Studio CNS / Counter Narrative Society

Who we are / The Narrators

An artistic_research_activist unit…


Mabel Negrete (CNS), Principal
Hi! I am the founder and lead performance artist, conceptual designer, intercultural facilitator, community strategist, educator, anti-prison activist a.k.a CNS, and am available for collaborations, consultations, workshops, lectures and artist’s talk. Visit WHAT WE DO for a general guideline or my professional profiles at, ACT or LinkedIn.

Abel Alfaro, CNS Archivist
Hey! …well… while I am not much of a show business, I am the one doing most of the work behind the scenes but sometimes I love doing random public appearances. Stay in touch!

Priscilla Anacakuyani Bell, Collaborator, Artist, Activist and Co-founding Member of Indigenous 215 Collective

Ariel Vazquez, Collaborator, Architect, Urban Researcher & Co-founding Member of CP-LAB

Theresa Shoatz, Advisor, Mentor in Anti-Prison Activism for Healing Our Wounds

Jondhi Harrell, Advisor, Mentor in Anti-Prison Activism

Stan Pokras
, Collaborator at the Philadelphia Assembled: Atmosphere of Democracy.


Present & Past

Community/Project Partners and Funders

+ Jeanne van Heeswijk with Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia. PA
+ IDEA LAB – William Penn Charter School, Philadelphia. PA
+ Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Rancho Cucamonga. CA
+ Yerba Buena Center for Arts (YBCA), San Francisco. CA
+ The Center for Returning Citizens (TCRC), Philadelphia. PA
+ The Hacktory, Philadelphia. PA
+ DM+D | Department of Making + Doing, Philadelphia. PA
+ Code for Philly, Philadelphia. PA
+ Taller Puertorriqueño – Visual Arts Program, Philadelphia. PA
+ Historic Fair Hill Burial Grounds, Philadelphia. PA
+ Decarcerate PA, Philadelphia. PA
+ Human Rights Coalition (HRC), Philadelphia. PA
+ Mural Arts Program – Restorative Justice Program, Philadelphia. PA
+ Leeway Foundation, Philadelphia. PA
+ MIT – Program in Art Culture and Technology (ACT), Cambridge. MA
+ We Players, San Francisco. CA
+ Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco
+ South of Market Arts (SOMARTS), San Francisco
+ HYPERSEA (Hyper Socially Engaged Arts), San Francisco


Present/Past Friends & Collaborators

Mayfield (aka Mary Ann Brooks) – Performance Artist & Lecturer. Old time friend, advisor and collaborator of CNS. Mayfield has worked in numerous projects with CNS since we were in San Francisco, California.

Rebecca Travick – curator @ Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art –  Inside/Outside: Prison Narratives exhibition and our solo exhibition Desegregate: Dismantle Isolation (Sept-Nov. 2015)

Katya Mia – curator @ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) – Room for Big Ideas: CONCEIVING PLACE  (May-Aug. 2015)

Hanna Novillo and Mary Vericat – curatorial support @ YBCA – Room for Big Ideas: CONCEIVING PLACE.

Lauren Elder @ CONCEIVING PLACE: SPARKmakers Thinkering School  – workshops: Interrupting Asphalt: Regreening Urban Space. A Practicum.

Adrienne Skye Roberts @ CONCEIVING PLACE: SPARKmakers Thinkering School – workshops: BlogSpeak: FREEDOM and A Living Chance

Christine Villanueva @ CONCEIVING PLACE: SPARKmakers Thinkering School – workshop: Drop-in Clnic: D.I.Y. Comics & Zines

Book and Wheel Works + Collaborators @ CONCEIVING PLACE: SPARKmakers Thinkering School – workshops: Sustaining Place Series // (aka artists Kate Connell and Oscar Melara) + Jarrel Phillips, Alisa Messer, Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin & Amber Straus.

Healing Arts Collective (aka artist/health activist Ivy McClelland) – @ CONCEIVING PLACE: SPARKmakers Thinkering School – workshops: Interactive Performance Workshop + Living Workshop Performance Score

Bri Barton, Collaborator, Artist & Gardener @ Historic Fair Hill

Eric Manganaro, Teacher Assistant for How Things Work and Support Teacher for the Summer Camp @ Fort Washington

Gina Gadger, is an old-time pal, artist and freelance editor/grant writer who provides occasional support to CNS. She is currently living in Toronto, Canada. For more information about her work, visit her website:

John Hulsey is a socially engaged artist and filmmaker who lives and studies in Cambridge, MA. He contributed with critical evaluation, processes and writing for the manifesto and project Glaciers_Under Our Skin. He is currently undertaking his PHD at Harvard. — Website:

Marguerite Davenport is a photographer and holds a BA from Smith College in Pan-African Studies and International Relations. She is currently developing with her colleague in Kenya a literacy program. She contributed as researcher for the Racial Pre_Filing Vest and as photographer for the Sensible Housing Unit.

Joshua Short is a multimedia artist who lives in San Francisco. He has been a principal supporter to CNS since its inception. – website:

Axel Herrera is a composer sound artist who lives and works in San Francisco. He contributed with a symphonic poem for the installation of the Sensible Housing Unit project.

Denis Maxwell is a videographer and assisted with the production of the Restless Sleep project.

Alli Spector is a performer, activist and radical artist based in San Francisco. She contributed with an experimental performance for the Subliminal Sketches of a SHU.

Victoria Restler is a producer, curator and artist based in New York. She contributed with research and writing to the Subliminal Sketches of a SHU.

Jose Negrete is a storyteller and major contributor to the You and Me project. He is currently surviving from imprisonment in the California State Prison.

Fernando Marti is a San Francisco based architect working in the field of radical urban planning. He was a major contributor for the Thinking of You project and initial studies for the Hunting the Now. — Website: Main Profile & Portfolio

Fiona Glas is a San Francisco based clinical social worker practicing in the field of radical art therapy. She was contributor to the projects of Thinking of YouHunting the Now and Sensible Housing Unit. She is now a friendly advisor and occasional contributor.

Chris Carlsson
 is a San Francisco based writer, historian, activist and creator of numerous cultural projects. He is also friend of “the society” for occasional consultancy, for some ideas or info on local history. He was a historian and editor to the making of Hunting the Now project. — Websites: Main Profile | The Nowtopian | FoundSF | Critical Mass |


Links we like!

Collectives & Groups
Philly with Standing Rock / Philly NoDAPL
Femmes Are From the Future
The AfroFuturist Affair
Black Quantum Futurism
La Pocha Nostra
Interrogative Design

Praba Pilar

Mathew Mazzota
Joan Jonas
Antonio Muntadas


Galleries & Organizations
The Intersection for the Arts
Galería de la Raza

Art & Tech