Livestreamed on this page on Friday 15 May 2020 at 3:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 5:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 6:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:15 p.m. BST (London, UTC+1) / 21:15 p.m. CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).
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Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Irreconcilable Spaces
hosted by Unsettling Dramaturgy: Crip & Indigenous Dramaturgies
Lindsay Eales: Hello and welcome to Unsettling Dramaturgy's fourth Praxis Session for Virtual Collaboration. In this four-part series we address approaches to, and practices in online convening that center unsettling, decolonization, indigenization, and disability justice in process design. This series emerges from our year plus of work and research in transnational convening and creative collaboration through virtual mediums. This series has been developed as our response to the turn towards online organizing that has followed the COVID-19 crisis. Today's Session is on irreconcilable spaces. Before we jump in, we want to flag that we're starting our sessions with an introduction and a check-in with each Unsettling Dramaturgy Collaborator. We wanna honor that this time is what cultivates the intimacy and vulnerability that shapes what's possible in our discussions on the theme for the rest of this session. But we also want to honor your time as an audience, and recognize that the digital fatigue many of us are feeling is very real and we wanna be transparent that we'll finish this introduction set in approximately 45 minutes. So if you'd like to leave and return at any time, please feel free to do so. Check.
Jessica Schacht: This is Jessica. Unsettling Dramaturgy is an ongoing project bringing together Crip and Indigenous dramaturges from across so-called Canada and the United States who work in theatre, dance, and experimental performance. Using digital platforms we gather to build relationships; to explore and document the critical convergences and divergences in our experiences and work; to amplify Crip and Indigenous aesthetics, ethics, practices, and leadership in our local, national and international performance ecologies; to push the conversations from inclusion to centering, from reconciliation to unsettling and decolonization. For a full description of our project, you can check out our Facebook page: Unsettling Dramaturgy: Crip and Indigenous Dramaturgies. This project is generously supported by the Literary Managers and Dramaturges of the Americas Bly Creative Capacity Grant and the Canada Council for the Arts. Huge shout out to our partner Howl Round, which is livestreaming today's event for us! We wanna recognize that Zoom, the platform that we're using to come together today, is headquartered in what is now called San Jose, California on the traditional lands of the Ohlone and Tamyen peoples. Check.
Tara Moses: This is Tara. So today's plan for our session is number one, following our opening, Unsettling Dramaturgy Creative Collaborators will engage in an exchange on the theme. We will speak from our respective embodied knowledges and practices, with an orientation towards expanding collective practice as is relevant to local ecologies. We will take a 10-minute break on the hour. We will take a 10-minute breaks on all of the hours. So we will this when they come. Secondly, Jill will lead Creative Collaborators and those tuning in live through elements of the process developed for Encounters at the "Edge of the Woods", activating the discussion of irreconcilable spaces through embodied creative practice. Thirdly, we are excited to have, oh my gosh, you know, quarantine kind of thing . Tiare Jung, if I said your name wrong, I'm so sorry. Yes, they are waiting. Tiare will be digitally virtually recording this event for us, oh my gosh. At various moments during this event, Tiare will share the visual record they are creating, and this will be visually described. Finally, number four is exchanging with you all who are watching from home We are excited to interact with you dear viewers throughout this session, to hear your questions and your reflections. To interact with us during this event, you can use one of the three options: you can email us at [email protected], you can comment on the livestream on Unsettling Dramaturgy Facebook page. And then our Unsettling Dramaturgy Co-Coordinator Mia will be checking these accounts throughout the session. You can also email us your stories that are inspired by this process now or at any time. And then finally, we will engage in a group closing. So what we do is learning of how we do it. The process is the work, check.
Lindsay: This is Lindsay again. I'm gonna talk about accessibility. So today's session is being live captioned and ASL interpreted. CART or live captioning is available on the HowlRound livestream and here: https://recapd.com/w-bfDPlb. Thank you. ASL Interpretation is available on both the Facebook and HowlRound livestreams. ASL Interpretation and CART are essential elements of how we've built this event. We want to acknowledge that both Deaf folks and interpreters have to work extra hard together to ensure clarity and communication that some people who use spoken English may take for granted. So we thank you for that extra labor. ASL and CART are vital and indispensable access practices, and they require input from Deaf folks to do well. They are also complex and complicated in navigating our online forums, which points to the limits of the programs and systems we're using, that don't consider or make space for accessibility across a multiplicity of practices and needs. And it also points to our Crip commitment to working within and challenging imperfect systems in order to honor the value that comes from cross disability solidarity work and community building. Visual Description is also embedded in our practice. We're gonna remain in an emergent and responsive state throughout today's event, adjusting our pace and the shape of our conversations to reflect the pace and shape of all collaborators. We'll name our access needs at the top of the event and again as they arise throughout our time together. We also wanna acknowledge that trauma is in the quote, unquote room. In doing this, we want to acknowledge that all of us have established practices of care for ourselves and we want to honor and include those practices, this includes the practices that have been pathologized but have done important work. We invite everyone here, in terms of the collaborators and anyone tuning in live, to take care of yourself in whatever way is necessary. Everyone's welcome to vocalize, to use technology, to stim, to move around, to leave and to return to the event at any time. Also, learning from the disabled artists and organizers of the festival, I wanna be with you everywhere in New York, we want to acknowledge those who can't be here, and who can never be here, because of inaccessible and inequitable structures and the ways these realities bump up against our embodied needs and experiences. You are welcome and appreciated and an important part of our community. And a recording of this event will be available for future viewing through the Unsettling Dramaturgy Facebook page, and on the HowlRound website, check.
Jessica: This is Jessica. And we'll now start with our check-ins. So during these, we'll be stating our name, pronouns applicable, land acknowledgments, physical description, how we are, our access needs, and an introduction to some aspect of your work or practice. We invite folks to please endeavor towards brevity as appropriate. And we'd like to encourage the folks with us in the audience to share their own land acknowledgments via text, email, voice message or comment on the livestream. I will go ahead and go since I'm unmuted. Tiare, my name is Jessica Schacht. I'm Metis Canadian living as an uninvited guest on the traditional territory of the Cowichan Nation also known as Duncan, B.C., which is part of the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group, currently Stage 5 treaty negotiations. I'm very thankful--
ASL Interpreter: Jessica, could we ask you to slow down a bit? It's way too fast when you're reading. Thank you.
Jessica: Thank you. Yes.
ASL Interpreter: You're on the territory of the Hoki, sorry, nation?
Jessica: Oh, the Cowichan Nation. And it's part of the Hul'qumi'num Treaty Group, which is currently in Stage 5 treaty negotiations. I'm very grateful and thankful to live here, the Cowichan also known as the warm lands, never far from the river, which is a very grounding place to be in this time. My pronouns are she, her. And my physical description: I have tan skin. I have dark brown eyes and dark brown hair. I'm wearing large gold rimmed glasses in a white linen shirt with a V-neck. I'm in my living room, which is a blue room with pink around. I'm doing well, all things considered. It's been a long week, but I have have had lots of creative fulfillment, which I am grateful for. My access needs are that I have a tiny baby in front of me so you may see me making funny faces to entertain said child. And I may need to attend to their needs throughout, so my camera might go off. As I tend to the human who is reliant on me, I work primarily as a dramaturg on new and Indigenous work, and I'm very interested in how we can break through colonial practices and get outside of what the systems that we are taught to work within to measure our own success with our own metrics to indigenize our work, check.
Tara: This is Tara, I'll go next. My name is Tara Moses. I am a citizen of the Seminole Nation of Oklahoma as well as of Muskogee descent. I am calling in from Osage, Muskogee, and Cherokee nations. This land is also the site of the 1921 massacre of the burning of Black Wall Street, also known as Tulsa, Oklahoma. My pronouns are she, her, hers. My physical description: I have light brown skin, very long, very dark hair, almost blue-black today. I have bright red lipstick on, a black sweater. And I'm sitting on a blue couch. And then there is arch behind me, and you can see a small corner of a blue and purple water color buffalo that I did a few years ago that my partner likes to say is floating through the clouds. How I am. We got off to a rough start , but I'm feeling more energized, more creative. I'm very excited for this conversation and to hear from so many of the brilliant minds in our digital room today. In regards to access needs, all of mine are currently being met. However, within the next 30 minutes to one hour, I will have to turn off my camera briefly to let workers into my apartment during this pandemic, as there are holes in my ceiling leaking rain water right now. Other than that, we're great. Introduction to my work. I am in addition to dramaturging predominantly Indigenous stories. I am also a director, a playwright, and an artistic director of an organization specifically dedicated to Latino and native artists and their stories. Check.
Lindsay: I can jump in next. This is Lindsay Eales. I use the pronouns she and her, and they and them are great as well. I'm here as a settler calling from , which is a traditional gathering place of the Blackfoot, Cree, Papaschase, Dene, Iroquois, Inuit, Nakota Sioux, Ojibway, Saulteaux, Anishinaabe, and Metis nations. And it's Colonially called Edmonton. I'm really grateful for the budding plants that are starting to grow outside of my home. And I have a pale round face with freckles and bright red curly hair. I'm wearing black cat-eye glasses with sparkles on them. I've got a black shirt on with some constellations on it and another hoodie. I am in my bed with pillows behind me. And there's a painting or a picture behind me, a big picture of two trees coming together with sun peaking out between them. I'm feeling smushy-brained and that's okay. Yeah, time feels a bit strange for me right now and it's long and short in unpredictable measures. So I'm just, yeah, feeling into that. I'm glad to be with everyone on this call today. I'm finding an interesting relationship between, like, showing up somewhere and not showing up somewhere and what it feels like to be with the folks when I do show up. So thank you for being people I can show up with. My access needs, I probably just need to move around a bit at some point. And I think what we're gonna facilitate for the day makes a lot of space for that. So that's wonderful. And I would say briefly my work and practice is in the area of med performance, where med is a social and political orientation to metal illness, quote, unquote mental illness and also in relation to disability performance and integrated dance practice. Thank you for all sharing space with me today and also to the folks who are witnessing, yeah, as audience, check.
Andrea Kovich: I guess I'll go next. Hi, I'm Andrea Kovich. I'm she, her pronouns. And I'm calling in from the ancestral homelands of the Coast Salish people including the Duwamish, Squamish and Muckleshoot Nations. Specifically I'm situated on the lands of the first people of Seattle, the Duwamish, past and present. I live and work as an uninvited settler on land stolen from the Duwamish in the Treaty of Point Elliott in 1885. And I honor with gratitude the land and the Duwamish Tribe. Physical description: I have light skin and shoulder length brown hair with scraggly side swept bangs and glasses. There's a white wall behind me and a messy bookcase. How I'm doing, I'm not feeling the greatest today but that's Crip life, I guess. And I know that everyone understands that, so I'm in a space of understanding and I appreciate that. My access needs, I like to mention that I will exercise my right to be remained silent. I don't always feel that you need to vocally contribute to participate. I appreciate that understanding. And for my dramaturgical work, I combine themes of accessibility and representation of disabled and Deaf artists, and looking at what it means to have authentic voices centered that can look like a play, reading festival, or reading scripts or straight-up dramaturgy. And that's my work. So check.
