Since the pandemic began, co-instigator Michele Minnick and I have been creating and producing performative events as Team Holler Joy. Our most recent, Out of the Shadows, was originally conceived as a community performance and celebration with a live band (among other performances, rituals and experiences) that would reflect ancient festivals of renewal connected with the winter solstice. However, the increased restrictions mandated in early December inspired us to transform Out of the Shadows into an experiential audio tour with accompanying videos. Redesigned as an audio tour within an elaborate art installation featuring a spiral labyrinth, participants were guided through our tiny Baltimore neighborhood of Sabina-Mattfeldt, including individual rituals of reflection and renewal.
The urgency of the physical restrictions required by the pandemic only underscore the damage exposed in our social and natural realities, including the economic inequities laid increasingly bare; the inherent violence fostered by a culture of white supremacy; the fires and floods that are a constant reminder of the ongoing rape of the planet; the addictive stories of individualism, consumerism, capitalism. Consequently, as I continue work on projects begun before the pandemic, I see that my core questions remain the same: How do we connect with one another? How do we support those who suffer? What matters now?