Proposal for “Raze the WhiteBox”
To raze the WhiteBox will be a symbolic action of a greater deconstruction. Working within models of colonization will only develop concepts consumed by colonizing behaviors. Dismantling of this gallery space would be the only method to decolonizing it.
The WhiteBox (any gallery or museum space that hermetically isolates artwork) in its design and conception will always contain/own an object or thought. Property and borders are red flags of colonization. Dismantling a structure which is designed to contain objects and thoughts within 6 sides would be the action to decolonize it. Cement is not fertile ground, it is dead inactive space. A public space that allows community, inspiration and creativity does not exclusively exist as a collection or claim to ownership as does a museum or gallery. Community, inspiration, and creativity by their very nature will always remain fluid and un-owned. These three concepts only empower when used by the collective mass. The process of decolonizing spaces will involve replacing structures in which people collectively perform these concepts.
The remaining land, once this WhiteBox is dismantled, should be a network in which Peoples (any groups that have internalized a colonialist ideology) can regain a culture, but also regain what mother nature once offered in its harsh but nurturing way. The colonization of a People resulted at times with a simultaneous colonization of the land as well. Returning the land to its state of natural symbiosis will plant the seed of change that is necessary for this wounded earth to remember its role and for us to see its glory. This demolition is the only holistic therapy/ cathartic ritual that will remember the many forgotten People, forgotten knowledge, and resources that the colonizers either stole or destroyed. A WhiteBox and its confining walls symbolically and literally censor the past and the land onto which it has rooted itself.
The demolition will be followed by the introduction of indigenous plants and animals. This will inhabit the majority of the land and be integrated in whatever else is built. Some land will remain for agriculture and a stage/ gathering area for community and artist use. In the decolonization of this WhiteBox we must not forget about the inheritors of the colonized state of mind, the children. A place in which children could learn how to engage with nature and relearn the art of symbiosis would replace the structures that now exist on 410 Cottage Home St. If any structures will be built, they will remain small, since the land itself should provide a stage or setting for most things. Monetary means are intangible compared to community action and the blood and sweat of artist and activist. The land will be kept by its users.
If life is art how can life exist in a vacuum? Can the only definition of what art is be contained within a closet, which doors are only opened by someone with the means to own this space? Art removed from life, suffocated in a crate... Is this inspiration? Is art an object free from worldly interaction? Is it a phenomenon sheltered by the very thing that causes its chain-reaction? Transporting artwork produces waste, does this ill benefit this earth? Is a space built like a fortress a structure that welcomes the collective mass?
The brick unit is the beginning of growth. The straight lines imprisons the dirt, the self, the ripple of effect. - Raze the WhiteBox: A Think Tank of Change
May 1, 2016
The practice that is this work is not about criticizing colonialism, it is a allegorical response. A very personal response that I might sometimes consider a universal response. The hope is to filter down not the philosophy but the intent, to get to that universalism. A simple state of being that is efficient only in its holistics. Free of biases and specialization, my hopes is to find a way to learn and observe, to live and exist, to breath and touch, to forget by remembering. For now I see this universality as growth, be it cancer, population or regeneration. Finding the precise balance to explore the external and the internal self is one of the challenges with this exploration of this growth. Why the self? It is the first sensor that we are given to understand this Growth. I theorize then that this must be the best at understanding this Growth, holistically each part of the self canceling out the inherent biases.
This exploration as it pertains to the physical and movement I have called Corporeal Reformation. Corporeal Reformation is the act of remembering and learning. It seems to me that performance work is the most radical thing I can do with art. It sets no boundaries between active and passive. We all become part of the community once again. My question would be which community is this we are suddenly a part of when experiencing a performance. The performer or the audience? Are we invading or uniting? Depending on approach a public performance can be a continuous state of colonizing. I think the only way to remedy this is by the passive and the active both being in full effect, and transferring between the hosts (the colonized and the settler).
So it seems that the act of decolonizing can be many messy deeds. In a post-colonial system the colonized and the settler becomes muddled and both become agents of each others restrictions. They both share the initiation rituals of the colonized. Both share symbols and stories in which the powers that be, the first settlers have establish. The colonized start to assimilate the settlers approach, find new land, growth credited partly from new places that one has never seen nor understood. The settlers lost in empty promises lose their own heritage in hopes that assimilation and whitism will provide more than what came before, since it has made a few wealthy and untouchable. Little do they know that the settlers are cattle just as the colonized are the human resource that is a staple of an industrialized nation.