Describe your project.
We Come In Peace is a performance art flash mob happening in and with the Villa Victoria community in the South End. The performance will take place on July 19, during the Festival Betances, an event that commemorates the struggles of Villa Victoria against gentrification as well as the Puerto Rican nationalist leader Betances, which worked for independence during the war with Spain.
The performance will feature a salvaged children’s playhouse, repurposed into a modern-day sedan chair. This symbol of colonization is being reclaimed and used to store dozens of Dymaxion globes (created with community members), which present a more spatially accurate, less Western-centric view of the world. These will be given out to the audience, along with information about Puerto Rico’s continued status as a colony, in a fun, procession-style way.
How will you use the grant?
The grant money will go towards hiring 4–5 performers to carry the sedan chair sculpture and participate in crowd engagement/handing out globes—also, materials to construct wooden support for the house, costuming for the performers, and for the assembly and decoration of these globes.
Why and to whom is your project important?
The project is important in that it brings into a public sphere the often overlooked scope of the United States’ interventionist foreign policy. The public is for the most part, thinking about this in terms of Afghanistan, Iraq, etc—but I am interested in the Caribbean, how the U.S. came to occupy Cuba, Panama, the Philippines, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, etc, etc. My primary focus is to engage the Latin community of Villa Victoria and educate the public about their revolutionary history—this is important, especially in the context of the festival— shining light on the fact that Puerto Rico is one of the oldest colonies in the world, and has not stopped being one since the Spanish conquest. It’s about education, and a call to action.