Carmen Papalia: Hi, everybody, it's Carmen. My pronouns are he, him, his. I'm speaking to you from the unseated and occupied territories of the Squahamish, Tsleil-Waututh, and Musqueam people. I'm talking from my less than two-year-old's room, we're sharing space right now. And this is where I could set up. I'm sitting on a chair that I inherited from my nonno and my nonna. It's a crushed velvet sort of material. Old wooden antique chair. My physical description. I'm wearing a dark leather flat cap with big headphones on. I have olive skin, a dark beard, hazel eyes, wearing like a brown colored shirt and a beige sweater and dark blue pants. How I'm feeling. So, like before I logged on today, I started having a pain flare-up, which often puts me out for a few days. I'm just kind of gauging how I'm feeling right now and I feel comfortable sharing this with you all 'cause I feel like in a supportive environment right now. I know there's an audience as well that, yeah, I feel like I'm among friends and folks that I often share about how I'm feeling with. So yeah, I'm just gonna gauge how I'm doing and respond accordingly. I have my jade heating pad set up on my daughter's bed so I might just like slink away to there eventually or right after I talk. And, yeah, and I might have to leave, too. My work is about accessibility. I'm an interdisciplinary artist. I'm usually responding to the conditions of my own access. I describe myself as non-visual artist because I use my non-visual senses as a primary way of navigating my surroundings. At a point in time I shifted value from the visual to the non-visual, so I really try to find ways to exercise my non-visual senses and make opportunities for others to also practice using their non-visual senses. I don't often share publicly about my pain condition, and I think in Unsettling Dramaturgy is one of the few places that I have done that. And it's an experience that I've had since I was a kid. Puts me in hospital quite a bit. So yeah, I'm just trying to feel through how it feels to share about that condition with you today and how I'm feeling with you today, too. So thanks for being here and making that space for us. Check.
Grant Miller: This is Grant Miller. They, them, hello, everyone. I am calling in from the traditional and unseated territory of the Chinook, Multnomah, Clackamas, Cathlamet, and Kalapuya people as well as many other unnamed bands, that is the settler territory referred to as Portland, Oregon, U.S.A. Acknowledgments, as well, to the nearby confederated tribes of the Grand Ronde, whose ancestors survived the Oregon Trail of Tears and tribal status was terminated by executive order in 1954 and restored with a lot of activism in 1983. Let me go back to... I am currently floating over a virtual background of sort of kind of speckled white and green oval leaves in a very sort of quick paced image. It's a still image color, sort of like bluish green but all the leaves sort of move sort of fast when I look at them. and I am further away from my computer, so I'm kind of small amongst these leaves, wearing Princess Leia silver headphones over my ears. Right now my hair looks really pretty dark, but it's a lot more gray than it appears right now. I'm white with, let's see, sort of maroon button-up shirt and striped T-shirt under it. I have sort of a tired look on my face, which I suppose kind of speaks to how I'm doing as well. It's funny to describe myself while also looking at an image of myself because I kind of, there's some things I know to describe about myself, but as I'm using the image as a reference, it's just interesting to kinda notice. I also have hands that drape like willow trees. And yeah, I think that's the last thing I wanna add. I am really glad to be here. My attention is a little bit split because I have been invited to participate in a project that has kind of a deadline or sort of like a things need to be done by, major thrust of it needs to be done by the end of June and it would need to happen pretty quickly. And so my mind, I'm really grateful for this opportunity but part of the reason that it's come my way is because a really prominent member of our community passed away right before COVID. And so there's a need for this opportunity to occur. And so I'm just, I'm still kind of reeling from the sort of the sudden work opportunity in this time and it's work specifically related to disability and the arts, disability culture, disability justice. So sort of the form of it is still kind of very much on my mind. And so my attention is a little bit, I'm tired because I spent a lot of last night thinking about it and kind of grieving the loss of this community member and the state of the world right now, so I'm kind of tired but I also, I'm also really glad to be here. I'm particularly excited for what you're gonna do with us today, Jill. And just to be present with all of you is very, very soothing to my heart. I also keep getting a notice that my internet connection is unstable, so just gonna work with that, whatever that means. I think I might also sort of recline and lean back a little bit and I've taken some pain stuff, and I might continue to take pain stuff throughout this so that might have impacts on my use of words. And usually that just means I still try to talk, but it gets a little fuzzy. In which case, please ask me to clarify myself. And I'm also gonna be drawing so I might be looking down. And if it looks like I'm not attentive, I probably am. Drawing also helps me kind of stay connected. Anything else that I really wanna throw in right now? Yeah, I love being with all of you. Oh, right, introduction to my work or practice. So a big part of my practice is adapting to shifting circumstances. So in this moment my feet are kind of sore on the ground so I'm gonna kind of pump them a little bit to get the blood flowing. My work is situated within theatre, performance art, movement, and social practice. And I am a, I'm also a, I also do, like, consulting work around access, particularly with arts institutions but also cultural institutions or institutions that have some sort of direct role in producing or engaging culture. And that is with the curiosity paradox. My partner is also a consultant, as well, particularly to do with language. Their name is Jonathan Paradox. And... Yeah, I suppose my practices brings up a lot of questions about what, what is, how to deform existing structures to make space for our bodies to be present. And so that can look a lot of ways, in our last session, that looked like a practice that I developed in collaboration with my partner, Jonathan, two other collaborators, and they're so, hey, there is a call, and that our practice was really about interrupting performance structure and meeting culture to really focus on practices of collective care, negotiating how we wanna be witnessed and accessed, and then engaged in reflective practices. And that's one of many ways that I work to and move to. I'm kind of averse to using the word work, that I move to deform existing structures. Yeah, thank you. I also wanna name another access need. I have a tendency to talk fast, and so if anybody, including interpreters, are willing to interrupt me, I would really appreciate it. Because right now I'm drinking tea and it's warm, and it's reminding me to move slowly, but I also really welcome the interruption to slow down because I'm gonna finish this tea soon. So thank you. Check.
Lindsay: So it looks like, this is Lindsay. It looks like right now we have yet to hear from Mia and Jill and Landon.
Mia Amir: Landon and I are just communicating privately in chat. I was just catching Landon up on what we are doing and sharing the questions that we are asking and answering. Yeah.
Lindsay: Jill, do you feel like in a place to jump in or?
Mia: I think Jill had requested to go last, so Landon and I, one of us, rock, paper, scissors. I can just…
Tiare Jung: I can go if you want.
Mia: And Tiare also, yes. And I can just go 'cause I'm talking. So this is Mia Amir. I'm calling in from the unseated and occupied territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh peoples where I have lived most of my life. I am a Crip-Mad Jew of mixed Ashkenazi and Sephardic ascent. And I was born in Israel occupied Palestine. I use she, her, hers as my pronouns. I am currently sitting in my bedroom on my bed with a tapestry of the tree of life behind me that is textured and has the colors brown, various shades of brown, orange, blue, green. I have a wedge pillow behind me. I am wearing a blue shirt with a green headband on. I have dark hair, light skin, hazel eyes, a tired face. I think that's what needs to be shared right now. I'm lucky to be sheltering in place in my home, which is a safe place for me and that feels good. I am feeling very, very dispersed right now, because our dear co-coordinator, my dear co-coordinator of this project is sick, Rue, and so I'm holding down various aspects of our digital world right now as we're live. So I'm attending to our email and to the Facebook livestream and trying to keep us connected in a good way with anyone who has questions or is trying to tune in live and to contribute any reflections that they might have. My attention is in multiple places, and I feel my heart beating very quickly. I feel, my body's like nervous and anxious, and it probably doesn't help that I'm drinking coffee. My access needs are mostly met right now. I tend to live with a general state of brain fog due to my chronic illnesses. I am the parent of a 15-week-old baby, so that all creates a perfect opportunity for my brain to find multiple ways to be in present time and also to take care of itself, which means sometimes I'm not able to perform language in the ways that I want and feel the need to. So I appreciate any patience with me as I try to cobble together sentences. Other than that, I'm good. In terms of my practice, I say that I work at the intersection of creative and community practice. In realtime, what that means, is that I am a creator who is working in trans-disciplinary media. I'm a sound designer, performer, writer, dramaturg, a director, working in theatre and in transgressive experimental performance. I work from a disability Crip-Mad aesthetic, and that is not something that conforms to a box that you can place a real definition inside of. To me, that's really about questions of design, of process, and the ways in which we relate to place, space, relationships, those who are in the room, the proverbial room with us, those who are not in the room with us, the ways in which we allow our embodiments, our histories, our emergent and constantly fluctuating truths to inform and be welcomed, and part of the ways in which we come together to create work but also to perform and design possibilities for imagining outside of the current conditions in which we exist. I work largely from sensation in my practice, even if my practice is sometimes largely language-based or sometimes largely image-based, or sometimes largely sound-based. Sensation is always at the root, and I'm always looking for ways to allow the body to take the lead because I find that that is where the greatest truths in my life live, the way the body is in a constant state of interrelationship and interrogating that feels really important to me. I also do a lot of work inside of my communities to advocate for more just and humane ways of working, which for me are grounded in a Crip-Mad experience but are intersecting with class and racial justice, the ways in which we live in an ongoing state of colonization. So seeing all of these things as interrelated. And I'm very, very lucky to be the convener and co-coordinator of this project: Unsettling Dramaturgy, which brings together these incredible humans from across so called Canada and the United States to be together and to find intersections and divergences in our work that are really important and I think pushing, pushing our communities to find new ways of working and making and being, check.
