chloe’s process

At the beginning of the semester, I presented a version of the song “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros that featured the Gulu Women’s Choir. This piece tied together one of my favorite songs from the United States with a new meaning when performed by this choir from the town that I lived in while I studied abroad in northern Uganda.

My experience in Uganda was still very fresh in my mind in the beginning of the semester, but as the weeks went on, I remembered that there are problems within the university community that I had left behind when I went abroad, and still needed to address within my personal relationships. This realization came in part through the in class exercises that we completed. In our meditation and intuition drawing exercises, I often ended up seeing/drawing something resembling boxes, locks, or doors. I knew that for me personally, this connected to the problem of sexual violence on college campuses. I decided that I should focus my project around the problem of rape and how it has impacted the social community that I live in at Tufts.

I decided to conduct an experiment around this issue by bringing together my eight housemates to individually experience this failure of a sanctuary. To bring everyone together for the experiment, I created a facebook event. This was a ‘happening’ in some ways, and a part of the experiment was just seeing if I could actually bring all of my housemates together for this experiment. In the end, 7/8 participated, which was meaningful in and of itself.

In preparation for the experiment, I needed to expand on what I had outlined in my midterm proposal. The centerpiece of the experiment was the sanctuary experience: individually I brought each girl to sit in the sanctuary (the inflatable pyramid that was built in class) and relax. After about two minutes, I would turn off the fan, and the inflatable would slowly deflate. There was loud classical music playing in the background, which distracted the participant from the sudden stop in noise from the fan. Then I allowed them to react as the pyramid deflated.

The key logistical issues were what to do with participants before and after the experience. I decided to use the space in my house. Everyone started in a holding space on the third floor of the house, where they were given four questions to think about and respond to (via post-it notes, formspring, and twitter). From there I called them down one by one to experience the sanctuary. After that experience, they went to a room on the second floor where they were asked to silently draw an abstract reflection of the experience, and then finally write a response on formspring. At the very end of the experiment, I gathered everyone together to have a discussion, which I recorded.

Now that I have completed that experiment, I am working to revise the plans for the final presentation that I described in my midterm proposal. I think that the direction that I need to go in is more personal. I plan on doing a performance for the final presentation that will be accompanied by media that I collected during the experimentation phase of the project.

Photo documentation of the experiment:

Giving directions to those waiting on the 3rd floorOne participant reacted by removing themselves from the sanctuary as it deflated

Set up: The fan tunnel from the inflatable in my living room extended into my kitchen.

A participant in the sactuary before it began to deflate

Most participants did not react physically to the deflation of the sanctuary

However, one participant did react by removing themselves from the sanctuary as it deflated

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