Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Breach: Left Behind. The research gets real! Part 4

Daily, I return to the research - of my body, my sensations, my writings and listenings. The stories of the past and the present, the artwork that has been and continues to cry out for social justice, and the voices and artistry of my collaborators. The process has been dense, exciting, and physically, intellectually and emotionally challenging as it continues to unravel.

Check out Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. 

Reflection 5, May 2016:

We're going to “check the land” today. This means driving around as much as we can and surveying the damage, trying to identify any cows that might be in immediate danger and others that might be in danger when the water levels rise or fall.

This adventure is when it sinks in for me. The river on the road and into the lawn isn't so relaxing anymore. As we drive through, it cascades over the front bumper, the hood of the engine; if we'd open the doors, it'd flood the cabin. We have to be able to cross it in order to make it to the airport tomorrow and that might not happen. We might not be able to make it across the "river" to the town; we might not be able to get across the town in order to make it the next 50 miles to the airport. The town has been evacuated and the state roads are closed because the dams have been destroyed. Walmart is trucking in water to the neighboring towns but the roads in and out are closed. Helicopters?

The news choppers are feeding us images of the water damage, but that's intermittent because the electricity is on and off. We're able to use some back road to access the cows and make sure they're okay - some of them are and some of them aren't. Some of the areas are under water and some aren't. Fences and masonry that has withstood 70 years doesn't exist anymore. Current homes are underwater.

Mr. Ted says, "Well, there's nothing we can do but tear it down and rebuild." He tells me that many of the structures were built with the strongest materials and several feet into the ground just in case. This type of rain has never occurred in over 100 years. And might not in another 100. I am witness to tragedy. What happens now?

Wait for it to dry and "Rebuild."


We fly back in the next few days to a different world. Resilience means something a bit different in Philly, but maybe not. I've been in challenging situations before and survived. Perhaps this is just another example of the American spirit. I'm inspired. What's "left behind" can still and will survive. In the past few years, and very recently in the past few days, I've witnessed survival. I've witnessed resilience. Damn.

Way to go, friends of the American dream! This flooding is just another part of the challenges of your life. I wish you (and us) the strength and resilience to rebuild.

More info on the performance of "Breach: Left Behind"

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I created the reflections in Parts 2-4 during May.

Today, as I post this, in this time in our country, I deeply believe that being an artist is a political statement. That honoring and respecting movement of the body and the mind is a political statement. In re-reflecting on my time in Texas and the events over the summer, I realize that America has always been "gREat" in our ability to rebuild structures and communities, be resilient in surviving together tragedy and heartache, and constantly redefining what it means to be American.

May your Labor Day Weekend be safe and joyful!

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