Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Earth Day Vulnerability Vigil at Tent City, April 23, 2016, 1pm, Quadra btwn Courtney&Burdett, Victoria

An Earth Day Vulnerability Vigil to draw attention to the connections between harms. Harming of the planet is caused by the same forces that create homelessness and poverty--locally and globally. 

For more info about Vulnerability Vigils visit http://www.humanbodyproject.org/p/vulnerability-vigils.html

All welcome. I commit to expressing vulnerability and all-in-the-same-boatness by showing up naked. Others can dress or undress as they choose.

Earth Day Vulnerability Vigil
Saturday, April 23, 2016
1 pm
Tent City
Quadra St, between Courtney and Burdett
Victoria, BC

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Human Body Project 10th Anniversary Vulnerability Vigil

10th Anniversary of the Human Body Project
"Retrospective" Vulnerability Vigil
All welcome.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
1:00 PM
Revised location: Dallas Rd. walkway between Cook and Cambridge
South end of Beacon Hill Park (near flagpole and Camas Circle, across from Dallas Rd.)
Victoria, BC
If you've ever wanted to take part in a public performance project or a flash mob or a Vulnerability Vigil, please consider coming out for this one!! (Dressed or undressed.)
I started the Human Body Project ten years ago, as a performance art event, in a very conservative place, Lethbridge, Alberta. An undercover officer came to the first performance because a concerned citizen had called. (The cop left saying, "That was very beautiful.") I had the idea two years earlier but it took me those two years to get the courage up to be naked.
People like to say nakedness isn't a big deal. Ha. You try it. On the street. In any case, it's a big deal to me. It's very challenging for me to show up naked.
I do so in the Human Body Project, which is an ongoing performance art/activism project, to provoke a serious consideration of individual and humanity's vulnerability. Nakedness is a metaphor for and embodiment of vulnerability. I use my naked body and naked self. I also use this blog/website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as other spaces to share.
When I started I was the mother of a 4-year-old whose birth changed my life more than anything before or since. Her presence in my life awakened me to the denying I'd been able to do before she was there. I had responsibilities, to her and to myself. I felt so much opening, love, and pain. I finally felt like an earthling.
I couldn't and still can't explain it all. Or that's not right. I have explained, in many different ways, in my writing and in performance. It's difficult, however, to explain succinctly and in a way that many people can access. I'm pushing against so many dominant narratives and vulnerabilities. People react very personally.
Still, after 10 years of viscerally and publicly coming up against our culture's ideas of vulnerability. And after becoming a woman with gynecological cancer, yes, I will connect misogyny, fear of femininity, and our culture's need to place ego above love to what I'm slogging through.
My mother self couldn't accept that the world was going to treat my daughter like it treated me and so, not logically or rationally, but with a sense of calling that has been a burden and a challenge, I embarked.
It has been too hard and I don't doubt that the toll it's taken on my body has been a reason I have cancer. Some of us process the shit of a damaging culture. I'm one of those people. It does not come with pay.
Now I'm 54. Because of chemo, I look 74. I have two daughters now. One is 9! My oldest is 14! I'm alive!
I use the word vulnerability as a key to entering this work. All of us have vulnerabilities, all of us are living at the most vulnerable time for humanity that has ever existed in history. This is directly related to how we treat women, children and feminine energy. To shift this WE as a culture have to shift. It has to be a visceral, non-verbal shift because we need to waylay the ego self, which is very attached to words.
It can only happen with experience. "Be the change" is a useful phrase, one that continues to simplify the reason I do this.
I must repeat this though: I don't pretend to be good at it.
On Saturday, March 26, 2016, at 1 pm, in Victoria, BC, which is where I expanded the Human Body Project work to include Vulnerability Vigils, I am holding the 10th Anniversary Vigil along the Dallas Rd. walkway between Cook and Cambridge.
Over the more than four years since I started holding vigils, I have stood naked on the street more than 50 times (behind a sign as a gesture of gentleness to those who are deeply affronted by nudity). In solidarity with those who are most vulnerable. To share and express vulnerability. As a creative antidote to the isolation and detachment of our society. Etc. I'm doing more than one thing!
For the 10th Anniversary Vulnerability Vigil I will place all of the signs I have used on the slope of the hill. Words like: VULNERABLE, PRIVILEGE, SYSTEMIC, HEAL, FIX, PARADIGM, MOTHER. Also the Extinction Symbol.
Keith Jenkins and I holding the Extinction Symbol, February 2015.
It would be thrilling if lots of people came (dressed or not) and joined me. As an art project, people holding the signs (there are more than 20) would be such a beautiful statement!

