Commonwealth and Council

The Prince of Homburg


Patrick Staff

Staff’s recent work The Prince of Homburg explores exhaustion and sickness as political modes. Adapting a 19th century play of the same title by Heinrich von Kleist, written just prior to German Romanticist’s suicide, Staff revisits the tale of a sleepwalking prince whose fate develops by swift degrees into a personal nightmare, drawing together questions about the limits of state control versus individual freedom. While often interpreted as an assertion for the might of authority, many consider Kleist's work to be a passionate defense of free will. Taking this allegory for freedom--whether from restrictive norms, incarceration, or oppressive politics--in the wake of institutional power, Staff intersplices the narrative of the play with vignettes of contemporary queer, trans characters negotiating space for their agency and desire, further raveling the meaning and limits of freedom itself.

Transcript available here.

Available until 06/01/20.

The Sky is a Genius

An evening of poetry readings with Bhanu Kapil, Precious Okoyomon, Nisha Ramayya and Patrick Staff.  

THE SKY IS A GENIUS  took place in the gallery space of Patrick Staff's exhibition On Venus at the Serpentine Galleries, London. On Staff’s Venus, ‘life is chemically modified and sensorially charged in an alternate state of non-life or near-death.’ The poets explored themes of structural violence, registers of harm and the exchange between fluids, bodies and chemicals examined throughout the show. 

In Plain Sight

In Plain Sight is a multimedia collaboration with 80 phenomenal artists from around the country and migrant justice organizations. The powerful roster of artists come to In Plain Sight with their respective practices intersecting this issue with their experience of migration, mass incarceration, history of concentration camps, xenophobia, displacement through colonization, borders, and the cyclical violence of internment camps. Together we'll be working to amplify the work of our partners leading up to a day of action addressing migrant detention centers across the country. Follow us and participate in this journey of liberation through action. 

Website link for daily updates: 

Jade Windscreen recipe

Jade Windscreen recipe

From Julie Tolentino:

JADE WINDSCREEN INGREDIENTS: Jade Windscreen includes just three herbs atractylodes rhizome (Bai zhu, 白朮), and siler root (Fang feng, 防風). Ancient Chinese physicians designed these formulas like families, with individual plants within the formula supporting each other, creating a harmonious whole. 

Here’s more information about these three plants, including other herbal considerations.

Astragalus root (Astragalus membranaceus, Apiaceae. Huang qi, 黃芪): Astragalus supports immunity when one experiences qi deficiency, which may manifest as tiredness, weakness, or poor appetite. Its gentle flavor lends a subtle sweetness to decocted formulas and soups, while strengthening the digestive system, to support immunity. It is traditionally used in its sliced and dried form, though it can also be used as a powder or tincture. Note that astragalus can support health when one is weak, but it may “trap the thief in the house” if one is already sick, or it can tonify too much if one is already experiencing an “excess” condition. So, please use appropriately. Other immuno-modulating herbs according to Chinese medicine include reishi, codonopsis, and cordyceps.
Atractylodes rhizome (Atractylodes macrocephala, Asteraceae. Bai zhu, 白朮): Atractylodes’ bittersweet nature augments astragalus’ functions of tonifying the digestive system to support immunity. It further helps “dry dampness,” or move stagnant digestion. The Earth element governs digestion. Earth gives rise to Metal, which reinforces the “protective qi” (wei qi, 衛氣), which most closely correlates with the immune system. Likewise, the “three candies” of fresh ginger (sheng jiang, 生薑), Chinese date (da zao, 大棗), and licorice root (gan cao, 甘草) are often utilized together to harmonize a formula and promote digestive Earth-oriented stability.
Siler root (Saposhnikovia divaricata, Apioceae. Fang feng, 防風): Fang feng translates as “guard against wind.” In this formula, acrid- sweet siler root supports the “protective qi,” or immune system. By expelling wind, it is said to help address headaches, body aches, and spasms in other formulas. Other considerations for “expelling wind” include mint family plants such as catnip leaf (Nepeta), or perilla leaf (zi su ye).

HOW TO TAKE JADE WINDSCREEN: Jade Windscreen is traditionally prepared as a powder blend and taken dissolved in warm water. It can also be taken as a decoction with the raw dried herb, or in granule or capsule form. Astragalus is the “King herb” of the formula, thus the high dose. If the other herbs are not available, then consider simply making an astragalus decoction, or adding it to your broth or healing stews.

Jade Windscreen Powder Blend Recipe Ingredients
  • 360 g organic astragalus root powder
  • 60 g atractylodes powder
  • 30 g siler root powder
Directions: I commonly advise my clients to take 9 grams of Jade Windscreen powder blend dissolved in warm water 3 times per day. For the best guidance to support your specific needs, consult a qualified TCM practitioner. KAMWO in New York is a recommended source for herbs.


Carolina Caycedo and David de Rozas


Video, color, silent, 2 min

For Caycedo and de Rozas' first collaboration, they compiled scenes of loved ones and exchanging greetings and farewells at a transit center. At the time, the two were in a long-distance, international relationship. Human emotional manifestations are present in any transportation station. The before and the after, the departure and the arrival, the greeting and the farewell, sorrow and happiness, the private in public. As everyday actors, we are the generators of all these situations. 

Suki Seokyeong Kang: face—Activation

On February 14, we hosted a gathering at the gallery. There was a planned activation for Suki Seokyeong Kang's show face, to be carried out by the artist Yong Soon Min. That morning, Suki had the idea of opening up the activation to more people and asked Young to participate. As the activation was about to start, Young called on all the gallery artists present to join in. Hence, you see in the video all the awkwardness of that moment, and the spontaneous magic of it too.

We did not know then that this would be the last time we would all be together for a while. As we take care of ourselves and our loved ones in isolation, we are reminded all the more that we are more powerful as a community, connecting with, supporting, and caring for one another, practicing generosity.

We are starting this page as a space in which we can share our thoughts, resources, things that help us cope with stress. We intend to allow it to take shape organically, not tied to any schedule or format. We believe this moment affords us an opportunity to disengage from the ceaseless churn of contemporary life as well.

We hope to be able to see you soon. In the meantime, please take care and stay safe.

Exercises for Queerantine Resilience

Carolina Caycedo

(Previously "Exercises for female emancipation")

Supporting Each Other

Mutual Aid Action: Los Angeles

Carmen Argote Medical Emergency

Artist Relief