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 project’s goal is to reframe and demonstrate how a shift in power involving interactions of trust and control might be possible between youth and law enforcement in North Hartford, and what that reimagined form of exchange might look like. The group created a proof of concept workshop curricula using a modified form of equine therapy, that can be employed at scale with a larger group of officers. Methods are being documented in a visual curriculum. Video of the performative exchanges will also be presented in installation form; to express the complexity of communication involved in the group’s collaborative performance.
Equine therapy involves performance based tasks with specially trained horses. The focus on non-verbal communication is to facilitate understanding of different group’s approaches to control, command and conflict, in a climate where spoken language falls short. The young people in the working group are accomplished equestrians working at EHI; their being in a position of mastery and inviting the officers into their space shifts power dynamics commonly associated with law enforcement.
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.