October 2020 marks 3 years since Bodies in Play was introduced.
This work, and the way I see bodies and play, has evolved steadily since that time, but most extremely in the past several months. The word body, for example, has several definitions. It can mean our individual physical self, of course, but may also be used to describe a collective group, as in the student body.
So in this reflection I ask, what is our collective artist body or collective citizen body? How do we want that body to be identified?
What if, for example, we stopped referring to ourselves as "American"?
By suggesting only a person from the United States may claim "American" as their nationality, it inherently negates the nationalities and geographies of our neighbors to our North and South. Are not Canadians American? Are not Mexicans, Brazilians, Chileans and so many more?
Are we not, in fact, United Statesmen? Better yet - United States-peoples? Well, that might be a bit of a mouthful.
What if we just used "United"?
By claiming "American" as a cultural identity when in fact we hail from what is known as the United States, are we not perpetuating the colonial mindset that has led us to the division we now experience? A mindset that says my America is the only America.
If instead we simply claimed "United" as a cultural and national identity, might we be reminded each time we proudly claimed heritage and patriotism that we are but ONE community? One body? Could that then promote a mindset that unified not only our states, but also our allegiance to nation’s beyond our boundaries? Would an investment in a United Body better support efforts in diplomacy, sustainability, and anti-oppression?
After all, there is no “them” in "U.S." - there's simply “us”.