Tiare: Thank you, everyone, for your introductions. While you may have seen me my body disappearing off screen, I could still hear you, I just wasn't in camera range. So, my name is Tiare Jung. My pronouns are they, them, or in Hawaiian, which is one of my lineages, you could describe my gender as mahu, which is like a fluid or in between genders. I am living on the occupied homelands of the Musqueam, the Tseil-Waututh, the Squamish, and, yeah, that was three of them, peoples. I've been an uninvited guest on these lands for the past 10 or 11 years. Something that I feel, something about my relationship to these lands is they have had the immense privilege and honor of being able to witness and draw for a number of Indigenous groups and organizations, and through that I got to meet, and also through some other community connections, I got to meet the really generous Michelle Lorna Nahanee. So she is a Suquamish, Squamish, What's the word for, I'm just forgetting that word. Not mother, but person in a position of like leadership, matriarch, matriarch. Thank you, I can see Mia leaning into help me out my little brain fart there. So she's a Suquamish matriarch, and she's just released a workbook called "Decolonize Now." And I just think that she does really wonderful work to invite people to think about their relationship to the land and their relationship to indigenization and decolonization. And so plug in that, check that out, "Decolonize Now". Michelle Nahanee. How am I doing today? My access needs are met. And I apologize for the background noise. I was gonna have my Bluetooth headphones in this set up. I wanted to set up outside for all of you so that you could have better lighting on this board. And so it was a bit of an experimentation. There's bungee cords and concrete blocks holding everything in place there. And my headphones just stopped working right before the call, so I hope that's it's not too chaotic over here. What do I wanna say about this? Yeah, so, graphic recording. The practice of listening, witnessing, and reflecting back the work all of you are doing is, I really hope together, I really hope to pull together some of the essences and illustrate the stories of this work. I think it can be really powerful to see all of that in one canvas and to highlight some of the thoughts that people are sharing around irreconcilable spaces. I thank you for inviting me to bring graphic recording into this space. Throughout, I'm gonna be weaving together visual story of your work, and I am excited to share near the end some of the choices about why I chose to draw what I drew. And with that, I will check. That's the end of my check in.
Lindsay: So, I think Landon, if you are up for it, we would have you go next and then, Jill, finish us off with the introductions.
Landon Krentz [Landon communicates viz American Sign Language while Brooke, ASL interpreter, translates into spoken English]: Hi, everyone, my name is Landon. Prior to introduce or check-in make sure your sound is on. There is no pronouns used in the Deaf culture. So instead we usually describe what the person looks like because it's a visual language. So I'm wearing a dark shirt with rhinestones in a checkered, and it's tactile. You can't see how shiny it is on the camera, but it is very shiny specially when the sun hits it. Otherwise, it's a black shirt with rhinestones on it. You can see that I look tired, I've been very busy in lots of meetings trying to develop projects. And I have a Zoom exhaustion , Zoom fatigue for sure, pretty bad. My eyes are aching from having to stare the screen all day. My access needs are met having interpreter today, Brooke and Ava here with us to interpret for you. My work typically focuses on Deaf theatre and sign language arts. A lot of people are unsure what the two are and they really are separate worlds and approach to them are different as well. They cannot feel the lack. For sign language arts, something I'm really keen on. Oh, next piece here. Yeah, I think that's everything for me, check.
Jill Carter: Hi, it's Jill here. Will we be breaking after this or should I just begin to launch in? I'm seeing a nod from Tara. Okay, so I'll just do my little land acknowledgment thingy, my introduction and then give it away. I won't go on. [Jill gives an introduction in Ashkinaabe language.] So I'm speaking to you from what is commonly known as [with an accent] Tarantah. [Jill laughs.] Toronto, Ontario. This is a city located on the banks of Ondario the beautiful lake, Ontario. Dagadonto. This place where trees grow out of the water has sustained and been stewarded for thousands upon thousands of years by the Erie, by the Petun, by the Wyandot, by the Hod and the Shawnee, by the Misswezahgic, Anishinaabic, or Mississaugas. Anishinaabic, Mississaugas is of the credit. My pronouns are she and her. Excuse me. I have a virtual background behind me. It's a very scary, gloomy looking virtual background. It's kind of gothic stony. It is a photograph I took of the entrance of Hart House Theatre, which I'll be discussing in my thing. And it's actually a photograph of part of the installation, so this is where the live audience would enter in. They'd go down a set of stairs into the stone building, which looks very much like a penitentiary and/or it's been observed, a residential school. The banner which is part of our installation that hangs over the entrance of the door reminds patrons, reminds us all that, that of the potlatch ban, which was an amendment to the Indian Act, the Indian Act in Canada was first put into legislation in 1876. But in 1884, an amendment prohibited ceremonial performance. It silenced their songs, prohibited our dances, and storytelling and the wearing of regalia until 1951. So this was part of an installation that I'll be referring to when I talk about process. Me, what do I look like here and now? Oh, scary. Very tired-looking. Very worn and bedraggled. Brown hair, brown eyes. Light brown skin. I think hair in a , hair in a one style I can manage, which is a topknot. Tight topknot with a hot pink scrunchie. My shirt is navy blue, black, and white, kind of done in a tie-dye-ish, stripy tie-dye-ish design. It is V-necked. And I'm wearing big gigantal glasses with black frames. My access needs, so far, so good. I am recovering from a lung infection, so I may be coughing in a most unattractive way as I've been doing for some time now. I'm a little tired, but I will be sweeping plenty of caffeinated, sugary fluids. So, perhaps, too, I should also welcome any interruption to slow down. And I think that's all I will say for now. Check.
Tara: Thank you, everyone, mvto. So it is currently 6:11 p.m. Central Time, 4:11 p.m. Pacific Time mast on the East Coast. Anyway, so we are going to take a 10-minute break, and so we will all convene at 22 after the hour. So I will see everyone and we'll be together virtually in 10 minutes. Remember, that's 22 after the hour. 4:22, 6:20 2, 7:22, thank you.
Grant: Mia, I just wanted to confirm for you that I did get the PDF from Jill. I don't know if you're still there, Jill. I did get it from you. And so that's ready to go.
Mia: Grant, if you're still there, would you be able to share our break screen?
Grant: I don't think I have it, but could you--
Mia: I can send you the link to it.
Grant: Great, yes, I can.
Mia: Thank you, I will do that now.
Grant: Okay, I'm just gonna put something up while I wait for that. Yeah.
Mia: I've just sent it to you in our chat, Grant.
Grant: It is opening up as we speak. And I think we're on a 10-minute break.
Tara: Thank you, Grant.
Grant: Thank you. Oh no, where'd that go?
Tara: All right, we are slowly making our way back. Making sure ASL interpretation is good to go. Great. Awesome, well than you all, welcome back. And I'm really excited to hand it over to Jill. Check.
Jill: Miigwech, Tara, thank you. So, I'll be talking a little bit and then we'll be moving into some prompts that will prompt us in some practical work a little bit, a taste, micro-activations, and also discussion. Excuse me. And we absolutely welcome, invite, hope for the participation of all of you wonderful people whom we can't see or hear right now. I believe you are able to access chat? I believe, I don't know. Or there are email, et cetera. There will be people moderating that, looking over that, and hopefully we can bring some of your responses into the discussion and the sharing today. Okay, throughout this series, the members of the Unsettling Dramaturgy have been putting our minds together to collaboratively imagine a future within the world of drama, theatre, and performing arts. A future that we would like to inhabit. And I am very grateful to them for opening this space within this series to talk about and play within a process or more accurately, a devised process that is still in progress through which I have been attempting, with my own students and colleagues in Dagadonto to begin to imagine relational repair and conciliation. The nation in which I live that calls itself Canada has branded this fraud historical moment an era of truth and reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and the settlers who now occupy our lands. It seems to me and my colleagues in this working group have supported this notion that reconciliation is a Shemeric goal. Together we acknowledge that this reconciliation is an unachievable goal because as Metis curator David Garneau has rightly observed for reconciliation to occur, there must have at one time existed a respectful relationship that now, marred by a breach, is in need of repair. We acknowledge sadly that in most circumstances, the occupiers of Turtle Island did not treat, make treaty with, treat with Indigenous peoples in good faith and did not meet Indigenous peoples with genuine goodwill. And we posit that while conciliation, the forging of right and respectful relationships between Indigenous and settler communities, may yet be possible, they will require a retreat on both sides into what David Garneau has termed, quote, irreconcilable spaces of aboriginality. Hence we devote this final session in our series and we're hoping it's not the final, I think it was scheduled as final, but we're hoping to add a few more sessions, so I shouldn't have called it final. I'll call it the fourth session in our series, to the topic of irreconcilable spaces, and irreconcilable spaces within the context of virtual collaboration. In his essay, "Imaginary Spaces "of Conciliation and Reconciliation, "Art, Curation, and Healing," David Garneau looks at Indigenous refusal and quote, "outlines how Indigenous resistance "to the reconciliatory gaze can inform the development "of sovereign display territories," unquote. The creation of such sovereign display territories are necessary to the nation of generative Indigenous-nonIndigenous collaborations. Whether we are collaborating as an artistic team or whether we are collaborating in the moment of performance, as storyteller and witness. Within this space of a gallery, for instance, sovereign display territory at least for me as easily imagined, I imagine it perhaps as a room or a nook or a curtained off alcove to which only Indigenous patrons may gain access. Within the space of a book or journal, as Sto:lo Scholar Dylan Robinson has demonstrated, non-Indigenous readers may be advised to stop reading at a certain point and invited to begin reading again at a later point in the essay. See, his, if you're interested, we can send you the title and bibliographic information for a prize-winning essay he wrote called "Welcoming Sovereignty". That's Dylan Robinson. I am a theatre worker by trade, as both researcher and practitioner. And I am a very particular theatre worker. I'm an urban Anishnawbek whose praxis and passions lie in exploring the operationalization of nation-specific Indigenous knowledge systems, linguistic structures, and aesthetic principles within the crafting of contemporary Indigenous performative events. The works that I make or in which I am involved or that I have been privileged to explore fly in the face of accepted conventions of theatremaking as taught in North American conservatories or is practiced on the public stage. For instance, as a director, I may not hold auditions. Indeed for the last planned production at which, oh sorry, for instance, indeed for the last show I produced I simply sent out an invitation to an information session about a planned production at which I outlined the spirit and intent of the project, the process that would guide us, the commitment of time and energy that would be required, and the positions that need to be filled. Those who showed up, and there were a lot, were then asked to outline their reasons for wishing to participate in the project and to tell me how they wish to be involved. Each person, every single person there who attended that session was ultimately assigned to the role or roles they had chosen, and all excelled in their positions, and all were paid. Many of the themes that preoccupy me and my colleagues and that occupy our work include questions around narrative authority, cultural fragmentation and restoration, loss and exile, the devastation of the natural world, futurity and the cyclical unfolding of life. We seek also to structure our creative processes around the aesthetic principles and traditional knowledge systems belonging to our nations and that constitute a bundle that has been left to us and left for us to tend for coming generations. In fall 2019, Hart House Theatre, before which I sit, virtually, which is located on the St. George campus of the University of Toronto celebrated its centenary. For 100 years Hart House Theatre had contributed to the development of the storytellers and to the dissemination of the stories That have upheld the Canadian imaginary. Hart House Theatre is Canadian theatre before Canadian Theatre could be said to exist. It is the birthing ground of the Shatner's, the Massey's, the actors and directors who then went on to build Stratford, Shaw, et cetera, et cetera and the drama program in which I work now at University of Toronto. It has played a significant role in the shaping of the identity of this nation, of the nation Canada. To mark this historical moment even as it