Directions to the hotel.
In a meeting, people are talking through the formation and execution of the virtual hotel event excitedly. I post notes into an empty email window, and Google auto-suggests the email subject for this fictional email as “directions to the hotel”.
This sounds right.
In the face of a world pulling apart, we insist on being together.
We need directions.
I am in Roseville, Michigan, USA. I am on the traditional lands of the Ojibwe, Ottawa, and Potawatomi Nations. I don’t know where half of you are or even who you are. The group has unspooled or like a snowball down a snowy mountain, gained and gained and gained. It is glorious and disorienting and perhaps what we are now given by having moved THIS gathering into the digital realm.
I miss being in the same room as your eyeballs. We are the shape we take when we are together.
Grand re Union is a revival and embrace of the spirit of being united in collective thinking, acting, and dancing.
We thought of liminal space and where it manifests physically. We thought of a community based in architecture: a neighborhood, an apartment building, a landscape of places to be.
We thought of how we meet, how our meeting spaces have shifted, and our utmost desire to be together – the materiality of our surrounding environments and the dissipation of the virtual space. Can we have both?
Let’s get specific.
A crisis was already with us before the pandemic.
A crisis of growing extremism and polarization – rampant, centuries long racism –
tearing at the fabric of inter-human and interspecies relations,
and our connection to nature.
This is trouble. My context and one example in the world: In the US, continued needs for social justice and racial equity, for reckoning. Pushes against the Patriot Party, against the policing of gender, of reproductive organs, and womens’ bodies. The subjects of these oppressions are humans, human bodies and hair, muscle, flesh, bone, fascia. The soma. That soma – and the Earth – are made of the same things as the Universe.
Let’s slow down. We are not fucking around.
Choreographing change. Dancing our resistance. Collaborating on connecting.
We thought of discomfort and climate breakage.
We thought about discord and trying to talk across the divide, is it even worth it?
Choreograph. Change. Choreograph. Change. Dance.
Equals resist, resist, resist.
What about the awkward breakout room where you don’t know what to say?
I watched (in a photo) a friend give another friend a box full of things that are fragrant and/or are made to be held. My heart fluttered. Bodies in shared physical space. We put our intimacy, our spirits into intention, into something that can be posted (mailed for the US inhabitants), because I can’t hug you, I can’t sweat with you, I can’t scream with you in a room with no ventilation.
We won’t buy what they’re selling. Thank you, Walt Whitman, yes, I do contain multitudes, and I won’t be fixed. Please, goddex, don’t let me be fixed. We are not singular. We are failing – falling! (Thank you, Mariana) forward? Sideways? Up. Side. Down.
Dance, change, choreograph, change, collect, change.
The center of the Earth is below each of us; did you forget?
This is trouble. The only way out is through.
And so a hotel full of simultaneous voices in various spaces. There will be things that happen over time with other people in places. A hotel that exists in the digital ether as we define it robustly through our own physical rooms. We are the shape we take when we come together. Many people building. There is so much it can only be accounted for collectively and in intimate, immediate exchange. We hope.
Can we embrace the honor of both giving and receiving, and that it is not always about the material exchanged but the act of exchanging itself? Often unquantifiable and wholly undeniable. It is a conversational, unfixed state. You have to listen to learn. Choreograph, change, choreograph, change, collect, change.
Close your eyes and picture yourself standing in a line with strangers, shoulder to shoulder. What do you feel?
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