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When the Invisible Punishing Machine is Everywhere…

Written on January 25, 2011

Fieldworks, Survival Kits and Conversation Pieces Confronting the Invisible Punishing Machine…

Nov. 2010 – Present

In the fall the Society came to a revelation. We realized that even when the invisible punishing machine (def.) is everywhere, creeping into our bodies, lives and spaces, like a colossal architectural nightmare; we feel the need to challenge this machine in the most intimate and modest ways. In other words, whether we are living in the most adverse or the most comfortable conditions, we can’t give up. From this perspective, we have embarked on a yearlong multifaceted discursive work that seeks to unravel this contemporary condition and use this material for our final thesis project.

We have begun to facilitate an interactive and dialogical work called The Weight I Carry with Me. In part, this is a fieldwork that involves Mabel Negrete bearing the stories of those imprisoned on her back while she initiates one-on-one guided conversations with random participants in formal as well as informal locations. Each of these conversations has been directed to reflect on our dreams and nightmares. They  combine to create  a poetic and philosophical narrative about what we are witnessing in the USA when invisible punishment, incarceration and torture have become the main means for solving social issues.

The Weight I Carry with Me began in November 2010 and has led conversations with a pool of people acquainted with the Society. One group of participants comes from the Society’s group of friends, colleagues and acquaintances in Cambridge, MA and in San Francisco, CA.  Another group comes from the gallery Lost Coast Culture Machine which has organized the exhibition HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS in Fort Bragg, CA, (December 3rd, 2010 through January 30th, 2011).

So far in the process of these conversations, we are realizing that as the artist and participants share their personal stories, they are also exchanging information, coping mechanisms, new ideas for interrogative remedies and an understanding of historical traumas, state violence, human cruelty, and the injustice that weaves throughout the history of this country.

As the project continues we expect the weight we carry to grow and change in shape.

So stay tuned!