“MI Voz” will be a series of 10-14 workshops for Michigan’s Latinx community to make cartonera books exploring the question “what is my political power?”. Participants will answer this question by compiling a cartonera book of original work (poetry, drawings, writings, etc.) and sampled materials (images, chapters from books, music video screenshots, song lyrics, etc.). Participants’ books will be bound with cardboard covers, alluding to the tradition of Latin American cartoneras (a book form that makes literary publishing and distribution more accessible). I will host these workshops at a number of locations throughout the state.
The final cartoneras will be publicly displayed in a multimedia, online archive. This will allow the project to have a larger impact beyond the workshops I lead. When a user enters the site, they will be greeted with a growing amassment of photographed cartonera covers. Hovering over any of the covers will trigger it to change to an image of the cartonera’s creator with their work. Hovering will also trigger an audio clip to play of the participant briefly explaining their finished cartonera. An additional page on the website will include a set of instructions on how to make and contribute your own cartonera to MI Voz, for those unable to attend any of the workshops.
As the 2020 election looms, I find myself contemplating the Latinx political power in Michigan. Pew Research estimates that 32 million Latinx in the U.S. are eligible to vote in 2020, up from 27.2 million in 2016. That’s more than an 18% increase. Zooming in, Michigan will feel that growth. Equis Research, a research group dedicated to “creating a better understanding of the latinx electorate”, states that Michigan is a battleground state where “Latinx population can tilt the election”. All of this is to say that Michigan’s Latinx population has a profound political power and I believe that MI Voz has the potential to stoke it.
Funded by Ann Arbor, MI (February 2020)