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The project involves working with women in post industrial cities who are creating Other Spaces through alternate forms of labor. For the current iteration I am collaborating with Patricia Kelly, Founder of Ebony Horsewomen in Hartford CT, whose mission is to empower young people through horsemanship. We are researching the integration of embodied storytelling with horseback riding, as a means of mitigating trauma through wordless language. The techniques would be used as a means of communicating and working with local law enforcement’s mounted police, to design a collective action against gun violence. The performance site under consideration is the historical Colt Arms factory site, which is currently being converted to a theme park.
In 2015, a series project prototypes were produced in Waterbury CT, the former capital of the US brass industry; now known for toxic brown fields and high rates of substance abuse. Investigations channeled a lineage of women, including Emma Baker, the last Mohegan Medicine Woman; and Augusta Lewis Troup, the founder of the 1st American women’s labor union. Works included a portrait series of contemporary women working with environmental, labor and criminal justice issues; installed in a museum gallery previously devoted to captains of industry. A series of video performances involved the psychic reclaiming former institutional spaces, such as a woman parkouring through the former home, turned juvenile detention center for girls, of an early American female mountain climber.
The Waterbury videos, portraits, museum intervention and related sculptures were installed in Waterbury’s Mattatuck Museum in early 2016. An accompanying publication contains essays concerning counter publics, Other spaces, forensic architecture, and the relevance of science fiction to social action.
19th Century social advocates who inspired the project’s perofrmance videos:
Carrie Welton, Waterbury heiress turned mountain climber
Rebecca Primus, Hartford teacher who built schools for the Freedmen’s Bureau
Augusta Lewis Troup, organizer of the 1st women’s trade union & publisher
Emma Fielding Baker, Mohegan Medicine woman and environmentalist
Contemporary social advocates featured in the project’s portrait series:
Fatima Rojas, spokesperson for Unidad Latina en Accion
Barbara Fair, Secretary of the Greater New Haven American Civil Liberties Union
Patricia Kelly, Founding Director of Ebony Horsewomen, Hartford
Carol Burkhart-Lyons, Founding Director of the Naugatuck Valley Project, Waterbury
Joyce Petteway, Chair of the Greater Waterbury NAACP Education Committee