looks forward to a second century of seasons, Hart House Theatre reached out to me first for suggestions and later for help in producing its first Indigenous show. As an intervention for which its first, just gotta stress that, as an intervention through which to commit itself to the urgent project of restoring its role as a cultural cornerstone in the colonial edifice, that contains us all. Entering , excuse me. Entering this project, I was wrestling with a tangle of questions which boiled down to these. What dramaturgical methods might I safely employ to safely navigate the frontier between witness and voyeur? How might I ensure that the Indigenous bodies on that stage were not performing as fodder for colonial consumption? How might I ensure that the burdensome work of relationship building were shared equitably between Indigenous and non-Indigenous company members and ultimately between storytellers and witnesses alike? To what extent would this specifically Indigenous methodologies and dramaturgical structures, with which I had chosen to work, serve the project of relationship building in this historical moment? The process of building this show, Encounters at the "Edge of the Woods", carried its participants into spaces in which they were compelled to see, to remember, and to respond to a tangled history of settlement, to long suppressed histories, buried waterways, silenced voices, and wounded earth. In the beginning, I had envisioned us doing this work together, always together, but during the year as I prepared for rehearsals, I began to wonder if this was not a naive impulse. I wanted the relationships that came out of this process to be truthful. I hoped that each individual in the company, including myself, would be in some way transformed by the experience. And for these goals to be achieved, absolute honesty was required. Indigenous participants and settlers alike needed to be able to speak hard truths, to engage in hard conversations, to wrestle together with our fears, our hopes, and our most cherished biases and assumptions. In the words of one of my settler actors, during early discussions in irreconcilable space, if you can't find a safe space, carve yourself a brave space. Bravery would be required if we were to break the dam together. But in forcing a premature togetherness, I could either be courting dysfunction and micro-aggression or a politely false and distinctly Canadian encounter in which any possibility of authentic relations would be lost. So then, from the beginning, a courageous group of scholar artists, which call themselves The Collective Encounter, agreed to retreat into the irreconcilable space as I carved out in order to build something special together. Early discussions and table work were conducted in the irreconcilable space. And I wanna stop here because when I speak of this, I'm actually speaking of a very crude rendering of irreconcilable space, because I was beginning a process. And it really was a division of Indigenous to this territory, to Turtle Island, and actually to Canada and settler. So these were the two spaces I carved out. Throughout the process, I've come to realize or come to think about and want to work with other, carving out even finer spaces, Indigenous to other territories and the world, who have come here unsettled in, well, here meaning Dagadonto in my case. Various, various peoples and nations who have been affected by the colonial project and to carve out all these spaces and bring them together. But I began, I will confess in a crude manner and I've been learning through the process, so this is a process in development. So early discussions and table work were conducted in irreconcilable space. Where in each group, Indigenous and settler, and each individual in that group were able to wrestle with their biases, assumptions, suppressed anger, fear, disgust, desire, et cetera. All of these came out in our group work. Each group was able to formulate questions, hypothesized possible futures, process individual and shared trauma, and do the work each needed to do before encountering each other as collaborators. Land-based work was also conducted in irreconcilable space. Each group embarked upon separate Indigenous history tours of the campus upon which Hart House Theatre suits. And I wanna share some teachings I got from those. As the land was storied for them, they responded in kind with stories, songs, spoken word, et cetera. As a sidebar, I'd like to give you a teaching that I came out with. So I conducted these stories and I conduct many Indigenous history tours across Dagadonto and on my campus. Generally, although I often feel rushed, these tours run three hours, they're walking tours. When I took the Indigenous group out on the land and allowed them to set the pace, we were out there for over five hours. They sat with the land, reflecting on the stories, responding in the moment. And when I took the non-Indigenous group out, our tour lasted three hours. The Indigenous artists, the non-Indigenous artists, I should say, have beautiful spirits, good intentions, and they listen intently. They connected with those stories, facts, and events about place, but they don't yet have or I believe that at that time I did not yet, was not yet able to see connections, their connections to the land itself. They listened and responded to my voice. Where Indigenous artists listened to my voice, yes, but to the land itself, when they responded, the Indigenous artists were responding to the buried waters, to the scarred land, to the messages beyond human hearing. They set the pace, they sat with what they heard, and they responded to that what they were hearing, not necessarily to me. Had both groups traveled together, I surmised, had I not broken these and broken them, I surmise that the Indigenous artists would have felt and responded to the need of the non-Indigenous artists to move on, to get to the next place. And I surmise the tour would have been shorter, and I further surmise that the Indigenous artists would have gone through this unconsciously and without rancor, but something really deep and important would have been lost. Lee Maracle, a Sto:lo writer and a teacher, educator in SIAM and her daughter, Columpa Bobb, offered workshops and story creation based on processes they grew up within their Sto:lo culture. These two were conducted in irreconcilable space. Everybody got the same workshops, but separately. In separate space. Indigenous workshops, non-Indigenous workshops, and eventually we all came together and did a lot of weaving of story. And through this we discovered, but by separating the groups we discovered the heart of the play, which lay in the Indigenous call, a call or a prompt to which the non-Indigenous artists were tasked to respond. What was happening that through this work the Indigenous, many of whom were not, quote, professional performers were storytellers in their own right, were amazing artists, but who had come to this process and may have set back or may have given the floor to the, quote, actors in the group. But in separating us that way, our voices were, their voices were able to come through, their aesthetics were privileged, and they became the fulcrum of the show. From Lee I received an important teaching about irreconcilable space, another important teaching, unexpected. When I was asked to do this work months before, I had a long discussion with the Hart House executive about smudging. I was assured that the company members would be able to smudge anywhere at all at any time within that building. This was important because we didn't have the theatre space for many rehearsals, our rehearsals moved frequently from space to space within that building and actually beyond that building. So this was important to have this free reign. But when rehearsals began months later, we were suddenly presented with a book of smudging protocols by the administration. When we could smudge, where we could smudge, what windows had to be open, literally down to the east end of the room, the west end of the room, or not at all in some rooms. I was perturbed and confused and angry. Lee Maracle, however, flipped the script. She told us the Hart House Theatre or Hart House itself was not a place we should smudge. She drew an edge of the woods for us, which we realized, somatically. She told us that this was a colonial space on Indigenous land to be sure. Well, she reminded us of this. An Indigenous land to be sure but still a colonial space. She carved out an edge of the woods ceremony, bringing in an Anishinaabe healer to smudge the company outside the building. And so afterwards to enter the workspace and after that evening, that altered or adopted edge of the woods, we then smudged within the building, the company smudge in accordance of course with building protocols. Which I hope are changing after some discussions I've had. The script was flipped again. And I keep saying using this, I flipped the script, because this was a big objective that came out in Indigenous discussions about what this show would be. To flip the script. So the script was flipped again when irreconcilable spaces were collapsed into a collective working space, when we did come together. And again, I invite you to consider that most of the Indigenous, all of the Indigenous, well, we had elders in the group who are also part of the UFT community, but who might not have considered themselves actors. We had Indigenous actors in the group who were part of UFT, who had attended for instance the Center for Indigenous Theatre who had never been invited to do a show or participate in an acting program at UFT. They felt outside to these spaces, right? Maybe not even welcomed within these spaces. And then we had many of the non-Indigenous were UFT students and/or and many of them were also acting students, performing theatre students within the acting programs at UFT. So this was their kinda space, home, territory, right? So we flipped the script because upon this stage, the Indigenous stood and we carved another threshold. And the non-Indigenous working members came in and announced themselves. They gave us their names, they told us where they had come from and how their families have managed to settle and be here. They declared their intentions in being part of this project and they asked for admittance into this project. Not of me, of their Indigenous counterparts. And those Indigenous counterparts admitted them and then introduced themselves, and this is the way we began working together. Indigenous protocols globally have required us to pause in liminal space, never touching that space where water kisses land, never venturing into the clearing beyond the dense forest, never stepping off the tarmac until we have sent out the call announcing our presence and intentions and until we have received a response, an invitation to step into the territory of another. Encounters at the "Edge of the Woods" constitutes an invitation to audiences as a show. Into a requisite protocol, a processual mechanism through which watcher may be transformed into witness. Invasive species into distant relation and occupier into guest. Watchers are ushered into a retreat with the company into irreconcilable space. Those spaces in which to repair what Sto:Lo writer and scholar, Lee Maracle, terms our split mind. And from which we might re-encounter each other and it sustains us with generative action powered by good intention. Good intentions of course are not enough. Action is required. And this leads us to the questions that will frame our dialogue and inspire micro-activations of this collaborative thought experiment in which we invite all, that is Unsettling Dramaturgy collaborators whom you see on your screen, and you the witnesses to participate. It is interesting to me also that I am seeing these spaces spring up and work across Turlte Island. There may not be names for these spaces of safety and justice may differ, just as the way these spaces are used may differ. But what stands out to me, what I'm finding is that in a growing number of collaborative projects, a dance of retreat and reintegration is a key driver in the process is becoming more necessary to the health of each project. Those of you who joined us in our last praxis session will certainly recall Grant Miller's fabulous introduction the threshold practice, again, a space of the arch, right? And chambers into which we could retreat. And in future sessions, I, for one, look forward to group reflections and discussion around the practice we will look at today or we will be introduced to, take a glimpse at through discussion and micro-activations. A threshold practice and similar practices across Turtle Island. And so here's what we're going to do. And before we do it , I will ask my timekeepers, before I introduce what we're doing, I'll ask my timekeepers, where are we in time before our next break?
Tara: We’re about 31 minutes. So we're gonna break again at 20 after the hour.
Jill: Oh, this is gorgeous, gorgeous. We have a fair amount of time. Good, and I'll need you to like yell at me, timekeepers. I don't need people to slow down, but to keep time. I'm terrible with time. But thank you. This is very good, so we can just jump in to our first prompting. Somebody wrote on the chat, is that okay if I say this, Lindsay? Your question? Sorry, I believe it was invasive species to distant relation. That is true. I was trying to, I hope my wording is, sometimes my articulation is going very slowly now too, but I guess, I'm thinking, I'm using the plant species metaphor. But I'm speaking about people. So, often, when speak of plants, sometimes, often, the rhetoric has been, ooh, this is an invasive species. But as I've been taught many people I'm sure in Indigenous nations have been taught, we're all related and we're all connected. So that even if a seed flies over from across the globe or is carried somehow, while in the moment it is perhaps an invasive, looks like an invasive species or we call it that, but it also may simply be a distant relationship whose time in these territories has come. I don't know. I don't presume to know, but I trust my creator. And I don't know--
Lindsay: I think it was amplified--
Jill: What’s the plan?
