Saturday, June 26, 2010

It Took Twenty One Years for Our Parents to Meet

Earlier this year my father-in-law and my Mom met for the first time. We have been married for almost twenty years. Am I the only one who thinks that is odd at best and revealing in truth? It just so happens that we are an "interracial" couple....some would say that is beside the point.

I was thinking about how that event looked on the TimeLine of our lives, in relation to the place where they converged. Then I looked at other public history events and started to think about the BIG TimeLine of Humanity. I want to visualize, experience and share more deeply the personal in the public. Public history is not other, it has a relationship and contributes to the context of our personal histories. This has been a consistent idea since I started the What is Peace? series in this Cultural Fusion experience back in 2006. That project is anchored in my oral traditions and history work but I have been stuck about how to move it forward until now.

This TimeLine Installation represents a turning point because it accessible. It uses materials that are familiar which are presented in familiar environments. It is tricky to figure out where/when to push an audience and where/when to just BE with the audience in a sharing space.

I can't believe it has taken so long to take a serious look at this issue of feminist art and southern culture. Rather than a departure from the work I was doing prior, this is actually a deepening and framing of a topic that has gotten increasingly broad. Although I was looking at Life Learning and how it related to the various projects I am doing around cultivating/enhancing SOCIAL CAPITAL for community driven does come down to some core issues that have been allowed to fester....given only band-aid attention.

The TimeLine itself though is not judgmental, it just is. It does not judge what did or did not happen, so I believe it will create a neutral space for multiple realities to co-exist allowing us to stand face to face with paradox, lies, truth, and recollections of them all.

I am using the IHMC Concept Mapping Tool to work out my idea for the online installation. Currently my idea is to use two different photographs to do two versions on different websites...the photographs will show different perspectives. On one the convergence point is clear with a more overhead view while the other is more straight on at ground level.
Interaction - Posting Events on the TimeLine
At this time my plan is to use existing tools to allow others to add events to the TimeLine - both personal and public history events. So you might add your birthday, the day you met your partner, the birthdays of your children, or when your parents married.

Then alongside that are the historical events that take place around the world but are not noted in history books or perhaps only one side is told.
Now is your chance to chime in. Do you have a website about your parents escape from their nation of origin during political upheaval? Add that event and link to the resource in the TimeLine.

At this point I am planning to make it as easy as possible for people to contribute but at the same to deter SPAM posts.


Where is this Going?

I will be looking for alternate sites to install the piece to be videoed and photographed - I have two that are of special interest to me at this time.

The next incarnation of the online installation will be that those envelop years getting the most Attention will create a breeze - representing what we have termed Attention Gravity.

Next phase of interaction will be a postal project - I will invite people to contribute handmade envelops and post cards to represent A REQUEST FOR or GIFT OF Forgiveness. The place for those to be mailed will be posted once I have these first two installations done online.

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