On September 15, 2017 ten inquisitive and empathetic souls arrived at the second of three Me(dia) Response: Self-Awareness and Activism Through Art-Making workshops at MIT List Visual Art Center to explore their role in shaping media and responding to it.
We began with a guided meta meditation focused on finding compassion for others. All were asked to set an intension for the workshop, be it giving themselves permission to be creative and expressive without judgement, being open to new experiences or continuing practicing loving-kindness to others. This turned out to be a guiding force through next two hours.
Participants then selected an accumulation, someone else’s work, that spoke to them. They described the forms in their hands to be tactile, organic, and talisman-like. (The shape and black dripping dip reminded at least one participant of a cookie.) The imagery they saw they described as scary and confusing; showing suffering, trauma, and pain. But they also saw the beauty of people shining through.
As in the first workshop, what participants found appealing or compelling were parts I hadn’t noticed. For instance, one woman found the words “White/Brawlers and Body Bizarre” outlined in red by a past participant and took it as a symbol of unconscious biases.
Armed with modeling turf, grenade ring-pulls (yes, you can find them on eBay), gold pens, rhinestones and tape they took to making and creating dramatic new artworks. Two pieces were bound into into one. Objects in the room like plates and a fork were added. And one hand-shaped accumulation was transformed it into a larger piece that acts like a divining rod.
In the final twenty minutes of the workshop this group was tasked with determining the outcome of the next workshop, a civic action. Did they want the next group to create a sacred space for their accumulations? Destroy them? Or simply continue the conversation? In the end, they took the root of the term creative action, activation, as their central motivation. And of all the possible intentions for the next group — we discussed an on-going accumulation project and burning all the works — it was determined that the tone should be about creating personal agency, about giving ourselves the permission to respond to triggering media images with self-care and awareness.
I invite you participate in their engaging creation at the final Me(dia) Response: Self-Awareness and Activism Through Art-Making workshop on October 20, 12-2pm. (Register here.) More information on the activity to come!
Me(dia) Response: Self-Awareness and Activism Through Art-Making is part of List Projects: Civil Disobedience, a program of documentaries, news footage, citizen journalism, artist’s films and videos focusing on moments of political resistance and public demonstration from the early 20th century through today. Presenting records from the historical Civil Rights and women’s movements, gay liberation and AIDS activism, the Black Lives Matter movement, and recent Women’s Marches recognize the history of resistance, and considers the role that artists and documentarians play in chronicling and confronting abuses of power and social injustice. July 18, 2017 - October 29, 2017 (Note: closed August 22–27. Daily screening program will resume on August 29.)