor” has already become, for many people, a metaphor. We’ve been pursuing language that pushes beyond “re-” or “de-,” that offers alternatives to the vocabulary of repatriation or decolonization, which centers acts of displacement and dispossession. That’s been a frustration we’ve felt with Indigenous politics in North America, or the world, even, where Native concerns are constantly framed as a return to something that can’t exist anymore. But even though not everyone wants to live in a wigwam, we still want a place: to feel at home here. Give it back.

New Red Order is a public secret society facilitated by core contributors Adam Khalil, Zack Khalil, and Jackson Polys. In our current period of existential and environmental catastrophe, desires for Indigenous epistemologies increase and enterprising settlers labor to extract this understanding as if it were a natural resource. New Red Order—emerging out of contradistinction from the Improved Order of Red Men, a secret society that ‘plays Indian’—calls attraction toward indigeneity into question, yet promotes this desire, and enjoins potential non-Indigenous accomplices to participate in the co-examination and expansion of Indigenous agency. Working with an interdisciplinary network of informants the NRO co-produces video, performance, and installation works that confront settler colonial tendencies and obstacles to Indigenous growth. NRO has exhibited work at the Whitney Biennial 2019; Toronto Biennial 2019; Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MoCAD); and Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKW), among other institutions.

Never Settle: Calling In, 2020; video, sound, color, 3:57 min.; recruitment video. A short recruitment video for the public-secret society ‘New Red Order’, which simultaneously satirizes and sincerely engages with solidarity and the desire for Indigenous epistemologies.

The Violence of a Civilization Without Secrets, 2018; video, sound, color, 9:44 min.; commissioned for the Contour Biennale 8 // Sundance 2018. Filmmakers Adam and Zack Khalil, in collaboration with artist Jackson Polys, investigate the recent court case that decided the fate of the remains of a prehistoric Paleoamerican man found in Kennewick, Washington State in 1996. The video is an urgent reflection on indigenous sovereignty, the undead violence of museum archives, and post-mortem justice.

The Forum is an experiment in creating discourse within the context of isolation. Art creates a space for reconsidering our knowledge across various social and professional fields. It asks us: Why do we perceive things the way we do? What are we living for? How can we reimagine our relationships to the human and non-human world? The Forum proposes that the project of freedom is a project of making a world with others. So, we invite you to help us answer: what can we do now?

Please bring your ideas, proposals, questions to discuss following the talk.




The Lab


BIPOC artist(s), Women curated
Event Type
Pandemic Info
Online Only


The Lab
2948 16th Street
San Francisco, CA 94103 United States
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