Lindsay: Tiare had highlighted that as a really beautiful phrase, which also resonated with me, for sure. But I just wanted to make sure we had the turn of phrase correct. It was really--
Jill: Oh, thank you. Thank you, Tiare and Lindsay. And thank you. And it was just happened, so happened that I see the chat, if I may miss a chat question and if it is directed at me, please maybe interrupt to speak, 'cause sometimes I'm not looking at the screen.
Lindsay: Yeah, I'm happy to keep an eye on that.
Jill: Thank you, okay.
Tara: And real quickly, Jill, if that's all right? As we're in this moment of pause and transition to the next portion, we just want to verbalize and acknowledge that one of our dear collaborators, Carmen, has stepped out for the rest of our call. So in case you are wondering where he went, he's taking care of himself as far as access needs. So with that, I'll hand it back to you, Jill, as we now transition back. Thanks, check.
Jill: Right, thank you so much. So the good news is y'all get a break from listening to me, momentarily. And the even better news is that I think we're going to have some juicy fun here. So, of course, some of the things that I've been talking about are things that happened in real time and space. People gathering. And we are gathered here, and then there are group of , there are people, we're gathered here and then there are people, of course, gathered with us, whom, at least many, I and probably all of us can't necessarily see or hear in the moment, and who we do invite in collaboration. And so here we are in our little boxes, on a virtual space boxes on the screen, and we're going to try to do some of this work. Which, of course, is long, too. I mean, sessions like this, for me, for all of us, rehearsal sessions last six to eight hours, or often, maybe with breaks, et cetera and taking care of ourselves, but we're trying to move this through fairly quickly in virtual space. So this is also experimental. Experimenting with some of these concepts and trying to also bring in praxis in the virtual realm, because ultimately I think this whole series is about, "Well, how do we do some of our work in the virtual realm?" So I am again extremely thankful for the opportunity to try to think my way through this stuff because I'm not a virtual chick, but I'm gonna have to get with the times or die with the dinosaurs, I think I fear. So I'm not gonna fear, I'm just going to try my hardest. So here we go. So what you will see very shortly is a slide, and on this slide you will see, it will be a slide rather than our smiley faces. As we, not right now, or, okay, that's okay too, but we haven't quite retired yet, but yes, we saw this slide momentarily and it will come back. We are together right now, but we will have an opportunity to try to retire into irreconcilable space to stop sharing the space that we're in, our home space, our studio space for very brief time to consider, to set our minds to a question, the first prompt. So I've laid it out thusly. I've laid out the question that the group has come up with and then I've laid out a set to that question a task, a possible way into the question that we can work on in our space, in our safe space, our chamber, our irreconcilable space. And it's very short time. I'm suggesting five minutes in which to do this work. So we're not writing a presentation or although we can write, these can be bullet point thoughts, these can be drawings, these can be a comic, a graphic, these can be song lyrics, words, a word cloud, something that resonates, that prompts with us that we're driven to offer. And again I don't offer much thinking space as Lee does not in the beginning of these workshops to force us, to push us to work and not to worry. Work and not worry. And to forgive ourselves. I mean, we can always go back and edit, right, later. So, yeah, here's the prompt. In your own, in my own artistic journey, with what you and I have had to reconcile, I'm just gonna say you now, I'm including me in this but I'll say you, you, the individual you. In your own artistic journey, with what have you had to, quote, reconcile yourself with, or what irreconcilable event or circumstance or attitude have you encountered that caused some disruption to your work? And I used that word very loosely. To your work, to your practice, to your well-being. What has been the cost? Your task, and that's the prompt, your, and this will be up on a slide, so don't worry. And that's all you'll see for five minutes. Your task then will be through the medium of your choosing, and I've laid out possibilities. I've missed the audio, but that's another one. A little voice memo tape. Through the medium of your choosing, we invite you to story, in any way you wish, an irreconcilable moment in your artistic life. This also includes the invitation to story an irreconcilable moment in your experience as a witness or audience member. Perhaps you're thinking about that. And I suggested again to work fast, to give you time to digest the prompt and the task. Maybe two minutes. And then three minutes just to do some free writing, free speaking, free drawing. And then we will come back, and where it seems comfortable, share. The invitation, of course, is wherever you are comfortable. There is an invitation to retreat. The collaborators here, whom you see on the screen, are invited to retreat from the group and work in irreconcilable space, simply by switching off our video, and, of course, many of us are muted already, during the duration of our task. We can, of course, see, so the only thing we will see on the screen is the task ahead of us rather than each other. And so we'll feel very private in that moment. We will then cue a return. And I believe, I'm not sure, but Mia and others can tell me this. I believe we've also planned a breakout room for our ASL users, right? No, okay. Okay. Well, again if ASL users wanna stay on this screen, that's fine too. I mean, it's however, it's whatever we have to work with, however we have to work with. Or if those who like to work with a signer, if those people are comfortable with retreating for a few minutes alone and then coming back with their signer, sign partner, to then translate what they've said on, et cetera, that is also a good way to go. But I want people to use this in any way possible. Sorry, it's my computer speaking to me. I told you I was bad with time.
Tara: On that note, I can keep the five-minute timeframe, if that works for you?
Jill: That’s fabulous. Yes, thank you. And when we return then, however, from this task, from when we return from our task, I'll say, we will, we are all invited to share and respond. Those who choose not to share at this moment can witness and perhaps respond if called themselves, if they feel a calling, an impetuous to someone else who's sharing. Yes, and we'll go from there. We'll just improvise from there. So right now it's a sharing. If this were happening and we were weaving this into a show, what would happen is there would come this, these prompts which come in the way of stories, for instance. I'm not telling them, well, I've told you my story right now I guess to try to contextualize, but it might come in the way, the prompt might be a story that I would've told and then we would've retreated to respond and then we would've come back together, share those responses. And then what we would've done is broken into groups and woven, there is a method, gone through it, particular process of weaving what each of us has done, and then come back and each group would share the weaving and then a greater weaving would occur, et cetera, et cetera. But, though, I'm not sure. I didn't think we would have time for all of that right now, so we're kinda working in this preliminary way and also working with the questions. So I will invite my timekeepers to start the clock. I will invite the slide, the prompt to come up.
Mia: Can I make one invitation before the slide comes up?
Mia: Because this is a prompt and a provocation that's going to be accessible to everyone turning in live, as well as those of us who are being tasked in this immediate moment to create something here on this Zoom chat, I want to invite that anybody who is tuning in live who does create something in response to this prompt, who may want to share as part of the living archive that we will be creating coming out of these Praxis Sessions to feel free to email that, whatever format it is. If it's an audio file, if it's a video file, if it's a text file, whatever to email that to [email protected]. And we won't necessarily be able to address it today, but it's such an incredible opportunity for us to know who is creating alongside of us outside of this square of relations here, who's tuning in live, and to know that we really do long for, to visibilize and to actualize in a archival sense the work that other people are doing alongside of us in these sessions. So if you feel so-called as to share whatever you create today as a result of these prompts that Jill is giving us, please do send it to [email protected]. Thanks.
Lindsay: Perfect, so maybe we'll jump right to the prompt. We'll have five minutes with it. We'll come back for 10 minutes and then go on a break, if that works for everyone. Great. Check.
Grant: I will pull up the slide right now? Is that--
[Grant pulls up the slide.]
Grant: This is Grant. I just wanna read the prompt aloud for anybody who is participating but doesn't have access to the slide. I just wanna make sure that it's read one more time. Is that all right? I can't--
Jill: Please do, yes, thank you.
Grant: All right. Prompt one. In your own artistic journey, with what have you had to reconcile yourself, or what irreconcilable event/circumstance/attitude have you encountered that disrupted your work? What has been the cost? Task: Through the medium of your choosing, we invite you to story an irreconcilable moment in your artistic life. This also includes an invitation to story an irreconcilable moment in your experience as a witness and audience member. Suggested time: five minutes. And when five minutes has totally elapsed, we will all return to the group together. And then for those of you who are witnessing this session, currently inhabit sovereign spaces of creation and display. We invite you to participate in this exercise and to share your storied reflections, as you are comfortable, in the chat or via email. Your voices are crucial to this work.
Lindsay: All right, and I just wanna flag it's been five minutes. So to honor the time outlined by Jill, I would call folks back, in whatever gentle way as possible, right now.
[Everybody returns to the screen.]
Jill: How are we doing?
Lindsay: This is Lindsay, very tender. Yeah, check.
Jill: Thank you.
Tara: This is Tara. Very fired up. Very hot. Check.
Jill: Hot, hot. Tender. Hot. I'm writing this in the chat. I hear that. Okay.
Grant: This is Grant. I feel my heart beating really quickly.
Mia: I feel like I just arrived to the precipice.
Jessica: This is Jessica. I feel like I have a, I can't tell if it's hot or cold, like a core, a rod in my chest, check.
Jill: Okay. Does anyone want to expand, share further? Offer a piece of writing? Or a story?
Lindsay: This is Lindsay. I can jump in?
Lindsay: With a small piece of writing. The line drawn, whose work unworthy; what weapons wielded to cut me away from you? A certain wound, both hidden unsought and ever tender. The cost has been most of my whole world; the work of discovering another world underneath.
Jill: Wow. Thank you for sharing that. Is there any context you feel safe in offering here or not?
Lindsay: No, although, I mean, if we didn't have an audience, I would, so it's, you know, in particular--
Lindsay: And I wonder about how what I composed would've shifted in different context, depending on who was receiving it.
Jill: Mm-hmm. Okay.
Tara: This is Tara. I'll share. So this was from yesterday, and I don't mind sharing that publicly. So for those of you who I spoke to yesterday who are tuning in, you can figure out if I'm talking about you. I'm just kiddin'. Not. Anyway. [Tara laughs.] So the little bit of writing that I'll share is settler violence, settler suppression, settler handholding, settler niceties at the expense of whom?
Tara: Yeah, sort of a hot, hot take, check.
Jill: Good, do you feel any safety here in, maybe not, maybe if not speaking about a particular event, of particular event, speaking, offering us a little more context about what settler handholding looks like, what suppression has look, et cetera, for you. I can certainly share. But it's not my time on the floor.
