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:

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