Interconnections, intersections, all around, all the time.
I am occasionally struck by bouts of newsreading-rabbit-holes that make me think the world is messed up/bonkers/astonishing/ crazy/ violent/brutal. And I aggressively undermine myself : and what are YOU doing? Getting an MFA in dance?! Much good you’re doing for the world right now.
Those little voices inside us are pernicious! and yet. Yes. Yes I am.
For many reasons. But one reason is about art as a site of connection. Connections between cultures, concepts, media. Between creator(s) and audience(s). Dance as one of many lenses of art, lenses of looking, at the world. Education as the only way to ensure survival. Education that includes arts includes looking, seeing, thinking, considering, connecting, feeling, and if we play our cards right – empathy. Looking in, and looking out with confidence. Confident empathy- we DO want, rather need, that for humanity to survive. Right world? (Right Washington DC? Right Ohio?…)
Two works I’m currently researching and analyzing for a paper for Dr. Hannah Kosstrin’s postmodernism class connected to my news rabbit-hole this week. And to many other things. But the connecting factor is a curiosity around borders, around citizenship, around existence and geography and mobility. And fear!
Works: (I highly recommend watching them both)
Mary Nunan’s Territorial Claims (1992/1997) and John Scott’s Fall and Recover (2004), have significant political ties to – and inherently comment upon- the social and political situations the artists and choreographers involved lived in – and echoes of those situations are returning in this week’s headlines about Brexit, about citizenship, about immigration, etc.
Thoughts and connections between the works to eachother and to this week’s headlines:
Territorial Claims was made in Ireland in 1992, made into a film in 1997, and relates to- as most dance does, a lot of things but a main topic is- the violence of the Troubles, the border conflict between The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland that had been ongoing for decades until the Good Friday Agreement formally brokered some semblance of calm in 1998. Interestingly in an interview Nunan states that ethnic conflict in Bosnia made her more cognizant of the brutality of sectarian violence in her own country and galvanized to comment upon it. Since the violence had been a constant presence, it became almost “normal.” A reminder of how easily we can become desensitized to injustice.
(Separation of families, poverty, segregated school systems – anyone?)
Scott’s piece created in 2004 deals with issues of identity. Also created by an Irish choreographer, the work – performed and created by predominantly refugees from African and Eastern European countries (many of whom are now Irish citizens) – premiered in the year of Ireland’s Citizenship Referendum and 27th Amendment to the Constitution. The amendment removed jus soli or “right of the soil” birthright citizenship, restricting citizenship to children of citizens, or individuals eligible for citizenship, jus sanguinis or “right of blood,” and relegated further decision making power about citizenship eligibility to the legislature. The statement of non- ethnically Irish bodies, on Irish stages and world stages representing Ireland, then, is a pretty powerful one.
…trails of breadcrumbs…
Interestingly the establishment of birthright citizenship in Ireland was recent, only written down in 1998 as part of border negotiations – as a result anyone born on the island of Ireland (North or South) was officially considered an Irish national. A variety of complicated factors- economic, social, political, led to an over 70% support rate for adjusting that clause in 2004. And yet a number of high profile deportation cases have stirred up increasing support for immigrants rights and a growing distaste for the ramifications of the 27th Amendment.
this past weekend:
However any re-adjustment to the constitution is hampered by worries around Brexit, and how changes in the relationship between the UK and the rest of Europe will impact the border permeability between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Could a citizen then, born in Northern Ireland, to parent of a non Irish Nationality then enter Ireland and then the EU? Or what if someone born in Ireland, of non Irish descent, wanted to get into the UK!
Oh dear. Fear Fear Fear.
Fear of people crossing borders.
Other articles of interest:
We know a lot about about this fear it seems in the US:
-Sunday’s border closing at Tijuana Port of Entry, WaPo
-really thorough and interesting article about the US-Mexico border and immigration, WaPo
So do Ukraine and Russia and their contested waters
The Mediterranean & Europe
and on and on.
I make no pretense to have any solution to massive groups of displaced people, managing flow of immigrants to anywhere from anywhere. This isn’t a political blog. (Though, is art ever apolitical really?) But I’m interested in making sure we have thoughtful conversations about the state of fear that grips our “states.”
“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering.”
I’m pretty sure we’ve heard those words spoken by a green alien muppet.
What if we say them aloud, and consider their weight?
And all this from thinking about dances.