Tara: Yeah, absolutely. So speaking generally, because yesterday was no new thing, is whenever there is conflict that needs to be addressed that is rooted in white supremacy or white fragility, those, things of that et cetera, and we need to have conversations of it. In my experience, it's been very difficult to address to the issue straightforward without it being weaponized in a settler way back at. And so, not just yesterday, but previous experiences seen not just the Indigenous folks in the room but also all of the IPOC people, how exhausted we've collectively felt after these, quote, unquote, honest discussions, because it is impossible to be honest in a space that is still not conciled. So we can't even get to, like, reconciled. So, yeah, that's what I think of this settler suppression, because we're suppressing our own honesties and ability to be fully present. Whenever I think of settler niceties it's because it's to soften the quote, unquote, below, which I sorta like to use 'cause it's very like aggressive imagery, and save face. So we like to say in the US South, where I am from, to take care of the emotional needs of those who are active in said violence. Yes, and then having, and then with handholding, being very much, as we have these discussions, since there's such a knowledge gap in barrier, it takes a lot of educational work on behalf of those who are having to do said education and work. That again then becomes impossible to be there fully and honestly and express what needs to be said. From my humble opinion as one person, check.
Jill: Chi-miigwech, Tara. Okay.
Mia: Let me share something. Oh, do we wanna move on? Just a few words. Before the rupture outward; before the weight of past, present, need, request weight, like sticky glossimer, weaving its way around my teeth, splaying and twisting an undesired mirror, the bones of the structure that hold us in the containment; the tight lips, the face in neutral, the veritable death of self there and demanded before this welcome useful and then... Ellipses.
Jessica: Just real quick. This is Jessica. I drew this.
[Jessica holds up a drawing.]
Jessica: And it is a series of like circles winding in opposite directions with arrows that are going in different directions. And some of the circles are inside, the other circles, and then some of them are outside the circle, check.
Jill: It’d be interesting to embody that image, huh? To work with, what is it, to embody that image. We could do that next session. Yeah. Anybody, I think, I don't wanna call on names, but is there anybody else? I believe, I think my timekeepers will want me to go on a break, want us to take a break in two minutes. One, two minutes. So, yeah, who ever goes, I wouldn't mind going before the break, taking the break and then coming back and moving into the next session. And we will be building on this stuff, so please don't throw away your words or anything. I typed your things into the chat, and I'll just keep sorta typing these first impressions and we'll see when we put everything together what comes out. We're dramaturgy. Sort of.
Andrea: Yeah. So I can go real quickly, if you don't mind. I was really not feeling like I could manage to draw or write anything coherent. So I chose a photo. And I don't know if you'll be able to see this, but basically there are a set of stairs leading to a fence around a home. And because there are stairs, I cannot even get close to the home. And sometimes that's how I feel in like, ableist rehearsals where I, my identity has to be left at a distance because I just don't fit into that world. So that's my contribution.
Jill: Oh, chi-miigwech. Thank you, thank you. What a resonant photo.
Grant: This is Grant. I... I sort of feel like just responding to this by moving. And I also want to, just because of time, and I feel like, oh, there'll be more space later, but I just, I feel like there's like this pressing and holding into my hands, and then this sort of dizzy feeling. And then I feel a sort of space between my hands as they kind of move apart from one another. And then my fingers sort of wiggle as though what they were holding has some space to, oh, like Jessica's image, have water pass through. And, yeah, I think that's all I'm gonna say for now. Well. There were a lot of moments of just reflecting so much on past experience that there is an aspect of really remembering those times in a way that occupied a lot of my storying time.
Grant: And so I just really felt those moments in a way that was somewhat like difficult to craft linguistically. So, yeah, thank you.
Jill: So I guess break time now?
Tara: Okay, I'll take it. I. Was seeing if Lindsay wanted to jump in. All right, so it is 23 after your hour. We will return at 33 after, 34, I might add, after. We'll come back at 34 after. So each 34 p.m., 7:34 p.m., 5:34, no, that's not right. Is it right? 5:34 p.m.! Thank you, my Pacific Coast friends. And then we will continue. So 34 after, thank you.
[The following message appears on the screen.]
Grant: Unsettling Dramaturgy is on a 10-minute break. We will return at about 8:34 p.m. Eastern, 5:34 p.m. Pacific. Take a break, get some water, move around, do what you need to do. Crip time, y'all. Have a question, comment, or reflection, or a contribution to what was shared previously, email [email protected]. Comment on Facebook at facebook.com/ Unsettling-Dramaturgy-Crip-Indigenous-Dramaturgies-, and then this is a sequence of numbers, 103 665 61127 9674.
Tara: We have two minutes, everyone. Two minutes until we're back from our break.
Tara: We are back, everyone, from our break, but we'll wait for everyone to get settled. Our ASL interpretation to get back up, and they'll be ready to pop on in. Thank you, check.
[Everybody returns onscreen.]
Tara: Great, thank you. All right, Jill, ready to take it back away.
Jill: Okay, before we move in to the second prompt and exercise, I wanna say a couple of things. First thing is, well, this next prompt will also take place in irreconcilable space. It will be a different prompt and a different task, building upon what you've already done. That was the first thing. But then we will also be having prompts where it's just group discussion after that. So we're kinda mixing it up a little bit between dialogue and this type of work, and perhaps this is also the work that is also helping us to prompt more dialogue. I just wanted to say, though, listening to all of you, like hearing you and thinking about my own reactions when I settled myself into irreconcilable space, to think about these things, it really hit me. I mean, when you're alone, and I was alone for my five minutes, this was my experience. But then when I heard you, Tara, particularly you talking, Grant talking, and, of course, and Andrea, and then Mia's, Mia's sort of response as more than an explication, but the pain, the difficulty of this work is apparent. To get honest, to get real, to dive down in the mucky stuff sometimes we draw a little blood with that. And that's a hard, I mean, I feel like right now as the, quote, facilitator or as an educator I sometimes feel quite, or director, that's hard. Oh, I'm asking people to go. But in these spaces then where it can be, I think this is one reason for me that the irreconcilable space is so necessary, that you don't have to see the shame written on my face as a memory hits me. I mean, if I want to share that later, if that's something that will come into my work that I process and then I'm ready to bring in to a public place, I will. Or you don't have to, yeah, we can go into these spaces, and we can say, "You know what, I just reject this for now. "It's not safe for me to go here, "so I'm not gonna go here," and I'm gonna come back and say, "I didn't go there today; maybe tomorrow," right? Which is really interesting in other, when we look at other forums whether we were in rehearsal, I mean, in so many places. I've been pushed into those spaces I didn't want to go, because if you're a professional and that artiste, you will go there, not when you're ready but when I'm ready, right? I think this is a, it's a hard way. There's no two-ways about it, but it's a gentler way and perhaps a safer way. And, of course, it's a raw way right now, looking for even better ways. I think when I, and this just sort of really came to me as we were working through this, and I'm going to be very quick with these comments before moving on. But as we, as you were speaking and I was listening I was also, in the back of my mind, there was the earth-diver story running through my mind. So this is, well, it's part of the creation story about a woman who falls from a world not like kinda, not unlike the world we live in today. I mean, Earth and trees, I mean, not unlike that. Dry land plus water. But she falls to this earth. And when she falls to this earth, a land-based creature, as she is, she falls to a water world. And a turtle, the turtle gives his back and then there is an earth-diver story. There are all these animals who must dive to find some soil to populate that shell, that turtle shell with soil so that growth so that plants and land, land-based creatures can also survive and so that she can survive, right? It's a story that teaches us to be good hosts, I think, and a story that teaches us to be good guests. But there is also an Anishinaabe, when I think of the Anishinaabe recreation story, which is the same sort of earth-diver story, and it's a story that takes place during the great flood, the world being flooded, and it's all Nanobosho's fault. He pissed off some powerful entities. She has pissed off some powerful entities. And, and so to destroy this, this disruptor, they send the waters and the waters come and come and come and there is a flood on all the earth. And that old Nanobosho grabs a log, gets atop a log and a few other little creatures, the dragged out little creatures are clinging to the log with him, right alongside. And then the rain stopped and then they are floating in another water world. Silly old Nanobosho. And so what Nanobosho does, being Nanobosho, he doesn't do it himself, they don't do it themselves, he sends the animals down one by one. Down they go. This entails, think of this. Down into the cold, down into the dark, down into the unknown, to try to grab something, the stuff of creation. You don't know if you'll get there. You can't breathe. Many of these animals died. And it was the smallest one, the littlest one, the one they said would never do it, that came up. And then some versions of this story, that little muskrat comes up lifeless, but in that little paw is a bit of that soil. And the magic can begin, creation can begin again. In other versions of this story that I heard when I was a child, the muskrat was resuscitated. So there is a happy ending for the muskrat. And either way there is sacrifice, there is pain, there is the unknown. And you have, we have been diving down, we go into these spaces alone to dive down for that stuff, the stuff of creation. The real stuff, the life stuff, right? That's what I think and then that's what I was thinking anyway. That's how you inspired me here. So our next dive into irreconcilable space, into a chamber. The question isn't, of course, Grant will put it up for us. But the question, the prompt is how do we actively make room for these spaces? We sort of started to see for ourselves some need for spaces, to think about these things, to talk about these things, the things with which we've had to reconcile, the things that we say, "No, this is utterly irreconcilable "and it must change," et cetera, et cetera. Identifying those things. So now, whether we're thinking of virtual collaborations, creations as we're virtually collaborating here, or as we're thinking of collaborations when we meet to in-person face-to-face, how do we actively make room for irreconcilable spaces to form within our projects? These self-determined spaces, we determine them, which honor the distinctions or our group. Our group. That we enter that space with determined, and right now it's we, individually determining those spaces which honor the distinctions between and complexities of our identities, which allow us to honor those things, and which allow us to work apart and together with others whose identities and embodiments and histories are closer to our own. So how can we create these spaces, to do this work that you have already set the tasks and the prompts for some work we can get? How do we create the spaces in which we can all get together and do that work? So the question is, it's been worded for us here, will be set up. Again we invite you to imagine, to go into your space and then imagine the formation of this space, to imagine perhaps an activity that takes place within it. So within the activity that I propose, which is very much like, which is the activity we propose for the first prompt, I'm asking you to maybe imagine another activity. How do you devise this space? How do you devise protocols for entrance and admittance? Et cetera, et cetera.
[The prompts appear on the screen.]
Jill: You may devise this space with reference or not, with reference to the irreconcilable moment you have already storied, or to a story you have heard here, as a response to something you have heard here that is resonating with you now. Time allotted. Did five work, or would you rather have six? Did five seem to work for all of you? Nods, thumbs? Oh, Grant's not with, oh, I can't see Grant's screen. Grant, can you, I'm sorry, Grant. Is five—
[Everybody returns onscreen.]
Grant: I’m back. Sorry. Yeah, my computer froze.
Jill: No, that's fine. I just wanna make sure five is okay, 'cause I think we can afford six, if you want six. It's up to you. Does it work with a faster time for you? [Everybody holds up five fingers.] Five, five is good? Five is good, okay. So I will ask Grant, so when Grant is ready to put up our screen and our prompt and our task. Thank you.
