Future IDs Art & Future Planning Workshop
Future IDs is a collaborative art project about individual stories of transformation and how those stories collectively can help improve the experience of re-entry. The workshops provided a structured environment for participants to engage in a creative process as individuals and as members of a community. The central idea was to juxtapose artistic re-creations of past or current inmate IDs with identification cards for future selves – perhaps for a dream job, a role in society, or a continuing role with family, such as father or mother.
This is a self-determined ID. You are your own authorizer. How do you want to be authenticated? How do you want to be seen or known?
Past workshop participants have discussed the bravery required of formerly incarcerated persons to aspire to professions that some might consider impossible to achieve.
Creating Your Own Future ID
Create an identification card for a future self – perhaps for a dream job, a role in society, or a continuing role with family, such as father or mother.
ID cards are documents that verify a person’s identity and qualifications. ID cards include a photograph (typically a headshot) and provide identifying data, such as name, age, or organizational membership.
In using an identification card as a basis for artmaking, we want to consider:
- What is an ID and what is its purpose? How does it function?
- Why would you need an ID? In what situations? Is an ID bad or good?
- A prison ID is assigned to a person and has a negative connotation.
- What would be a positive way to identify oneself?
- What do you want people to know about you? What are your goals in life?
Your Future ID could look a lot like a standard ID for a job or a school. It could also include symbolic imagery and formatting that uses the structure of an ID as a starting point to speak more specifically about your life and goals.
Your Future Self
If you don’t have a goal to strive for, then where’s your focus? You are going to go home eventually. What do you want to be when you get out? That’s what it is. For too long the inmate ID is what defined us. You are here to write your future. What you’re going to build your legacy toward? So what ID do you want?
– Kirn Kim, core project collaborator
Do you have a sense of what might be important for you in creating an artistic identity card? Is it for a job? Or is it for a role in society or in family?
Figuring out what you want to be is not necessarily easy. It’s a journey. The best way to approach the creation of your identity is ask and answer questions, questions that take you back to your childhood, when you began to build your identity. The following questions will help you dig into this.
Your future identity
What are you passionate about?
In the workshops, we learned that participants came from diverse life experiences. Gregory Sale introduced an exercise he uses with his university art students to help them uncover the center of their art practice: based in identifying early childhood passions and favorite play, participants considered what was modeled at home or in life while growing up. Then the group reviewed a Life Planning and Goal Setting Workbook that helps with setting short-term and long-term goals, core values, and basic action plans.
- Write down 3 to 5 things that you loved to do as a child. Things that you really gave some time to. That you had real passion for.
- Did you go to school? Did you like it? What did you like about it?
- What did you do during the summer and holidays?
- Maybe write down 2 or 3 things you disliked as a child.
- Everybody has a mother. Maybe they weren’t around. Maybe they were. But there was a maternal figure. Maybe several. Maybe you bounced around a bit but you had somebody in that role at certain times? A grandmother. A foster mom. Maybe it was an older sister. A neighbor. A teacher or coach. Did it shift over time?
Ok.. What her job? What was her work? Maybe this is a list. Did she have hobbies? What kind? Did she do things, make things? What did this person or persons love to do?
- What about a paternal presence in your life?
What was their work? How did they earn a living? Maybe they sold things. Maybe those things were illegal. We are not judging or focusing on the negative. We are going to acknowledge that they were a sales person and were entrepreneurial. Did they have hobbies? Maybe they had friendships and networking as hobbies or working on cars? What did this paternal person or persons love to do?
7. Were their siblings around or cousins around or other people in your age range that lived in the same place
8. Did you live in a communal environment or were people more independent
9. Was there music in the house
10. Was there reading? Was reading valued?
11. Was there storytelling, theater, movie or TV watching in the home
12. Did you go to church
13. Was their politics in the house?
14. Did you travel? Were there family vacations? If so, did you go to visit family or was it to places like Disneyland? What was the nature of that travel
15. Did the unit, however it was organized, do social things together?
16. Did the family or family unit eat together or separately?
17. What did the family unit value? What did your family care about?
Do you have a sense of how you might incorporate your answers to these questions into a future vision for yourself?
Past Future IDs workshop participants, whose future goals had not crystallized yet, but who planned to get job training or go to college, decided to make student IDs. Others, with expansive lists of possibilities for their future selves, focused on one revenue-earning job as first step towards their ambitions. Some spoke of the bravery required of formerly incarcerated persons to aspire to seemingly unachievable professions. Many made those ID cards anyway.
As these in-progress designs demonstrate, your Future ID can include specific details about yourself or your aspirations, even if they don’t fit into a standard job title.
All Future IDs are made on paper. Jonathan Daniel started his process by tracing a design he created in part on the computer. He then used a photograph as a basis to paint a self-portrait and asked artist friends to help him.
Creating a Future ID
Components of an ID card
Here are some of the standard components that would make your card believable:
Job title or role in life
Company, group, or organization (this can be made up)
Date and location (optional)
ID cards often have company logos or background designs. Some have bar codes, signature panels, or smart card chips. Your Future ID may also include an intention, mission statement, or goal.
One of the first decisions you will want to make is whether the ID is vertical or horizontal.
When we run a workshop each participant is given large sheets of multi-media paper with simple outlines of generic identification cards drawn on it with an architect’s blueprint pencil.
Participants are working in a couple of different sizes of paper. Some sheets are pre-folded to fit into a standard, 9” x 12” envelope. That way the artwork can be sent in and out of prison mailrooms, and easily transported on the outside.
Keep in mind that an ID card is more than just a functional tool — it’s also an extension of your image and identity. How can you create images that express the self accurately and individually?
In contemporary life, ID cards are small, designed to ﬁt into a wallet or worn around the neck. They have a standard small size, typically 3.375 inches by 2.125 inches. When artists re-create ordinary objects on a monumental scale, it changes their meaning and our relationship to them. When an ID is made large, its importance is emphasized, and one becomes more aware of the person associated with it.