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Lauren Williams's Project

Making Room
for Abolition

Making Room for Abolition is a body of work that aims to shift culture by collaboratively constructing decentralized, speculative artifacts and stories that prefigure abolitionist worlds. This project—initially manifested as an installation of a living room from a world without police and prisons—imagines abolitionist futures through the lens of the home, acknowledging that the artifacts in our homes reflect the social relations and systems that govern our lives outside. Embedded in the minutiae of each object is a distributed, intersecting set of speculative fictions posing questions about how we might live, labor, and pass time in an abolitionist world.

Lauren Williams


Each artifact—currency, quilts, mugs, valued possessions, and much more—posits earnest questions about how our lives might shift to make room for abolition through a lens we can all relate to: home. It posits multiple futures, writes Black and Indigenous people into these worlds, and places these futures in conversation with radical organizers challenging the prison industrial complex in their daily work.

How Do You Flash Your Lights?

Making Room for Abolition imagines futures through domestic objects, with aspirations of eventually composing a future archive of artifacts that help reveal worlds of possibility for us today in ways that help make abolition of police and prisons become more plausible and advance present-day organizing work. In this way, it’s surfacing the “unseen,” or what what has been obscured because we’re convinced it is impossible. Because the world posited in the original living room installation was situated in a future Detroit, it further reflects the structural, cultural, and environmental legacies of this city by carrying them into this imagined, liberatory future. 

MakingRoomforAbolition_07 Lauren Williams
MakingRoomforAbolition_08 Lauren Williams

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