6 episodes

Through the voices of torture survivors and activists, the Remaking the Exceptional podcast highlights connections between policing and incarceration in Chicago and the human rights violations of the Global War on Terror, while also celebrating the struggle for justice and reparations.

Sitting, sipping, and reflecting over a cup of tea with others can create the space for conversations on difficult and at times painful subjects. It also can create opportunities to envision a new set of social relations.

Remaking the Exceptional is created by the Tea Project, learn more at tea-project.org

Remaking the Exceptional Tea Project

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Through the voices of torture survivors and activists, the Remaking the Exceptional podcast highlights connections between policing and incarceration in Chicago and the human rights violations of the Global War on Terror, while also celebrating the struggle for justice and reparations.

Sitting, sipping, and reflecting over a cup of tea with others can create the space for conversations on difficult and at times painful subjects. It also can create opportunities to envision a new set of social relations.

Remaking the Exceptional is created by the Tea Project, learn more at tea-project.org

    Episode 6: Flowers, Freedom and Justice

    Episode 6: Flowers, Freedom and Justice

    The setting for episode six, “Flowers, Freedom and Justice” is inside Djamel Ameziane’s drawing of a sprig of greenery. Each leaf delicately crafted, sits in a shining silver pitcher framed by a deep indigo wall. Djamel made this drawing inside Guantanamo where he was extralegally imprisoned for nearly 12 years. The bright reflection on the pitcher inspires us to reflect on all the experiences, struggles and dreams shared throughout this podcast and the need for justice, restorations, reconciliation, and reparations. With this in mind, over a cup of tea, we invite you into Djamel’s drawing to join a conversation on the meaning of reparations.


    Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.

    Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.

    Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.

    Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online

    Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.

    Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.

    The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.

    The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

    An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.

    Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.

    • 36 min
    Episode 5: Trees, Solidarity, and Struggle

    Episode 5: Trees, Solidarity, and Struggle

    The setting for episode Five, “Trees Solidarity and Struggle” is inside Muhammad Ansi’s painting of a leafless tree blowing in a powerful firestorm. The tree is still rooted, still standing. Ansi made this painting inside Guantanamo where he has been extralegally imprisoned for 15 years. With this in mind, over a cup of tea, we invite you into Ansi painting to join a conversation on the meaning of justice.


    Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.

    Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.

    Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.

    Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online

    Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.

    Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.

    The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.

    The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

    An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.

    Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.

    • 35 min
    Episode 4: Ships, Contradictions, and Confinement

    Episode 4: Ships, Contradictions, and Confinement

    The setting for episode four, “Ships, Contradictions and Confinement”, is inside former Sabri al-Qurashi’s painting of a ship in the middle of a chaotic storm. This tumultuous painting with bold brush strokes sets the stage for a conversation with torture survivors on the connections between the local and international torture practices. Specific attention is brought to the police to military and military to police pipeline. Simultaneously, what emerges are the acts of resistance that create space for international solidarity.


    Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.

    Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.

    Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.

    Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online

    Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.

    Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.

    The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.

    The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

    An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.

    Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.

    • 39 min
    Episode 3: Poetry, Resilience, and Resistance

    Episode 3: Poetry, Resilience, and Resistance

    The setting for episode three, “Poetry, Resilience, and Resistance” is inside Khalid Quasim’s painting of a landscape framed by a house with a courtyard. The scene is from Khalid’s memories of his home in Yemen. The painting afforded Khalid a means, if only temporary, of being transported beyond the confines of Guantanamo where he is still currently extralegally imprisoned. With this in mind and with a cup of tea in hand we invite you to a conversation on the way art functions as a technology of resistance.

    Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.

    Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.

    Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.

    Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online

    Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.

    Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.

    The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.

    The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

    An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.

    Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.

    • 46 min
    Episode 2: Maps, Memory, and Violence

    Episode 2: Maps, Memory, and Violence

    The setting for episode two, “Maps, Memory and Violence” is inside Khalid Qasim’s* painting of a robust fire burning below a white box, an air conditioner, attached to a completely black wall. This high contrast painting documenting torture sets the stage for a conversation that exposes the way torture practices extend across time, space, and conflict. Specific attention is brought to Chicago police officer and Navy Reserve Lt. Richard Zuly whose torture habits establish direct connections between torture in Chicago and Guantánamo. Simultaneously, what emerges as exceptional is the creativity and resilience of survivors.

    * Khalid Qasim is currently imprisoned at the extralegal military prison at Guantánamo despite being cleared for release.


    Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.

    Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.

    Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.

    Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online

    Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.

    Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.

    The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.

    The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

    An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.

    Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.

    • 36 min
    Episode 1: Tea, Tenderness, and Torture

    Episode 1: Tea, Tenderness, and Torture

    The setting for this first episode, “Tea, Tenderness, and Torture” is inside Badr Ahmed’s* drawing of a table set for tea with no one there. We enter Ahmed's drawing to join an imagined gathering of Chicago police torture survivors and Guantánamo torture survivors over tea. Connections emerge as Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi introduce themselves and speak about their experiences.

    *Badr Ahmed is currently imprisoned at the extralegal military prison at Guantánamo despite being cleared for release.

    Remaking the Exceptional podcast is a part of the ongoing Tea Project and produced by Amber Ginsburg, Nate Sandberg, and Aaron Hughes.

    Visit the Tea Project website to view works from the accompanying exhibition, donate to the Guantánamo Survivors Reparations fund, and learn more.

    Special thanks to Anthony Holmes, Moazzam Begg, Kilroy Watkins, Mohamedou Ould Slahi, Ronnie Kitchen, Sabri al-Qurashi, La Tanya Jenifor-Sublett, and Mansoor Adayfi for sharing their stories.

    Featured Cello music was contributed by Maestro Karim Wasfi from his 2019 Poetry Despite/Music Despite (Eternal War Requiem) recordings. For more information on those recordings and to listen, visit poetrydespite.online

    Additional music, audio editing, and audio design by Nate Sandberg. The Remaking the Exceptional podcast is supported by an Illinois Humanities, Envisioning Justice, 2021 Humanist Grant.

    Research and support for Remaking the Exceptional by Maira Khwaja from the Invisible Institute and Valli Perrera, Margaret Kates, Kelly Milan, Alex Shur and Marie Mendoza from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

    Additional thanks to Alice Kim, Sarah Ross, and Joey Mogul for support and mentorship.

    The exhibition Remaking the Exceptional: Tea, Torture, and Reparations | Chicago to Guantánamo is on view at Depaul Art Museum through August 7, 2022.

    The accompanying publication Remaking the Exceptional: Tracing Torture, Justice, and Reparations brings together artworks by former and current detainees from Chicago and abroad, new works by contemporary artists and collectives, and texts by leading scholars working at the intersection of aesthetics and politics.

    An additional publication, Invitation to Tea, compiles 48 tea recipes and traditions, one for each of the countries that have had citizens extralegally held at the US military prison in Guantánamo. Edited by Amber Ginsburg and Aaron Hughes as part of the ongoing Tea Project, Invitation to Tea will be released summer of 2022.

    Thank you for listening. We hope this podcast will spark conversations about interconnection, justice, and reparations, best had over a cup of tea.

    • 30 min

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