Reena Almoneda Chang, Meena Murugesan, Émilie Monnet and I endeavored to create the conditions within which a self-selecting group of mostly strangers could open up the possibility to co-investigate the notions of home and beauty as relational practice and as context-emergent, ephemeral affirmations of life and political agency. Having worked with Reena, Meena and Émilie individually on other projects and knowing of their interest in the overlapping fields of home and body, I invited them to join me in this research/creation process.
Reena Almoneda Chang is a movement artist and educator who draws from her performance and community work on the transformation of grief due to forced displacement through dance and the creation of contemporary ritual. Meena Murugesan is an Indo-contemporary dancer, documentary filmmaker and community arts educator committed to working towards personal and social transformation. Emilie Monnet is a performance artist and community activist of Anishnaabe First Nation and French descent. Having lived in different parts of the world, she now is settling home in the traditional lands of Mohawk people (Montreal).
In the collective story, there are so many layers to home and by sharing, they all resonated with me. I felt the suffering and pain from everyone’s story about where one is at home in the body, in the land, etc. There is baggage from everyone, suffering within each person and that made the story collective. I could relate to this and felt that it connected us: I felt a kinship with everyone.
Émilie Monnet verbatim: April 7, 2009 in conversation with me.
This type of inquiry more accurately reflects the ‘real’ world, which is not a controlled environment. The inquiry is not only the domain of the researcher, but of others participating in the experience – inquiry becomes a group process, and therefore more multi-dimensional, drawing from a larger pool of experience and perspective. That it is performative or live means that the inquiry benefits from the heightening of creative tension/flow and energy that comes with performance, therefore opening more windows in the senses and of consciousness from which to understand and process information and different multiple realities.
Reena Almondea Chang critical reflection: April 15, 2009 email addressed to me.
This video poem does not attempt to represent the homeBody events nor does it literally recount the specificity of any one particular story (though audio snippets of some individuals recounting personal narratives can be heard).