As we move into week four of our new dispensation, we wanted to reach out and reaffirm our commitments to engaged, collaborative, and yes, socially intimate creative research. We will all be changed by this pandemic: we will have lost people; we may be more circumspect; we will be enraged by the many structural inequalities that the virus has drawn in stark relief. Many of us will have been brought back to earlier moments of loss. But we will also have had moments to be grateful, to be surprised by someone’s kindness or by the beauty of the flowering trees, to be reconnected to those oldest and dearest friends who understand the core of what keeps us ticking. I, personally, will have baked far too much, read far too little, and felt far too helpless while attempting to maintain life in the time of COVID-19.
We all know that experimentation and creativity are necessary tools when all that is solid melts into air, and I have found myself going back to my own artistic roots for comfort. I wanted to share a couple inspirations with you, in the hopes that you will also share your own, on our Instagram and Facebook page.
Here is a short video of Jawole Zollar, UBW’s Founding Director, talking about the importance of risk in her own creative practice, and here is a clip from one of the company’s more recent works, “Women’s Resistance.”
And here is a song, part of the soundtrack for Bad Friday: Rastafari After Coral Gardens, composed and recorded by my collaborator Junior “Gabu” Wedderburn, and performed by Ancient Vibrations, called “Get Out the Way.” This is one of my favorite Sweet Honey in the Rock songs, and here is a conversation the group had on NPR in 2005.
On behalf of the Center for Experimental Ethnography, I wish all of you health, security, peace, and fortitude, and I look forward to coming together again in the not too distant future!
Deborah A. Thomas