spring. fluidity. eros. hammams.
Thank you for welcoming me into your community. In this dynamic season of springtime I have spent long hours attuning my body to your rhythms. I arrived on May 1st and there was a light sprinkle of snow and a vicious wind. Today the sun is bursting in companionship with a gentle breeze, and the park is full of women and children gathering in the lush green grass. In between was the time of the rain, the time of the canopy of lacy white flowering tree, the time of the humidity (which correlated so fluidly with my first workshop, becoming-Fluid), and the time of the falling petals from the trees.
I look forward to moving more with your cycles as spring transitions to summer.
Who am I?
Well, this seemingly simple question I have come to realize in just ten days here remains one of the central and complex points of interrogation in the creative work I am developing.
There are the standard identity practices of our times -
My name is
My gender is
My heritage is
My profession is
My race is
My pronouns are
My nationality is
And these, as markers of identity that carry significant value in terms of mobility, safety, belonging, etc change with each era. What side you fall on of feeling safe or not safe, mobile or not mobile, belonging or not belonging of that identity marker varies depending on geography, politics and power in any given time or place.
How I answer that question is shaped in response to the political landscape, time and place I find myself in, and in turn when I answer these questions I participate in shaping the political landscape.
I have already swallowed two books from AANMs generous library reflecting on identity and belonging written decades apart and from different vantage points; each in their own way advocating for a reevaluation in how we identify with and approach identity, each in distinct ways favoring multiplicity, flux, and various over fixed, static and monolithic.
(also shout out to Rima for sharing with me the origins of the Dewey decimal system and pointing out how the established choreography for people to search for and access knowledge is shaped by the thinking of a certain demographic of people in a certain period of time, yet effects the way we still move toward and encounter knowledge today, regardless of how the myriad of cultures that shaped us inherently encounter pathways of knowing that might be radically different)
So in honor of this time of spring, transition, and rebirth, and the feminine cycles of nature that shape my practice I will instead choose to introduce myself to you through what I am becoming …
I am becoming more attuned to how I am a body of water
I am becoming more aware of how the processes inside my body are entangled with the natural processes of the world around me
I am becoming eager to seek the sun as it shines longer hours of the day
I am becoming slower in my movements and softer in my thoughts in this new place that has afforded me the time and space to focus
I am becoming porous soaking up new words, ideas, and works of art
I am becoming reacquainted with my own resonance with the creative impulses of these words, ideas and works of art
I am becoming a student of my own questions and curiosities
I am becoming a dreamer, slowly opening to the possibilities of where and how this research can take shape through the intimate encounters possible in creative process and performance
I am becoming familiar again to the sound of English after spending the last couple of years abroad and working in multi-lingual settings
I am becoming tenderly attached to the local baristas and the two young girls who run the first checkout line in the grocery store. With each daily encounter we become more wholly visible to each other through words and more than words and I will miss them when I leave and remember them always
I am becoming sensitive to my own grief
and I am becoming more chatty with my ancestors who have passed while being in this community that cherishes Arab American heritage past and present so much
I am becoming more comfortable with my borderlessness during this residency, paradoxically even as I focus inward on my body and outward on books debating identity politics
I am becoming an ally to my humor
and I am becoming a friend to my erotic self, which has been marginalized, shamed and denigrated across centuries of androcentric civilizations
I am becoming tender tears for my aging parents - being in Dearborn and walking past families sprawled between their porches and the trunks of their minivans carrying tupperwares of food fills me with longing
I am becoming vibrations of sound waves washing over myself, meeting and merging with the women who shared practice with me last Sunday and the voices of various bodies of water
I am becoming spiritual in a way that is detached tho not antagonistic toward monotheism
I am becoming devoted to showing up for collective care and the pathways of communing with other women towards healing and repair - not just for the self, but for each other and the natural world, that are a legacy passed down across time and space despite marginalization and criminalization
I am becoming less timid of falling
I am becoming more familiar with my levity
I am becoming..
and I hope to meet, encounter and share a smile, a tear, a song, a dance, a breath, a story with you in my time here.
If you are a woman or femme-identifying person I am facilitating two more becoming-Fluid workshops that will be exploring some of the creative research I have developed with women and femme-identifying refugees from the SWANA in Northern Greece over the past year. Together, we have been reclaiming the historic sites of the ancient hammams as sites of pleasure, care and love to counter narratives of division through public art and performance ritual.
These workshops here at AANM in Dearborn are free and will include somatic movement and vocal sound healing explorations, creative collaborations with water, myth and poetry, and circular conversations reflecting on the health, agency and safety of women.
The next one is Sunday May 21st 11am-1pm and will focus on feminine erotic energy as a source of ecological repair and restoration, tracing this thread from Paleolithic art through some of the myths and rituals of the earliest ancient civilizations in the SWANA through to female erotic Arabic poetry and modern artistic expressions.
We will explore these mythologies and their medicines through our bodies, our voices and our humor!
Finally, during my time at AANM I am furthering this research towards the development of a dance performance and interactive installation that will premier at some future date with support through the National Performance Network Creation and Development Grant.
While here I would really like to connect with women and femme-identifying who might be interested in participating in re-imagining the hammam with me as part of this journey and process! If you are interested in being involved please get in touch!
Specifically and especially, if you are interested in story telling, sharing and attuning with other women, finding creative pathways with water, reflecting on the origins of love, and re-imagining new eros origin stories for the future.
No performance experience is necessary. Just a desire to connect, ponder, and create.
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