University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota
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Performance and Social Justice: A Corporeal Creative Research Project about Women and Violence

Mohona/Estuaries of Desire, 2012-2013

In the most recent phase of the Performance and Social Justice Collaborative’s anti-violence quartet, they create and produce Mohona/Estuaries of Desire, a performance project investigating the multiple impacts of violence through the paradigm of water. Working through an intersection of traditional scholarly research, and improvisation-based embodied knowing, the collaborative seeks to foreground multiple epistemologies in seeking understanding and sharing knowledge about specific contexts of gendered violence and the harnessing of a natural resource such as water through corporate monopolies, and how they collude in devastating multiple communities. Working with bodies and movement to both investigate and produce knowledge, this project will emphasize in particular the materiality of women’s struggles in these contexts and the ways in which women have reimagined their lives in response. Other events marking our process will be workshops for project participants, workshops for community and youth groups, showings, dialogues, “community conversations,” and formal presentations. The Collaborative will also prepare a manuscript bringing together critical readings of the performance, reflections on the process, and poetry and visual art that responds to the work and process. 
Conveners: Ananya Chatterjea (Theatre Arts and Dance), Jigna Desai (Gender Women, and Sexuality Studies), and Rose Brewer (African American & African Studies
).

Moreechika, 2011-2012

The theme of Moreechika, an evening-length piece, is oil and the environmental, cultural and human costs of oil extraction around the world, particularly on women in global communities of color.  Moreechika is the third work in a four-part investigation into violence, trauma, resistance and empowerment experienced by communities of color, using the elements of mud (Kshoy!/Decay!, 2010), gold (Tushaanal: Fires of Dry Grass, 2011), oil (Moreechika: Season of Mirage, 2012) and water (Mohona: Estuaries of Desire, 2013) as themes.

Tushaanal/Fires of Dry Grass, 2011

The piece is the second in a four-part, anti-violence series exploring how women in global communities of color experience and resist violence. Tushaanal (“fires of dry grass” in Bengali) revolves around stories of gold, an element mined and harnessed as capital, and a symbol of desire, beauty and artistry. Tushaanal is co-directed by Ananya Chatterjea, Professor of Theatre Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota and ADT’s founding artistic director, and OBIE Award-winning theater artist Laurie Carlos.

Kshoy/Decay, 2010-2011

The Performance and Social Justice Collaborative will continue to explore, through movement-based research, the trauma and resistance of communities of women of color across global North and South.  In this next phase, the collaborative will create and produce Kshoy/Decay, a performance project investigating the multiple impacts of communalism and violence on women.  Working through an intersection of traditional scholarly research, and improvisation-based embodied knowing, the collaborative seeks to foreground multiple epistemologies in seeking understanding and sharing knowledge about specific contexts of religious fundamentalism, communalism, and gendered violence, and how they are affecting multiple communities of color.  Working with bodies and movement to both investigate and produce knowledge, this project will emphasize in particular the materiality of women’s struggles in these contexts and the ways in which women have reimagined their lives in response.  Our journey might be imagined/historical documentation through performance, and will suggest the multiple agential ways in which women of color are approaching issues of social justice.  Other events marking our process will be workshops for project participants, workshops for community and youth groups, showing, dialogues, “community conversations,” and formal presentations.

Pipaashaa/Extreme Thirst, 2009-2010

This performance is an artistic response to the steady eradication and contamination of natural resources by aggressive industrialization, from the point of view of some of the most vulnerable populations in society. Created in collaboration with leaders from the Environmental Justice Education and Advocacy Collective and other internationally renowned artists, Pipaashaa is a story of the desire to live amidst loss and strain, articulating the deep ache of struggling communities and the dream of an alternative context. Choreographed and created by Ananya Chatterjea, directed by Gulgun Kayim, discussion with the artists will take place after the performances on Friday and Saturday. Ananya Chatterjea is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota and she is also a convener of the Performance and Social Justice Collaborative. Gulgun Kayim is an interdisciplinary theater artist, a founder and co-artistic/managing director of Skewed Visions, a Minneapolis-based site-specific performance company, and a lecturer in the department of Theater Arts and Dance.

Ashesh Barsh/Unending Monsoon, 2009

This performance is an artistic response to the steady eradication and contamination of natural resources by aggressive industrialization, from the point of view of some of the most vulnerable populations in society. Created in collaboration with leaders from the Environmental Justice Education and Advocacy Collective and other internationally renowned artists, Pipaashaa is a story of the desire to live amidst loss and strain, articulating the deep ache of struggling communities and the dream of an alternative context. Choreographed and created by Ananya Chatterjea, directed by Gulgun Kayim, discussion with the artists will take place after the performances on Friday and Saturday. Ananya Chatterjea is an Associate Professor in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota and she is also a convener of the Performance and Social Justice Collaborative. Gulgun Kayim is an interdisciplinary theater artist, a founder and co-artistic/managing director of Skewed Visions, a Minneapolis-based site-specific performance company, and a lecturer in the department of Theater Arts and Dance.

Daak/Call to Action, 2008-2009

The Performance and Social justice Collaborative continues its research on environmental racism and the trauma and resistance of communities of women of color across global North and South. In this second year, the collaborative will create and produce Daak, Call to Action, a performance project investigating land rights violations in Native communities in Minnesota, in the maquiladoras of Tijuana and Suarez, Mexico, and the “Special Economic Zones” of Nandigram, India. The collaborative will also launched the research for the culminating project of this series: Ashesh Barsha, Unending Monsoon, which brings together the research foci of the previous two projects with its focus on the horrifying impact of climate change. Working through an intersection of traditional scholarly research, and improvisation-based embodied knowing, the collaborative seeks to foreground multiple epistemologies in seeking understanding and sharing knowledge about huge issues in environmental justice and how they are affecting multiple communities of color. Working with bodies and movement to both investigate and produce knowledge, these projects will emphasize in particular the materiality of these struggles and the solutions being proposed, and of their historical documentation through performance, and suggest the multiple agential ways in which women of color are approaching issues of social justice.