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Cognate Collective
September 1, 2020 – February 5, 2022

Cog•nate Collective’s practice seeks to document and theorize markets as important nodes of exchange, facilitating – especially within  immigrant, working-class communities – social, cultural and economic transactions that articulate individual and  collective relationships to the communities we call home.  

One thread of this research has explored how it is that objects/goods circulated within public/popular marketplaces  (e.g. Swap Meets, tianguis, craft markets) mediate our relationships to place and to others. And, how such objects could be mobilized to interrogate and/or reconstitute these relationships: inviting us to reflect upon the ways we  establish and express forms of affinity that link communities across borders (both physical and symbolic). In other words, they have been interested in how it is that they might critically amplify the political-dimension of  public/popular marketplaces – and craft-made/mass-produced goods produced/consumed therein – as vehicles to generate, cultivate and/or express political exigencies and solidarity with/in immigrant, working-class communities.


For their residency and project with 18th Street Arts Center titled Market Exchange, Cog•nate Collective will invite community artisans to undertake a process of 1) identifying what infrastructure they will require to sustain a marketplace, and 2)  developing a system of production/replication that can allow them to generate funds to purchase said infrastructure. They will engage with artisans to undertake a series of workshops/dialogue-circles (taking place digitally or potentially  through correspondence) that can allow them to envision the role/function of a popular/community-led marketplace in Santa Monica.  Once artisans have identified their needs, Cog•nate Collective will invite them to envision how they might use their skills and crafts to create representations of some of these necessary items – representations which can be sold for  the price of the item, to generate funds that can be used to purchase said item.

Over Fall and Winter of 2020-2021, Cog•nate Collective will research these questions with community artisans (who come to the project through relationships with community partners like Community Corp of Santa Monica, Virginia Avenue Park, Familias Latinas Unidas, and Parent Connection Group) through online and mail engagements, forming a Vendor Cooperative that will develop its own advocacy voice. The project will grow into artwork presentations, public marketplaces, and advocacy to the City of Santa Monica and in collaboration with community partners, to form new vendor infrastructures and new ways of conceptualizing public marketplaces in a post-pandemic world.


Cog•nate Collective (Misael Diaz and Amy Sanchez Arteaga) are an art + research collaborative based in the Baja/Alta California borderlands whose work addresses polemics relating to migration, border enforcement, economic displacement, and citizenship. Since 2010, they have worked across disciplines and mediums to engage transnational communities in dialogue on these subjects, working primarily in the context of public marketplaces in Tijuana, Santa Ana and Los Angeles. Undertaken as collaborations with local artisans, students and/or non-profit organizations, their projects take on forms that include “protest-art-making” workshops in Swap Meets, performative tours narrating histories of immigrant communities confronting gentrification, and roving hyper-local radio stations.

Cog•nate has presented work at various venues nationally and internationally including the Armory Center for the Arts, the Ben Maltz Gallery, the Craft Contemporary, CSUF Grand Central Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, School of the Art Institute Chicago, Arte Actual FLACSO in Quito, Maison Folie Wazemmes in Lille and the Organ Kritischer Kunst in Berlin.


This project is supported by the City of Santa Monica and 18th Street’s generous donors. We are deeply indebted to our partnership with Community Corp of Santa Monica.

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Press Contact
Director of Communications & Outreach
(310) 453-3711 x104

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