Links to the event on Facebook:

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

An Article from an Audience Member a Few Years Back

A few years ago, an author tried to sell this story but, shock of shocks, couldn't so she recently allowed me to post it on my blog – which is, of course, followed by mainstream news outlets and Woody Allen fans everywhere. (Not.)

People think I'm brave to deal with cancer. But cancer gives no one a choice. Every cancer sufferer is forced to be brave. 

As the person in question, I'd like to point out that I'm much braver to be the Human Body Project lady for the last 10 years. I mean, read the first paragraph.

I'd also like to connect a couple of dots. How women are supposed to look is a place of projection in a male-dominated culture, it is a way of devaluing the feminine and the necessity of dealing with vulnerability. This is at the heart of every problem we face: power and ego over love and cooperation.

Thanks to Thelma Fayle for sharing this article.

The Human Body Project
by Thelma Fayle

When she slowly steps in front of the audience, without even wearing shoes, Tasha Diamant reveals herself to be a plain-looking, naked woman with a couple of C-section scars and plenty of hair in places where the Prada girls have none. She has small sagging breasts and dimpled thighs and a pear-shaped, sturdy-looking body. 

The 49-year-old visual and performance artist seems slightly nervous in the way one might be before doing a high-dive off a cliff.  She closes her eyes and takes a deep breath and captures a dignified, but still tentative, composure. She explains to the three-dozen audience members of the Fringe Theatre Festival on an island off of the West Coast of Canada – how she came to create the Human Body Project.

“In so many facets of our lives, we forget how vulnerable we humans are,” Diamant says, “and this project reminds me.”  The mother/artist/educator explains that in spite of her discomfort, she is determined to give this unscripted 90-minute presentation at least once a year for the rest of her life. Unscripted, as she is determined to maintain an open heart and a healthy dialogue with the audience in her effort to use her body to create a visceral experience of shared vulnerability.

Before Diamant arrives on stage, a 5 ft tall cardboard cutout, depicting a naked Diamant from her first Human Body Project presentation six years ago, gives the audience a chance to stare at the life-size photo and to climatise themselves before being faced with an excruciatingly bare presence on stage.

The artist welcomes the audience to look closely at her body. She speaks quietly but with strength and walks up and down the center aisle of what was once a church and is now a venue for community presentations. “Please feel free to look at my body,” she coaches. 

Given permission, timid eyes that have been respectfully focused mostly on Diamant’s face, begin to peek below.  Diamant is everywoman – not remotely proportioned to any Barbie doll ideal.

When someone asks a question, she approaches them and warmly shakes hands.  She puts people at ease.  She helps the audience to become comfortable with a plain old, magnificent, aging body.

Her well-documented project shows her foray on stage during her full-bellied pregnancy – an experience that re-affirmed her need to talk about the collective vulnerability that our culture denies and hides in the shadows of life’s many little 21st Century femme fa├žades of hair-dye and implants and face-glitter and push-up bras and tattoos – just to name a few.

The more she talks the more refreshing it is to listen to her. She mourns what she sees as the “amputation of empathy and connectedness in our society”.

She talks about the impact of having children in her life. Motherhood was a powerful catalyst; only unlike many parents who quite naturally become focused on their own children to the exclusion of all else, Diamant was moved to have a larger discussion with the world through her art.

“How do you feel about your body?” an audience member asks.

“I just try not to go to that place of judgment,” she responds. The way she responds with hesitation reveals her tenuousness bordering on insecurity about her body and also her decision to direct herself away from that same insecurity that plagues almost all women who have been trained to self-hate by years of looking at magazine pictures of what women are supposed to look like but never do.

Watching Tasha Diamant’s 90-minute Fringe Festival presentation reminds me of a line in a movie called Kamataki, where a young man asks an old man if the elder thinks the woman in a magazine is beautiful. The wise elder man slowly looks at the picture and then at the young man and says:  ”I don’t know if she is beautiful”.

The Human Body Project offers its audience a chance to answer the same question as they examine a naked, intelligent and articulate 49-year-old woman.

"Is she beautiful?”

Absolutely. And unlike the Emperor who got fooled, this Empress knows she is naked and she wants you to look at her.

Diamant is a genuine, un-altered woman.