maandag 16 mei 2011

It's final - Project Raindance

How does one go about praying for rain? Hands crossed, reached, standing or kneeling on the floor? Do you ask for it aloud or in a silent prayer?

Many ancient civilizations already knew a long time ago that the rain won't come if you pray it did. "Oh, let there be rain!" "Our crops are dwindling, please, let there be rain!" All these wishes do is acknowledge that it is not raining and hasn't been for quite a while - and this negative energy, even if deeply subconscious, makes the universe make sure there won't be any for a long time.

Contrary to what the name implies, raindance might not involve moving at all. In some American native indian tribes one seeks a peaceful place to meditate, stands bare-footed with their eyes closed, face and the palms of their hands towards the sky. One tries to imagine what the rain would feel on your face, and what the drenched, muddy ground would feel under your feet. Because all living things on Earth are connected, this thinking, or believing that it's already raining, will eventually allow the rain to come.

What does my project have to do with all of this? My topic is the social division between the north and south banks of the Piushaven canal and my question is: Are the local people also contributing to the persistence of this division by subconsciously thinking there is one to begin with, or is it an illusion? I guess we - and they - are going to find it out soon.

My work method involves using two large banners placed at both sides of the canal in an active bridge underpass, which is a part of the Ringbaan Oost (see the green arrow below).

Each day, early in the morning, I will paint something new to these banners to create an illusion of contrast even when there isn't any. It will be an illusion, because everything I write on one banner I also write on the other, effectively making them identical and thus negating any form of contrast. They can be read only from their respective sides of the canal and so will appear to be different if one stays only on the other side. Taking a look at both will require going across the bridge.

The contents are mainly text, but also some abstract forms. The written text will contain some critical views on the people of Piushaven in the form of quotes that I gathered around the area from local people together with my classmates. I will use them on both banners regardless of from whom they came from (north or south).

The reason I'm doing this is because I feel I'm not in any position to widen the gap between the people, but I do feel I'm allowed to provoke thoughts, equally on both sides. If someday an individual person walking past one banner feels that a quote is directed towards the people on their own side and gets offended it will be in their own minds, because the banners are identical.

On the other hand, it's also a result if there's no reaction at all.

This is the core of my work; questioning, provoking and challenging. Questioning if there is a contrast, provoking people to think why they feel so, and finally challenging them to take a look at things from both sides and to broaden their views - not everything always is what it seems.

PS: I just finished finding all the equipment I need and the blank banners are in the making and should be ready this week. Hopefully I'll be able to start doing this before May 27th, when it's the official presentation day. Since this work will evolve over time it's open for debate if it would be better to start before that day or on it.

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