February 1, 2020

Trans Boxing: How to Explain Belief

San Francisco Art Institute 

Drill Meditations, Nola Hanson and Nicky S. Smith, On Air Fest, Brooklyn, NY, 2018

Heavy Breathing presents, How to Explain Belief: A Trans Boxing Workshop

Part 1: performance lecture (Open to All)
Part 2: boxing workshop (The boxing workshop is exclusively for trans and gender variant people)

How to Explain Belief is the title of a 2-part event led by artist and Trans Boxing founder, Nola Hanson. Through a performance-lecture and workshop, Nola will use boxing as a framework to explore ritual, community, performance, and embodiment. By activating the gallery space as the training location, Nola constructs a hybridized site that recontextualizes the physical activities that occur within it.

Workshop participants are encouraged to attend the performance-lecture. People who are not participating in the workshop are asked to leave the space. There will be no audience for the workshop, only primary participants and the facilitator (Nola Hanson) The boxing workshop is exclusively for trans and gender variant people. Participants are asked to wear comfortable clothing/footwear that is appropriate for exercise. Boxing workshop registration form here

Influential Texts / Recommended Reading:

  • John Dewey, Art as Experience, Chapter 1: The Live Creature
  • Pablo Helguera, Education for Socially Engaged Art, Chapter 2: Community
  • Gordon Hall, Extremely Precise Objects of Ambiguous Use
  • Allan Kaprow, Performing Life (1979) Right Living (1987)
  • Adrian Piper, Notes on Funk, I-II//1985/83

Trans Boxing Class, Overthrow Boxing Club, New York, NY. 2019. Photo by: Ada Jane McNulty


San Francisco Art Institute
Diego Rivera Gallery
800 Chestnut Street, San Francisco

2:00-3:00 Performance Lecture (Open to All)
3:00-4:00 Boxing Workshop (Exclusively for trans and gender variant people)

Wheelchair accessible. Ramp located at Chestnut Street entrance.


Nola Hanson (b. 1991, Milwaukee, Wisconsin) is a trans artist whose practice centers the role of embodiment in contemporary social systems. Nola received their BFA in Painting and Art Criticism from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2014. They started boxing at the New Bed Stuy Boxing Center, a community-run boxing gym in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn in 2015. In 2017 they founded Trans Boxing, an experimental boxing club that prioritizes participants of various identities who have limited access to boxing training.

Nola's practice includes independent work as well as collaborative socially engaged projects, and has been shown in New York, Chicago, Portland, and Milwaukee. Nola is currently an MFA candidate in the Art and Social Practice program at Portland State University.

︎ ︎ ︎

Heavy Breathing ︎ 2018

Critical thinking often feels heady, abstract, and divorced from the body. How do conversations change when we are moving our bodies and out of breath? What new modes of thinking become possible?