About this project
"The role of the revolutionary artist is to make revolution irresistible."
~Toni Cade Bambara.
A Tale of 3 Cities: Excavating Possibilities for Forgiveness, Peace & Dignity
This project started out in many places, in many different moments. One starting point is a serendipitous conversation between UCLA graduate students in African Studies, Public Health, Women’s Studies and Urban Planning. The three of us are womyn of color, of mixed ethncities and immigrant trajectories who value intellectual growth as a tool for personal and social transformation. In a special seminar entitled: Women in Conflict Zones: War, Genocide, Occupation, and Militarization, we began to experiment with how to bring our hearts, our creativity, our various specialized knowledges, and our different communities into dialogue about the sexualized violences experienced and perpetuated on the daily.
In this seminar we were exposed to academic research on gendered and sexual violence in an abstract framework. However, our bodies, hearts and intellects would undergo intense visceral reactions that transcended academic scholarship. We wondered how we could co-create spaces which produce, express and engage with knowledge about the violence that women, youth and gender nonconforming people experience, within the academy and beyond. Additionally, our shared experiences of traumas and displacement fueled our desires to explore intellectual growth through creative collaboration.
And so this project utilizes interactive performance as a tool to encourage spect-actor participation in co-imagining the limits and possibilities of displacement, forced migration and asylum-seeking for healing and reconciliation. We merge academic research, personal experience, and interactive exercises to create a safe space for folks to express their stories, be heard and make connections across these distinct stories and broader political processes. We explore possibilities for political transformation, healing and self-love emerging from the disappointments and betrayals of gendered and colonial violences. The underlying inquiry of this project is to acknowledge how we, as activists, academics, independent scholars, artists, cultural producers, cultural healers, community workers, and humyns are connected to gendered and sexualized violences? And from there, how are paths of peace, forgiveness and dignity cultivated and perpetuated?
We affirm the possibility to practice artistic intellectualism as a tool to spark dialogue and social change. As such, we’ve created a performance that gives attention to three everyday spaces in which gendered violence manifests: the occupied land and body, the imprisoned body and the colonized memory. We then facilitate an interactive workshop with our spect-actors where different themes around race, ethnicity, gender, migration and violence are explored and we ask them to be the arbiters of healing for the fleeing women whose perspectives we embody. Every performance is both staged and improvisational; imaginative and research-based; and each moves to where the folks and our/their stories take us.
This grassroots-academic initiative can only expand as long and as far as our communities will nurture and encourage it to grow. We are carving out a space for intellectual art to thrive within the academy and beyond, laboring as artists and activists. We practice transforming privatized knowledge in the academy into public education processes with our various collectives. We successfully performed this for our class, and have since been asked to perform/present by UCLA’s Women Studies Department. Additionally, we have taken these intellectual theatre skills and sparked dialogue in our artistic and activist communities throughout Los Angeles.
We would like to continue experimenting with taking this workshop into different communities. We’ve been accepted to perform/present at the First Annual Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference. This is a dope opportunity to push colonized spaces of learning to open up.
You are invited to co-create revolutions that are accountable, smart, loving and powerfully peaceful. Support us as we strive to lay bare the questions that make revolutions beautiful, possible and indeed, irresistible: intellectual artivism.
The total costs for the three of us for airfare, lodging and food is $2000.00. We have raised $1000 and need $1000 more. Please contribute what you can from your pockets…and most importantly from your heart-mind! ☺
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- (50 days)