2021 Year End Round Up

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Greetings and Happy New Year!

Here at Holobiont Laboratory, we’re wrapping up our first full calendar year in existence and we wanted to take a moment to share with you some of what we’ve learned, what we’ve built, and where we’re headed!

In our inaugural year we built the Abolition Plaza Pergola, outfitted Pandemic-ready Solar Vans, and provided solar power to an exhibit celebrating the resiliency and power of former long-term and life-sentenced women in Pennsylvania. In case you don’t know, Holobiont Laboratory is a working class, collaborative laboratory created in response to climate change and its many impacts on our communities. You can learn more about the project here.

If you are able to support this work at any level, we would be exceedingly grateful, and you can rest assured that your donation will be put to good use. We’re currently trying to raise at least $6000 in order to purchase and retrofit a shipping container that can serve as a building space for our work, a location for public workshops, and provide storage capacity for the laboratory. Any dollar you give gets us closer to that dream.

We’d also love to share with you three projects in particular that we worked on in 2021, and three more that we will be working on in the year to come.

In 2021, our work included:

On The Day They Come Home

On the Day They Come Home

We built a solar generator to power lights to this spectacular art installation by our comrades at the People's Paper Coop. The exhibit featured giant cut out portraits and 200 lights representing data about women serving life sentences (or death by incarceration) in PA.

Van Installs

Van Installs

We solarized 2 live-in vans. Both of these involved installing solar panels, batteries, and all the gear. One of the vans is being used by a Right to the City organizer to meet with member organizations fighting against evictions and for housing access.

Abolition Plaza

Abolition Plaza

Finally, we recently wrapped up Abolition Plaza, a solar powered, pandemic appropriate, outdoor organizing, socializing and gardening space. This was a collaboration with long-time comrade organizations the Human Rights Coalition and the Coalition to End Death by Incarceration. It features a solar powered pergola, a patio space of permeable pavers, a rain barrel fed irrigation system, and a small internet access point and local web server. The space will be used for organizing to free family members and others locked down in PA prisons. We had a great opening event in November and will be kicking off the coming spring with workshops located at Abolition Plaza. Stay tuned!

And in 2022, we’ll be focusing on:

Rainwater Catchment and Solar-Powered Irrigation Systems

We’ve begun doing a series of experiments to create small solar powered devices for a number of different applications. In the next six months, we’ll be focusing on two applications in particular. The first Irigaciilo, is a solar powered device for controlling rain barrel fed irrigation for gardens.

Solar-Powered Wifi Access Points

The second application, which will be performed in collaboration withPhilly Community Wireless is our meshBox, a solar powered wifi access point which will help spread PCW’s free community wireless signal.

Public Workshop Series

Currently in development, this will feature presenters offering a combination of practical skills, artistic interventions, and essential information regarding climate change (both as we are currently experiencing it and what is likely to come).

Expect to hear more regarding dates and how to register in March or you can always check our website for updates.


We are also delighted to announce that as of December we’ve expanded our collective by bringing in Allan Gomez! Allan brings years of experience in communities-led initiatives to reclaim the commons throughout the Americas. He has helped build community radio stations, developed mesh networks, and supported autonomous health practitioner training programs. He is excited to take part in Holobiont’s vision.

The Holobiont Laboratory takes seriously our potential as neighborhoods and communities to respond to, reject, remediate, and transform the politically and environmentally toxic conditions we face. We initially kicked this project off in June 2020, during a nationwide surge of massive uprisings against white supremacy and state violence, and an eruption of grassroots expressions of solidarity and love, and that continues to inform our path forward. We are a “laboratory” because we wanted this project to create space for collaborative discovery and building -- to be something that could not only respond in some fashion to the planetary crisis of this moment, but also work with others to build toward the world we want to see.

We are excited the first set of projects we completed have been collaborative in nature and designed to support the needs of people, organizations, and movements we want to see thrive. We hope that you will be excited by this work as well and will reach out if you have ideas for future collaborations or have the capacity to extend time, money or resources to these efforts. And again, you can help us purchase and retrofit a storage container so that we have an ongoing space to operate out of by donating here.

Here’s to a more just and equitable world in 2022!

In struggle, Emily, Dave, and Allan

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