six acts of witness (2015)

a collaboration with Dao Nguyen that happened as part of Second Floor Rear in February 2015 as part of this annual festival of art in alternative spaces in Chicago. audience members were welcomed into an event where they became the performers wending their way through a series of instructions.

the project asked: how can we confront anxiety not as an individual psychological problem in isolation but as a public, and not one that seeks answers or remedies but to be heard and to be felt? how might we behold and be held?

six acts of witness draws upon modes of awareness and connection achieved through mindfulness meditation, improvisation, and active listening, a communication technique used in counseling and conflict resolution. through a series of gestures performed with a partner, each participant offers “statements”—and in return, re-states and rephrases in his or her own language, an understanding of what he or she has witnessed. in communication, these acts are not limited to words but encompass whole bodies.

six acts of witness engaged multiple modes of perception, multiple body parts, and multiple bodies.

Jane Jerardi and Dao Nguyen, Six Acts of Witness, participatory event, 2nd Floor Rear 2015
photos by Slaveya Minkova