Antena is a language justice collaborative founded in 2010 by Jen Hofer and John Pluecker, both of whom are writers, artists, literary translators, bookmakers and activist interpreters. We view our aesthetic practice as part and parcel of our language justice work. Antena activates links between social justice work and artistic practice by exploring how critical views on language can help us to reimagine and rearticulate the worlds we inhabit. Antena works with organizations, communities and individuals to create dynamic, well-functioning multilingual spaces for small and large groups of people to foster open communication and attentive listening across languages and cultures. We primarily work with Spanish and English but have experience coordinating more diverse language combinations.
2012: With Jen living in Los Angeles and JP living in Houston, we begin conceiving of the Southwestern region of the United States and the Northern region of Mexico as a single/multiple zone of possibility for multilingual artistic and activist work; we continue thinking about and experimenting with methods of long-distance collaboration and semi-autonomous projects under the umbrella of Antena. The vision for Antena grows wider as we include our aesthetic practice within our language justice work. We make many to-do lists. From March to June, JP installs a temporary bookstore, reading room and language experimentation lab at Houston’s Project Row Houses. Jen visits Antena during its last two weeks at Project Row Houses to spend time in the Antena space, participate in the Read/Write club and other literary events, and to work together with JP to explore potential for further expansion of Antena’s projects.2011: We begin serious conversations about creating a language justice collaborative and decide to purchase simultaneous interpreting equipment together to foster this work. The Babelbox enters our lives. At our first interpreting job as a team, the Critical Ethnic Studies and the Future of Genocide Conference at UC Riverside, we agree to work together on an ongoing language justice project. We take a hike in the hills above Riverside with poet Jen Nellis and immigrant rights attorney Eunice Cho to try to come up with a name; we do not find a name. We spend months puzzling over a name that will express some of our ideas around the power of cross-cultural multilingual communication in both Spanish and English (our primary focus languages for now) and eventually land on Antena. We begin to build a website with Rob Ray and work on logo designs with Rosten Woo. We continue our work together supporting organizations seeking to build multilingual capacity, and instigating multilingual literary events. At the end of 2011, JP leaves Tijuana and moves back to his native city of Houston, Texas.2006-2010: Jen and JP first meet in 2006 in Tijuana as part of the Writing Lab on the Border, a cross-border experiment in writing. This begins a friendship and occasional correspondence. In 2010, we work closely together on the Language Access Team at the US Social Forum in Detroit and start to dream of ways to extend our language justice work. In the same year, we begin spending more time together in our respective cities, Los Angeles and Tijuana.