No Such Place as America, ongoing
No Such Place as America is a project created in collaboration with Patricia Kelly, the Founding Executive Director of Ebony Horsewomen Institute (EHI); members of the Hartford Police Department; and local high school students in Hartford CT.
The goal of the project is for young people of color to demonstrate how a shift in power involving interactions of trust and control with law enforcement might be possible. Rather than ignoring fraught issues of fear and conflict, the work involves reframing such interactions and demonstrating how a shift in power might be possible between these two groups, and what it might look like A working group consisting of young people, police and equestrian therapists developed and documented a set of methods based on equine therapy, involving performance based tasks with specially trained horses. The focus on non-verbal communication is to facilitate understanding of different group’s approaches to control and command, in a climate where spoken language falls short. The young people in the working group are accomplished equestrians who work at EHI; their being in a position of mastery shifts the groups’ power dynamic associated with everyday interactions with law enforcement.
The group created combined equine therapy and performance exercises to create a proof of concept curriculum concerning collaboration and control, that might be employed at scale with a larger group of officers. Video of the performative exchanges will also be presented in installation format to manifest and express complexity.
This project was made possible with research funding from Parsons School of Design, and the generous support of A Blade of Grass Fellowship for Socially Engaged Art, 2018.