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.
This team is developing and documenting 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, command and conflict, 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 outcome of the project will be a visually documented curriculum involving horses, and a set of short films that demonstrate the possibility of shifting power dynamics.
Rather than ignoring fraught issues of fear and conflict, the work involves reframing and demonstrating how a shift in power involving interactions of trust and control might be possible between these two groups, and what it might look like. The working group is creating a proof of concept curricula that might be employed at scale with a larger group of officers, as well as an artwork, as art has the potential to hold 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.