Last night (Tuesday, June 1, 2021), at 6:00 PM EDT, we commenced with the creation of our final installment of The Mapping Project 2020-21. We have been laying the groundwork for this section since the beginning of the project, as we explored the broad topic of power and how it manifests itself in our daily lives. This third section will focus our attention on ‘Belonging’, and personal responsibility as a function of belonging.
I was prompted to pursue this theme after reading an article in Vogue magazine, profiling Vice President Kamala Harris. In the article, the writer states:
‘Weeks after we talked, I thought of the Harris rally back in Bethlehem before Election Day, when the Trump-supporting protesters turned their attention to Harris’s motorcade as it pulled out of the venue. “You don’t belong here!” one woman shouted. For much of the last four years, for millions of Americans, that statement felt true—when it seemed impossible to belong to a place that had elected a leader who ruled by hate, when it sometimes seemed unlikely we would find a way out of the darkness.’
After a brief warm up which included an improvised exercise of inhabiting space and leaving space, we launched into a simple writing exercise, after we had shared our thoughts and reactions to a couple of articles that we had all read. The writing exercise was to write down the places that you feel that you belong in. We left it open-ended, so that each person could define just exactly what that meant for them. We took about 20 minutes to do this, after which we then began to use these new ‘maps’ to explore with movement. Each person would take a turn at sharing one of their places of belonging, and the others who felt that they, too, belonged in that place would gravitate towards that person. The distance towards that person indicated the strength of that identity.
After several ‘rounds’ of sharing those places, we returned to the floor in a circle and shared the other places that we had not yet shared. And following that we began a more in-depth discussion on the nuances of belonging and what that means. As we talked, we reflected on how the idea of a ‘game’ was present. Games can have winners and losers. And some games can have winners of different types.
We are seeing the wholesale rewriting of the rules of our country’s elections and who subsequently wields/holds power in our country today. This changing of the rules of our societal ‘games’ is just one way in which unfairness reveals itself. The results of elections help shape some of the answers to the questions previously posed regarding belonging.
I would like to invite you to participate in our creative process by making your own 'map' of the various places that you feel that you belong. You get to decide where you belong, not someone else. Ask yourself why you are claiming those places for yourself. Get a friend to do the same thing, and then compare your 'maps'. What overlaps exist? Where are there clear lines of separation?
I will share the next step with you after our next rehearsal! Enjoy!