[The prompts return onscreen.]
Grant: And I'm just gonna do a description of what's on the slide for anybody at home. Do we need to turn off our videos so that it can be seen? I'm not sure, I'm gonna turn off mine. Prompt two: How do we actively make room for irreconcilable spaces to form within our projects and self-determined spaces which honor the distinctions between and complexities of our identities, and which allow us to speak with others whose identities, embodiments, and histories are closer to our own, rather than force collaboration across communities? Task: We invite you, again, through the medium of your choosing, to imagine one such space and one activity that takes place in it. You may devise this space with reference to the irreconcilable moment you have already stories, or to a story you have heard here that is resonating with you. Suggested time: five minutes. When our five minutes has elapsed, we will indicate our return to the group by switching on our video and returning to the discussion to share. Those of you, who are witnessing this session, currently inhabit sovereign spaces of creation and display, we invite you to participate in this exercise and to share your storied reflections, as you are comfortable, in the chat or via email. Your voices are crucial to this work.
Tara: Two minutes left, everyone. About two minutes.
Tara: We have reached the end of our five-minute time.
[Everybody returns onscreen.]
Jill:Okay, good. Are we back, are we not? Yeah.
Lindsay: I’m wondering if we can just have a quick connection about making sure we have time for Tiare to share on their work, and also just for a quick closing. So that might mean this part of the process taking a relatively short period of time, if folks are okay with that.
Jill: Yes, I think so. Why don't we do our sharing, my suggestion is we do our sharing here for this section. And... And then if we have some time to discuss our third prompt, it won't be in irreconcilable space, it'll be a group discussion. We'll take that time and cut the conversation when it's time to move to Tiare in closing. But if not, then maybe we can move immediately after the sharing. It depends how long this will take, I think. So I'm going to leave it to you. Y'all are the bosses, you, Lindsay, Tara, and Mia, you're gonna tell me, you're gonna say, "Oh, cut!" And this is how we'll do it, because I really am mathematically not inclined. I look at a clock, it means almost nothing to me. Or I look at digital numbers, they mean nothing. It's terrible, I have a terrible reputation for this.
Tara: It’s okay, Jill. We have a plan in the comments. We're ready.
Jill: Okay, good, good, good. Okay, 5:05 and then move, oh, okay. So that would be 9:05 and then move on, okay. So according to my clock it's nine minutes, maybe. Okay, so, all right. First impressions, maybe before sharing a word or a phrase to talk about where you are. To share where you are, what you felt or what you feel now.
Grant: This is Grant. I think at first I, it took me some time to really like saturate the question to then start to put things down, like I noticed myself really spending a lot of time kind of questioning different components of it. And as I was doing that, I was thinking, "I'm sure I would be, I would really enjoy "thinking about these questions while laying in a tub," like a pool with other people, maybe with all of us in a way that is not like COVID times, and that there would be a space where I could tend to other people and other people could tend to me while we also just enjoy allowing each other to be comfortable in the warm tub. And it really relates more to like the feeling state that I, this space of feeling like I can be with other people, or like me, who, there are ways to, there are ways to connect with but also be tending to one another in an intentional way. Yeah, especially to have spaces to be talking about things that feel irreconcilable, in ways that don't feel possible in spaces. I guess, in this case, I was specifically thinking of other disabled artists or other disabled people. So, yeah, I think that's my contribution for this time, thank you. Oh, oh one more thing. I was drawing while I was, I did both, well, I was writing while I was doing both of these. I almost just dropped my computer. I'm gonna, it's on a very precarious cushion. I can't actually let go of my computer and get my notes, so I'm gonna go on mute and share later, if there's time. Thank you.
Jill: Miigwech, Grant. Who's up? Sharing, who's up for sharing?
Lindsay: This is Lindsay, mine's super brief. A space to sit in witness of grief. Check.
Tara: This is Tara, mine's also super brief. I'm thinking of a space where we can have the, like where we can be a peer rather than the choice is be an educator or be constantly hit with violence. Check.
Andrea: This is Andrea. Maybe this is because I'm hungry, but I was thinking of breaking bread and how food always seems to be bring people together or at least help them find something to talk about and connect. So that's kind of where I was coming from, starting with food.
Jill: Mia, do you--
Jessica: This is Jessica. I drew this. It's like a modified Venn diagram, but there's a side with only one dot that's partially in shadow and then another side that has a lot of dots, and there's the meeting of the dots in between. And I was thinking of like the presupposition of like to not be alone in order to have irreconcilable space to work with others like us, requires others like us working on the projects with us, check.
Jill: Thank you, sorry, I'm not verbally reacting right now, because I'm typing your great thoughts, or that Mia going to convert to something, a document. Anybody else wish to share? [Pause.] Okay. Sorry, I've lost my words now. I mean, these are like just, there's something so glorious and beautiful, warm and rich and appealing to all of my senses. I, too would like to lay in a tub or a pool. And it's interesting that while we need to retreat to these spaces of safety, we need both, and so it's the dance, right? And I think maybe, let me see. I don't know if I actually have a question here. No, I don't. But I think, I wouldn't mind just spending the last couple minutes, four minutes we have together, to expand upon this idea of the dance. I mean, originally I think some of the notes I wrote to Mia were mentioned, something, something about, mentioned something about, well, how do we know, and I mean these are things that I'm still wrestling with. I mean, sometimes I think I've got it. In a moment I got that, in that moment, sometimes I think, "Well, maybe not." How do we know when we're ready to come in to those spaces together? And it could be, I mean, right now we're kind of, again this is such a sort of, I don't have the words for it, I'm sorry, but almost like a false construct I'm creating, like, but it's also maybe part of the new reality for a while with COVID, right? You know, this, we go away alone, we come back and work together. Ultimately, we had been thinking about, maybe for future, and Mia brought this up, she would've, Mia, you had said, sorry, I'm speaking for you, Mia, is that all right, about the breakout rooms? Yeah, so Mia, in this idea, and I think it's great, it's another way of doing this work, but it would be a later stage where we start I think and are alone in the isolation, dives deep for yourself, then we can start to choose those breakout rooms where three of us or six of us are retiring to a space together to work through something and weave what we've done together and then come back with the group and share those weavings, et cetera. But how do we know when? Or what thoughts do we have about that? What comes up for you when we think about that dance? When are we ready to come out and meet the other side? And what is needed? Is something, what, for you, do you feel is needed? I mean, I certainly have shared a few, a few not all but a few of some of the protocols and things that we were doing, and also some discoveries that I was making, even in terms of encountering a building, encountering an institution. And having Lee, really I mean, I am still kinda, well, I get excited, right, about things, but still, so flipped out about that teaching. I thought, "Why didn't I see it?" But what a way also to frame it, because it was so, "Oh, we are mad, we're sad," sad and mad, because we felt lied to. Like here , it's yours. "Smudge wherever, whenever." They brought in the medicines and all of a sudden we have a booklet like this. I was gonna say as thick as your arm, which is such a lie. You know, maybe as thick as a finger. But quite a sheaf, I mean, I couldn't keep track of it. Luckily I had two wonderful stage managers. You know, I had to say every day, "Okay, could you remind us what are the smudging protocols "for the room we're in today?" "Oh, the east side of the room, the west side of the room." "How many windows have to be open, for how long?" "Oh, no, we can't smudge in here. "Okay, what do we do now? "Okay, shall we go outside to smudge?" How do people feel about, and I mean, because it was this, of course, this anger that, "What the heck, you're on our land, buddy." Of course, and the way Lee flipped that, and not in a way, not in a way reconcile yourself to this new colonized reality, but in the way she flipped it and said, "Well, wait a minute. "They are even gonna have to earn their right "for us to," something has to happen to cleanse this space itself before we go in and start doing this work. Very, I've taken up all of our five minutes. Shite. I'm so sorry. I really do apologize.
Lindsay: Thank you for taking up that time. It was, yeah, thank you. At least I, this is Lindsay, I wanna say thank you. I'm very happy about that, so, check.
Tara: So this is Tara. We're going to move to Tiare's sharing as you finish up what you're doing, I see what they're doing. But we'll also offer, Jill, if it makes you feel better about time, for us in the middle of Muscogees time is a relative, so we take care of time like we do our elders and our aunties, and that time need to be taken care of in that way. So thank you. So with that, I'm going to hand it off to Tiare, who's been working so diligently and beautifully during this conversation. I'm going to turn off my camera, yes, we're all going to other than, so we can just have our ASL interpreter and Tiare. So whenever you are ready.
Tiare: Can you hear me? [Tiare’s voice echoes.] Oh, sorry.
Jill: Yes, I can hear you.
Grant: I can hear you, too. I don't think there's any more echo.
Tiare: Oh, are you hearing that echo? [Tiare’s voice continues to echo.]
Mia: You'll need to mute your computer in the room.
Tiare: It is muted.
Grant: Turn down the volume on your computer as well.
Tiare: How’s that?
Mia: That's way better.
