Thursday, November 27, 2014

2nd Coinciding #VulnerabilityVigil (yay!)

I'm really pleased because, for the second time, some Vancouverites will hold a coinciding #VulnerabilityVigil with me!

On Monday, Dec. 1, 12:30-1:30, I'll be at the corner of Government and Belleville in Victoria.
And, at the same time, Emma Cooper and others will be back at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Robson St. side.

Last month's #VulnerabilityVigil in Vancouver.

Here's what Emma Cooper had to say about it on Facebook:
Hey Vancouverites! Monday Dec. 1st at 12:30-1:30 myself and some other quality humans will be participating in a ‪#‎VulnerabilityVigil‬ at the Vancouver Art Gallery (Robson Street side). We will stand naked behind signs or clothed for an hour to explore our own personal vulnerability and to do a small action to acknowledge the different challenges we are facing as a society and our need to become more self-aware and vulnerable to effectively address them. This is in solidarity with Tasha Diamant's vigil that will happen at the same time in Victoria. Tasha has been doing this performance art for about 9 years and doing monthly vigils for the past couple of years.
More info:
FB event: (see the comments for info for the vancouver vigil or holla at me)
I do this because I like the conversations that we had at our last vigil with the folks who passed by on the street. I like that everyone can have a slightly different reason for coming out and doing this and that no one involved in this pretends to have all of the answers. To me this is about personal accountability, about one on one conversations and about putting yourself out there to remind yourself and others that all is not well, but we can still connect and talk. Please join in if you would like, or stop and say hello on the day. If you have any questions please get at me in a private message.
Vancouver Vulnerability Vigil
Hey Vancouver folks who would like to participate and be a little chilly for an hour...
We will meet at the Vancouver Art Gallery on the Robson Street Side, same place as last time. We will go at the same time as the Victoria Vigil, 12:30 - 1:30. 
I will bring signs to stand behind in an effort to be gentle with our nudity. I look forward to spending an hour of quality time having good conversations with strangers and sitting with our own vulnerability!
If you have any questions, hit me up on facebook.
Let's grab a tea afterwards too if you would like.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Vulnerability on Display, by Michel Ghanem (reposted from The Martlet, October 30, 2014)

This article, Vulnerability on Display, was The Martlet's cover story on October 30, 2014.

Written by Michel Ghanem, photo by Nikki Koutsochilis.

Once a month since January 2012, Human Body Project creator Tasha Diamant stands nude outdoors in Victoria to bring awareness to ideas surrounding vulnerability. She held her 39th vigil on Oct. 24. The 53-year-old is a mother and teaches at Royal Roads University.

“I just thought [that] it seems very weird to me that we’re all such vulnerable people and we don’t really acknowledge it or deal with it,” Diamant said. “It came from a place of feeling really vulnerable and [being] in a lot of emotional pain.”

Since she was 12 years old, Diamant has dealt with emotional pain of her own. As she went through a divorce, she used the vulnerability she felt to start the project. “The spectrum of reaction I get is from ‘you’re a fucking crazy lady’ to ‘Oh my God, you’re a saint,’” she said.

She began the Human Body Project in “conservative” Lethbridge, Alberta, and used nude Fringe Festival performances as a platform for her ideas, despite not gaining a monetary profit from her shows. “I show up naked and unscripted to share vulnerability and create space for vulnerability. It’s really challenging for me and the audience; who knows what’s going to happen?” Her show invites the audience to undress and often join her on stage.

Nudists in the audience debated if she could be considered a nudist, she said. “I don’t really consider myself a nudist, but I feel like I need to be naked so that I can be as vulnerable as possible,” she said. “If I want to talk about how we need to face and deal with vulnerability, it’s not enough to talk about it. I have to do it.”

#VulnerabilityVigil on October 24, 2014. Martlet photo by Nikki Koutsochilis.
When she began her monthly vigils, she brought a public visibility to her vulnerability. She does not consider the performance particularly enjoyable, often feeling sick the day before a vigil. “My work is not embraced,” she said.

The banners she holds in front of her are key to understanding her message. In the past, Diamant has used the words holy, systemic, compliant, and is currently using the symbol of extinction.

“Here we are, the North Pole is melting, California is drying up, and we just act like everything is normal,” she said. “I don’t get that. I guess people are thinking about it? But it’s invisible somehow.”

She cites artist demonstrators Marina Abramovic and David Blaine as inspiration. “Those people, their platform emerged from their work, and for whatever reason—[maybe because] I’m a Canadian and the age I am—I have not found that group of like-minded individuals, probably because I’m not from New York. I’ve come from smaller, more provincial places.” As a mother who is surrounded by a white, middle-class population, she has not found a receptive local audience to create space for discussion. She often performs the vigils alone, with only her husband standing in support. “I find [the lack of reception] desperately awful.”

Diamant finds solace in reading Michael Kimmel’s published academic work, who is “an authoritative, intellectual, academic male voice who is very pro-feminist,” she said. Kimmel’s work focuses on exploring how masculinity is invisible in our culture.

According to Diamant, her nude appearances is about showing the public what is often invisible “which is even just an older woman who is not allowed to exist anymore,” she said. “I’m 53 so I don’t feel like my body is very beautiful.”

She connects her work to invisibility on mental health and sexuality. “We relegate so many types of people and ways of being in this culture that don’t work in some ways with the dominant narrative.”

Despite near arrests and misunderstandings, she perseveres. “It’s both liberating and painful, and difficult and challenging. I feel scared about doing it,” she said. “I’m protesting my own culture, but it’s really hard for people to understand what that means.”

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

#VulnerabilityVigil 41: Dec. 1, 2014, 12:30 pm, corner of Government&Belleville, Victoria

Join the #VulnerabilityVigils movement!

  • To "be the change"
  • To share / express / create space for vulnerability
  • To stand in some solidarity with those who are most vulnerable
  • To hold ourselves in some accountability for the atrocities our culture perpetrates and perpetuates
  • #VulnerabilityVigils are visceral
  • "The medium is the message"

Tasha Diamant's 41st #VulnerabilityVigil information:

When: December 1, 2014, 12:30-1:30 pm (or as long as the weather allows)

Who: Everyone is welcome, as dressed as you choose. Tasha Diamant is the only one committed to standing naked. 

Where: The warmest corner of Government and Belleville, Victoria, BC. And anywhere else!

These people held the first coinciding #VulnerabilityVigil last month in Vancouver!
November 8, 2014, #VulnerabilityVigil in Vancouver