Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Next #VulnerabilityVigil in Vancouver with Emma! Apr 17, 5-6, VAG+2 Earth Day Vigils Apr 22

I'm happy to report that my next #VulnerabilityVigil will be in Vancouver with Emma Cooper!! Emma has been holding coinciding #VulnerabilityVigils, with me in Victoria and she in Vancouver, since November.

#VulnerabilityVigil in Vancouver
With Tasha Diamant and Emma Cooper
Friday, April 17
Robson St side of the Vancouver Art Gallery
5-6 pm
Facebook event link

Plus two Earth Day Vigils
Wednesday, April 22
2-3 pm
with Tasha Diamant in Victoria, Corner of Government and Belleville
with Emma Cooper in Vancouver, Robson St side of the Vancouver Art Gallery
Facebook event link

All welcome, as dressed as you want to be.

For more information about #VulnerabilityVigils here is an explanation.

Also, Robyn Thomas wrote a great piece about the Human Body Project and #VulnerabilityVigils in the Royal Roads student online magazine, The Royal. It's linked and reposted with permission below:

Naked Strength at the Vulnerability Vigils
by Robyn Thomas

Many people have sheet-thrashing nightmares about being naked in public.

Tasha Diamant doesn’t enjoy it, yet today she stands naked on Government Street in the January rain. Passersby turn to each other and giggle as they pass. She dons nothing but a scarf, toque, and pink mittens while holding up a sign with another participant who shivers barelegged beside her.

January 24, 2015 marked Tasha’s third anniversary of holding Vulnerability Vigils in downtown Victoria. For at least one day a month she stands naked in public for one hour and invites anyone to join her — an act she says she is committed to doing for the rest of her life.

“I realize that nakedness in our culture is very confrontational, so that’s why we use a sign,” said Tasha, as she shifted from one foot to the other to stay warm. “This symbol is the extinction symbol, so you could parallel the vulnerability of the body to the vulnerability of humanity and the planet.” 

Keith Jenkins, who has participated alongside Tasha for years, helped hold up the sign with a playful spark in his eye. Despite police harassment at the Vigils, he remains undeterred.

Keith Jenkins and Tasha Diamant with the extinction symbol.
“Once we lose our freedom of any statements at all then we’re in really big trouble.”

The Vigils are an extension of The Human Body Project, which Tasha founded and performed at Fringe Festivals by showing up onstage naked and unscripted. One intention behind the Vigils is to have open and honest conversations with the public.

“People need to open up more,” said Aneal, a young man observing the Vigil. “Especially among the male gender, there’s a lot of ‘I gotta be a tough guy’ all the time and that’s so damaging to everyone. I’m a human being. I have a heart; I’ve got emotions. So does every dude who’s pretending that he doesn’t. He’s destroying himself if he thinks he can deny that aspect of himself.”

Just before their hour was up, a homeless man approached Tasha and Keith and lifted the sign to check if they were really naked. Tasha burst into laughter and shook his hand. He opened up about his ten years on the street, his battle with a Hepatitis C diagnosis, and how he remains optimistic through it all. Tasha told him she thinks he is strong and vulnerable — a combination most are not used to hearing in a society that views vulnerability as a weakness.

“I’m not very good at being vulnerable. I’m quite a defended, prickly person,” admitted Tasha. “Now Keith is much better at it. He’s able to live in the world in a much more open way.”

Tasha’s work has sparked a following in Vancouver, where Emma Cooper began hosting Vigils at the Vancouver Art Gallery in November. She believes the beauty of the Vigils is that people take away whatever they need from them, as opposed to approaches that shove solutions down people’s throats.

“It’s important that it’s widely open to interpretation, because then the onus is on people to solve it for themselves.”

Transitioning into motherhood pushed Tasha to begin the project. Witnessing the vulnerability of her children increased her awareness of the fragile state of the planet and her own responsibility.

“I totally freak out before I do this every time,” she said, “but I do this because of the urgency of the current global situation. Sometimes I say it keeps me alive to do this, because otherwise I’m just so in despair. So, it’s like an act.”

Beyond her activism, Tasha is an artist, university professor, researcher, and a mother of two. She says that even those close to her often reject her Vigils.

“I feel really embarrassed that I’m taking my clothes off in front of people but… oh well. Some things are more important than personal embarrassment.”