Tiare: So sorry about that, everyone. So I'm on Zoom on two screens here so that I can do a zoom in of what I'm gonna be describing. So if you want to, you can pin this more close-up version as it will help you to follow along a little bit better. I had to move back to my room, because it got incredibly windy outside and my board was gonna blow away. So here we go. I'm just going to talk a little bit about some of the choices I was making around why I drew what I drew, because, yeah, I can provide the image to you and I don't want to drone on describing everything sequentially so much. But here is the large poster. It says irreconcilable spaces in large block letters across the top, and below there's an acknowledgement of irreconcilable spaces of aboriginality being referenced by, referenced by David Garneau. Once again, I'm dedicating that first section of the poster to connecting in introductions, and I chose to highlight two moments of questions that make sort of the introduction more, having more depth and about connection. So the question, what is my relationship to the Indigenous lands I'm on? And then I also, and that is included with a drawing of a little silhouetted figure in a wheelchair, and then below that is the question, how am I, how is my body, accompanied by the question, how can we reshape spaces to allow our bodies to be present? And then there's a figure of a human shaded in and then there's like a half circle cradling that person to sort of depict that person's body being held and comforted with some other circles sort of supporting him. Then I wanna go into an image of mountains and a cityscape and some green hills with the description, "Here on Turtle Island," which likes to call itself Canada. Occupiers of Turtle Island did not come to Indigenous peoples with goodwill. Therefore, there's not a good relationship to return to, but a need for truth and possible conciliation. Now, here I've drawn a sort of ghostly looking figure with like arms reaching over in this kind of like grabbing way. And then from there, there's like a red ripple or a dark sort of maroon ripple coming out of their hands. I also drew some little green almost virus pox there. And as I was drawing the image, I was thinking about an article I've seen related to some of the first fur trading situations in what is called the United States, but similar stories of colonization and how there's very blatant documentation of blankets like carrying smallpox being distributed to Indigenous communities that were not affected yet by the disease. And so that was some of the thought behind that imagery there, as I was drawing. And in this section here, I have some figures that I haven't yet shaded in with any color, but I intend to. And I put them on the land, I put them with trees and mountains behind them, with the words retreat and reintegration. And there's two streams of black ribbon that are meant to be water and rivers and sort of, they kind of look like they're coming together and joining each other. And this was when Jill was telling the story of how when Indigenous participants retreat, when Indigenous participants retreat, we respond to the messages of the land. So I've encircled the messages of the land in a bold, green and teal swirl. All of those lines and circles are bringing elements together and energizing and trying to sort of like capture that energy of reconnection. Then in a rectangular box, it says, the question, if our first step was on the land together, together being settlers and Indigenous people, would our Indigenous artists have responded to the drives of the settlers to move on? And the question, where do we start? Indigenous space, circle, surrounded by its own green circle, and then settlers learning to acknowledge the ways they came to be on this land. Then over here, I've drawn that little muskrat from Jill's story diving deep, helping us along the journey of moving from watcher to witness, or helping settlers, I should say, move from watcher to witness, from invasive to distant relation, and from occupier to guest. So the muskrat's taking us on that journey of connection that will allow deep dives into honest creativity. And so these prompts are meant to help people connect to self-determined space to allow that journey to happen. So I've got the two prompts: how have you experienced irreconcilable space in a bold raspberry color, and how do we create self determined space, also. And then the image that's taking shape, that's lightly drawn out in pencil that might be difficult to see, are two faces and the faces are overlapping each other like a Venn diagram. And then I wanted to braid their hair together to show sort of like a kindred spiritness or people whose identities, who share identities, embodiments and histories closer to our own, having that space. And it's kinda cool 'cause the image also creates the shape of a heart, and they're sort of holding each other and that image will be what supports some of the examples people gave of the self-determined spaces. And then in this open corner here is gonna be some of the questions Jill offered around, like where do you find the balance in the dance of having those, having those spaces and connecting and collaborating beyond? So we'll be left with that question and that metaphor of a dance. Thank you.
Lindsay: Thank you so much, Tiare. I might, we're at 7:16, so I wanna be conscious of when our livestream is no longer available to us. And perhaps suggest, and maybe I can just get like an acknowledgement from a couple of folks, whether or not, following Jill's lead, we do our closing in our own irreconcilable spaces? So off video, kind of taking lesson from the work we've done today and just giving ourselves the time and space we need to close out without feeling rushed to kind of like learn from Tara as well. Are folks good with that? And I invite the audience to do the same work in your own irreconcilable spaces and, yeah, I'm just really grateful for all of you and the learnings. Mia, if you have anything to say to close out? Thank you, check.
Mia: Just so much gratitude to our narrators today, Lindsay, Jessica, Tara, for holding the space for us, and, Jill, for your incredible work and sharing with us with such generosity. And we will post a couple of the articles that were referenced by Jill on the Facebook event. So if you're tuning in and you wanted to have some of those resources to dive into on your own, they will be there. And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Unsettling Dramaturgy. And while, initially we thought this would be a four-session series, there is a likelihood that we will be creating a couple of more events in response to the work that we've already done. So look out for upcoming events from us, and thank you.
Jill: Thank you, bye, bye.
Unsettling Dramaturgy presented Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration: Irreconcilable Spaces livestreamed on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Friday 15 May 2020 at 3:15 p.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 5:15 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 6:15 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4) / 20:15 p.m. BST (London, UTC+1) / 21:15 p.m. CEST (Berlin, UTC+2).
Praxis Sessions for Virtual Collaboration is a 4-part series presented by Unsettling Dramaturgy. In this series, we address approaches to, and practices in online convening that centre unsettling, decolonization, indigenization, and disability justice in process design. This series emerges from our year+ of work and research in transnational convening and creative collaboration through virtual mediums. This series has been developed as our response to the turn towards online organizing that has followed the COVID-19 crisis.
In this fraught historical moment--branded an era of "truth and reconciliation" between Indigenous peoples and the settlers who occupy their lands--we acknowledge that "reconciliation" is a chimeric goal. We acknowledge that "reconciliation" is unachievable because as Metis curator David Garneau has observed, for reconciliation to occur, there must have, at one time, existed a respectful relationship that, now marred by a breach, is in need of repair. We acknowledge that the occupiers of Turtle Island did not treat with Indigenous peoples in good faith and did not meet Indigenous peoples with genuine good will. While conciliation (the forging of right and respectful relationships) between Indigenous and Settler communities may yet be possible, they will require a retreat (on both sides) into what David Garneau has termed "Irreconcilable Spaces of Aboriginality." So, we devote this session in our series to the topic of irreconcilable spaces, and irreconcilable spaces in the context of virtual collaboration.
The following questions will guide a conversation between the Unsettling Dramaturgy Creative Collaborators AND will shape an interactive, collaborative exercise that audiences tuning in live will be invited to participate in:
1) How do we actively make room for irreconcilable spaces to form within our projects – self-determined spaces which honour the distinctions between and complexities of our identities, and which allow us to work with others whose identities, embodiments, and histories are closer to our own – rather than force collaboration across communities?
2) What are the risks of prematurely forcing collaboration across communities?
3) What is the role of relationship in the making and upholding of irreconcilable spaces?
4) What is the role of rigorous accountability, which is explicitly anti-racist and anti-ableist, in the formation of irreconcilable spaces?
5) How do we have conversations about accountability that don't imply a move toward reconciliation?
6) How is this all navigated in the context of virtual collaboration?
This session will feature Unsettling Dramaturgy Creative Collaborators: Andrea Kovich, Carmen Papalia, Claudia Alick, Grant Miller, Jessica Schacht, Jessica Watkin, Jill Carter, Landon Krentz, Lindsay Eales, mia susan amir, Roo George-Warren, and Tara Moses
- Following an opening, Unsettling Dramaturgy Creative Collaborators will engage in an exchange on the theme led by Jill Carter. We will speak from our respective embodied knowledges and practices, with an orientation towards expanding collective practice as is relevant to local ecologies. We will take 10 minute breaks on the hour.
- Then, Jill will lead Creative Collaborators and those tuning in live through elements of the process developed for Encounters at the ‘Edge of the Woods', activating the discussion of irreconcilable spaces through embodied creative practice.
- There will be various opportunities throughout the session for participants to publicly and/or anonymously ask questions, provide reflections, and participate live. To interact with us during the event you can use one of the three options:
1) Text or voice message us on WhatsApp at 1-803-323-7638
2) Email us at [email protected]
3) Comment on the the livestream on the Unsettling Dramaturgy facebook page https://www.facebook.com/Unsettling-Dramaturgy-Crip-Indigenous-Dramaturgies-103665611279674
- We also welcome your questions in advance of the session. Please send any questions you would like us to address to [email protected].
- A video recording of the session will be available after the session.
- CART will be available on the HowlRound live stream and here: https://recapd.com/w-bfDPIb
- ASL Interpretation will be available on both the facebook and HowlRound live streams.
PREVIOUS SESSIONS IN THIS SERIES
Session #1: Land Acknowledgements in virtual, cross-geographic collaboration can be viewed here: https://howlround.com/happenings/praxis-sessions-virtual-collaboration-land-acknowledgements
Session #2: Cripping Practice in virtual, cross-geographic collaboration can be viewed here: https://howlround.com/happenings/praxis-sessions-virtual-collaboration-cripping-practice
Session #3: Prefigurative Spaces OR Practicing the Future We Imagine! can be viewed here: https://howlround.com/happenings/praxis-sessions-virtual-collaboration-prefigurative-spaces
ABOUT UNSETTLING DRAMATURGY
Unsettling Dramaturgy is an ongoing project bringing together Crip and Indigenous dramaturgs from across so-called Canada and the United States who work in theatre, dance, and experimental performance.
Using digital platforms we gather to build relationships; to explore and document the critical convergences and divergences in our experiences and work; to amplify Crip and Indigenous aesthetics, ethics, practices, and leadership in our local, national and international performance ecologies; to push the conversations from inclusion to centring, from reconciliation to unsettling, decolonization, and Indigenizing.
This project considers the studio, the stage, and the street as porous and interconnected politicized spaces; spaces impacted by and implicated in the current political climate and historical contexts; spaces where urgent critique, and visionary futures can be imagined, practiced, enacted, and then disseminated to/co-created with a wider public.
This project grounds itself as a continuation of the thriving legacies of leadership and innovation that shape Indigenous and Crip dramaturgies, which precede, survive and move beyond settler colonialism. This project brings together artists from communities that have been historically excluded from mainstream performance ecologies, and which have been further siloed into spaces of making that have systematically prevented critical cross-community collaboration. We are dismantling those silos to advance emerging conversations exploring the conflux of leadership and representation in creation and production as relate to Indigenous sovereignty and Deaf, Mad and Disability culture in the arts. We are generating a platform for self-determined encounter and exchange where our local bodies of knowledge can be activated.
It bears importance to share that this project does not aim to collapse Crip and Indigenous dramaturgies and experiences. The exclusions that our communities face emerge from very specific historical, cultural and political contexts. Further, the ableism, sanism, and audism that Deaf, Disabled and MAD artists face emerge from colonial ways of assigning value and human dignity.
We use Crip to include those who identify as Mad, Sick and Disabled, as well as those who are deemed disabled by society and/or medical institutions whether or not they themselves accept that term; for example those for whom d/Deafness is a cultural identity not a medical condition. We use the word crip as a political intervention, to turn attention onto, and to disrupt, as our collaborator Carmen Papalia writes, the disabling conditions that limit a person and/or community’s agency and potential to thrive.
We use the Indigenous with an acknowledgement of the many complex ways that community, family, belonging, polity, and heritage interact with systems of State recognition.
The words Crip and Indigenous are both used as shorthand and are not intended to generalize or reduce our vast multiplicity of identities, experiences and affiliations.
This project is generously supported by the Canada Council for the Arts | Conseil des arts du Canada and the LMDA: Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas Bly Creative Capacity Grant.
About HowlRound TV
HowlRound TV is a global, commons-based peer produced, open access livestreaming and video archive project stewarded by the nonprofit HowlRound. HowlRound TV is a free and shared resource for live conversations and performances relevant to the world's performing arts and cultural fields. Its mission is to break geographic isolation, promote resource sharing, and to develop our knowledge commons collectively. Participate in a community of peer organizations revolutionizing the flow of information, knowledge, and access in our field by becoming a producer and co-producing with us. Learn more by going to our participate page. For any other queries, email [email protected], or call Vijay Mathew at +1 917.686.3185 Signal/WhatsApp. View the video archive of past events.
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