Who gets to imagine what? The act of imagining itself is not a fair, objective, or equitable thing. So what happens when you follow the same group of twenty-two American born and refugee youth over a period of 4 years and ask them collectively to imagine different future scenarios, reframe histories, and contextualize their own lived experiences and truth? Re)Housing the American Dream: Freedom Principles is part of an ongoing community-based performative documentary project, set in the city of Milwaukee, that explores the role of film as political action, and examines the politics of imagination through the act of collective making.
Kirsten Leenaars is an interdisciplinary video artist based in Chicago. Various forms of performance, theater, and documentary strategies make up the threads that run through her work. She engages with communities to create participatory video and performance work. Her work oscillates between fiction and documentation, reinterprets personal stories and reimagines everyday realities through shared authorship, staging and improvisation. In her work she explores the performance, production and intersection of dominant fictions, our collective imagination and lived realities. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, at venues including the Museo Universitario del Chopo, Mexico City; MAI, Montreal; Formerly known as Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; the Broad Museum of Art MSU, East Lansing; The Haggerty Museum of Art, Milwaukee; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Leenaars has received grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation; The Mondrian Fund; the Dutch Consulate in New York. She currently is an associate professor in the Department of Contemporary Practices at SAIC.