Some observers of the Vigils will leave confused, others embarrassed, and possibly even offended. But for one hour of every month there is a tiny rip in the fabric of society that allows people to let down their guard and recognize our shared humanity.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

#VulnerabilityVigils on the 9th Anniversary of the Human Body Project (March 25)

March 25, 2015, is the 9th anniversary of the Human Body Project.

I'll do my 44th #VulnerabilityVigil that day. 

The number 44 meant something to me when I started the project. I was 44 at the time and I called the first performance "Human Body Project 44." My initial intention was to do a performance art piece once a year, partly as a chronicle of a body changing over time to show the inherent vulnerability of ageing. 

But the first performance was so powerful and such a big deal, I knew I had to try to do more. Then shortly after, I got pregnant. I was dreadfully ill the whole time. I really wanted to do a performance while I was pregnant and I eventually did two but it was really touch and go. Anyway, hardly anyone came to those two performances.

Then I'm this 45-year-old mother with two little kids! Plus college instructor. Plus I started a Master's, which I hated but finished. I've been overwhelmed ever since I started the Human Body Project. My overwhelmedness--I suppose I'm writing this mostly for myself--is part of the realz and feelz of it.

When I started the project, I had such touching new-agey ideas that it would be part of some shift in consciousness. I still believe that, but in a more measured and long-term way. I felt a lot more optimistic then than I do now. 
Last month's #VulnerabilityVigil.

Nine years ago, before the first Human Body Project performance. I was feeling very nervous.

Some time before my birth-year-mate Barack Obama became president, I saw one of his campaign items and it gave me intense shivers of connectedness: it was a "44" in exactly the same font I had used for my material (Obama was aiming to be and is the 44th president). I have parallel previously optimistic to current not-very-optimistic-at-all feelings about his work.

This wasn't exactly what I saw but you get the idea.
Still nine years later we're both at it. I don't envy Barack's job. In my case, not only am I doing my thing, but I do it on the street too. With much less hope and optimism. And no outpouring of support or interest. And continuing overwhelmedness.

It's certainly humbling. 

March 25, 2015 #VulnerabilityVigils

Tasha Diamant will hold a #VulnerabilityVigil
March 25
4-5 pm
1925 Blanshard St
In front of Save-On Foods Centre

Emma Cooper will hold a #VulnerabilityVigil
March 25
Vancouver Art Gallery
Robson St. side
*Special thanks to Emma.*

Everyone is welcome to join us, dressed or not. 

Anyone, anywhere can hold a #VulnerabilityVigil. Learn more at humanbodyproject.org

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Valentine's #VulnerabilityVigils Victoria+Vancouver 2-3pm

For Valentine's Day you could take part in a long-running stand for humanity.

Please consider joining Tasha Diamant in Victoria or Emma Cooper in Vancouver. Everyone is welcome, as dressed as you choose. You can even hold your own #VulnerabilityVigil wherever you are.

#VulnerabilityVigils are part of an ongoing performance art and activism project. Among other culture-busting, creator Tasha Diamant's work is about sharing and expressing vulnerability.

At least once a month for an hour, Diamant stands naked on the street to be as vulnerable as possible.  Diamant is a 53-year-old, otherwise rather reclusive woman who uses nakedness as a statement and symbol. "You can draw parallels between the vulnerable body and vulnerable humanity and the vulnerable planet," says Diamant.

Another chilly vigil.
Because she understands that nakedness can be confrontational in our culture, as a gesture of gentleness, she and her supporters hold a sign in front of their bodies. The sign has the Extinction Symbol on it. "From a triage point of view," says Diamant, "The thing we need to know is that we are now creating a mass extinction on the planet. Like, shouldn't we do everything we can to drop everything else? But I happen to think that the violence, misogyny and poverty we're 'used to' have long indicated how messed up we are."

"Our brains need to change." Diamant believes that the only way forward is to kickstart evolution by dealing viscerally with our mutual vulnerability. Hence the vigils and her ongoing project, the Human Body Project.

Valentine's #VulnerabilityVigils 

Tasha Diamant will hold her 43rd #Vulnerability Vigil at 
Corner of Yates and Government (same place as last month)
Saturday, February 14
2-3 pm

Emma Cooper will hold a #VulnerabilityVigil at
Vancouver Art Gallery
Robson St side (same place as last month)
Saturday, February 14
2-3 pm

All are welcome to join, as dressed as you choose.

Anyone, anywhere can hold a #VulnerabilityVigil.

Special thanks to Emma Cooper who, with various supporters, started doing coinciding #VulnerabilityVigils in Vancouver in November.