The Strange Becomes Familiar and the Familiar Becomes Strange
Stereotyping becomes a familiar response to the strange we see in others. This interactive installation seeks to invite and provoke participants to challenge these familiar responses to strange “others” that are based on and perpetuate stereotypes. Through interactive scenarios, participants are invited to enter strange territory and embody the words and actions of someone different to themselves. Part performance art, part theater and part participatory anthropology, this event tackles familiar issues: indigenous rights, microaggressions, police profiling and violence, immigration and deportation, structural violence and more. While the topics tackled fall under a broad umbrella of social justice, this installation focuses on the particular lived experience of people who stereotype and are stereotyped, making the daily experiences of the “other” more familiar. Anthropologists specialize in making the strange more familiar through ethnographies of the everyday lived experience, however, they have been challenged for perpetuating the “othering” or fetishization of “strange” culture, about whom they write. This installation follows the familiar anthropological path of illuminating the experience of those often considered “the strange” or “the other” to the point at which this “othering” leads to stereotyping and has very real and tangible negative effects on the daily lives, health, livelihoods of the stereotyped. It hopes that, by encouraging us all to confront our own discomfort with our participation in the stereotyping process, participants will challenge stereotypes encountered in their daily lives. This project is a collaboration with artist-in-residence at the Denver Art Museum and Indian activist, Gregg Deal and students at City University of New York at Guttman Community College, Shenice Greene, Sade Miles and Maria Isabelle Parada, in addition to many other performance artists, anthropologists, artists and activists from Washington D.C., New York City, Denver, Tampa and Oxford, U.K.
Reconsider Dissemination: “The Road of Development” by Victoria Costa and Kristina Baines is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.