Fall 2014 Fellow
Fellows: Sol Aramendi & Barrie Cline
Project: Usa Tu Celular

About Usa Tu Celular

In January 2014, artist Sol Aramendi and Barrie Cline proposed the creation of a Wage Theft App for Day Laborers to New Immigrant Community Empowerment (NICE). A developer was engaged to create the initial stages of creating an app. The idea was presented to the National Day Labor Organizing Network (NDLON) chapter in New York City Metro Area and its 11 member organizations. Sol then visited six of these centers in the New York City metropolitan area and day laborers verified that the app could be a crucial, empowering tool for identifying contractors who steal wages with impunity. The app could adapt to their mobile working conditions, collect important data, and build solidarity and connection between the worker centers. 

For the Culture Push Fellowship artist Sol Aramendi engaged NICE workers in creative sessions to use cell phones and photography to fight for their rights and create self-representations that combat the criminalized stereotypes of Day Laborers, as well as contribute to workers organizing campaigns.

While seeking funding to further the multi year App project, Barrie and Sol began to imagine a physical and social sculpture created by the day laborers, the Workers Art Coalition, invited artists and activists. Several WAC members have agreed that this app could help impede “the race to the bottom” that all workers face when employers have too much power, and could also serve as a tool to create further worker dialogue.

A series of workshops and encounters took place throughout the year -- endeavoring to construct relations and a multi-media art installation using instances of immigration, labor movement victories, personal stories and collective building.



The text was created by Hana Georg for a Workers Art Coalition Project (WAC) project she created with other founding members Stephanie Lawal and Setare Arashloo for the US Social Forum called "The Shape of Solidarity".


Sol Aramendi was a 2015 A Blade Of Grass Fellow For Socially Engaged Art as an artist in residence at NICE (New Immigrant Community Empowerment). He developed the Apps for Power project through bimonthly studio sessions with the immigrants day laborers and domestic workers. 

Barrie Cline has engaged union members in the collective Workers Art Coalition (WAC) in the creation of a worker dialogue series at the Greater Astoria Historical Society, an installation for the US Social Forum called "What is the Shape of Solidarity." 

Artist Bio

Artists Sol Aramendi and Barrie Cline met at the Master in Fine Arts program, with Social Practice concentration (SPQ) created by Queens College in collaboration with the Queens Museum in 2012. They share a Social Practice Queens Studio at Queens Museum as part of the AIR program. In 2013, Sol and Barrie catalyzed a conversation between workers in the union building trades and immigrant workers from NICE. Workers engaged in a dialogue about their work. Culminating with a publication and public installation the workers built in Corona Plaza, Queens, hosted by SPQ. This was the beginning of a longstanding collaboration.

Sol Aramendi is an artist and immigrant from Argentina, and founder of Project Luz a nomadic space that engages immigrant communities to construct their own realities using photography while also connecting them to cultural resources and empowering them as social architects to build a more equitable future. She holds an Arte Util Residency at the Immigrant Movement, a fellowship from the Smithsonian for Latino Museum Studies and is a current fellow at CORO Immigrant Civic Leadership from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs. Her work has been included at EL Museo del Barrio Latino Bienal and Cotidiano US, a book and Touring exhibition of 12 Latino artists in the US.

Barrie Cline is an adjunct teaching public art, and a returning artist in residence at the Van Arsdale Center for Labor Studies for union building trades people, noted for her ability to re-frame the cultural production of workers. Barrie formed the Workers Art Coalition (WAC) with electrician Jaime Lopez, and for Open Engagement 2014, produced the Workers Pavilion, a large-scale public installation. Recently WAC produced a 24 ft. green energy powered Labor float for the Peoples Climate March.