Outside the Works at Washington High School
Sept 8th -11th
posted by Susan Ploetz
I wanted to post something quickly about this guerrilla piece that has been happening this week outside of the works, so that maybe some people could get a chance to stop by for what could be one of its final installments tonight, between 9 – 10 pm outside the front entrance of Washington high school (to the left, underneath the trees on the grass right in front of the school).
Unlike some of the other guerrilla performances I’ve seen at the works this year, such as the unknown (to me) noise band that tried to set up camp and play (only to be shut down after 2 minutes or so), or Jarrett Mitchell’s Don’t Bomb the Moon protest (which I hope to blog about as well), Jacobs’ set up is quiet, peaceful, but nonetheless intriguing. A blue tent with silhouettes (unnamed citizens on one side and more recognizable ones on the other) glows from the inside, which is lined with blankets and pillows printed with quotes from the likes of James Baldwin and Thoreau. There are books provided for you to read, from important American thinkers, but really the better way to spend your time in this cozy spot is to let Jacob ask you what it feels like, to you, to be an American. Really, like in YOUR BODY. Jacob has a phenomenological* approach to difficult questions that, addressed in more typical ways, too often can leave people divided and divisive. The coziness Jacob has created inside the tent is no simple comfort, but a tool she wields in her quest to marry the heart with the mind, politics with the body, but not necessarily in a “body politics” way. The gentle glow of the tent is the perfect setting for Jacob to feel sheltered and comfortable and intimately ask you the questions she often asks of herself. But it’s also a quiet gift she is giving you, the chance to think about yourself and your country in a relaxed way that allows more space for more possibilities for what it means (or could mean) to be an American.
Don’t rely on my blurry picture for an accurate glimpse at the piece, go tonight and see for yourself.
* (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maurice_Merleau-Ponty )
A Broken History of the American Tradition of Breaking with Tradition, or The Tent Project by Ariana Jacob