City-Wide Open Studios 2019: Wellbeing celebrates our creative community’s capacity for resiliency in the face of acute and long term struggle, violence, and trauma. We dedicate this year’s festival to recognizing the creative ways we work to provide care for one another, specifically looking to alternative forms of care giving, health education, and patient services. This year's 12 commissioned projects position the arts as a unique lens for the activation of health security, wellness, and mindfulness as they relate to our bodies, minds, and environments. Here are some highlights:
Tree Spa for Urban Forest Healing by Colin McMullan is a mobile tree syrup processing unit and a tree spa. This relaxing getaway features a steam room of evaporated tree sap and local forest essences, drawing on various traditions of healing from around the world. This idea is a unique variation on the healing traditions of many world cultures including the Scandinavian sauna, Islamic hammam, Russian banya, sweat lodges and maple sugaring camps of various Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island (a.k.a., this continent), and the modern Japanese concept of Shinrin-Yoku or Forest Bathing.
Through the experience of a tight swaddle, The Center for Adult Swaddling invites visitors to return to the comfort of dwelling in the womb. Visitors of all ages are invited to enter a multisensory session of support and self-care, situated within a protective grove of soft sculptures, and a unique sound and light environment. Participants will receive a one-on-one consultation to address their swaddling needs, and learn how to become amateur experts in the swaddling technique. This work was conceived through the observation and reimagining of the practice of Otonamaki, a physical therapy developed three years ago in Japan to promote relaxation. The collaborative team is made up of artists, architects, graphic designers and medical practitioners, including Adam Berkwitt, Alexandra Jomini, Aude Jomini, Sam Malissa, Laura Marsh, Chen Reichert, David B. Smith, Paul Theriault, Nate Lerner, Rachel Lerner, and Yaminay Nasir Chaudhri.
I Know You So Well: A Sound and Movement Choir for People Who Work in Healthcare is a collaboration between choreographer Rachel Bernsen and writer Rachel Kauder Nalebuff. Loosely adapted from Plato’s symposium, the project examines the fracture of an industry or place, bringing together eleven healthcare workers who likely never connect in their professional lives to think holistically about what it means to heal. This interdisciplinary work layers song, text, choreography and improvisation to convey the emotions and life-experiences of an unlikely group of performers, who will explore together what it means to give care, and to discover what we can learn from each other's isolated practices. Musical direction by Taylor Ho Bynum and Kyoko Kitamura. Performers include Janice Baker (Healer through the expressive arts), Nathalie Bonafe (Death Doula), Bill Fischer (End of life doctor), Ziael Aponte (Therapeutic dance instructor), Ann T. Greene (Cancer buddy), Laurie Sweet (Birth Doula), Jackie Trimble Shapiro (Physical Therapist), Alejandro Mestre (Nurse), Jenessa Payano Stark (Midwife), Lynn Lantieri (Caregiver for family), and Marian Evans (Daughter, wife, professor).
Part performance, part installation, ana alole (The Hats) pulls from artist Erin Lee Antonak's indigenous roots, intertwining the traditional of making Iroquois craft, regalia, and ceremonial objects with millinery techniques and drag culture. Antonak's hats give restorative strength and prayer to their wearers, and hold the stories of their multiple wearers.